Does your colleague in NZ have a PC, or does she need off-line
solutions? If the former, when you say "doesn't involve purchasing any
expensive software", what constitutes "expensive"?
If a PC is available, and a couple of hundred pounds is not too
expensive, a package such as Procite would do the trick perfectly (other
bibliographic packages are available, but personally I would not touch
them). I use Procite myself for managing my own personal non-fiction
collection (ca. 2,000 titles) as well as for general bibliographical
work, and it works very well. One could easily hijack an un-used field
to keep track of loans; if desired, one could even hijack one of the
fields that has a list index attached, so that the user could review at
any time who has books out.
If a PC is available, but Procite is too expensive, it is not impossible
to create a database with standard Wndows options. I created a database
in old MS 'Works' for my fiction collection (long before MS Access was
available); the problems in this (see below) were what made me go for
Procite for non-fiction, but the database still works; you could easily
create a new field to record loans. MS Access could do the same thing
today. The biggest problem with this route involved author headings: you
want multiple author entries to appear in a single author index, but
databases like this regard 'author1', 'author2' and 'author3' etc. as
being for separate indexes. I believe that it is possible to create a
relational-database set-up in Access to get round this, but that is
If a PC is available but these options seem too complicated, and a
really basic solution is desired, one could try a MS Word table or Excel
If no PC is available we're into card catalogues here....
Mr A.V. Exelby,
University of East Anglia,
Norwich, NR4 7TJ
Tel.: 01603 592432
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
"Man, who'd have thought being a librarian could be so tough"
Seamus Harper, in 'Harper 2.0', "Andromeda".
>From: A general Library and Information Science list for news
>and discussion. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 10:11 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Help for someone volunteering to organise a small library
>It's been a long time since I worked in a traditional library
>now manage the development of repository software).
>So when a friend from New Zealand emailed me for help I wasn't really
>sure what to tell her. She's not a librarian (although she has worked
>in libraries before) and she's clever enough to have tried
>over the place, but hasn't had much joy.
>Here's her problem:
>She works for a small refugee support agency. They have a small but
>steadily growing collection of books. She needs advice on how
>both cataloguing of the books and keeping track of borrowing, using a
>solution doesn't involve purchasing any expensive software. She's
>volunteered to do this over and above her post there, so something not
>too time-consuming would be good as well. I have done this kind of
>thing myself in the distant past, but always using systems that some
>previous volunteer had set up, and in the days before ubiquitous
>Internet and PCs and things.
>Does anyone know of any resources she could look at or have
>She could probably stretch to buying a book or something with
>Many thanks (I've been asking a lot of this list of late and have had
>marvellous responses - please if anyone has any questions about
>repositories or metadata for e-learning send away!)
>Product Manager, Intrallect Ltd.
>2nd Floor, Regent House
>Tel: +44 870 234 3933 Mob: +44 (0)7980855801
>E-mail: [log in to unmask]