January 24 2022
It is almost inventory season, and Miss Honey wants to unify all the call numbers in the library to the same format. She knows that she can use utilities to modify the call number prefix, but how can she update the entire call number, or other title record information in one go? Enter: exports and imports!
For our example, we will use call numbers, but you can use this same method to update other title record information.
Start with an Export
- Go to Tools > Export and pick your export. We generally recommend copy-based, since you can match on copy barcodes.
- Use the Selections to determine which records you want to modify.
- On the Options tab, change the format to tab-delimited.
- Next click Field Mapping to choose which fields to export. If you are only changing call numbers, use the red X at the bottom of Filed Mapping, and then select the Xs next to Copy Barcode and Copy Call Number to turn them into green checkmarks, and click Set.
- Finally, after the Selections and Options are set how you want, click Run.
Keeping the Alexandria headers means you won't have to do field mapping when you import.
Make your changes
- Next, go to Operations Management and download the .txt file.
- Open the file in a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets and make your changes.
- Save the file again, making sure to save it in tab-delimited format.
4. Before you run the import, go to Preferences > Items > Cataloging and uncheck Preserve Existing Call Numbers.
Time to import!
- Go to Tools > Import > Items.
- Drop or select your saved .txt file.
- In Settings, select Update Copies, and for Title Matching Update, select Copy Barcode.
- Review Options and adjust as needed.
- Click Run.
Additional Tips & Tricks
We recommend checking some of your copy records once the import has finished, to ensure everything imported as expected.
If you want your title call numbers to match your updated copy call numbers, go to Tools > Utilities > Titles > Change Title Call Numbers. Add your selections, or leave them alone if you are running it for all your records. For Options, select Match Title to Copy Call Number. Select Run.
Finally, go back to Preferences > Items > Cataloging and check Preserve Existing Call Numbers, to ensure that future imports won't change the call numbers you have in place.
As always, if you need help with exports, imports, or anything else in Alexandria, you can contact our stellar support team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-347-4942.
January 18 2022
Miss Honey's library got twenty new Google Chromebooks to benefit students and teachers. It’s easy to use Chromebooks in your library with Alexandria. You can use them as stations in your library, or set them up as regular circulating items for your teachers, your patrons, or both. Let's review how you can use Alexandria to properly catalog these, along with other equipment items like projectors.
Setting up policies
One policy or multiple policies—Do different types of equipment have different check-out periods? Would it be useful to have detailed statistics for projectors, TV carts, and Chromebooks individually? If so, you will want multiple policies. On the other hand, if all your equipment checks out for similar periods, and you only want general statistics, you can create just one policy for Equipment.
Teachers or rooms—Sometimes it makes more sense to check out projectors etc. to a room rather than to a teacher. If so, you will want to create a policy for Rooms, then create individual ‘patron’ records for each room.
Exceptions—The best way to handle item policies is to set them as they apply to the majority of your patrons, then create exceptions. So if your students can’t check out equipment, set your equipment policies to have No Loan Period, then create exceptions for the patron types who can check out equipment.*
Hard Due Dates—Rather than checking an item out for 2 weeks, you could set the Transaction Period for a number of months (or 9999 days) and instead set a Hard Due Date when these types of items are due. For example, it may be more useful if you check out your projectors to classrooms for the entire school year, but keep in mind you will need to set these dates every year.
Item Management—Create titles for the types of equipment you are using (e.g. Overheads), and add copies. These copies can include their specific Serial Numbers. Include a copy number as part of the call number to make inventory easier, e.g. OH-1 for the first Overhead, OH-2 for the second. The overheads can then be shelved in call number order, making it easy to see which ones are missing or out.
*Create an exception for teachers to check out equipment:
- In Preferences, go to the Policies area.
- On the Patron Policy side, bring up the Teachers policy.
- On the Item Policy side, bring up the Equipment policy.
- Click the Exceptions tab at the top. It will turn red, indicating you are in Exceptions mode.
- On the Item Policy side, under Check Out, change the No Loan Period drop-down to Transaction Period.
- Fill in the appropriate number of days.
- Save the preference.
- Click on Exceptions again to exit the mode.
Read this article for more info about Policy Exceptions.
Adding items manually
- Open Items Management.
- Add a new item with the plus (+) icon.
- Hit Enter on your keyboard or click Search.
- Change the title to Chromebook (or whatever type of item you are adding).
- Change the policy (e.g. Equipment, Electric Device).
- Add copies.
- If necessary, enter the Serial # for each Chromebook in the Copy Information tab.
- Save the record.
Adding items using an import file
You can add equipment with an import file that has all of the info you need, such as title, medium, barcode, serial number, purchase/replacement cost, etc. Usually this file would come from your technology department.
Instead of creating hundreds of separate titles, you may want a single title for that equipment with multiple copies.
You can easily ensure the copies are added under one title:
- Include title, author, and medium in the file
- For example, Title: Chromebook 2021-22 (indicate the school year); Author: Chromebook (a simplified version of the title, just to help accurate matching—you could also use the manufacturer); and Medium: Equipment. All that matters is that the title, author, and medium in the import file match for all the titles you want copies added to.
- Change the Title Update Matching setting in Imports to Title & Author & Medium.
- Use the Import Setting of Add or Update Titles & Copies.
Tired of students picking the labels off the Chromebooks? We also sell label protectors that can help keep the labels on: Label Protectors Package - 3" X 1 1/4" (1000 qty)
Reach out to our Sales team for more info on label protectors:
1-800-347-6439 (U.S. & Canada)
January 10 2022
Did you get new books for the new year? Adding records to Alexandria is probably something you're pretty familiar with. But do you know all the great resources we have in our support center to help make importing a breeze?
First, let's review best practices for running imports.
We recommend that you schedule imports when Alexandria is not busy, because large imports can slow down your system. This also makes it easier to track down any problems later on, as it isolates activity during that time.
- Files should be smaller than 50 MB.
The format of the file may be MARC, MicroLIF, or tab-delimited. In the case of tab-delimited, we recommend using Item Field Mapping. Otherwise, you'll need to manually adjust it by clicking Field Mapping for each import.
Create Saved Imports to save the settings you use most often, including Field Mapping (v7 only).
More important resources...
- Importing MARC Records from a Vendor
- Refresher—Adding records
- Import eBooks
- Quick Items Import
- Move Copy to This Title
As always, you can contact our stellar support team for assistance at email@example.com, with any additional questions you may have.
January 3 2022
The new year is the perfect time to set goals and look ahead to the future, but it's also a great time to reflect on the previous year–that's why we've decided to share our top 5 most popular tips from last year!
We love hearing from you–thank you for taking the time to read and rate our tips. Here's to a great new year with Alexandria!
December 13 2021
We know it is almost time to close up for winter break, but can we get your feedback before you go? Take the quick survey (1 minute) below to give us input on what you want to see for tips in 2022.
As always, we appreciate your time and feedback.
Even during winter break our 24/7 Customer Support is here to answer your questions about Alexandria. There are several ways you can reach them:
We hope you and your patrons have very happy holidays!
December 6 2021
Ho ho hold on–winter break is coming too fast! Don't worry, we have compiled some great tips to help you get your library in order before the holidays.
- Winter (break) is coming! Are your period due dates set? Period due dates are fixed due dates that require items to be returned to the library, regardless of the loan period or any other circumstances. Make sure yours is set!
- Fee, Fine, Foe, Um?—All About Charges Set up fines for overdue items. Alternatively, offer waived or reduced fines for books returned before the New Year. You can forgive charges through Circulation > Charges tab > Make Payment or the Forgive Charges utility.
- You're Suspended If you can't charge fines, you can still encourage patrons to return materials on time by suspending borrowing privileges.
- Get your items back before break! and What's due soon?—Relative dates Remind patrons of items due soon with the Coming Due Items Notice report.
- Get your books back!—Scheduling overdue notices Use one of the many overdue notices to alert patrons when they have books overdue.
- Lost books? Remind your patrons about them! The Unpaid Charges Notice report reminds patrons when they have unpaid lost item charges.
What else is on your winter break to do list? Tell us in the comments!
November 29 2021
"Miss Honey, I got an email that I have some overdue books, but I can't find them! I don't even remember what they look like..."
Does this sound familiar? Well, Miss Honey decided to update her Overdue Items Notice report to include cover art, and you should too! Including the cover art with your Overdue Items Notices can help students and parents/guardians find the items easier, which means getting items returned and back on the shelves sooner.
The Overdue Items Notice report generates notices for overdue items for groups of patrons. The cover art is available for print, mail, and email notices, depending on which format you want to use.
To create a saved Overdue Items Notice report to automatically format emails:
- Select the Overdue Items Notice report.
- Choose your desired Selections.
- Under the Options tab, select the format as Email. You can select Primary Email Only, if you just want the emails to go to the patron, or you can select Primary & Other emails, to send notifications to parents/guardians as well.
- Don't forget to check Include Cover Art!
- Click Create Saved Report.
If you already had the Overdue Items Report saved before the cover art option was available, you will need to delete your existing saved report and recreate it now with Include Cover Art selected.
November 22 2021
Miss Honey's library is always busy, and sometimes keeping up with everything seems impossible. Luckily, Miss Honey has set up automatic email notices for holds, reservations, overdue items, and charges. So while Alexandria is taking care of sending notices out, she can focus on the immediate needs of her patrons.
Are you ready to switch to automatic emails?
First, you will need to make sure your system's Email Preferences are set up correctly–you might need help from your IT team.
Next, you need to Enable Automatic Email Notifications. Go to Preferences > Circulation > Circulation Settings, then select the Enable Automatic Email Notifications checkbox.
You will also want to make sure your patrons have valid email addresses in their patron records. The easiest way to add patron emails is to sync from your SIS (e.g. GG4L). To add patron emails manually, go to Patrons > Contact to enter primary and secondary emails. Want to see which patrons don't have emails yet? Run the Patrons Missing Information report.
Patrons can also add or update their email addresses through Researcher, depending on the patron security group status.
Some of the automatic notices can even be edited specifically for your library by going to Preferences > Circulation > Letters.
When using the Email format for some notices, you can choose whether to send the notice to only the Primary Email or all emails on selected patron records. This allows you to notify both patrons and parents/guardians if necessary.
Keep in mind that Automatic Email Notifications are system-wide, so you will need approval from an admin. As an alternative, consider our report email notifications. You can read more about the automatic and report Email Notices available in Alexandria.
Don't wait–jump on the automatic email train today!
November 15 2021
Miss Honey was about to print spine labels for some new books when her fellow librarian stopped her. "Wait! Why don't you use the Copy Labels Variable instead? You can customize them much more than the traditional copy label reports!" Miss Honey liked the new controls so much she printed new spine labels for all her large print books with–you guessed it!–a larger font. Have you tried the Copy Labels Variable reports?
The three new Copy Labels Variable reports allow you to customize how many rows the label has as well as font size (the fewer the rows, the bigger the supported font size). And you still have all the old controls for choosing the information displayed, justification, color, and boldness.
See Copies Labels Reports for more information about printing your Copy Labels Variable reports, including the different options and the recommended font size.
When you're finished customizing your labels, click Create Saved Report so it's ready when you need to print more labels. Remember to give it a descriptive title so you know exactly what the labels are formatted for.
November 8 2021
Ms. Honey has been wishing for a while that she had more options for customizing labels. She was discussing it with another librarian when she found out those options are already available in a new report! Turns out she was making her labels using a "legacy report"; legacy reports are old reports that will be removed from Alexandria in the future.
Ms. Honey made the simple move from the familiar legacy reports to our new and improved reports, which have the options she needs. If you are still using legacy reports, it's time to let go and explore the new reports we recommend instead!
So, how do you figure out if your saved reports are legacy reports that have been replaced with something better? Go to Reports>Legacy, and then click on the Saved tab.
Use Legacy Reports to find which reports we recommend to replace those old saved reports.
If you don't know what the report was originally called, run the report, download the summary file , and look at the line labeled Report.
Now that you know which of your saved reports are legacy, it's time to replace them with new saved reports!
To create a new saved report:
- Go to Tools>Reports.
- With the Quick tab selected (default), use the Categories pane and report filters to locate and select the template you want to use.
- At the bottom of the Selections tab, click Create Saved Report.
- Enter a name for the new saved report (optional), then click OK.
- Modify the settings in each tab, then click Save.
To remove a legacy saved report:
- Click on the Saved tab under Legacy.
- Unlock the padlock, and select which report you want to remove.
- Use the actions menu to select Remove, and then confirm.
See Saved Reports for more information.
November 1, 2021
We have lots of useful reports here at Alexandria, and we are always working on ways to improve them. We've done some reorganizing! Here's the 411:
We added some new categories, and changed some of the existing categories to improve the organization and usability of our reports. Take a look at the 20.12 Release Notes, 21.1 Release Notes, 21.2 Release Notes, and 21.3 Release Notes for details, and the Complete Reports List for more information about each report.
Tell us how Alexandria is working for you! How are we doing with the new improvements and features we added? Take the survey.
October 25, 2021
Miss Honey knows that after Halloween, winter break comes faster than an avalanche–and with it, the need for patrons to return everything before heading out for the holidays. Taking a few minutes to set her period due dates early will make life easier for Miss Honey and the rest of her library staff.
Period due dates are fixed due dates that require items to be returned to the library, regardless of the loan period or any other circumstances. You can set as many period due dates as you need for your library in just two easy steps.
- First, go to Preferences>Calendars, and click twice on the calendar day that you want to set as the period due date.
- Second, go to Preferences>Policies, and go through your patron policies to ensure that the "Apply Period Due Dates" box is selected for any policy you want it applied to.
When the period due dates are applied to your patron policies, the due dates for items will automatically be adjusted during checkout. This allows items to circulate for their normal circulation period, until it would extend past the specified period due date in the calendar. When the period due date is in place, the circulation period would be shortened to set the due date as the period due date. For example, if Rachel checks out The Penderwicks on December 3rd, and the checkout period is set to three weeks, the due date would be set to the period due date, December 17th, rather than the 24th.
If you apply the period due dates after you already have items checked out that exceed the period due date, you can run the Recompute Due Dates utility to apply the policy/calendar change. This utility will NOT apply to item policies that have a set Hard Due Date.
Read more prepping for winter break to stay ahead of the game!
October 18 2021
One of the library assistants asks Miss Honey to help her find the available titles by Roald Dahl for a display she is making. Then, she asks for all the titles by Shel Silverstein... and then Roald Dahl again, because she can't remember the results from the first search. Is there a way Miss Honey can keep multiple search results in Item Management, even from different authors? Absolutely.
Combining search results is easy, and not just for item searches––you can combine search results for patrons as well. Want to search for students in two different homerooms? Just combine your search results!
First, go to Items Management or Patrons Management and perform your initial search. Then, click on the magnifying glass in the bottom of the results pane, and enter your second search. But wait! Before you click Search, make sure to check the little box at the bottom that says "Add to current results." If you don't check this box, your first search result will be replaced with the new search.
When the box is checked, and you click Search, you will see your first search in the results pane on the left, combined with your second search. Guess what? You can conduct even more searches without losing your existing results, so long as the "Add to current results" box is checked. That's one way you can search smarter, not harder!
October 11, 2021
Darla lost the copy of Goose Girl she checked out months ago. This isn't the first item she has lost, either! The problem is, Miss Honey's library staff handles lost items in different ways. What is the correct way to ensure that Darla is charged the appropriate fee, and the lost item is correctly marked in Alexandria?
Don't worry–the process of marking items Lost or Discarded is simple.
Marking Items Lost:
While the item is still checked out to the patron.
In Circulation, pull up the patron who lost the item.
On the bottom half of the screen, click the Items Out tab, or use its command line shortcut QE.
Select the copy in question, then click Declare Lost.
Are you sure you want to declare this item lost? If this is the correct copy, click Yes.
Next, Alexandria will calculate fines and fees. You can either make a payment, forgive charges, or leave blank and Process to issue the replacement cost fine.
More information: Lost and Returned Items
Discarding Damaged Items:
While the item is still checked out to the patron.
In Circulation, enter Discard Mode either using the mode dropdown, or use its command line shortcut DM.
Select Damaged as the discard reason and click OK.
Now, scan (or type) the barcode numbers of the copies being discarded for the same reason. If you are typing barcodes, remember to press <enter> after each barcode (this is not necessary when scanning).
Next, Alexandria will calculate fines and fees. You can either make a payment, forgive charges, or leave blank and Process to issue the replacement cost fine.
When finished, use the X command to go back to Check Out (.) mode.
More information: Circulation Commands
If the charge was not paid in full at the time of marking the item as Lost or Discarded, follow these steps:
In Circulation, pull up the patron who is making a payment.
Go to the Charges tab.
Select the charge and click Make Payment.
Fill out the payment information and Process.
Share this with your staff, and make sure they are signed up to get the Tip of the Week!
October 4th, 2021
Miss Honey wants to highlight new inventory in the library collection for her patrons. She can easily do this using Search Strings!
Have you ever wondered how you can use Search Strings?
Search Strings are great to link to Explore buttons or Slideshows, which you can use to highlight items in your collection.
If Miss Honey wanted to create an Explore button for new inventory in the library, she could use the Search String: ((accession::# %today -90)&&(hidetitle::0)), which would populate search results for any new items in the last 90 days (you can adjust the number to how ever many days you want). See some examples and read more about configuring Search Strings yourself!
For most Search Strings, it is easier to build one out using the advanced Smart Search in Researcher.
- Navigate to Researcher>Search>Advanced Search (click on the icon on the left side of the search bar).
- Then, build out your search settings based on which collection or items you are wanting to highlight, and click Search.
- Select the share icon on the far left above the search results, then copy and paste the Search String.