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RDS@UF: Printing Call Number Labels

Resource Description Services department procedures and policies

Printing Call Number Labels

Update July 2019 by Sam Fraleigh and Doug Smith

Printing Call Number Labels

Label printing from Aleph is done in two distinct steps. The first step is scanning the barcodes of the items for which you want to print labels. This first phase is done within ALEPH’s software environment using the Print Item Labels functionality in Aleph. As you scan in the barcodes, you will only see a list of the scanned barcodes. No other information will display. If, during this stage in the process, the Print Item Labels window is closed accidentally, all work will be lost and the barcodes will need to be rescanned.

The second step in the process begins after you press print. At this point the UF created program called Spine Label Printer opens and ALEPH pretty much leaves off. We do have some limited control over the Spine Label Printer program.

Instructions for printing call number labels:

  1. Click on the Items tab in ALEPH
  2. Choose Print Item Labels from the dropdown menu.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Save the file at this point. Press the Save button. (Note: You DO NOT need to save your print file if you are only printing a small number of labels with the Dymo label printer. Skip instruction number 5 unless you are printing many labels at once using a regular printer and label sheets.)
    1. Create a new save file. In the dropdown box at the top of the new window, labeled “Save in:”, navigate to the preferred save destination by following the path This PC -> Cataloging (Z:) -> Processing -> Processing Station Print Jobs. You may only need to navigate to this location the first time.
    2. Name the file according to today’s date, followed by your initials, in MMDDYYII format. Example: John Doe saving a file on March 1st, 2019 would name it 030119JD.
    3. Under “Save as type”, be sure to save the file in Text Files (*.txt) format. You may have to select this option from the drop down list.
    4. Click Save to save it. This will keep a record of the titles included in each large label-printing job. Note: Create a new save file for each distinct group of items needing labels printed (If printing more than one job on the same day, add a lower case letter to the end of the file name to denote a subsequent printing. E.g. 030119JDa.)

Getting around in the Spine Label Printer window: On the right is a list of barcodes each followed by its corresponding title. Click on 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 address the reason for the incorrect formatting at its 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.

  1. When ready to print the listed labels, select the Print icon in the bottom right of the Spine Label Printer window. Note: Make sure you have double-checked which printer you have selected for printing in the bottom left of this window. If you are planning to sheet-print more than twenty or so labels at a time, be certain that you do not have the Dymo label printer selected, as it would be a waste of the more valuable Dymo labels. Please check with your supervisor if unclear about your selected printer.

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.

Label Formatting

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 that 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:
  • blank space
  • parentheses (do not print)
  • + (Prints on label. Omit from description box if not desired on label)
  • & (does not print)
  • colon (does not print)
  • semi-colon (does not print)
  • 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 occurs 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 information 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 outside 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.

Viewing a formatted call number in ALEPH:

  1. Go to 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 (4th from the top)
  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.

Reminder: 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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