Sierra for assets inventory?

Hello, collective Sierra wisdom!

I have been approached by my administration to explore using Sierra for inventory of assets in our library district (IT equipment, etc). I have some reservations about it, but wanted to reach out and see if anyone had experience with doing so that they could share before I get too deeply entrenched in my initial reaction. :slight_smile: Any feedback, here or off-list, would be much appreciated!

Yuck! How many assets do you think you’re looking at?

What is the primary thing(s) they want from their asset system?

Maybe the strategy to go with is to ask them if they really want to go through you for every report and if they want the titles that are already in the ILS “cluttering” up their view when they go to pull information for the auditors.

I’m trying to think of a good analogy here… it is like taking a 747 :airplane: to go to the little market :convenience_store: that is down on the corner.

I do see our members catalog things like game controllers and power cords that are loaned in-house because it is a convenient way to keep track of the in-house circ status on those.

Stephanie, the only “IT” assets that I’ve added to Sierra are our staff laptops and tablets. They have a loan rule, we attach item records to the bib, are barcoded, get checked out under a staff card, get courtesy notices, etc. The bib record is suppressed so that they don’t show up in our catalog. I don’t know if I see any benefit doing this for other equipment that isn’t circulating (to staff or everyone). This was easier for me than keeping a spreadsheet (previous method). I can easily see how many are checked out and to whom and I guess get stats on if I wanted them.

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We have several departments that use Sierra for assets. It’s used both for circulating and knowing where something is. We also have one department using the Sierra Booking module, but the rest of them are using regular Sierra with loan rules and notices and fines.

Personally, for equipment, I think it’s best for the price to live in the item record, rather than the loan rule.

For instances where equipment is tied to a class/study room, the room is in the Call Number field. The name of the thing is in the title. Any serial numbers are in a notes field. Components are in a message field (e.g., check for one case, one camera, one strap).

It’s not ideal, but it’s cheaper than getting a separate system. Happy to answer any specific questions, do a Zoom, whatever :slight_smile:

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Thanks @wesochuck , @pruntela, and @sfrieldsmith , for the feedback!

One of my concerns is the potential scope/sheer number of assets - we’re a 10-branch system, so there’s potentially a lot out there to inventory, even just in IT equipment. We’d need to come up with a pretty tightly controlled vocabulary and procedure before diving in - because we’d likely have a dozen staff or more across different building accessing it eventually - so I’m hoping we can start with a small sample. Along those lines - Sarah, thanks so much for the details from your institution - that’s really helpful. Have you run into any significant issues or “coulda shoulda wouldas”? We’re in the very nascent stages of the conversation, but I may well take you up on the offer of picking your brain a bit more as things progress. :slight_smile:

Thanks again!

Probably the hardest thing is when they get new stuff. There’s just NO WAY we’re letting everyone play around in the bib records. The person also doesn’t often understand why they have to populate various fields in an item, so we have a LOT of add item templates. Since you’re dealing with library staff, maybe that wouldn’t be as much of a hurdle…? I’d recommend determining what is needed and expected in terms of: stats, inventory reports, and looking stuff up, and then structure the records in a way that makes all of that as easy as possible. Like, you don’t want to have to do a Create Lists query on a variable length (uncontrolled) field.

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We have some equipment that circulates and others that doesn’t similar to what others have said. And most of it is suppressed in the catalog, although some isn’t so that’s on my todo list to find out why it isn’t consistent. Even though we barcode equipment we also keep Serial #s in a notes field and try to keep notes fields as standard as possible. We generally have one individual (with a backup) who creates our item records, so it is a bit easier to keep to standards.
Before my time, there was a trial in setting up a different scope for people to be able to book AV equipment. Because these weren’t library people managing it I don’t think they totally understood how it worked and it ended up being a failed pilot.
The idea of having that many assets over that many branches doesn’t appeal to me, although I can’t exactly articulate why.

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I am the only person who deals with the Bib and Item records for our technology assets. I did create bib and item templates for these. I’ve attached what the bib and the item records look like in Sierra - I use the notes fields for serial numbers, etc. Same thing with the tablets.

Hope this helps,


LibraryLaptopBriefBib.pdf (77.9 KB)

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@jcole , that’s exactly how I feel about it - it doesn’t appeal to me either, but I can’t really come up with a super-compelling rationale other than “there has to be a better way.”

Thanks for sharing, @pruntela ! Having some examples is always helpful.