The first step in cataloging a book or other type of item for your library is what's called "descriptive cataloging". What's the title of this item? the author(s)?, publisher?, date of publication? Most books have a title page just inside the front cover which provides most of this information. (Incidentally, the cover of a book sometimes doesn't present the title or author(s) accurately. Get in the habit of looking only to the title page for this information. On the reverse side of the title page is usually found the copyright date (use the latest one) and usually has what is called "Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data" which is a "cheat sheet" for you to use in the later stages of cataloging.
Cataloging "on the fly"
What is "Cataloging On the Fly" and how is it done?
You can begin using your library before the books are even cataloged (this is a boon to libraries with limited staff) by what we call "cataloging on the fly". If a student sees an uncataloged book he/she wants to check out it can be cataloged within a couple minutes - as an extension to the checkout itself - as follows:
In the Check-Out Panel, scan in the students barcode. This brings up information for that student. Peel off a barcode label from the sheets we
provide and affix it to the book. Scan in the book's barcode. PAL sees that the number is new and automatically brings up a screen for creating a new catalog record. Enter as much or as little information as you wish (depending on how rushed you are). Press the F7 key and the item is cataloged and also automatically checked out to that student.
Typing instead of scanning barcodes
Do I have to scan the barcode or may I type "B" and the numbers?
You can type the numbers instead. Entering data by using the barcode reader is just like entering the data by hand except that it is many times faster and more accurate. Incidentally, you can use PAL without using barcode numbers (or the barcode reader) at all. PAL will generate a "barcode"
number of its own if you enter nothing when
cataloging. Then, instead of scanning a barcode number when checking out an item, just do
an Up Arrow lookup for the title being checked out and press [Enter] key when you find it.
Deleting a catalog record
How do I delete an entire catalog record?
Enter the panel from the Administrator's Menu
(choice "11" from the Main Menu - password is "0"), choose "6" for "All Panels", then "1" - "Catalog". In any panel from the "All Panels" menu you will be able to delete records. Once in the Catalog Panel simply do an Up Arrow lookup and press the DEL key to delete the record you want. We deliberately made it difficult to delete catalog records because this was being done inadvertantly by some volunteer catalogers at school libraries. However, in PAL, v.3.4 (coming soon), you will be able to delete from the Catalog Panel when you enter that panel from the "Cataloger's Menu".
Printing spine labels
Does PAL print spine labels for the books I catalog?
Spine labels are the labels on the spine of a book (or other media) which state the item's call number so you know where to put that item on the shelf.
A dot matrix printer is recommended for spine labels because when cataloging a library item in PAL you just hit the Alt-F7 keys to print out the label for that particular item. On a tractor-feed dot matrix printer these will pop up on- by-one, making the process very quick. If all the labels were on a sheet of 30 it would take longer to find which label goes with which book. Also, if you want to print out just one spine label as a replacement you can do this easily and economically using the dot matrix printer scheme.
Added copies of a cataloged item
Is there a shortcut for cataloging a second copy of a book that's already been cataloged?
Yes. F4 retrieves data from the background record. The most recently displayed record in a panel is the "background record". You can retrieve data from a background record into the record currently being created by pressing Select [F4].
Deleting a Catalog Item
How can I delete a book from the catalog?
There are different ways to do this in different versions of PAL. In the older version of 3.3 you could delete records from the Catalog Panel (Up Arrow lookup and then press DEL key). However, we found that schools using volunteers to do cataloging didn't want records to be deleted inadvertently. So we made it necessary to go to the Administrators' Menu to delete a record. In the latest versions of PAL go to Administrators' Menu ("11" from Main Menu - password is "0") and then the Deletes Menu ("7") and "Delete Catalog Item" ("1"). If you don't have this menu on your version you can go to "6" (All Panels on Admin Menu), then "1" (Catalog) and delete from the Panel by doing Up Arrow lookup, then press DEL key for the record you want to delete. This method is not recommended because if the item deleted is checked out it could cause some problems with circulation records.
Can PAL import MARC data?
When cataloging could I import data from the Library of Congress website (USMARC data)
> When cataloging would I be able to import
> data from the Library of Congress website?
Not directly. PAL does not import based on MARC (USMARC)format.
Libraries which pay vendors an extra fee per book ($.65 - 1.20)to provide barcodes, spine labels, and MARC records need an automation system which imports the MARC data which they receive from the vendor.
However, PAL is intended for the small school library on a limited budget. (A high percentage of their books are donations to the library.) We provide a much more inexpensive solution. We provide inexpensive barcode
labels. PAL produces the spine labels as each book is cataloged. PAL has a built in database of bibliographic information which can be used as a
"picklist" for cataloging. You can do a superfast lookup by title and just press the ENTER key when you see the title of the item you are cataloging. Bibliographic data automatically goes into the appropriate fields of the new record you are creating except the barcode field which you scan in (to associate the barcode number with that item). Then
just press the ALT-F7 key combination and the spine label for that item is printed out.
PAL's features have been molded by years of responding to practical needs of the small school library. For example,with PAL you can also catalog items "on the fly".
We created our Library Avenue website http://www.libraryavenue.com as a consortium of PAL users for sharing files for adding data to PAL's