Date of this Version
Library Philosophy and Practice 2012
In May, 2006, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Library submitted a project proposal titled "Automation of the KNUST Library system toward effective science and technology research" to the Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund (TALIF) to solicit funding to undertake a library automation project. The idea to automate its services, resources and operations is part of the re-engineering processes by the KNUST Library to provide the platform to offer efficient and effective e-service to its ever growing users. In November, 2006, the project contract was awarded to Nala Consultancy Services for work to commence. Currently the automation process, according to the systems librarian, is about ninety percent complete.
With the completion of the automation network it was imperative to feed it with the necessary data to make it operational. Starting from 11th May, 2009 to August, 2009, the Library embarked on a seventy day massive exercise of stocktaking, relabeling, bar coding and accessioning of the library resources to generate the requisite data.
Stocktaking or stock inventory is done for various reasons. According to New South Wales Department of Education and Training (2000) and Braxton (2004) stock is taken, among other reasons, to assess, control and evaluate the resources; track purchases, losses and disposals; to provide information on weaknesses in the collection that need redressing; measure the collection numbers, age and ratio: student; examine each resource and determine its future based on age, relevance, currency and condition, which may include repair, replacement, disposal or cleaning, to ensure that attractive, up-to-date resources are available to users; and prioritize future purchases and begin sourcing these.
Reporting on the stocktake project of the Whitireia Community Polytechnic, New Zealand, Parker (2007) expounds on the aim, preparation and planning, method, results and problems of the project. She ends with a nine-point recommendation. The highlights of the project are that it was aimed at identifying the amount of loss since 2000 (the last stocktake) and to match shelves with the catalogue. Stocktake was done mainly electronically and during the quiet Christmas period. A missing rate of 3%, items without records, records with no items, items shelved incorrectly, incorrectly entered items, some new items not found were some of the identified problems. She recommends the continuation of the four year cycle stocktaking, "although high-use and high loss areas could be sooner"
Accession is a unique sequential number given to each new book, magazine subscription, or recording as it is entered in the catalog of a library. If an item is removed from the collection, its number is usually not reused for new items (Wikipedia, 2010). An accession number is unique to each material and normally used to ascertain the volume of library stock at any given time.
Drawing from her previous bar coding project experience, Laudau (2001) advises libraries and librarians that "bar coding a library is an intricate process that requires foresight and planning". She observes that some of the issues to consider in addressing the subject matter are setting out procedures, placement of the bar codes, utilizing volunteers and selecting equipment". Laudau further stipulates that two major reasons may inform bar coding. These are to establish an automated checkout system and to having inventory control of collection.
The accessioning and stock taking exercise in the KNUST Library, as the project was dubbed, was primarily meant to generate accession records from which accession register and subsequently Online Public Access Cataloguing (OPAC) were to be developed.