Automate mass catalog changes with AutoHotKey

Want to reorganize your library’s collection, but don’t have time to do the mass updates to the catalog for it or the money to pay a vendor to do them? Take a look at AutoHotKey (! It’s a free keyboard macro program that allows you to create macros and apps to automate repetitive tasks. I’ve used it for several years to do mass updates to many applications’ databases through the application’s user interface. Using an Excel spreadsheet that has the changes that need to be made, you can use AutoHotKey to create an app that performs all the keystrokes and mouse clicks required to navigate the database’s application interface to copy and paste the updates from the spreadsheet to the application’s data entry/editing screens.
For example, a major reorganization of the Children’s collection at Sump Memorial Library this spring required thousands of call numbers to be changed in our catalog and new spine labels printed. I extracted the barcode numbers and authors’ names using a catalog report into an Excel spreadsheet for all our children’s picture books. Using some simple text functions in Excel, I quickly created new call numbers for all the books based on the first three characters of their author’s last name. Using the mail merge capabilities in Word, I was able to print all the new spine labels in mass from the spreadsheet. Using AutoHotKey, I copied and pasted the new call numbers from the spreadsheet to the screen that permitted the editing of the items’ records brought up by the barcode number in the Follett and Koha catalogs. This method updated thousands of items’ call numbers in the catalog in a few days while volunteers helped put updated spine labels on the books and shelve them. In three-week’s time, we updated the catalog, relabeled and reshelved 10,000 books.

Send Text Messages Via Email

Did you know you can use email to send text messages to patrons’ mobile phones? Use the patron’s ten-digit phone number with the domain name of their service provider’s SMS (Short Message Service) gateway. For example,
Boost Mobile 
Tracfone (use fonefinder website)
Virgin Mobile
U.S. Cellular
You can use to get the service provider for the patron’s phone number.