Celebrating National Libraries Day – Behind the Scenes at Nuffield College Library: Inventory Control

“Inventory control” is library jargon for a stock take of our books. During the vacations we use mini barcode scanners to scan each book on the shelf, this data is then uploaded to the Bodleian Libraries  server. Once this has been done, it means that it is possible to compare what we have on the library catalogue with what is actually on the shelf.

Comparison of a regular barcode scanner and a mini barcode scanner. It may be small but it can store thousands of barcodes!

We can then generate reports which highlight potential problems, for instance:

A report on all items which have not been scanned – these can be marked as missing and then searched for.

A report on the shelf order of all the books scanned – this will tell us if anything is in the wrong place (thus making it difficult to find) we can then identify such books and put them back in the correct order.

Various other errors can be thrown up – for instance books which have been flagged as “Missing” or “Lost” in the past can be retrieved and made available again.

The overall aim behind this is to ensure that the catalogue is as accurate and up to date as possible – last summer we scanned floors 3 to 6 of the tower – that’s over 47,000 books!

Scanning books for Inventory Control – only 46,999 more to do…


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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