Zebra TLP2844 printer manual is up

The manual for our new Zebra TLP2844 thermal transfer printer is up.

We needed a one-up label printer for our serials, that could also print the routing list as part of the process.

The TLP2844 is a thermal transfer printer, which means that instead of using thermally -sensitive labels (which fade over a short time, we’ve found to our dismay), the TLP2844 uses a thermal process to tranfer ink from a ribbon to the plain label. This should last for years.

For books, you can get spine/pocket label combinations, and those can be printed with a more durable resin ribbon.

For the serials, however, I went a little cheaper and got paper labels, and printed on them with a wax ribbon directly from the Innovative Interfaces Millennium Serials module. The setup info for all that is on the manual page. These will work for in-house circulation until we bind the serial.

Unfortunately, MilSer does not recognize the particular size of label (3×2) we use from the Zebra, so I have to tell it that we’re using 4×4 labels instead of 3×2, and the spacing is a bit wonky after the serials label prints if we have a routing list. If there is no routing list, the next label comes out blank. Still, it does the job, quickly and neatly.  We stick on the serial label, and staple the routing list labels (still on the backing) and pull them off later after routing is completed.

We had been using a standard dot matrix printer (remember those?) but had a continuing problem with the label feed. I insisted they “waste” the first label, leaving it blank, and feed it through into the guide bar so the remaining labels would go through properly. Often somebody decided to “save” that label (and avoid the extra task of detaching it) by not feeding it into the guide bar, so when the printed label came out, it jammed in the guide bar.  Then they took the guide bar off the printer to avoid that, and so the labels kept jamming because they didn’t feed properly through the ribbon guide without the guide bar holding them flat against the platen.  On top of that, they had to feed out the printed label, and doing that by using the platen knob on the side stripped the gears (because people forgot to disengage the gears first) and made it even harder for labels to go through properly.

They needed a “black box” kind of printer that didn’t need any adjustments (or have removable parts).  The standard dot matrix printers were designed for batches, not one-at-a-time labels, but that increased the chance of mismatching labels to issues.

I’m hoping that the new customizing of III’s labels in Release 2007 (due out RSN: Real Soon Now) will allow me to print a barcode on the labels. We use a barcode for counting circulation of a serial within the library, but right now, with no barcode on the issues, we have to go to a rolodex full of cards with the barcodes for each serial title.

While I created a barcoded label using our Wasp Barcode Labeler software, which pulled the right title and barcode for it from an Excel file, it’s an extra step and shifting back and forth between softwares, and it was decided not to do it.

Wasp will let me do book labels (I got a roll of spine/pocket labels and tested), and once I see how the new Release 2007 (or the next version) allows me to customize, we might see about getting another Zebra for Tech Services. I’m also looking at the option to print book bands for ILL.