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:tangerine: Design Bite: :cd: :books: :cd: Scanning physical items

5 Sep '16

Every weekday I post a small Design Bite, covering a feature, question or topic for the Folio UX/UI. I encourage you to give constructive feedback on what I present, so we can adapt the system if necessary, to make sure it will work for you in practice :slight_smile:

##:tangerine::fork_and_knife::tangerine: Today’s menu: Scanning Physical Items

The current thought of scanning physical items in Folio is that anything relating to physical scanning will be displayed through a “Scan” app in the UI. This app can be opened manually in the UI or with a keyboard shortcut to begin with, and in the long run, potentially open itself whenever something is scanned, in situations where that makes sense.

##3 modes :one::two::three:
The current thought is also that the Scan app for scanning physical items will have 3 “modes” that will appear to the people who have access to them:

  1. Automatic mode
  2. Check in mode
  3. Check out mode

Scan app’s »Choose mode« dropdown—wireframe (this might be turned into a »segmented control« for quicker use, but the functionality will be the same

Whichever mode the user selects will appear again the next time the user views the Scan app, with the exception being that if the user is checked in at a circulation desk, the Scan app will automatically be set to Check in or Check out. This might be configurable in the user settings.

If the user is a student helper who only has permissions to circulation functionality in the system, the Automatic Mode will simply not appear, but Check In Mode and Check Out Mode will be the only available modes for that person, since those two modes are specifically made for basic circulation.

1. Automatic Mode :books: :robot: :books:

Scan app in »Automatic Mode«—wireframe

This mode will be the default mode of the app for people who are not at a Circulation Desk. People working in e.g. acquisition, cataloging or collection development all need to scan items for different purposes. When scanning in automatic mode, the system figures out by itself what is plausible will need to be done with the items based on:

  • The user’s permissions in the system (whether the user is a cataloger, subject librarian, etc.)
  • The combination of the scanned elements (patrons, items, etc.)

These parameters determine the primary actions suggested to the user for quick access. All actions will be available by clicking a “More Options…” button.

In this mode, you can adapt which metadata you want to see for the items in the list of scanned items. You also have the option to view a preview of the item you select in the list or the latest item scanned.

In this mode, the user can both scan items with a scanner, or input items manually through a search field that allows you to search for barcode number, title, patron name, etc.

In this mode, the user can scan patrons and items in any order—or just scan patrons, or just scan items. Whatever suits the purpose of the task at hand.

In this mode, nothing happens to the items / patrons until the user makes an explicit choice by clicking one of the suggested buttons or one of the options under “More options…”

##2. Check in mode :classical_building: :walking::walking::walking:

Scan app in »Check In Mode«—wireframe

When in check in mode, the focus is simply on displaying which items are being scanned in, as well as providing dialogues users have to react to when a scanned item needs the circulation desk operator to make a decision / perform an action.

In this mode, as soon as you scan an item it will be discharged / checked in, unless there is a dialogue the circulation desk operator has to react to for that item.

In this mode, you can adapt which metadata you want to see for the items in the list.

##3. Check out mode :walking::walking::walking::classical_building:

Scan app in »Check Out Mode«—wireframe

In checkout mode, the user has to follow a particular pattern for scanning to avoid mistakes:

  1. Circulation desk operator scans patron
  2. Circulation desk operator responds to any blocks, notes, etc. on patron
  3. Circulation desk operator scans items and relates to any notes, etc. on each item as they are scanned. As items are scanned, they are instantly checked out.
  4. Circulation desk operator clicks “Done” to clear the session so they can scan a new patron (if a new patron is scanned while in a current session, the system will automatically start a new session with the new patron)
6 Sep '16

Reading through this I recognized that there are multiple uses of the word scan in the library field. I’ve been working in digital repositories for the past ten years, so at first I thought scan meant a digital reproduction of a printed page. In this context, though, you mean the act of reading a book’s barcode. I wonder if there is a way to make that clearer in the post title. Maybe: Scanning physical item barcodes?

6 Sep '16

A common problem with checking in books is that staff are looking at and focused on the books, and not on the screen.

Scenario: Staff scans an item. System pops up a message. Staff miss the message. Staff scan next item. Barcode reader sends barcode, which the system ignores. Barcode reader send Enter, which system interprets as clicking the OK button. Net result: staff member doesn’t see the message and second item doesn’t get checked in.

Idea: Keep the dialogues inlined in with the scans instead of using pop ups. Save the dialogues so staff can scroll back through the check in history. Perhaps even allow staff to go back and re-engage in a dialogue. Don’t prevent staff from continuing to scan items if an checkin items needs action from staff. Highlight the items that need action from staff. Don’t let them scroll off the top until staff acknowledge the action or finish engaging in the dialogue.

Note: Audio alerts cannot be the sole solution because of hearing-impaired staff.

6 Sep '16

Thanks for the input, @jim.nicholls! :slight_smile:

That was actually my initial thought. But then I have heard the opposite message from another SME who works in Circulation. They wanted to make sure that e.g. student workers at a circulation desk did not ignore any messages related to a single item, because it would be time consuming to find the physical item in a pile of 20 items once you scroll back through the list and notice a message. And in a very busy library setting, the circulation desk operator might be too busy to notice any messages. These scenarios are taking place at a circulation desk, so either in check in or check out mode.

So the way you describe it is actually what I envision for the Automatic Mode, but for Check in and Check out, I have been told workflow blocking dialogues would be necessary—at least at some institutions.

What do you think about that and which scenarios are you thinking that inline messages would be appropriate for? :slight_smile:


6 Sep '16

@peter I hear you. I have also been confused sometimes when people used the word scanning for both actions. I would call one digitizing and the other scanning, but I do not know if those words make sense to everyone.

7 Sep '16

Like @peter, I’ve spent a lot of time in digitization projects, and in my experience “scanning books” refers to digitization, while “scanning barcodes” is a part of circulation. It’s probably a good idea to limit use of the word “scanning” entirely to unambiguous contexts or use it only with more explicit wording. “Items” is a necessary term in libraries, since not all of our materials are books, but it is also very vague.

7 Sep '16

When I read this, I wondered if perhaps there is an intent to include digitized content (such as from special collections/archives) in the “catalog” – and then provide sifting functionality as needed to find things. After all, that’s what our discovery layers are doing – pulling everything into a giant index from disparate sources. If, however, this is to be adapted for digitization, there would be quite a bit of development to this proposal…

What’s the end game? One giant index? If so, is this the appropriate place in the software to incorporate digitized items?

7 Sep '16

Hey, Jody. There has been significant discussion about the extent of the “knowledge base” underpinning FOLIO. Definitely traditional bibliographic records. Almost definitely electronic resource records. Quite possibly institutional repository records. From there the certainty tapers off. Records representing EAD finding aids? Citations of researchers’ works? PBCore for A/V material? FGDC for geospatial? These are the things that the knowledge base group is trying to tackle now. I wish I could point to a document that describes the current line of thinking, but the current line of thinking is spread over two documents with dozens and dozens of comments. Hoping to have a fresh, clean look at this problem space soon.

We’re starting to stray a little far from the topic, but that is okay. If this particular digression continues, the Discuss software allows us to take some replies to this topic and spin off another topic (while providing visual clues leading from here to the new topic). So – discuss away!

8 Sep '16

2 posts were split to a new topic: Intersection of NISO’s Flexible API Framework for E-Content in Libraries working group and FOLIO

28 Sep '16

Peter, where can I find those discussions? I tried searching on “knowledge base” and failed to locate anything. If this system is to support digitized special collections, or incoming digital content in special collections and archives, then that is going to need to be reflected in some of the base functionality. I don’t want to make suggestions in this regard unless this is indeed an area in which the group wants to go.

I’m aware that special collections material is now the one unique feature of research libraries: hence the focus on digital library development. Also, many materials are either degrading quickly (such as A/V), the demands of resesarchers require online access, and incoming digital content is a new flood to be addressed adequately for access and retrieval with consideration for rights and security issues.

Currently, access to these things via library websites is usually either separate, or included via OAI feed into the discovery interface.

It would be helpful to know whether FOLIO is planning to integrate this content, or if the divide will continue to be an ongoing issue for user access.


29 Sep '16

Hi, Jody. The knowledgebase work is in two Google documents that received an overwhelming number of comments in July and August. I’m working now to update the documents based on the comments and will post a link to them here on discuss.folio.org when they are done.

Your suggestion is in line with the desires of the FOLIO platform, and you articulated why it is important that FOLIO have the ability to take these types of materials into account. Stay tuned for more details!