We're automating our library and planning to add barcodes to our items.  Currently we're using the basic ResourceMate package but plan to upgrade Plus-- so want to put the bar codes on now so we don't have to re-handle all our items later.  


Have several questions on barcodes I'd like opinions on:

  • Think we've decided on Type 1 but I'd like to hear anyone's preference for Type 2
  • Things I've read elsewhere strongly suggest buying pre-printed bar codes.  Our software doesn't offer bar code printing (that I know of).   I've also read I won't need label protectors if I use pre-printed labels, they're sturdier, etc.
  • Do I need a unique MARC library designation code from the Library of Congress.  Read this in a post and had never heard of it before.  Think I've found a place on the LC web site that lists all the codes by state and let you apply for one but wanted to make sure it's necessary before I go through the hassle.  Don't think we'll ever be large enough to use MARC records/input.
  • Any other barcode gotchas I haven't thought of?

Thanks for any and all comments.


Abbie Wiler

Faith Lutheran Church


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Hi Abbie,

We have used pre-printed bar codes for years.  We discovered that printing them ourselves was too much wear and tear on our printer and was more expensive than the other way.  We do cover our bar codes  because the contact paper goes over them when we cover the paper backs, and the dust cover goes over them on the hard back book covers.  I want to urge you to think carefully about where you plan to place the bar codes because you will want to be consistent in placement.  I wish we had placed them on the back of the book for inventory purposes, but we placed them on the left front corner of the book.  Everyone will have a different idea, I just encourage you to think about it so you will be happy later.  Rita Kirkland, First Euless

I'm curious about your third bullet item. If you still have the URL for the post, I'd like to have it.

You may be referring to the MARC tag 040 that is a code for the library that created or modified the cataloging. The Library of Congress code is DLC. My public library has a code assigned but they never use it.

Also, I have never heard of Type 1 and 2 bar codes. Does this refer to smart and dumb codes? (Smart codes include eye-readable title/call number information and  are used when adding bar coding to an existing library.)

Abbie, we have the option to print our own barcodes with the name of the item, author and readable # printed on it. We  have Concourse from Book systems. we cover them with the clear book tape now if the items is not covered with Kapco covers or jacket covers. When we put bar codes on DVD's we put the bar code on the paper inside the plastic sleave.  For a while we used label covers but they did not always stay on well. our book tape (acid Free) works just fine for us. We found that Printing our own was best for us because we do like the SMART bar codes with the info on them. We often enter 60 or more items a month and we like to get them on the shelves as quickly as possible. so printing our own works best for us. We try to put our bar code over the barcode that is on the item. (we started that because our workers that do not work all the time were reading the store barcodes and getting confused when the item did not exist in our data base. Our bar code reader is attached to the computer by a plug, so we won't be doing inventory at the shelves using the reader. many libraries are putting the barcodes on the back cover upper corner so they can just pull the book out a little to read the barcode.


My library also uses ResourceMate 3.0 and we are ready to add barcodes.  I would love it if you could share what you have learned about this process.  ResourceMate's online catalog does offer pre-printed labels.  I would prefer to use that rather than printing my own.  I was wondering if the laminated labels would work well without label protectors.   I would appreciate anything you could share with me on how this process has gone for you.  Thanks!  

We use ResourceMate.  I can't recall which type of barcodes we have, I think maybe 1.  We ordered a large pack of preprinted labels and the scanner itself from ResourceMate.  We have had absolutely no problems with any of it.  The labels stick well and are kind of like card-stock thickness with a thin laminate.  they don't tear easily.  I suppose if I tried to remove it with my label peeler I could, but I have no problems with them coming off.  We do not have a MARC designation and have not needed it.  Best wishes for the mountain of work ahead of you, but it will make things so much easier!


Thanks for the quick reply.  I'm thinking of using Type 2 labels since our library is small.  Do you use patron bar codes or patron cards?

No, we just go by patron name and look it up each time.  We are small, too, and although I was interested in patron cards I decided in the end there were other things we needed to do with the budget money.  It only takes a second to look up someone, and most of the time we know them and don't even need to ask for a name.

i have studied barcodes for many years and have tried a lot of barcode libraries to add barcode, such as Zxing, ID Automation and ONbarcode.

My only comment is re:  placement of the barcode sticker.  We started out putting them on the upper left front of the media.  We have since regretted that.  When using the books in seasonal displays, etc., the barcode is a definite distraction.  While our library staff felt strongly about being consistent in placement, we made a group decision as new items come in to start putting the barcode on the bottom right on the back.



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