Let's Catalog a Book
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- F9 to create new record
- TAB to fields to enter data
- Up Arrow lookups on "picklist" fields (then ENTER)
- F10 to save or F7 to exit

Ready to catalog:

This cataloging work area at one school library shows a dot-matrix, tractor-feed printer used for printing spine labels one-by-one as each library item is cataloged.

Here, at a different school library, we will catalog The Random House basic dictionary of synonyms and antonyms.

Using barcode scheme:

We have a sheet of pre-printed barcode labels (each number is unique), a roll of barcode label protectors, and the dot matrix printer (for spine labels).
The first step is to peel off the barcode label and stick it to the back upper corner of the book.
Having the label in the same location on each book speeds up the checkout process.
(It also speeds up taking inventory of the books right from the shelf using a notebook computer.)
After this, peel off a barcode label protector and carefully stick it to the top of the barcode label.
The protector is not essential. But the labels wear out fast (usually after two or three checkouts) without them.

Without using barcode scheme:
You can use PAL without a barcode reader and without barcode labels too.When creating a catalog record, the program automatically generates a unique number in the barcode field which can be handwritten on the title page of the book. What is essential is that every physical item in the library have a unique number to identify it (in lieu of the old "copy number" for multiple copies of a particular title).

The Catalog Panel is reached by pressing menu choice # "1" from the Main Menu; or by pressing menu choice #"1" from the Circulation Menu (which is choice # "5" from the Main Menu).
In the Catalog Panel first  do an Up-Arrow lookup of the title to see if the library already has a copy of this title. If it does, press ENTER when you find it to make it the background record (this makes entering data for a duplicate title easy by just pressing F4 on each field (except barcode/ID field) to automatically enter the data from the background record).

Entering data:

Press the F9 key to create a new record. When you first enter the cataloging panel (from the menu) you are in "Browse" mode (for looking up and viewing records). To add a record press the F9 key. The bottom of the screen should then say "Creating Record". All the fields should be blank except for default values (e.g., "hardcover book", "softcover book" or whatever you set in the system settings panel as the default media). and the entry date/time and user ID of the user creating the record. These are automatically calculated when you first create the record.  A unique number generated by the program appears in the "Barcode" field. (Note that when you catalog an item "on the fly" from the checkout panel you will already be in "create" mode and the barcode (inputed to checkout panel) will already be entered in the catalog panel.)
Now, scan in the barcode number on the book to replace this number. . . . After doing so, the cursor will be on the "Media" field. If this were a "Hardcover Book" like most of  the items we are cataloging today then we would simply press the Enter or the Tab key to skip this and leave the default we set as "Hardcover Book".
 However, this particular book is a softcover book. So we press the Up-Arrow key for a lookup of media types. Pressing "s" brings us right away to "Softcover Book".. . .
Press the Enter key now and go on to the next field "Collection".

If this is part of the general collection then press the Enter or Tab key and go on to the next field, the "Title". . . Type in the title of the book.  Generally you can type all lower-case letters. The first letter will be automatically capitalized and the "The" will be chopped off (based on filing rules). . . .
The author last and first name fields also capitalize the first letters automatically.
Since this book is the first of its series for our library we can fill in the "Series" record for it on the fly. . . Note that we can choose to Cutter by series or not. Doing so means that all items of a series will be together on the shelf instead of the more general practice of being scattered by the authors' last names.
Pressing the F7 key after entering this data plugs in the publisher, etc data to our book's catalog record.
The cursor is now on the first "Subject Heading" field. This field determines what the call number will be for this book and therefore where the book will end up on the shelf. (Note: the call number is automatically entered based on what is in the first subject heading ("Subj1") field. The call numbers and subject headings that come with the program are based primarily on SEARS LIST OF SUBJECT HEADINGS, 15th ed. (New York, H.W.Wilson Co:1994). However you may change these numbers to anything you want. Just go to the Subject Headings Panel (from Main Menu choice "7", then choice "2"). Look up the subject heading you want to change, press F6 to go to "Edit Record" mode, TAB to the call number field and change it, then press F10 to save. Then whenever you enter that subject heading in the catalog panel the new call number will be automatically entered. We do an Up-Arrow lookup on the subject headings and decide that "Dictionaries" would be most appropriate for our library. PAL comes with several thousand subject headings to choose from but you will almost certainly have the need to create more for your particular library. Most new (American) books have "Cataloging-in-Publication" information on the reverse of the title page which can help you create new subject headings and assign  numbers for them. Sears List of Subject Headings is another tool to help the small library assign subject headings.
We now press the Enter key to choose "Dictionaries" and plug in the subject heading and its associated call number into our book's catalog record which now looks like this . . .
The second subject heading field is not used often except for a large library where a lot of bibliographic searching is done from the online catalog. The "v." (volume) field is only used where a title has multiple volumes (e.g., an encyclopedia). These fields can be skipped over (by pressing Tab or Enter key on them). We can enter the date, and then skip over the status, language, value, and grade level fields - which are already correctly filled in. The "vendor" field may be filled in or skipped over. Many school libraries receive donations from individuals or else receive materials under the federal "Title I" program. Note that one of the cataloging menu reports generates "thank you" letters based on the data in this field.
After entering "KANE" for Mr & Mrs Kane, who donated this book to the library, I choose "1" to create a new donor record . . .
Pressing the F5 key at the "Acq.Info." panel link enables us, if we wish, to enter detailed information about the acquisition of this item . . .
The "Notes" field enables us to enter notes regarding the item ("e.g. page 23 is torn") and the "Reviews" link takes us to a panel of reviews of the item.
We have now finished entering data for this item. . . .
We now save the record by pressing the F10 key. The bottom of the screen should now say "Browsing Record" as the mode. We now press Alt-F7 keys to print out a spine label for this book. We peel it off and affix it to the spine of the book . . .
Libraries less concerned with aesthetics simply write the call number on the spine labels by hand . . .