Alma: Barcode scanner/reader recommendations

Alma does not have requirements for specific types of barcode readers, and the CARLI Office staff do not have recommendations to offer as we don't actually use scanners in the office.

  • Considerations:
    • Barcode scanners are no different than keyboards: as long as the host computer is configured to read the input from the scanner, the output will be added to the active application.
      • Many barcode scanners will work with Alma out of the box with little to no programming. Operating systems should detect and install drivers to use the scanner as an input device.
      • However, scanners sometimes require programming to accept or ignore different types of barcodes.
      • Scanners can also be programmed to add or remove scanned values from what gets output into the application.
    • In addition to being compatible with the operating system of the host computer, the scanner must be capable of accepting input of the barcode symbologies used by your library.
      • The most common type of symbology in I-Share libraries is Codabar. Codabar is a one-dimensional (1D) barcode where the scanner reads a linear set of characters (as compared to QR codes, which are two-dimensional).
      • Codabar is similar to Code 39 (sometimes called Code 3 of 9), which is also common.
      • Both of these symbologies are distinct from the formats used other commonly found barcodes, such as UPC codes for ISBNs.
    • Consider form factor, the work space where the scanners will be used (low light or high light, cramped or open, need for wires or wireless, etc.), and of course accessibility.
      • Wired scanners typically connect via a USB cable.
      • Wireless scanners may connect using Bluetooth which may require some configuration. 
      • Wireless scanners also may have a charging cradle or base, which also may serve as the connection point. This is typically the case for scanners that may be used while out in the stacks (e.g., staff scan barcodes, then download the results to a file).
  • We usually advise contacting other libraries for recommendations on desk equipment such as scanners and printers.

Updated 12/12/2023