Blog
Using Contents Notes

September 27 2021

Patrons often ask Miss Honey where to find a specific poem or short story which isn't published as its own title. The patron would need to search a much broader topic first, and then think to search the index or the table of contents for the specific work they were looking for.  We have an easier solution–adding Contents Notes!

Contents Notes allow you to add in additional information about a title's contents, which then simplifies the Smart Search process for your patrons. For example, Contents Notes for an anthology may list the works included within the anthology, so if they search for a specific part of the anthology, the title that contains it will come up in their search. 

So how do you add Contents Notes

  1. Locate the Item record in Items Management using the Find command (< ctrl + f > on a PC or < cmd + f > on a Macintosh).

  2. Unlock the record.

  3. Click on the Notes tab, then click Add at the bottom right to select 505 - Formatted Contents Notes.

  4. Enter the desired information.

  5. Click OK at the bottom-right, then Save in the upper-right corner of the Items Management window.

 If it is a list of songs on a CD or a list of the short stories in a book of short stories, just list the various titles or short stories in the Content Notes field with a <space> - - <space> between them and a period ( . ) at the end, and they will be searchable (see the screenshot for an example of what this looks like). 

Take a look at the Notes tab of the Title Records page for more information. 


September 20, 2021

Miss Honey is ordering books from a specific vendor. She knows the range of barcodes that is assigned for this particular vendor, but how can she tell which barcodes are already in use, and which are unused and available for new copies? Enter: the Unused Barcodes Report. 

The Unused Barcodes Report allows you to generate a list of unused barcode ranges, or unused barcode labels. There are a few different settings that you can adjust within this report to make sure it is populating the information you need. 

In the Miss Honey example above, she would run the report with the Range Information format, to get an available range to use for the vendor order. She could also run the report with the Barcode List format, which will give her a list of all the individual barcodes available within the range. 

If Miss Honey received items that didn't have an import file (from Amazon, donations, etc), she could run this report with the Barcode Labels (3x10) format to generate and print some unused barcodes and simply scan the unused barcodes as new copy records.  

  1. Go to Tools>Reports>Special>Unused Barcodes.
  2. Under the Options tab, specify if you are running the report with the Range Information, Barcode List, or Barcode Labels (3x10) format.
  3. For the Range Information or Barcode list: 
    1. Item or Patron Barcode Range. Enter a start and end value to find all unused barcodes within the search parameters.
    2. Alphanumeric Barcode Leader. If the barcode range being searched has a leader, enter it here. For instance, if all the searchable barcodes begin with BI2C, and the numeric parameters to be searched include 5000 through 500000 then the range is actually BI2C5000 through BI2C500000. Only values which are between 5000 and 500000 but begin with BI2C (e.g. BI2C5000-BI2C500000) that are unused will be returned.
    3. Look for ranges of 'XXXX' or more unused barcodes. Specify how many barcodes are necessary to include on the list. Values can be between 1 and 100,000.
  4. For the Barcode Labels (3x10):
    1. Item or Patron Barcode Range. Searches either Items or Patrons for unused Barcodes within a range.
    2. Alphanumeric Barcode Leader. Allows the librarian to prepend all found barcodes with an alphanumeric character or characters.
    3. Labels to Skip. Skips a certain number of labels from the top before beginning printing. Useful if you're using a sheet of labels in which you've already begun printing. Applies to the first page only.
    4. Limit Report to. This limits the number of barcodes to be found. The maximum number of labels that can be found is 3,000.
    5. Label Copies. Allows you to make multiple copies of the same barcode.

Check out our Complete Reports List for more information on each of our reports.


Be Prepared—Working offline

September 7th, 2021

Disaster struck, and Miss Honey has found her library with no access to Alexandria. It may or may not have been because of some road construction cutting essential wiring... and this story may or may not sound familiar to you. Whether it's cables, hardware, or hurricanes, when the show must go on, Alexandria has Offline Mode

How to use Offline Mode

As long as you have loaded Alexandria Librarian (or Textbook Tracker) in your browser since the last time your cache was cleared, Offline Mode will be available to use. 

  1. If your access was interrupted from Circulation, you'll get a notice that asks if you want to work offline. You can also go to yourlibrary.goalexandria.com/offline

    If your computers are down or you need to be mobile, you can use Offline Mode on your phone!

  2. Choose the mode to Check In, Check Out, or Inventory.
  3. Scan barcodes. Just like usual, you'll need a patron barcode to check items out, but not to check items in. 
    1. Remove any mistaken transaction by clicking on it and pressing the .
  4. When connection is reestablished, you'll log in to the appropriate site, and upload your records. 
  5. Check Operations Management to see when the upload is finished, and to download the summary file . Review the summary file for any exceptions.

This way, you can continue recording important transactions, and keep your library running. 

What if Offline Mode isn't working, or you need to record other types of transactions? You can still get things done by using Transaction Scripts.

Related tip: Mobile inventory—Offline Mode

 It's great that we'll soon be connected...


Mobile Offline is only available in version 7. Still on version 6? Learn about switching to Alexandria 7! 

August 30th, 2021

Miss Honey has an initiative to increase reading and library interaction with each grade level, but especially the 4th-grade class. How can she measure this? With checkouts, Researcher usage, and the right reports!

Patron Monthly Checkouts

You can see some simple and helpful checkout numbers over time, by grade.

  1. Open Reports. 
  2. Look in the Statistics / Usage category and click on the Patron Monthly Checkout Count report.   
  3. Select by the grade or grade range you want to compare. Leave it blank to see all grades.
  4. Under the Options tab, sort by Grade.
  5. Optionally, fill in a date range to concentrate on a particular range of years.
  6. Run the report. 

Miss Honey can compare the numbers month-by-month, over the years, and even with other grades to see how those 4th-graders are doing. Let's hope her efforts pay off with an upward trend!

Do you have a lot of ebooks? Ebook usage can be tracked when patrons click the access URL in Researcher. This is part of our Online Services Integration—call our Sales team at 1.800.347.6439 to learn more!

Researcher Usage

Miss Honey can also gauge patron involvement in the library by measuring their interactions with the different areas of Researcher.  

  1. Open Reports. 
  2. Look in the Statistics / Usage category and click on the Researcher Monthly Usage report.   
  3. Select by a date range if you want to concentrate on a particular range of months. Since this is a new report, the data is limited to interactions after June 2021. 
  4. Run the report. 

Compare the usage over the months and, eventually, the years. If students don't know they can access their own account to renew items and suspend holds, you may hold particular lessons showing them how to use Status. After that, you would expect to see the access to Status go up in the next few months. 

Remind yourself to review these statistics by scheduling the reports. Then you can aggregate the relevant data in a spreadsheet, and even make yourself some graphs!

There's a lot more you can do with your data...


Some of these advanced statistics are only available in Version 7. Still on version 6? Learn about switching to Alexandria 7! 


August 9th, 2021

It's the beginning of the school year, meaning it's time for Miss Honey to take a look at her collection and decide what needs to be ordered, weeded, or enhanced. What percentage of her collection is ebooks? Which records are still using AACR2 rather than RDA? Are any books missing an Accelerated Reader level?

While this may sound like a daunting task, there are a couple services you could use to get a quick analysis!

Mitinet AnalyzeMARC diagnostic example. See full diagnostic.


Mitinet AnalyzeMARC and EnhanceMARC

We have recently partnered with Mitinet to bring you some awesome tools for improving your collection! Since these tools are integrated Alexandria utilities, Mitinet is the easiest way to analyze and enhance your catalog.

  • AnalyzeMARC. Send your MARC data to Mitinet and receive a diagnostics report.
  • EnhanceMARC. Choose how you would like to clean up and enhance your MARC records. Convert to RDA, add reading program information, update subjects, and more! 

Not yet registered for our Mitinet services? Contact our Sales Team for more information!

Titlewave Analysis

If you usually use Titlewave to analyze your collection, you can export data from Alexandria to then import into Titlewave:

  1. Log into Alexandria Librarian and go to Tools > Export.
  2. Select Export Items, Copy Based in the Items category.

  3. Leave the defaults on the Selections tab.

  4. Click the Options tab and set the following:

    • Sort by: Copy Call Number

    • Format: MARC

  5. Click Run.

  6. Click the wrench icon  at the top right-hand corner of the window to open Operations Management.

  7. Once the export is complete, click the TXT icon  to download the file. It will be called Export Items, Copy Based.txt.

  8. Import the file into Titlewave.

If Titlewave won't accept the export file, try changing the extension from .txt to .mrc.


Introducing... FAQs!

July 12th, 2021

Hello there! We're popping in with a mid-summer announcement... the Support Center officially has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page!


Still working on inventory? Or are you getting ready to catalog? Take a look at the applicable sections on the new FAQs page.

The Trending FAQs section highlights the most common questions recently answered by Customer Support. We highly encourage you to check them out every now and then. Someone else may have had the same question you do!

And there you have it. We'll officially be back with more tips in August. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

Let's stay in touch!

May 17th, 2021



Summer is here! It's time to catch up on your reading list and have fun in the sun. But before you go... let's make sure we stay in touch.


Are you signed up for these email lists and groups? If not, consider doing so!

  • Alexandria Makeover. It's coming soon! Sign up to receive special Makeover announcements, sneak peeks, and beta access.
  • Newsletter. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for seasonal posters, book reviews, activity ideas, and more.
  • Releases. Sign up to receive information on new features and other updates.
  • User Research Group. Apply to join a group of Alexandria users who give feedback on future features and projects.


Take a look at our End-of-Year Procedures if you haven't already.

Also, we recommend you bookmark our Beginning-of-Year Procedures so you have them handy when you need to prepare for fall.


Summer is a great time to switch! Learn about switching to Alexandria 7.




And if you need help with your Alexandria over the summer, we've got you covered. Feel free to contact our 24/7 Customer Support anytime. We hope you have a fun and safe summer!

Exports—Move and modify data

May 10th, 2021

Miss Honey needs to enter each student's charges and fines into her school's student information system (SIS). That sounds like... a lot of work. But luckily, there's no need to do it manually! She can export that information.


Exports come in handy when you need to transfer data from Alexandria to another program. And since they come in a text file, exports have an extra perk: unlike reports, you can edit the information! So if Miss Honey only needed lost charges, she could sort through the data and delete what she doesn't need. This can be done in the text file itself, but it's much easier in a spreadsheet.

Run an Export
  1. Go to Tools > Export.
  2. Choose the export you want. Usually patron or circulation exports are the most beneficial. Miss Honey would use Export Patrons Fines.
  3. On the Selections tab, choose the types of records you want included.
  4. On the Options tab, choose how you would like the export sorted, which fields to include, and the header type.
  5. Click Run.
  6. In Operations Management, download the text file.
Edit the Export's Data in a Spreadsheet

Each spreadsheet program is a little different, but there should be an option to import files. Once you've imported the Export's text file, you can edit or arrange things as needed before saving it. 

We've got an exciting new export coming your way in 20.12! With the Researcher Queries export, you can get a record of all searches your patrons have performed in the last 30 days. Throw this information into a spreadsheet to analyze what's trending.


What do you think?—Reviews

May 3rd, 2021

A lot of students have recently told Miss Honey they've submitted a book review. Awesome! But where does she approve those reviews so they show up in Researcher? Enter... Reviews Management.


Reviews are a great way to engage patrons and get them excited about what's in your collection. But you may also need to make sure they are appropriate and protect student privacy. In Reviews Management, you can control what makes it to Researcher.

Here's everything you need to know about reviews in Alexandria!

Preferences

You'll need to adjust some Security Preferences depending on how you want reviews to work in your library:

Operators
  • Security > Tools > Reviews. Determine how individuals are allowed to interact with Reviews Management.
    • We recommend Remove, which allows librarians full management of patron reviews.
Patrons
  • Security > Account > Reviews. Determine if newly submitted reviews require approval or are always automatically approved by default.
    • We recommend Add - Requires Approval.
  • Security > Account > Show Reviewer As. Determine whether reviews will post the patron's whole name, first name and last initial, initials only, or nothing at all.
    • We recommend Full First Name and Last Name Initial. (e.g. Darla A.)
Submit Reviews

Submitting a review through Search or Explore is easy! Teach your patrons how to submit reviews by showing our patron-facing video on reviews. (We also have written instructions on how to submit a review if that works better for you.)

Managing Reviews

Reviews Management is where you'll accept or reject submissions. You can search for and filter reviews in many different ways, making sorting through reviews simple.


Use reviews as a way for students to submit short book reports! Give teachers access to Reviews Management so they can read and/or accept reviews or "book reports."

Additionally, you can post the questions or prompts for those book reports in an Explore pane message or bulletin board.


Removing holds—Easy as 1, 2, 3

March 15th, 2021 

The end of the school year is approaching, and Miss Honey is wondering what she should do about holds since none of them will be fulfilled over the summer. How can she remove holds so patrons don't get any notifications about them over break? Alexandria has a utility that makes this a breeze!

Version 7

Did you know that we consolidated all of our holds utilities into one back in 20.3?

This makes it easier to do everything in one place.

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities > Titles > General > Remove Holds.

  2. Use the Selections tab to specify which titles should be included.
  3. Choose which types of holds to remove under the Options tab. Unless you want to fill one last round of in-stock holds (in which case, use Remove queue holds only), you can probably just remove all holds.
    1. Remove queue holds only. Removes all holds in the queue for selected titles and their copies, which includes suspended holds. View the holds queue for a specific title in its Copy List.

    2. Remove in-stock and on-shelf holds only. Removes all in-stock and on-shelf holds for selected titles and their copies, but does not remove queue holds.
    3. Remove all holds. Removes all holds for selected titles and their copies.
  4. Click Run.

And you're done!

Version 6

Use the Clear Titles Holds and Clear Title Holds, In-Stock Holds, and In-Transit Holds utilities to remove holds.

Bookmark this tip so you remember to remove holds when school ends!


March 8th, 2021

Miss Honey's district is standardizing everyone's call numbers, which means all of her F prefixes need to be changed to FIC. Her first thought? This sounds like a lot of work. Luckily, Alexandria has a few utilities to make this easier.


First, it's important to understand the 

in Alexandria. Unless otherwise specified in individual copy records, all copies will inherit and change with the title's call number.

Version 7

Continuing with Miss Honey's example, she would use the Change Title Call Number and Change Copy Call Number utilities to update everything to her district's new standards.

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities > Titles > General >

  2. Use the Selections tab to specify the records you want to include. Miss Honey would enter F AAA - F ZZZ in the Titles in Call Number Range selection.
  3. Under the Options tab, choose how you want to modify the call numbers. Miss Honey would select Replace prefix and enter F in the Replace field. Then she would enter FIC in the with field.
  4. Choose whether or not you want to change the case or remove slashes under the Options tab.
  5. Run the utility.
  6. Repeat these steps for all call number ranges you need to change.

If you're changing a lot of title call number ranges and want the copies to all match, simply run the 

with no selections once your title call numbers are set. Under the Options tab, select Match Copy to Title Call Number.

Version 6

Using the same example, you'll need to run the utility twice: once to change the prefix and again to change the case. The nice thing here is that you can choose to modify both title and copy call numbers at the same time.

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities > Titles > General >

  2. Choose Replace Prefix as the operation. Miss Honey would enter F in the Replace Prefix field and FIC in the With field.
  3. Use selections to specify a call number range. Miss Honey would select by Item Call Number and enter F AAA in the Starting With field and F ZZZ in the Ending With field.
  4. Run the utility.
  5. After you have modified all of the prefixes that need to be changed, run this utility again to change the case. Change the operation to Change Case and use the dropdown menu to select the case you want. Select by All Titles if you want to change the case for all of your call numbers.

And there you go! Your call numbers are updated in Alexandria.


March 1st, 2021

Historical fiction, coming-of-age, or supernatural... all of these genres fit The Book Thief. While you may have to choose just one for your physical library, you can add as many genres as you want to this book in your digital catalog. In fact, giving your books several genres can help make your catalog more searchable!




Alexandria has several tools to help you make sure your genres are ready to go!

We highly recommend running an archive before making big changes to your data. That way, you have a copy of your data that can be restored if anything goes wrong.

Put genres in the right tag

Researcher uses the 655_a tag to display and search by genre, so it's important to have genres listed there. The 650_v tag is sometimes used for genre but is considered outdated. So if you have some MARC records with the 650_v tag, you'll want to use the

to move genre information to the correct spot.

Add more genres

The first genre listed in the item record is the one that's visible in search results. However, you can still search or filter by any of an item's listed genres to find it.

Utility

Use the

to add additional genre tags to groups of books. You can also add secondary genres for fiction and nonfiction so that patrons can narrow down their searches that way.

Use the Selections tab to choose which titles will have the additional genre added to their MARC record. You could use selections like Titles in Call Number Range (e.g. all F, FIC, JF, etc. would be Fiction and all NF and 300-399 would be Nonfiction), Titles with a Policy of, Titles added, or others, depending on which would be the easiest way to group your books. Then, under the Options tab, type 655_a in the Add Tag_Subfield field. In the Value to Add field, type the genre.

You may need to run it several times to catch all of your books.

Circulation

Alternatively, you can use the 

Circulation command to add genres by scanning books.

Edit genres

You can edit or combine genre terms in 

To combine terms, simply edit one to exactly match the other. They will then merge into one term.


My data!—All about archives

February 22nd, 2021

Miss Honey is about to remove a bunch of old titles from her catalog. But there's one thing she should do beforehand: run an archive.

Go Cloud Hosted and let us take care of your archives and backups!

An archive is a complete copy of your Alexandria database that can be used as a restore point in the event that your data is lost or damaged. It's a quick and automatic way of saving your database before making any large changes, such as performing an import, utility, update, or upgrading your machine.

An archive is not a backup, but it can be used as a backup once you've copied it to a secure, offsite location. This way, if the computer running Alexandria is damaged or otherwise inaccessible, the data you saved offsite will still be available to you. Read Back Up Your Data for more information if you're self-hosted. If you're cloud-hosted, we take care of your backups!

Run an Archive

In v7, Alexandria no longer prompts you to run an archive before imports and utilities. Archives are a full copy of the entire database, so running too many can take up a lot of space on servers. Alexandria will only hold a certain number of archives before removing older ones.

An archive is automatically run every night during daily maintenance. If you are self-hosted, keep your server on at night for this reason.

There are two places you can manually run an archive if you need another:

In v6, Alexandria will still prompt you to create an archive before imports and utilities. To manually run an archive, go to File > Archive Now.

Restore an Archive

Keep in mind that while you can restore your last archive, anything that happened after the last time it ran—checkouts, holds, etc—will be lost. You can restore archives from 

meaning you need to belong to a security group with a high security level, such as District Admin, in order to do this. If you need to restore an archive, we recommend you  for assistance.


February 16th, 2021

It's time to run another patron import. You have the import saved, which makes things easier... but what about the field mapping? Well, Alexandria saves that too!


It's true! When you create a saved import, your field mapping will also be saved. You'll just need to make sure the order of the fields in your file always remains the same.

Create a Saved Patron Import

  1. Go to Tools > Import and select the Patrons category.
  2. Click Create Saved Import. Enter a name for the import and click OK. (You can fill out the settings either before or after you save the import.)
  3. Fill out all the tabs:
    1. Overview. Edit the name, add notes, and decide whether you want to mark the import as a favorite and share it.
    2. Settings. If you didn't fill out the setting prior to saving the report, fill them out now. This lets you define defaults, updates, and how barcodes are handled.
    3. Schedule. Schedule the import to run automatically if you would like. Note that this is only available for FTP/FTPS imports.
    4. Notification. If you would like an email notification whenever the import runs, turn on Enable Email Notification and enter the appropriate email address(es).
    5. File Source. Choose where the import file is coming from (choose a file from your computer or use FTP/FTPS). This is also where you'll do your field mapping.
  4. Click Save in the upper right-hand corner when you're done.

And there you go! You'll be able to find your saved import by going to the Saved tab while the Patrons category is selected. Note that if you're using the Choose File option to select where the import is coming from, you'll need to unlock the import, go to the File Source tab, and select a new import file for future imports. Otherwise, it will just import the same file every time.

Update your patron information automatically with GG4L, Clever, and/or COMPanion's FTP Service.


This tip is specifically for v7 users. Still on version 6? Learn about switching to Alexandria 7! 

The Magic X

February 8th, 2021

Have you ever needed to leave your computer for a moment and wanted a quick way to clear the current patron and item? Well, here's a simple trick to clear those panes so everyone's information remains confidential!

The Magic X (1:33) (info)

Use the X command to clear the current patron and item panes... and more.

Download (17.8 MB) | Script (PDF)

This video shows an older version of Alexandria, but the functionality of the X command is the same.

The X command is a great way to perform multiple time-saving functions within Circulation. Let’s take a look at what the “Magic X” can do for you! 

Clear the Screen
  1. With a current patron and item in Circulation, type X in the Command Line.
  2. Hit Enter/Return on your keyboard.

Tada! In two quick keystrokes, you can clear your patron and item panes! 

View Item Information

Another time to use the X command is whenever you want to just view an item without changing its status. 

  1. In the Command Line, type an X followed by the barcode, like this: x 10101.
  2. Hit Enter/Return on your keyboard.

This will allow you to see the status of the book without initiating any commands.

Patron Details is now interactive in v7! If you want to view an item listed in the current patron's Details, simply click on that item's title. Cancel out of the Patron Details dialog and—voilà—it will be the current item.

View Patron Information

You can also do this with a patron. Say you are changing homerooms, and Darla walks up and asks you for a list of all her checkouts.

  1. Simply type X and Darla's barcode into the Command Line (e.g. x 1000).
  2. Hit Enter/Return on your keyboard.

You can then quickly print her Patron Details without skipping a beat!


The X command is available in both v6 and v7. Still on version 6? Learn about switching to Alexandria 7!