How to add books to the online catalog

NOTE: subject to Facilities Committee & board approval

work in progress, updated July 1, 2016; February 15, 2017

Information for Collections Volunteers

The John Trigg Ester Library uses LibraryThing.com to organize its titles. We are also able to use TinyCat, also made by LibraryThing, to handle circulation features such as checkout and holds and other normal library functions. TinyCat is especially made for very small libraries, under 20,000 titles, which we certainly qualify as. We are testing it now and the board will decide whether to use it on a permanent basis. First, however, we must enter our many titles into the online catalog. (Of course, any library updates its catalog regularly; we are simply working on what is on our shelves now.) Please read the following information completely before attempting to add a book to the JTEL’s collections.

The advantages of having our catalog on line are:

  • any patron anywhere, whether a member of the JTEL or a browser, may see if we have a particular title
  • a JTEL librarian can export the entire catalog into other, standard formats (Excel, JSON, tab-delimited text, or MARC data)
  • likewise, data can be imported from other catalogs (Universal Import, Shelfari, Goodreads, MARC)
  • through TinyCat, patrons and JTEL librarians alike may determine with ease whether a book is available or on hold, request that it be held for renewal, or renew it

To add a book to the online catalog:

  • First, become a recognized collections volunteer by:
    • introducing yourself to the Board of Directors or the Volunteer Coordinator and the Friends of the Ester Library
    • making sure that your library membership is current
    • attending collections work parties (shelving, packing for storage, picking up book donations, helping at book sales) and getting to know your fellow volunteers and the library itself
  • Next, once you are a recognized collections volunteer, the librarian will give you a password enabling you to access our account on LibraryThing and TinyCat and will give you a demonstration of how to get in and enter an item.

To enter an item on our online catalog, it is very important to first check that we do not have it already:

  • Go to the tab labeled Your Books. (You can set this to automatically be a default or favorite page in your browser to save time.)
  • On the upper left hand side of the catalog will be a folder and drop-down menu. Choose  Your Library. (Again, this can also be the default.)
  • On the upper right hand side of the catalog will be two search spaces. The top one is “search site.” (Unless you want to see if an item is somewhere in the entirety of LibraryThing, don’t search in here.) The lower one is a drop-down menu that you can set to any variety of aspects of your library items:
    • all fields
    • titles/authors
    • tags
    • subjects
    • comments
    • reviews
    • most fields
    • an advanced search feature that allows for and/or restrictions, media searches, and limits in the search
    • search tips, providing information on search syntax and fields as well as an overview of the search feature

Once you determine that an item is not in our catalog, you can add it. Things to bear in mind are:

  • we use simplified Library of Congress cataloging language as our subjects, where possible, in the tags section
  • certain terms show which collection they belong in, or the people they were donated by.  These include:
    • Barr (Robert Barr, primarily Southeast Alaska topics)
    • Bowling (Sue Ann Bowling donation)
    • GEB (Growing Ester’s Biodiversity program item)
    • Guinn (Chris Guinn donation)
    • Heacock (Richard Heacock donation)
    • Helfferich (Helfferich & Crosby family donation)
    • Koponen (Koponen family donation)
    • Mull (Gill Mull donation)
    • Trigg (Trigg family donation)
  • To add an item, after you have determined that we do not already have it, go to the tab labeled Add Books.
  • Enter the ISBN of the book you are looking for. Note that you can also search by tag, author, key word in the title/ISBN field, Library of Congress number, or any of 1,077 source libraries.
  • Choose the edition and binding of the item you want. If too many options come up, you may have to search again with additional limiting terms.
  • Add basic tags until you feel comfortable with more detail: fiction, nonfiction, young readers, collection (the Trigg family, for example, has a stamp with which they will imprint donated books)
  • Check the LibraryThing entry for the book (i.e., the entry that now shows in our catalog). If the entry appears to have incorrect or missing information (such as a truncated title or no illustrator listed), you can add this information by clicking “edit” or the pencil icon. Covers are also frequently missing, and we use a default image in such cases, but you can search for the correct cover for your edition also.
  • Add a card pocket if the item doesn’t already have one, and fill out a card (author or editor with last name first, title, and section abbreviation) for the item. Note the section the book belongs in using basic abbreviations in the upper right hand corner (F for fiction, NF for nonfiction, YR for young readers, etc.).
    • card pockets belong on the front or back inside cover, unless an illustration would be covered by it. If so, try to find a place near the front or back that is blank or otherwise unimportant, such as a review or advertisement. Don’t cover bibliographic information.
    • if a book appears to be rare or an antique, DO NOT PUT A CARD POCKET IN IT. This will damage the book. These items will become part of our rare books collection and won’t be available for check out.

Finally, explore! have fun with Common Knowledge, Legacy Libraries, and other features.