General

Koha with no barcodes

Traditionally, Koha 3 depends on the items (we call them existencias in spanish) having a barcode in order to uniquely identify each item. Circulation, for example, requires the librarian to scan the barcode of an item in order to circulate it.At times, this proves inconvenient since lots of biblios (titles, or títulos in spanish) have the same barcode printed on each item (usually the ISBN number) forcing the library to print new unique barcodes (Koha has a nice barcode generator) for each one of the items in existence.However, it’s usually not feasible to relabel all items with new barcodes, especially if you have millions of items nationwide. So, I thought of an easy patch to Koha that allows to circulate items based on the item number, and not the barcode.First of all, you should set the barcode number for each item equal to the item number for those items where you don’t have any barcode recorded. These is best accomplished after loading MARC records on the database using the MySQL console:

UPDATE items SET barcode = itemnumber; -- optionally using something like WHERE barcode = ''

On my case, for over 1.1 million items, it took some 3 minutes 6 seconds to complete. There’s a drawback, however, because you need to run this periodically as you add more items, but it’s not something your DBA can’t automate. At this point you can circulate items using items number, and you can print barcodes with that number, but it’s still not easy for the librarian to either remember the item number or look it up before circulating.You can apply an easy patch on line 44 of the modules/catalogue/moredetail.tmpl file of the Intranet, providing a new link on the Items tab of a biblio to start the borrowing workflow for a specific item:

<!-- TMPL_UNLESS NAME="issue" -->[Circulate item ]<!-- /TMPL_UNLESS -->

Of course, circ/circulation.pl on the Intranet also needs a small patch to store the barcode number on the session and then reusing it when the borrower is selected, near line 111:

my $barcode;if ( $session->param('barcode') ) {  $barcode = $session->param('barcode');  $session->clear('barcode');} elsif ( $query->param('barcode') ) {  $barcode = $query->param('barcode') || '';  $session->param('barcode', $barcode);}$barcode =~  s/^s*|s*$//g; # remove leading/trailing whitespace...

Restart your Web server and that’s it. You can now search for a biblio, go to the Items tab, select an item to be circulated, select a borrower, and the item is circulated. For retus, search for the user and go to the end of the page, you can see all items on circulation, fines and retu options. The workflow changes a little bit, but it’s the easiest way I’ve devised to operate a Koha ILS when barcodes are absent or outside your control.

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