Koha How-To

Scanners and Koha Search Forms

Barcode scanners are time savers! No doubt about it. Every once in a while we’ll hear from a Koha library with scanner issues. The basic issue is “A scanner will fail to scan in barcodes correctly”. Once you’ve determined that the scanner is plugged in (and to the right place) and the batteries (if any) are fully charged let’s begin troubleshooting.

Start with determining if the scanner is reading the barcode correctly. Open a text editor and scan a barcode into the editor. If the value on the screen doesn’t match the value on the item (book or card) the next step is to analyze your barcode. If the barcode is clean and pristine (no extraneous marks) then the final step is to check the programming on the scanner. Dig out the manual for your scanner (or contact your scanner vendor) and follow the steps in the book for reprogramming the scanner.

If the barcode in Koha is still not correct or you see this happening….

“when we scan a patron barcode someone else’s record will show on the screen”.

we can check one more place. In the Firefox browser there is an autocomplete feature that can cause this to happen. You may wish to turn off the auto complete feature in your browser. Go to Tools->Options > Privacy > History. Once there, choose “Use custom settings for history‚Äù and uncheck the box by “Remember search form history‚Äù. This will prevent the search form from retaining previous searches and being inadvertently selected by the user.

However, if your staff likes to have ‘search form history’ retained, you can pass along the following hints from Huntsville Madison Public Library so they can prevent selecting the wrong user.

  • During checkout, when one double-clicks to place the cursor in the checkout bar before scanning the card, a historical dropdown of previous card numbers appears.
  • The double-click action will have highlighted the first entry in the dropdown.
  • Even though the search bar itself is blank, scanning in the patron card at this point will result in the wrong patron being selected because the first card number in the historical entry list is highlighted.

Thanks to Joel from Plum Creek and Sherry from Huntsville Madison Public Library for these hints and tips!!

Read more by Joy Nelson

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