I love using apps to save myself time, creating book lists of materials that I want to buy for our library is definitely when apps can save you huge amounts of time. I started doing this last summer when I realized how many amazing books that I see and know would be excellent for our library. In order to not lose track I downloaded a bar code scanning app.
Any will work, but after trying a few I preferred this free one:
QR Droid for my android smartphone.
I use this to scan QR codes, and bar codes while in stores, libraries, friend's houses or anywhere that has resources that I want to buy. This gives me a lot more time through out the year to look through books, and it keeps everything in one place.
Why is this so helpful?
1) Ensure that the book's content is appropriate because you can flip through the book in entirety in a store - online previews often are only a small section and it takes so long to load every single book that this isn't realistically possible for building large collections with a small number of staff (or when it's just you!).
Graphic Novels & Manga especially!!! These frequently have very sexual, drug/alcohol related or otherwise inappropriate content that your library might not be allowed to have. I find it's so important to take a scan through these kinds of books before buying, especially because they are often in series.
2) You don't have to write anything down! No more writing down the book title, only to find that later it was the wrong ISBN and you've purchased the book with a different cover that you didn't want
3) You won't lose the list - I used to write down book names, ISBN's on scrap papers, notebooks, memos on memo apps, email them to myself, etc. They were all over the place and I frequently would lose track of where they all were
4) Import the list into excel easily
Quick Tutorial (How I use this app)
1) Download QR Droid your smartphone & then you're ready to start!
2) Open up the app & click Scan
3) Scan away!
4) The screen below will pop up, the app has all kinds of other features that will link you to where you can purchase the book, etc. But I use none of these. Just hit the back button on your phone itself twice to get back to scanning.
5) The downside to this app is that it will only save 250 QR codes/barcodes at one time. This is really annoying, but it's not a big deal to quickly send off your list to yourself periodically to make sure you don't lose any books!
To see your list go back to the main screen and click History
6) History looks like this...
7) Click the circle in the top right corner (circled in purple).
Now, how do you get this list off your phone? Click the circled icon (see below).
8) This opens up your phone's sharing screen where you can email or message it to yourself or others easily. Pick whatever method you want and it will send a .csv file which can be read by software such as Microsoft Excel.
9) What do I do in Excel?
Here's what the file will look like:
All barcodes are organized by date, which makes it easy to keep track of :)
You really only need the FULL_CONTENT column. You can reformat the spreadsheet so that the ISBN show up correctly by:
Click on the Letter "B" to highlight the entire column
Go into the Number menu (may be in different places on different versions of Excel, but it has the same name).
Change the number of decimal places to 0
10) If the column has confusing #### don't panic. Just make the column a little wider and the ISBNs will show up in perfect format :)
11) You can delete all the columns to leave just full content. Now, you're done :) You can send this to suppliers, or whoever you buy books from to purchase these. Our suppliers always email us back with the book title added to the Excel spreadsheet so I never worry about adding that.
When do I most often use this?
The school year is crazy busy, so I often make a lot of my book selections on my own time on weekends, over the summer holiday, over Christmas time, etc. This lets me enjoy going to places with books and I can create my list of books that I want to purchase at the same time.
I also use this when purchasing books from local book stores for our library. In Shanghai, it can be difficult to purchase books without first getting a chance to preview them. This is especially true of Chinese books, where it's not always possible to do an online preview of the content. Because of this we will once or twice a year make a trip out to a local bookstore and create a huge list of ISBNs, from here we can take the list back to the school with us, check for duplicates, get approval for the order and then email the bookstore the final list in an Excel spreadsheet. Either the school picks it up when our shuttle bus is free or the store will drop them off for free if the order is large enough (it usually is!).
Either way, it's been a huge time saver!