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Tech for Small Library Automation?

Kozz (7764) writes | more than 2 years ago

1

Kozz (7764) writes "I've recently been tapped as "the tech guy" at my church where a group familiar with library automation wants to get digital with the relatively small catalog. Right now all the materials are simply on shelves, and people take an item down, fill out the paper card and drop it into a box, and we hope that people correctly calculate their own due dates and return the materials. We had a card catalog, but it went largely unused. We're looking for a complete solution for both administration and self-checkout; label printing, checkout receipts, and so on. Have any Slashdot readers found yourself in this position, and do you have recommendations based on your experiences?"

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1 comment

QR codes... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592488)

The only real hardware you need is an old PC, a webcam, and a printer.

Give each "library" patron a "Library card". It only need have a name and a unique QR code on it (the reason for the printer).

Set up the application this way: User wants to check out a book. Hits a button (or clicks something) to start the program. Program prompts the user to hold their card up to the camera and hit a key (or click again... the exact interface is up to you) to scan the QR on their ID. Then scan the QR code on the back of the book -- or inside front cover, whatever -- the same way.

Click the "scan" button again to check out another book.

Voila! They have just checked out a book or books.

There are many variations on this scheme. You can have them hit a "Done" button when they are done checking out books, but I recommend that you have it timeout after a certain time anyway, in case they forget to click Done. You can also have the webcam take a picture of their face when they start the app... you don't have to tell them it's doing that. Or you can have them input name and address instead of scanning an ID card, or make that an option. Etc.

Pretty simple, but you would need a custom app, and QR-code printing and scanning software.

Of course you could use bar codes too, but you can stuff more information into QR codes.
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