Application of Barcode in the LDRP ITR Library, Gandhinagar

Keywords: Barcode, Barcode Application, Library automation, Computerisation of Library, LDRP ITR Library


Barcodes can be used with varieties of applications in different fields. Barcode technology is mainly used for acquisition,circulation, issue, return and stock verification etc. It is used for its speed, accuracy and reliability. This paper talks about barcodes, objectives of barcoding,barcoding format and uses. The paper discusses the use of technology in the LDRP ITR library to reduce the human error and make library work more efficient and accurate.

Barcode technology plays a vital role in systematizing the tasks of the library, especially issue and return i.e. circulation. Its use increases the rapidity and accurateness in library circulation processes.The work of circulation in automated library involvesseries of operations and a large amount of data. When human does all the data entry, there are chances of human error. When error occurs, the library staffs have to rectify the same. There are long queues at the library counter, and it may make it longer. Circulation work can be handled in smooth manner in less time by the use of barcoding technology.It is one of the simple coding technologies available in the market.Actually the retails stores and big industries use the barcoding technology to take inventory control.Due to the cheap labour available in our country,the estimated barcoding market was more than 12 crore in 1995-96,out of which libraries and miscellaneous services accounted for only one crore.Libraries need to adopt this technology as it helps retrieve and collect the data quickly and efficiently. Barcodes are self-contained machine-readable identification labels with information encoded in a series of black bars and white spaces of varying widths that represent digits, and other punctuation symbols. These are readable only by a scanner. Barcodes by itself is not a system but an identification tool that provides an accurate and timely support of the data requirement for sophisticated management system.

Objectives of Barcode Technology:

Use of barcoding technology in the library, some of the library functions like book circulation,stock verification and data entry makes the work very easy and accurate.The foremost objectives of barcoding system in a library are as follows:
(1) Accuracy in circulation
(2) Time saver
(3) Easy process for stock verification
(4) Reduces operational cost
(5) Improve operational efficiency
(6) Establish quality standard
(7) It is mature and proven Technology
(8) Easy to use

Barcoding Format & Symbilogics
The symbology is a language used to represent or arrange the bars and spaces. It defines the technical details of a particular type of barcode: the width of the bars, character set, method of encoding, checksum specifications, etc. Since this arrangement can be varied to suit the different applications, there evolved a number of symbologies over the years. There are more than fifty different coding symbologies. We have use  code 39 symbology in our institute of LDRP-ITR. Some of the popular symbologies areas are as follows:

  1. Universal Product Code: It is the common code extensively used in retail trade. Its standardization  in a form that allows many organizations throughout the world to interpret the same data is its prominent advantages. It also uses the space efficiently to record the data. Its limitation is that it can only record certain length of numbers.  
  2.   Interleaved 2 of 5 (I 2 of 5):It is very compact. But it can only record numbers. The code represents the number of even length. It is possible to scan only a part of the barcode and obtain something that looks like a valid result.  
  3. Code 39 (Code 3 of 9):  It is alpha and numeric and can represent even some special characters such as ‘ $ ‘,‘ / ‘, ‘. ‘, ‘: ‘, ‘ + ‘, ‘ – ‘, ‘ % ‘ and can enclose ‘ space ‘. The code can be of any length. It can enclose all the capital letters of the alphabets but lower case letters can’t be enclosed. The code 3 of 9 is always started / ended with an asterisk (*), known as start / stop character. Bars and spaces are used to encode an individual character. 5 bars and 4 spaces, three of which are wide, represent each character and six are narrow.  
  4. European Article Number (EAN): The EAN is only numeric but Code Bar is having facilities to enclose ‘ $ ‘, ‘ / ‘, ‘. ‘, ‘: ‘, ‘+ ‘, ‘– ‘, ‘% ‘in addition to numerals. Code Bar is used by Geac in library circulation system. Code 48, which include alphabetic characters, are used by many American Libraries. There are two-dimensional barcodes also which can store large quantity of data in a small area. The European Article Number is a superset of the UPC and encodes digits. It is available in two variations: EAN 8 to encode 8 digits and EAN 13 to encode 13 digits.
  5. CODE 128: It is a continuous alphanumeric symbology of variable length encoding full 128 ASCII character set. Every symbol starts and stops with a unique start/stop character.
  6. Coda bar: It is a discrete, self-checking numeric symbology including six other characters and four unique start/stop characters. Each character has three bars and four spaces. It encodes only numeric and few special characters and is most widely used coding symbology. Generally libraries use this symbology to encode books and borrowers card.
  7. Code 49: Code 49 is a first two-dimensional barcode symbology. It is a multi-row, continuous and variable length symbology encoding the full ASCII 128 character set. Each row is composed of 18 bars and 17 spaces. Each row contains a row number and the last row contains information regarding the row number in the symbol.

While choosing a symbology for library applications care is to be taken of developments in computer technologies and requirements of the library. Today, computers are alpha numeric, and as a part of basic computer technology, barcode should also be alpha numeric. Code 3 of 9 is alpha numeric and it encodes characters bi – directionally. This means that whether an operator scans a barcode from left to right or right to left, the reader can interpret the symbol and transmit the data in proper sequence. These features of code 3 of 9 have been the dominant consideration in its adoption by libraries and information centers.   

 LDRP Institute of technology and Research is a technical institute and it has a central library. We have implemented a barcodes system in library. following hardware and software are required: 

(1)  Personal computers
(2)  Barcode Scanner
(3)  Printer
(4)  Printing Software
(5)  Communication Software;
(6)  Database of Library Holdings;
(7) Library Software
(8)   Membership Database

Barcoding at LDRP-ITR Central Library
LDRP –ITR is one of the reputed engineering institutes in the Gujarat. About 2500 students are enrolled in this institute .The institute has a computerized central library maintaining itsgigantic database. The library hosts 21000 books and 173 journals in print format hugenumber of e-resource. Users including students and faculties can access this resource physically or through digital library. Students can search books from the library collection through the search OPAC.Previously, the computerized issue-return is processed by keying the access number of books and identification number of borrower,but this mechanism was prone to errors and slowly. It resultedin long queues and errors in circulation. Reviewing the usefulness and need, barcoding application was implemented in the library. Three barcode scanner:  one of Intellicom and two of i-bol mac were purchased. Barcode labelsof “Standard Size” were generated from the customised library software.When ever any new resource is acquired, new barcode labels are generated. Barcode label is attachedon the last page of the book. All the users are issued identity cards contain barcode labels. Books are issued using barcode scanner. The staff has to scan barcode labels on id card and books. Let’s have a look at the following image for more understanding barcode process.

image1 image2

It took some time in convincing the authorities to buy the equipment. Whole library staff have to work had at the initial stage to print barcode labels and paste them on concerned acquired sources and the identity cards. It needed lot of time and energy. It is sometimes tiresome. One has to accurate in pasting the particular label. The labels must be covered by some tape or cover, to protect. They are laminated in the present case. Ready made pre-gum glossy papers were used for printing barcode labels. For safe practise, two barcode labels are printed and pasted on first and last page of the resource. It took more time, but in future will help a lot. It helps in easy operation. It took some time to train the staff but compare to other operations, it was less time consuming.

Once the process is over all are very happy. For any new resource, it is easy to process. The application of barcoding system madecirculation, acquisition and stock verification work smooth, easy and accurate. It has reduced the error in book circulation and saves the time of library staff and users.

Barcode technology is a accurate and less expensive way to identify item/document and retrieve the data from the computer. It makes library work smooth, efficient and reduce human error. Its application increases productivity, and  improves speed of operation and services. The operational cost reduces by eliminating book cards and book pockets. The greatness of expected improvement of the introduction of the barcode technology in a library with the automation is directly proportional to the size of its collection, the number of users, and the number of transactions per day. Thus, application of this technology improved the image of the LDRP ITR library.

Works Cited

  1. Anil Singh.Application of Bar Code Technology in Libraries.Library Herald. V.40, N. 1 (2002), p 43-47.
  2. Bhaskar Raj, A.S The barcode Technology and Its application.Electronics For You, April 1995-96 ,99-105
  3. Pradeep,C& Rama Reddy,E  Application of barcode technology for library operations-experience at IGM Library,University of Hydrabad.University News,36(35),6-9.
  4. Chandok, Seema. Application of Barcode Technology in Libraries.Library Science Slant with Documentation.V.35, N.4 (1998), p.247-50.
  5. Sambasivan, K. Use of Bar Codes in Libraries. International Library Movement.V.19, N.3 (1997), p. 149-56.

Dr. Priyanki R. Vyas, Librarian LDRP ITR Library, Gandhinagar
Mr. Bharat D.Patel, Librarian LDRP ITR Library, Gandhinagar