Links: WSU Library: Vernon Leighton: Autodocs: AutoFAQ.

Autodocs 1.4: Frequently Asked Questions and User's Guide


0. Current Problems

I. Basics and Setup

II. Altering the structure of the database:

III. Shelflist

IV. Check-in

V. Label-making

VI. Other problems


0. Current Problems

0.A. Windows Vista: What if, every time I start Autodocs, Access flashes a message about security warning?

NOTE: Check with your IT staff to see if this is allowed. This procedure will disable some security features that stop macro viruses in Microsoft Access. If your IT staff says that you may not do this, you will need to allow macros after the security warning each time that you enter Access.

Step 1: Open Autodocs in Vista Access.

Step 2: With Office Vista, there is an office icon in the upper left corner of the screen. click on it. At the bottom of the Office Window, click on the button that says "Access Options."

Step 3: A new window will open. On the left hand side, click on the button that says "Trust Center."

Step 4: On the right hand side of the Trust Center screen, click on the button that says "Trust Center Settings."

Step 5: A new window will open. On the left side, click on the button that says "Macro Settings."

Step 6: Select the radio button called "Enable all macros (not recommended)" and click "OK".

NOTE: If you cannot follow these procedures, when you get the security warning, click on "Enable content".

0.B. Autodocs 2003: What if, every time I start Autodocs, Access flashes an annoying message about unsafe code? How do I get rid of that?

Access 2003 has a feature to prevent opening databases that have viruses in their macro code. Unfortunately, the SuDoc sorting code in Autodocs looks suspicious, so when the feature is on, Access warns you when you open Autodocs. If you turn the feature off for Autodocs, you turn it off for all databases on that computer, so the ability to turn it off is often restricted.

The warning says:

This file may not be safe if it contains code that was intended to harm your computer.
Do you want to open this file or cancel the operation?

How do you turn off the warning feature? If you have an account to a computer that allows you to change the Windows Registry, then you can alter the settings to stop warning you about unsafe code. To do so: 1. Click on "Tools" in the upper tool bar, 2. Click on "Macro", 3. Click on "Security", and finally 4. Set Security to "Low." The danger is, of course, that if you open an Access database from someone who has slipped a virus into the code, without this warning, you could wreck your computer. So your Tech people may not let you change the security.

0.C. Windows Vista, General issues

0.D. If I have MS Access 2013, how do I import the shipping lists?

Explanation: Why the change? MS Access 2013 no longer supports the dBase III format for importing data into Access tables, which is necessary for checking in materials using the Autodocs application. The solution below works, but it adds extra steps to the earlier procedures, which is regrettable.

  1. Download the shipping list in dBase III format as you would have in times past.
  2. Open MS Excel, not MS Access as you would expect, but Excel, and then click on "File" and then "Open". Go to the directory where you downloaded the shipping list (possibly C:\data\access).
  3. In the dropdown beside the file name, change the file type to "dBase Files". The file "ship.dbf" should appear in the window. Click on it and click on "Open."
  4. Once the table is open in Excel, click on "File" and then "Save As" and then make the file name "ship" and "Save as type" set to "Excel Workbook." Close the spreadsheet in Excel.
  5. Open Autodocs. In the uppermost tool bar, select "External Data." In the tool bar below, the leftmost item is: "Saved imports." You will be using that later, but not right now. Right now, you want the icon two to the right of the leftmost, which says, "Excel." Click on that icon. It will open a wizard to walk you through the importation.
  6. Click on the first option on the first screen of the wizard, which says, "Import the source data into a new table." Click on the "Browse" button beside the "File Name" text box, and find the file you saved in step #4. Click on "OK" at the first window of the import wizard.
  7. The next window asks about worksheets. There should only be one option, so click on "Next". The next window has a check box that says, "First Row contains column headings". Check that check box, and click on "Next." The next window allows you to select the data type for each field of the new table. scroll to the right to the last field, called "Listdate." Highlight it, and then change its data type to "Short Text." Click on "Next." The next window asks about a primary key. Select the check box for "No primary key." Click on "Next." The next window asks which table you want to import it as. Keep the name as "ship" and click on "Finish."
  8. The next window asks if you want to save the import steps. If you are confident you did them all correctly, check the checkbox to "Save import steps". Name it what you like. "Import-ship" is the default name it offered me.
  9. Now open the Form "Switchboard" as you would have done before. You can now check in the shipping list. You simply skip step 1, import the shipping list.
  10. For future shipping list, follow steps 1-4 above, but after step 4, you open Access, click on "External Data", then click on "Saved imports", highlight the saved import, and click on the "Run" button. That should execute steps 6, 7, and 8 automatically.

I. Basics

I.A. What version of Access do I need?

Currently, you need at least MS Access 97 to run Autodocs. I have employed a number of features only available in 97 and higher, so you will not be able to get either Autodocs or SuperB to work in Access 2.X. You also need to have all of the Access 97 Wizards loaded. (Sometimes, to save space, technicians will load Access without its wizards. If you load Autodocs, and then discover that you are getting error messages about wizards, do not worry. They can be added to your current Access without having to rebuild your Autodocs database. The system can be converted to Access 2000, 2002 and 2007. I have run my own tests on Access 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007 and others have done so. If you run into problems converting to Access 2000 or higher, let me know at

For Access 2003, see Section 0.A. above for the unsafe code warning.

For Access 2007, see Section 0.B. above for the unsafe code warning.

I.B. How do I start Autodocs in order to look at the demo data?

Download the zip file and unzip it. Then open Autodocs14.mdb in Microsoft Access 97 or higher. (If in a later version of Access, it will start by asking you if you want to convert. Say "yes". Then you will have to save the converted database application to a new name. Go for it.)

Opening the Switchboard: Access 97 and 2000: Once the application is open, there should be a window with tabs at the top for "Tables", "Queries", "Forms", etc. For Access 2003, the window has a lefthand column with these same options, "Tables", "Queries", "Forms", etc. Click on the tab that says "Forms" to view the window that lists all of the forms in the database. Then double click on Switchboard.

Opening the Swtichboard, Access 2007: For Access 2007, there is a feature called the Navigational Pane on the lefthand side of the screen. See Section 0.C. above for a description of how to adjust the Navigational Pane. Scroll down the Nav. Pane until you reach the Form Switchboard. Then double click on Switchboard.

You might want to enlarge the Switchboard form to fill the screen, so that the buttons on the following forms are all visible. Then play around with the options, other than the menu that reinitializes the tables. You can try checking in electronic shipping lists, updating and altering the item selection profile, the list of items to send to cataloging, and other helper tables, and searching the shelflist. Then print from a wordprocessor the file Autotutorial.rtf. Follow it to step through an introduction to Autodocs.

I.C. What should I do before using the Autodocs system?

First, examine your check-in operation. List the categories of items that you handle. What gets sent to a separate department, such as periodicals? Are some items put in a vertical file, and given different labels? Are some items separately housed in another library or department?

Next, compare your list to the following description of how Autodocs is designed, and note what would need to be changed. Then read the relevant sections describing the tables and how they are interconnected. Write down what you are changing and keep it in a file. I plan to send out upgrades when I get around to it. If you load upgrades, you may need to alter them in order to get them to work with your modified system.

I.D.When I setup Autodocs, how do I delete the listings in the Exceptions tables and Shelflist that were shipped with it? Do I use the initialize screens in Autodocs Setup?

If you are starting with Autodocs 1.2, no, do not use the initialization screens. If you are starting with Autodocs 1.3 or have converted from 1.2 to 1.3, yes, use them. The version 1.2 of the initializer does not give the Shelflist and the exceptions tables information about what fields are required and what fields are the primary keys. If you have already used the 1.2 initializer, see section III.C.. The options to initialize the Exceptions table and the Shelflist wipe the exceptions tables and shelflist tables clean, ready for you to add the exceptions and shelflist for your institution. I shipped Autodocs with a subset of Winona State's exceptions and shelflist already in it for demonstration purposes.

Then there is a initialize disable which destroys the ability to wipe out the tables that is so that once you initialize the tables, you can prevent someone else who is playing with your copy of Autodocs from deleting your shelflist. (Always a good idea.)

I.E.How do I create my ITEMPROFILE table of my depository's selection profile? (updated 6/15/2012)

I.F. How do I create my SUPERCEDED table of items that we select that supersede earlier editions?

First, why create the SUPERCEDED table? Isn't the table shipped with Autodocs the complete List of Superseded Items from 2002? No, it is not. It is a subset of the list filtered through your selection profile, so that it doesn't have to be any larger than necessary. So the SUPERCEDED table that is shipped as a demo with Autodocs is the part of the Superseded list that is relevant to Winona State University, no your institution.

  1. Use the database SuperC that I also developed to create a SUPERCEDED table for check-in systems. The download page for it is at:
  2. Once you have created the SUPERCEDED table in SuperC, close that database.
  3. Open AUTODOCS.
  4. WARNING! this action is irrevokeable. Click on the upper tab for Tables so that you see the window of all tables. Click on SUPERCEDED. Hit the delete key. This will delete the table of items that supercede each other from Winona State that came with AUTODOCS as a demo.
  5. Click on File --> Get External Data --> Import.
  6. Highlight the "superc" database, and click on "Import."
  7. Highlight the SUPERCEDED table, and click "OK." This should pull the table from SuperC into AUTODOCS and allow you to use it.
  8. Autodocs does not use all of the fields that SuperC's SUPERCEDED table has. You can delete some of the fields by highlighting SUPERCEDED and clicking on the "Design" button. Then highlight the left edge of the field that is not needed (so that the entire line is highlighted) and press the "Delete" key. The fields needed by Autodocs are: CLASSNO, TITLE, ITEMNO, and Retention Notes. The others may be deleted. Also, the length of the fields may be shortened. In my depository, the SUPERCEDED table has fields of these lengths:

Note: SuperC's data comes from the 2002 List of Superseded Items that Tom Tyler has created. Your depository may have local retention practices that differ from the guidelines on the official list, so you will want to review your own list and make changes to the SUPERCEDED table before using it.

I.G. How do I set up my EXCEPTIONS table for items that get special instructions or exceptional treatment?

The EXCEPTIONS table has preset flags for three cases: 1. where the item gets sent to cataloging, 2. where the item gets sent to the periodicals department, and 3. where the item gets stamped Reference, No Circulation. Those just happen to have been the three classes of exceptions that I was dealing with at Winona State when I created Autodocs. However, it can be used to signal the person checking in the material for any special instructions connected to an item number or a sudoc stem within an item number. See section 4 of the procedures guide included with this distribution for more information.

The fields in EXCEPTIONS in Autodocs 1.4 and later are:

I.H. How do I set up my LABELCHANGES table for items that get a different call number?

LABELCHANGES has fields for matching items in the checkin process to series for which locations are different in the library. Once it matches to a new item, it will automatically change the Location and Call Number fields in the check-in record to the correct location and number for that series. The fields are:

I.I. And why is "LABELCHANGES" a very misleading name for that table?

LABELCHANGES is a very misleading name, because it doesn't just change the labels. It changes the fields for Location and Call number in the Checkin record, which then goes both to the labels and then becomes the final shelflist record. So if you actually catalog something in Dewey or LC, and you do not add that series to LABELCHANGES, then your shelflist will say that the item is in Government Documents when it isn't. See next answer.

I.J. How do I keep the location and call number of my documents correct in my Shelflist when the EXCEPTIONS table does not add the new location to the LOCATION field?

In the FAQ for version 1.2, I said, "Here is an example of poor design that crept into the early stages of Autodocs and is too hard to root out." However, I have discovered that it is not at all poor design. Why did I think that it was poor design? Because the EXCEPTIONS table is separated from the LABELCHANGES table. The EXCEPTIONS table tells the person processing the documents that there is an exception in processing for that series, such as an exceptional location. But it doesn't go in and alter the location on the label. Nevertheless, the location and call number on the label are recorded in the Main Shelflist as the location and call number of the document. That creates a problem. If you only have an EXCEPTIONS record, the series changes location, but the shelflist record says that it is in Documents.

This fact means that even if you check the box in the EXCEPTIONS record to suppress the labels, if the document is sent to a different location, you need to change the location and call number that would have gone on the label. How do you do this? Use the LABELCHANGES table. It also matches Item number and Sudoc stem, and then alters the location and call number for the label and the shelflist. So for every item in the EXCEPTIONS table that changes the location (say to the LC or Dewey collection) and the call number (to an LC or Dewey call number), you need one entry in EXCEPTIONS and another entry for the same item in LABELCHANGES.

Now that we have started the Marcive project, I have used the EXCEPTIONS table to signal which item numbers are cataloged Marcive. In those Exceptions records, I have left the Sudoc number blank, since any sudoc under that item number gets a Marcive record. But for series that we already were treating exceptionally, an EXCEPTION record with a sudoc stem interferes with an EXCEPTION record with no Sudoc stem and causes unpredictable behavior. So you have to roll all exceptions for a Marcive item number into one Exceptions record.

Here is where the LABELCHANGES table becomes good design. Because LABELCHANGES is separate, you can still use it to change the locations and call numbers for specific series within an item number, even if the whole item number is listed in Exceptions with a blank sudoc stem because of Marcive cataloging. Whew. The LABELCHANGES table turns out in the end to be good design, if you retrofit the Exceptions records to handle blank sudoc stems.

If, on the other hand, you include sudoc stems in EXCEPTIONS records that signal Marcive cataloging, then you do not need to eliminate your old EXCEPTIONS records. If you do that, though, then every time there is a new sudoc stem added to the item number, you have to add an EXCEPTIONS record for it. Which is high maintenance. And the whole point of Autodocs is to lower your routine efforts.

I.K. What if Autodocs keeps flashing annoying messages, explaining about appending rows to tables and making tables? How do I get rid of that?

This will happen if your Autodocs loses some of its default settings. Converting from Access 97 to later versions makes that happen.

For Access 97 to 2003: Click on "Tools" on the Menu bar, then click on "Options," then click on the tab called "Edit/Find." Then deselect all of the notification flags on the right hand side of the Edit options. Then hit "Okay." This will suppress those messages.

For Access 2007: Click on the upper left corner Office Icon, then click on "Access Options" at the bottom of that pane, then in the left menu click on "Advanced", which will give a new frame on the left side of that pane. Look for the "Editing" section and its "Confirm" subheading, then uncheck the confirm options for "Record Changes", "Document Deletions" and "Action Queries." Save your changes, and the annoying messages should go away. (But watch out, if you delete records they will go away without confirmation!)

II. Altering the structure of the database:

II.A. What if I want to alter fields in tables, in order to do things differently?

Altering the structure of any table (tables store the actual data, like the shelflist) is tricky and a pain in the neck. The reason is because the queries that manipulate the data, the forms that display the data, and the reports that print the data usually refer to the fields by their names. So changing a name in a table (adding a field, dropping a field, changing the purpose of the field) means that you have to find every other object (query, form, report) in the database that handles those fields, and change them.

So plan ahead (or plan to fix things because you didn't plan ahead). Think of the different things that you do to incoming documents, and ways that you use your shelflist. Then decide what fields you need where, in order to accomplish that goal.

II.B. For a given table, what queries, forms and reports will I have to change if I alter its fields?

The most likely tables to alter are: Main shelflist and EXCEPTIONS, because those are the most customized to the local operation. To change Main Shelflist:

To change EXCEPTIONS table:

II.C. How do I change what fields are displayed in the results or on print out reports?

Results are usually displayed within a form. For example, the results for the shelflist general search for technical staff are displayed in the form called Shelflist Gen Results Tech Full. You need to find the form where the button exists to generate the display or print out, open that form in design mode, look at the properties of the button in question, find out what macro or report or form that starts, close the form, open the display form or report indicated by the button properties, and add or move fields accordingly.

III. Shelflist

III.A. What are the features of the Main Shelflist?

The most important feature of the Main Shelflist is that I established the Sudoc number as the primary key field. What that means is that the Sudoc number must be unique in order for the record to be added.

The strength of this feature is that if you accidentally check-in the same shipping list twice, it will not load duplicate records. The bad part is that if GPO messes up and assigns two different items the same Sudoc number, the second one is bounced out. See Check-in Question D to diagnose what has caused an item record to fail to be added to the shelflist.

Fields that are required in the table are: CLASSNO (Sudoc number), TITLE, ITEMNO, LISTDATE, and FORMAT. If you try to save a record that is completely missing anything from any of these fields (even a blank space counts as something), Access will reject the record. Without these required fields, the general search form would not work correctly.

The Fields are:

III.B. What should I do to periodically maintain Autodocs?

  1. Compacting: After using Autodocs, you should periodically compact the database. The normal operation of Autodocs creates and destroys numerous tables. These take up phantom space until you compact the database. Warning! Sometimes your Access program will compact the database, and then name the compact version "db1.mdb" and place it in the same directory as the uncompacted version. You will need to first note the name of the file for the Autodocs database, then delete the uncompacted database, and then rename "db1.mdb" to the correct name.

    Access 1997 to 2003: To compact the database, on the top menu, click on Tools, then Database Utilities, and then Compact Database.

    Access 2007: Click on the Office Icon in the upper left corner, then click on "Manage" and then click on "Compact and Repair Database.

  2. Backup: You will want to back up the Autodocs.mdb file periodically (maybe once a week). Just remember, if your harddrive crashes, there goes everything that you haven't backed up. A simple backup would be to right click on the Microsoft Windows Start button in the lower left corner, then click on Explore. Then navigate to the directory that has your copy of Autodocs. Then highlight Autodocs and right click. You can the select "Copy" in the menu of options. Then you can click away from the list of files, and then right click to get another list of options. Select "Paste". The new file might be called something like "Copy of Autodocs14.mdb" You can then either keep that copy there, or move that copy to another drive. Personally, I keep one backup to the database in the same directory as the main file, one back up on another disc drive and a third copy on a CD-ROM stored away from the computer. The last back up I renew once every three months.

  3. Deleting multiple shipping lists: During check-in, if you already had a shipping list in Autodocs under the table name "ship", the new list collides with that name and is given the name "ship1" or "ship2" etc. and the old list is still "ship." Then when you get to the check-in screen, you will see the old list. Periodically, go to the database window, click on the "Tables" tab, and look for tables with names like ship1, ship2, etc. delete all of these. They are just shipping lists that had collided with a shipping list that was already in Autodocs.

III.C. What if there are items in my shelflist that do not have the field that sorts Sudoc numbers correctly?

On the "Search Shelflist Technical Staff" screen, there is a button for "Rebuild Sudoc sort field in Shelflist." Press that and wait five minutes for large shelflists.

III.D. How does the algorithm that allows you to sort Sudocs correctly (more or less) work? And what happens if the numbers are too big?

Autodocs uses a customized version of Stan Price's algorithm from SuDS (with his permission). Stan's algorithm works by creating uniform sized chunks of characters. The alphabetic substrings of the Sudoc number are preceded by a character that sorts before a number does. The numeric substrings are filled in with leading zeros. The colon is the only piece of punctuation that is not ignored by the algorithm. It is replaced by a block of characters that sort prior to either numeric blocks or alphabetic blocks.

Stan made each block 15 characters long, and allowed 16 different substrings of letters and numbers. I ran some tests on two years worth of Sudoc numbers at my depository, and found that the longest substring was 9 characters, and that the highest number of alternating strings was 14. So in the Autodocs version, the blocks are 12 characters long and there can be 15 of them. This makes for a sorting field of 180 characters, which takes a good bit of room in a shelflist record.

If a substring is over 12 characters, that substring will simply not be part of the sorting string. So some Sudoc numbers may not be sorted correctly, however, the long strings then to be at the end, things like ED 1.8: G 43/SERBOCROATIAN. So missing that last string will not cause catastrophes. If there are more than fifteen blocks of characters, things get uglier. The whole field for sorting ends up blank, and so the record will be sorted at the beginning of any list sorted by sudoc. That will hopefully be rare, and not cause great hardship.

The sorting field that my version produces does not mix directly with Stan's original sorting field. I used different fill characters. He had reported that the characters he had chosen do not sort properly in Access 2000. I tested it and that is correct. I altered the algorithm so that it does sort properly in both Access 97 and 2000.

Does the algorithm sort Sudoc numbers correctly? It does not put two digit years after years ending in 99. So "I 19.42/4:00-4001" comes before "I 19.42/4:99-4001". But does any computer sort that correctly? Otherwise, it is theoretically possible to have Sudoc numbers that do not sort correctly, but such numbers rarely if ever come about in practice. For example, these two numbers would be transformed into the same sort field:
A 1.2:1/1-1
A 1.2:1-1/1

III.E. Why do I get that annoying screen after every search of the shelflist in technician's mode?

Short answer: because I couldn't fix my program. Long answer: if you have changed the Sudoc number in the Main Shelflist, the field that allows sorting by Sudoc does not get rebuilt. Because of that, the record will sort by the old number. So after each Shelflist search, you get a warning that you should rebuild the sorting fields for the entire Shelflist.

This rebuilding would be unnecessary if some Access Visual Basic hot shot fixed the parse algorithm so that an individual record's parsed_usca field was updated after the CLASSNO field was updated. I have included the defective Access form under the name "Defective Search Results" for anyone who wants to take a crack at it. It successfully updates the individual parsed_usca after the CLASSNO has been updated, but it freezes Autodocs and forces you to reboot the computer after each update (not good). Please let me know if you fix this problem.

IV. Check-in

IV.A. How do I check-in items?

See the separate file called procedures14.rtf for the procedures for check-in. You can see a quick overview in section I.B. above.

IV.B. What if I just want to add an item to the shelflist directly?

There are a couple of ways to add an item to the shelflist.

Method One: One method is to append the item to a shipping list that you are already checking in (a shipping list of the same format of materials). This method is safer than method two, but slower and less convenient. Begin to process the shipping list by importing it. Then before clicking the "Create Check-in List" button, click on the "Add to or Edit the Shipping List" button located to the left of the main sequence.

Click on the "add a new record" button. It is important to include the correct item number, as that number with the SuDoc number is used to perform operations with exceptions and superseded lists. Fields that are required by the shelflist include: Sudoc Number, Title, Item Number, List Date, and Format. (The program automatically fills in the Format field). All of these fields are text fields, and "required" simply means that the field is not allowed to be totally blank. So if there is no data for a required field, you could put in the word "None." If a required field is null, the computer will not admit the record, and you will have to start over.

Why is this method safer? Because the new item is run against the helper files that might provide notes and detect older superseded versions of the item. But if you are not worried about these issues, throw caution to the winds and use method two.

Method Two: Another place that one could add to the shelflist is to first search for the item using the general shelflist form for staff (not the public search form that does not allow updates). Click to search and retrieve the full records. (You will want the Full record to see all of the options that you can add.) Click on the Arrow-Star button at the bottom to get to a blank entry record. Fill that in and click on the "Save this Record Now" button. If you want a label, just click on the "Add to the Labels to Print" button. This method is faster than method one, but you may miss important exceptions details.

IV.C. How do I handled claimed items received?

It depends on how you handle claims. See procedures14.doc for the two alternative ways of dealing with claimed materials.

Basically, if you alter the Sudoc number in order to claim, then you just search the shelflist for the claim record, and edit the SuDoc number. Just make sure that you rebuild the sorting field afterward. If you deleted the it to be claimed, then you import the old shipping list again and delete all of the other items except the claimed one.

IV.D. What if the list had an error that has been input into the shelflist?

If you discover that there was an error on a list, you can correct the problem at each stage of the check-in process. If you have followed steps #1, #2 and #3, and you spotted the error in the Check-in form, you can do several things. If the error is with a field in one record, but the error did not prevent the record from getting to the point of the check-in form, then you can simply click in the box and delete the error and retype. If the error was a faulty item number, and the item did not appear in the check-in form even though you select it, then close the check-in form, and abort the check-in list (abort step #2). Then click on the button to the left of the main column of the check-in process that says "Add or Edit the Shipping List." See IV. B. above for details about adding items.

Sometimes the date is wrong on all of the records, or the shipping list number is wrong. If you already shelflisted the shipping list, and want to go back and change something, you can go to the "Shelflist Operations for Staff" and click on "Search by shipping list number." That will pull up all items with that list number in their record. You can then edit the records directly from that results screen. Don't forget to change the label field and then eventually rebuild the sudoc sorting field.

You could automate and make global changes, but that requires building a Access query, which takes a lot of skill and effort.

IV.E. When I shelflisted the new records, I received an error that some of the records were not entered into the shelflist.

If the table Main Shelflist has the Sudoc number as the primary key (see section III.C.), the system should prevent the same record from being shelflisted twice, because the Sudoc number is a unique string. If when you shelflist the records you get an error that some items were not shelflisted because of a primary key conflict, then one of the new records had a sudoc identical to a previous record. Click on "Verify shipping list in the Shelflist, or on the form "Shelflist Operations for Staff" search by shipping list number. That search will pull up all items with that list number in their record. You can then compare to the paper list in front of you and find which ones failed. The act of shelflisting also deletes the check-in list and the shipping list, so to begin the process again, you have to reimport the shipping list. Then in this second go-round, edit the shipping list to change the offending sudoc number. Be creative. If you can figure out the correct number, great. If not, you might want to add /ITEM 2 to the end of the Sudoc number. That way, when the corrections are issued, you can search under the Sudoc number to retrieve the item. Then follow the remaining steps of the check-in process. This second time, when you shelflist the list, all of the other records except the failed one will fail to be shelflisted, because their Sudocs will not be unique (they are already in there).

IV.F. What if the GPO Server doesn't have an electronic copy of the shipping list that I want to check-in?

The recommended way to add a shipping list that is not already electronic is to enter the items at the end of another shipping list and then check the combined shipping list into Autodocs; however, you can add them to the Shelflist directly if you are daring. See IV. B. for instructions about adding to the end of a shipping list.

The situation of the missing electronic copy of the shipping list is much more common for the microfiche. In the microfiche case, our technician checks the paper list against the shipment, does any claiming that needs to be done, and sends the items to the public cabinet. Then she keeps the lists in a file and checks them every couple of months to see if they have appeared. They usually do. Only after a long wait does she add the items to the end of another shipping list.

IV.G. What if I want to download the shipping list to a directory other than C:\data\access? How do I get Autodocs to find the shipping list?

If for some reason you want to download the shipping lists to a directory other than c:\data\access, you can perform the following steps.

Changing the download/import directory

  1. Open Autodocs.
  2. Find the macro named "ship import." (Access 1997 and 2003, go to the Database Window, then click on the Macro tab to see all macros. Access 2007, look in the Navigational Pane on the left hand side for "ship import", for help see Navigational Pane.) Then highlight "ship import" and right click to get a menu of options. Then select "Design view". The first action in the action list should be highlighted. It is called "TransferDatabase."
  3. Down below the action list is the action arguments table. One of the arguments is called "Database name". That has the path of the directory where the shipping list must be found. It currently has "c:\data\access". You can click in that field and change the path to one that is better for you.
  4. When you are finished, click the X in the upper right corner of the macro to close it. Then click "Yes" in the window that asks if you want to save changes.

IV.H. What if I am retrospectively checking in records prior to the year 2000 shipping lists?

Uffa da, don't do that. Or if you do, remember that the list's date will not have the century. So a date of Jan 1, 1998 will have 980101. When you go to search for records to weed from that year, you just have to remember to search for year 98 rather than year 1998. I could build in a check-in for old items, but someone would have to pay me.

IV.I. When I click on the "Search shelflist" button, it brings up the "Shelflist superseded SuDoc search form". Is the new item info supposed to be manually entered into this form?

Here is the scoop on the "Shelflist superseded SuDoc search form". Autodocs takes the stem of your SuDoc number (usually up to the colon) and performs a search against the Main Shelflist automatically. You do not have to manually enter the SuDoc number in to this form. This form is the results form, which displays all records in the Main Shelflist with that stem.

An Example:

So let's say that you are checking in the record for ED 1.2:D 63/10/2001. Autodocs will see that everything with the ED 1.2: stem gets superceded, so it searches for ED 1.2: and returns the results. Not at the top of the results form that your original SuDoc number is shown in the box called "New SuDoc Number." You then need to look through the results and see if you have an earlier version of that document. If you find one, such as ED 1.2:D 63/10/999, you then click on "Add this record to the Superceded List" (if you are building a list of superceded items to pull from the shelves) and then click on "Delete this record from the shelflist" because you are getting rid of that item. When you have either succeeded in finding an item to replace, or have ascertained that there is no such item that needs replacing, you can click on "Quit this Form" and go back to your checkin. After quitting the form, if you have changed a SuDoc number in the Main Shelflist without deleting it, you need to rebuild the "Shelflist Sorting Field." There will be a pop up window that asks you if you want to do that.

V. Label-making

V.A. How does label making work?

Labels are made from a separate table. The table has to be created at the beginning of the session (unless there is one from the previous session), and then with each shipping list, information for labels is added to it. Then it is printed out and deleted at the end of the session.

V.B. How do I change how the labels are laid out?

Go to the base level database window for Autodocs. Then click on the tab that says Reports. Click on the report called Ship Labels. That is the report that prints the labels. Click on the Design button to pull up the report in a design window. You can now change the text or add a date function, delete a field or anything you want. Watch out, though! If you add things that alter the exterior size of the report, the current type of labels will not hold the label text properly. When done, click to close the design window and accept the changes.

V.C. What type of labels are used by Autodocs? How do I change how the labels are laid out?

The current report for the labels uses Avery no. 5160. You might be tempted to use a different kind of label, but since you will be going through boxes and boxes of these labels, it would probably be just as easy to use the default report form and buy a new box of labels. However, if you really want to use a different type of label, you can use the label report wizard to create another report for the labels that you do have.

To do this, go to the base level database window for Autodocs. Then click on the tab that says Reports. Click on the report called Ship Labels. Then click on the Design button. Investigate each field and find out what form it comes from. Then close Ship Labels. Right click on Ship Labels, and rename it something.

Then find out from your label company what the Avery number equivalent is to their labels. Then click on New, and use the label wizard to create a new report that performs the functions that you want equivalent to the old Ship Labels. Name the new report Ship Labels. Why start from scratch rather than edit the old report? I have found that editing a wizard-created report often gives weird results, so I would recommend that you rename and replace. When the new report works correctly, delete the old report.

I do not know of foil-backed labels that come on 8 x 11 inch sheets. The standard supply catalogs do not list them as an option. If you want to use foil-backed or other continuous feed labels, then you will have to investigate whether Access has an option for dealing with continuous feed labels. Maybe it does, I haven't looked. I know that foil-backed labels stay on documents better than regular labels.

V.C. How do know whether the Call number will fit on the label?

If you do not change the type of label or the size of the print fields, there is a mark on the Check-in form that indicates the end of the label. Note below the "Call No." box, there is a black mark. If the call number extends past that black mark, the end of it will not appear on the label. For long Sudocs with parts of sets, there are sometimes very long words that can be creatively abbreviated on the label. When the number is longer than that line, abbreviation is called for (or a hand-written label).

V.D. When I print out labels, some of the items that I checked-in do not have labels. What do I do?

The EXCEPTIONS table has a field that can automatically suppress the production of labels. If you have not then after the upgrade from Autodocs 1.1 to 1.2 gone through your EXCEPTIONS table and added a "Yes" to the Produce Labels? field, then for those exceptional series, the label will be suppressed. If this is what is causing your problem, you need to go to the "Other Operations" page, and select "Edit EXCEPTIONS table." Then go through each of the exceptional series records, and check the Produce Label? box.

Another possibility is that the record never got to the point of shelflisting. You might want to do a shelflist search by shipping list number to verify just what was added. In any case, one way to add the item to the next batch of documents being processed, reimport the shipping list, and check it in again. In the check-in form, make sure that the label check box is selected. When you perform Step #4, you will get errors about violating unique keys, and the records will not be shelflisted, but they will be placed on the list of records to get labels.

VI. Other Problems

VI.A. What if I keep getting the same shipping list when I import, even when I have saved a new one from my browser?

What probably happened was that in your Web Browser, someone had recently saved a file from the Web to a directory on your computer other than the directory that Autodocs looks in for importing the shipping list. The default directory for downloading/importing is "C:\data\access". Whatever directory was the last one to save files to is now the default download directory. When you are about to save the new shipping list as file ship.dbf, make sure that you are saving it in the proper download/import directory (c:\data\access, or whatever you have changed it to, see How do I change the download directory?). If you save it to some other directory, Autodocs cannot find it, and you will keep importing the last ship.dbf that was saved to c:\data\access as the new shipping list. See section II.B. item #3 for information about cleaning up the junked shipping lists.

See the checkin procedures in procedur.rtf or procedur.doc for complete instructions on downloading the shipping lists for processing.

VI.B. What if I keep getting the sample exceptions from Winona State? How can I get rid of them?

You apparently have not yet clicked on "Autodocs Setup" and initialized the EXCEPTIONS table. Initializing that table will delete the sample exceptions entries that were sent as a demonstration.

VI.C. What if I click on "Add to or Edit Shipping List" and I get yelled at that something called WOUTSHIP2 is missing?

For some bizarre reason, the Access object that executes the function of editing the shipping list occasionally disappears. I don't know whether the person checking in the documents accidentally deletes it, or if it gets deleted by Access as part of a malfunction. In any case, I have had to replace this object several times in the course of maintaining Autodocs. Here is what I do:

Go to the Autodocs web site and download a fresh version of the zipped Autodocs application. Save it on your computer in a known location (like the Desktop). Open you own version of Autodocs.

Access 2003: First, make sure that WOUTSHIP2 is missing, by looking for it in the Database windonw. Click on the Forms tab, and then look at the end of the list of forms for WOUTSHIP2. If it is really missing, follow the instructions below.

On the top menu, click on "File", then on "Get External Data" and then on "Import." Locate the fresh version of Autodocs and click on "Import". In the new window, click on the "forms" tab and then highlight "WOUTSHIP2" and click on OK.

Access 2007: First, make sure that WOUTSHIP2 is missing, by looking for it in the Navigation Pane on the left side of the screen. If it is really missing, follow the instructions below.

On the Access top menu, click on External Data. In the Menu below the top, in the Import section, click on "Access". When the import Access pane opens, click on "Browse" to find the fresh version of Autodocs. When you have located the fresh Autodocs, click OK. Below the location, check the radio button beside the label "Import Tables, ... into the current database." Then click on OK.

A new pane will open. Click on the "Forms" tab at the top, and then scroll down the list of forms and highlight WOUTSHIP2". Click on OK.


H. Vernon Leighton ,
Coordinator of Liaison Services, Winona State University