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Last Updated: Sep 28, 2021 15:17

Inventory is a survey of the items and materials you have in stock, so you know what you have, what's missing, and what needs to be replaced, reordered, or discarded. It can help you organize your materials and update all of the catalog listings in your database to match the physical items in your library. You can even generate reports for statistics, missing items, and more. In short, inventory is a critical part of library management.

We've made performing inventory quick, easy, and extremely efficient. Learn more in these articles:

Frequently Asked Questions

 Can I use an iPad to do inventory?

Absolutely. You can use an iPad or Chromebook to perform Inventory. If you are using an iPad, you will also need a compatible wireless scanner. Ask our Sales team what they recommend.

 If I start inventory now, can I still check out items?

YES! You can inventory while you are circulating, and circulate while you are in the inventory process. Just be sure to keep track of your Inventory Start Date.

 Which inventory mode should I use?

Well, we recommend using Inventory Management, which keeps track of inventory sessions and can save you time when performing inventory. But if you are doing inventory in Circulation, use Inventory Bookdrop (IB) with a wired scanner, or Inventory Bookdrop Suppressed (IBS) with a wireless scanner. If, for example, you're inventorying classroom sets checked out to teachers, you would choose Inventory (I) or Inventory Suppressed (IS) mode so those items are not bookdropped. In the Inventory Module, this means checking or unchecking the options for Audible alerts, and “Bookdrop items scanned during inventory”.

For more information, read about our Circulation Inventory Commands.

 How do I see which items have been inventoried?

Run a report. In the Review step of the inventory process, run the Inventory Items Report. And in the Reports module, run the Copies Inventoried or Copies Not Inventoried reports.

 Is there anything I should know before running the Declare Missing Items as Lost utility?

Don’t forget about items that aren’t on your shelves! Items in classrooms, book rooms, or on display can be easy to overlook. Inventory these items before you declare a missing item as lost. If you're using Sessions in the Inventory module, this may mean waiting until you have finished all of your inventory, and using utilities to declare items lost.

Also, if you are running your session by a call number range, we recommend using call numbers that are the same length with only whole numbers (no decimals). Using irregular call number lengths can lead to inaccurate estimates.

 How do I access the Inventory Management or helper Screen?

Choose Tools on the far left, then choose the Inventory icon in the top middle.

 Should I create all of my inventory sessions on the same date?

This isn't necessary. It may help you to keep things organized, but Alexandria is flexible enough to allow you to create any number of sessions that are staggered over whatever time period needed. Some people use this feature to slowly inventory throughout the school year.

 Do I need to create all of my sessions before I start inventorying?

Not at all. Feel free to create sessions as you need them, if that’s easier.

 Is it beneficial to break down inventory into small or specific sessions?

This is only as necessary as it would be helpful for you to keep track of what parts of your collection you have inventoried and the process to do it. Some librarians find it easier to use one session to inventory the Entire Collection at once. While others use smaller sessions as they are unable to do it all at once or worry they will have trouble remembering what they have already inventoried.

 If I don't finish my inventory on the same day I start, when I go back to complete it, do I need to alter the Start Date for the session I created?

No, you do not, and most likely wouldn't want to. When you scan an item to be inventoried, an Inventory Date is attached to that item. The date attached to those items is the actual day you scanned them. If you alter the Start Date for your inventory session, than your inventory session would not include the items you had scanned on previous days. Your inventory sessions can last as long as you need them to. Don’t worry if it goes past a day, a week, or even a month.

 Is there a difference between the inventory modes (I, IS, IB, IBS) in the Circulation screen or the Inventory Management interface?

No, they act the same on both interfaces.

 When an inventory session under the Inventory Management interface is completed and the option to Declare Missing Items as Lost is checked, what items are moved to Lost?

Only the items specified by your session’s Call Number Range that were not scanned. Be very wary of this feature if you chose the session option to inventory the Entire Collection instead of a Call Number range.

 I’m not using the Inventory Management interface. How do I manually remove or permanently delete the not inventoried items which have been moved to Lost Status?
  1. Choose Tools from the icons on the left.
  2. Select Utilities at the top left of the Tools section.
  3. Under Utilities, choose the Copies option.
  4. Under Copies, select the last option on the right, Remove Lost Copies.
  5. You have a few options to remove your Lost Copies.
    1. If you want to remove all of them, click Run at the bottom right.
    2. If you want to remove Lost Copies from a specific time period, make sure to alter the Copies Lost option under the Selections tab.
    3. If you would only like to remove copies that were moved into lost during inventory, and not from patrons, you will need to specify this under the Options tab.

(tick) Tip: Weeded or discarded items can be removed using a similar Utility called Remove Discarded Copies

 How do I run a Super Summary Report to help me see my numbers after inventory?

  1. Choose Tools from the icons on the left.
  2. Select Reports at the top left of the Tools section.
  3. In the Reports window, go to the Collection Analysis option on the far left.
  4. Under Collection Analysis, select Super Summary from the list on the right.
  5. Choose the Options tab under the Super Summary report.
  6. Under Options, change the Format to Regular - Ignore Super Summary Call Numbers and specify your Inventory Start Date.
  7. Lastly, click Run!

(warning) Note: The Super Summary report specified above shows the state of your collection as it currently is. It does not reflect data from previous years.

 I just finished with inventory and all of my items are showing as lost! What do I do?

Oops! To prevent this in the future, remember to always use the correct start date and double check which items will be set to lost before completing inventory.

If you caught this quickly, you can restore from a previous archive (usually one from the night before). Please contact Customer Support so they can guide you through this process.

If your library had a lot of circulation or you made significant changes to Alexandria before catching this, you may need to plan a full inventory. You could use the Inventory Bookdrop Suppressed mode in Circulation to quickly scan items back in. This allows you to run your library as usual until you have time to do inventory again.

Run a Copies Not Inventoried report before setting anything as lost. That will give you a list of what will be set to lost, and you can correct any mistakes before making a big change.

Also be sure to run the Lost Copies report and Discarded Copies report before permanently removing lost or discarded copies. 

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