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Aleph@UF: Printing Call Number Labels

Cataloging procedures and policies

Printing Call Number Labels

Updated August 2011

This document presents the information currently known about printing call number labels using ALEPH as well as instructions on setting up and using the label printing program. It consists of three parts. The first part explains how to actually set up the program on your computers. The second explains how to create call number labels using UF’s labeling printing program in conjunction with ALEPH. The third provides some information about how the program decides what to print on the label and when to create line breaks in the call number. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the information in the third part. Many times if a call number is not printing correctly, the way in which it is written in the description field of the item record is the cause of the problem and can easily be corrected if one knows how the label program interprets the characters in the description field.

The label printing software developed in Systems has two purposes: (1) print call number labels during the physical processing of material (2) view the call number exactly as it will print before sending it for physical processing to avoid problems and returned material.

Part 1

I) Computer hardware and label requirements for using the label program:

Project - Spine-Label Parser-Printer Project - v3.0

    1. Operating System - Windows 95 or above
    2. Processor - Pentium 100MHz or above
    3. Aleph client must be installed prior to this application.
    4. If printing labels on sheets, the sheets must be 8 labels across by 7 down. Each label must be 1” wide by 1.5” long. We currently use Brodart SuperBond labels.
    5. For printing labels one at a time, Processing in the Cataloging and Metadata Department uses Dymo printers with label dimensions 1” wide by 1.5” long.

II) Here are the instructions for configuring the rest of the label printing software:

  1. Use Notepad to open the following INI file:
    [Aleph directory]\AlephCOM\Tabs\ALEPHCOM.INI

  2. In the [PrintExecute] section, add in the 'LABEL_PRINT=' line beneath the 'BROWSER=' line:

    EDIT=notepad.exe $1
    EXE_COMMAND=C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE $1
    WORD=C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE $1
    BROWSER=C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE $1
    LABEL_PRINT=\\uflib\Applications\SpineLabel\SpineLabels.exe $1 $2
    ;There two options:
    ;Saxon7.jar - requires Sun Virtual Machine installed
    ;Saxon8.jar - requires Sun Virtual Machine installed

  3. Save the file.

The files used by the label printing program to run are on one of the library servers, not on one’s PC. This means if there are changes to the spine label program, it will not need to be reinstalled on individual PCs.

Part 2

Label printing is structured, by necessity, in two separate phases. The first phase is scanning in the barcodes of the items for which you want to print labels. This first phase is done within ALEPH’s software environment. All you will see is a list of the barcodes you have scanned. You can, as far as we have found, only scan in up to 99 barcodes at a time. I assume for most of the branch libraries this will not be a problem. If it is, you may contact me, and I can explain the procedure for getting around this limitation by using the Merge capability of the label program. Also, you should be aware that at this phase in the procedure ALEPH only stores the barcode and label information in a temporary file which is not accessible to us. Warning: If the Print Item Labels window is closed accidentally, all work is lost and you will have to start over.

The second phase begins after you press print. This is the phase in which UF’s program engages and ALEPH pretty much leaves off. We do have some control over this part of the printing process.

Instructions for printing call number labels:

    1. Click on the Items tab in ALEPH
    2. Go to the Utilities drop-down menu
    3. Choose Print Item Labels
    4. Scan in the barcodes. Depending on how your scanners are programmed, you may or may not need to press Add each time you scan a barcode.
    5. Once you have scanned the number of items whose call numbers you want to print, press Print. A new window will open called Spine Label Printer. Now you are in the second part of the process.
    6. Save the file at this point. Press the Save button.
      1. Chose the folder to which you wish save the file or create a new folder.
      2. Name the file
      3. Click Open to save it
    7. Getting around in the Spine Label Printer window: On your right is a list of barcodes each followed by its corresponding title. Highlight a line in the list. On the left, the call number of the item with that barcode will display exactly as it will print on the label. At this point, there are a couple of options available to you if there is a problem with the call number display.
      1. By right clicking on the window displaying the label, you see two choices – Edit and Delete.

        Delete will remove a line from the list, effectively deleting the call number. The label corresponding to the deleted line will not print when deleted.

        Edit is the other choice. It allows you to open a separate window and modify the call number. When the edit window is closed, the call number remains in its edited form. Although this is a great feature, please also try to address the reason for the incorrect formatting at it source and correct it when possible.

        Note: Using the Edit function in the label program does not make changes to an ALEPH record. If the problem arises from an error on the item or holdings, you must go to the problem record and make the changes needed, then view the call number again.

    8. Miscellaneous information:
      1. Opening an existing file If you want to print a previously saved file, use the Load button.
      2. Printing a full sheet of one call number The check box at the bottom of the window, called Print Full Sheet, is only for printing an entire page (56 labels) of the same label. We use this for large sets of microform and for printing the base call number of very large multi-volume sets and serials. To use this feature, there can be only one barcode displayed on the right. If there is more than one barcode, the option will be grayed out.
      3. Keeping Statistics If you want to keep statistics on the number of labels printed, you can obtain these by right clicking the mouse anywhere in the blue-grey area. Chose Get Stats.
      4. Printers should be detected automatically by the program and listed in the lower left corner of the program window. You can choose which printer to use and switch back and forth as you need.
      5. Seeing the number of labels scanned The number of labels generated by the label program is displayed to the left of the Save button.

Part 3

This section explains how the information and its formatting in the Description field affects the formatting of the call number label.

The most important thing to remember is: the Description field in the item record controls any additions what will be displayed on the call number label .

1) The following characters in the Description field generate a line break in the call number. Except for the “+” character, the listed characters do not print on the call number label:

    1. blank space
    2. parentheses (do not print)
    3. + (Prints on label. Omit from description box if not desired on label)
    4. & (does not print)
    5. colon (does not print)
    6. semi-colon (does not print)
    7. brackets, e.g. [] and <> (these do print)

2) If any line has more than 10 characters, an error message is generated. These labels will have to be done manually, which is described later.


3) There is a limit of 8 lines per label. If more than 8 lines are needed to properly format the label, an error message will appear.

4) The location specific lettering or symbols placed at the top of some call number labels for certain owning locations are set for us by FCLA. They can easily be changed by FCLA but they are not a function of any parameters set in the spine label program itself. Examples of what I am referring to are: REF, +, ** for Reference, LAC and Judaica respectively.


Some known call number formatting problems:

    1. Problem: Information prints that is not wanted on the call number label. This usually ocurrs because information not directly part of the call number has been added to the $$h or $$i of the holdings or, more commonly, to the description field in the item record.                                                                                                                     Solution: The description field should only be used to display information that needs to be on the call number label. If the intent is simply to convey infornmation to patrons, consider a $$z public note in the holdings or use the opac note in the item record. The circ and internal note fields in the item record can be used to convey information to staff.
    2. Problem: First two lines of the call number are printing on the first line only. For example, you may see: QK594 instead of
      Solution: The cause of this is most likely the wrong first indicator in the 852 of the holdings record for LC call numbers. The 852 should be “852 0 blank a|”. If the first indicator in the 852 of the holdings is not 0, the call number will not index correctly in the catalog and it will not format or print correctly. The first indicator 0 is required only for LC call numbers. Other call numbers require different first indicators which can be found by using HELP ON FIELD in the EDIT menu (F2). Please change the indicator to the correct one when you encounter this problem. The item record will update itself automatically, and the call number will then index and format correctly. Also, the incorrect indicator can sometimes cause the program to display the "too many characters" error message. It's worth double checking the indicator.
    3. Problem: You see an error message saying there are too many characters. This message is generated when a line has more than 10 characters (including spaces) or sometimes when the call number has too many lines (See next problem).                                                                                                                                                         Solution: You will have to create a label manually. Simply right click the mouse while the cursor is over the label display box and chose Edit. Type in the desired label. You may have to shorten the call number or create an artificial break at some point. Also, check the description field. Perhaps something can be removed that is not required on the call number label.
    4. Problem: You see the "too many characters" message or some of the last lines of the call number simply do not display.                                                                                                                                                        

                     Solution: Sometimes when the program installs it sets less than 8 lines as the default display. To correct this, right click your mouse in the grey area out side the text boxes.You will see two options: Get Stats and Define Fields. Choose Define Fields. There are many field types. We use only three: tab-label-## (for location info, e.g. Ref), call-no-piece-## (used for the base call number drawn from the holdings), item-desc-piece-## (used for what is in the description field of the item record. Here is an example from my own spine label program:

An awkward feature of this program is that you cannot simply insert a field into the middle of the list on the right. If I want to add a ninth call-no-piece I would have to remove all of the item-desc-piece lines, add the call-no-piece line I wanted and then re-add the item-desc-piece lines.


IViewing a formatted call number in ALEPH:

    1. Go to the Item List window in the Items tab
    2. Highlight the item whose call number you want to view
    3. Click the Label button on the right about mid-way down
    4. The spine label program will open
    5. Highlight the barcode of the item you want to view
    6. If the call number does not appear as you want it to:
      1. close the label program
      2. make the corrections
      3. click the Label button to view the call number again.

      Note: Using the Edit function in the label program does not make any changes to ALEPH records. You must go to the problem record and make the changes needed, then view the call number again.

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