I have just finished entering our collection using ResourceMate. However, we are not barcoding the books mostly because the library is not staffed and check out is by book cards on the honor system.  My question, is since all the book info is entered in our database, are accession numbers necessary anymore?

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I vote Yes.

Is there a good reason not to use accession numbers? I don't think that it would save much time.

Computer data bases use a common number to tie together various tables. I suspect that ResourceMate is going to assign a number to each item. That number will tie together the various tables. (Item-Subjet heading, etc)

Having a unique number ties the catalog record (and the book card) to a specific item. Reduces the chance of book card ending up in the wrong book.

Say you have two (or more) copies of an item, and two or three are checked out at the same time. Then someone brings one back and places it in the book drop.  Without an accession number (which is a number for every individual item in the library)  how will you know who returned theirs?  I ALWAYS check the accession number before putting the card back in the book!   I'm assuming that ResourceMate gives you and individual number for the item.  I use Concourse, and the bar-code number is the accession number.   Berdie Hope

Margaret, I use ResourceMate as well.  On the "library card" page if you click on "Next Accession #"  it will automatically assign the accession number and it will print with other info on your labels that you can place inside the book or on your checkout card/pocket.  

One more Yes. in addition to what has already been pointed out. You will know the # of volumns in the library in case there is a major disaster to your library. Since I am not familiar with ResourceMate I cannot comment on that. I hope that it has Cost of item column and keeps up with the value of your collection. I do know that you need to be able to keep up with individule books even if there are multiple copies.

Add one more to the YES column.

Accession Numbers are a convenient way to tie a single, short number (4-digits, 5- at the most) to each item in the collection as required by your automation system. ("Short" is good for me when I have to type in the number.) If you used the Media Types as part of the number (Ex. DV103), continue to use them if your software permits.

For a library converting from a traditional card catalog to an automation system, I would recommend maintaining continuity by using the original Accession Numbers. The old Number is already written in the book, listed on the cards and used in the Accession book. The computer records will then match your written materials. Use the higher, computer-assigned Numbers for new items. A glance at the Accession Number will give a sense of the item's history… how long it has been in the collection.

To keep track of the library collection size, some libraries 're-use' Accession Numbers. I would discourage that as you lose the 'history' and you can easily run a report to find the collection size. 

Our library uses 'PC Card Catalog' which permits both an Accession Number (short for typing) and a Bar Code (long for scanners) for each item and uses them interchangeably. The numbers do not need to match.

Margaret, you've had some great replies, but let me add one more thing.  I've never known any library automation program which did not enter a number before a book or other media could be added.  That number may be called different names.  Accession number is the term we always used before automation.  The number at the beginning of your title entry is sometimes called Item ID or some other name.  So you already have an accession number whatever it is called and that number should be written in ink on the title page of the book.




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