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Managing learning materials: How to use an inventory spreadsheet

  • Have the person that wishes to check out items identify the item appropriately, usually by “”title” (“Main and subt[itle]”or “alternate title”).
  • You can locate items  in various ways:
    • either by full text search (menu “Edit” / “Find” or shortcut CTRL+F)
      • Select the columns ((ctrl-)click on column headers (= ) or ctrl-space while the cursor is in the column) in which want to search (= restrict the search to these columns)
        • Example: you are looking for movies entitled “100 deutsche Jahre” and want to use “100” as search term. If you do not select the column “Main and subt[itle]”, you will have to wade through a lot of unrelated matches in other columns (e.g. field:number).
      • use the wildcard “?” to match any single character – useful for misspelled accented characters
        • Example: you are looking for the movie “Amélie”, and cannot find it; try searching for “Am?lie” instead
          • Then fix the misspelled title (on how to enter accented characters see 5.1)
      • Use the wildcard “*” (star) to match any (0 to many) characters – useful e.g. for ignoring over multiple spaces
      • Use “Find all” to make sure you have all relevant entries – double click on the result to jump to that row
        • Example: Duplicate movies
    • or by filtering, using the dropdowns (arrows in column headers)
      • You can
        • Select an option from the dropdown to only display rows that match this condition
          • Note: In the dropdown, unlike in the spreadsheet itself, options are automatically sorted alphabetically
        • Select “Custom” from the dropdown to create more advanced queries
          • Use “contains” to search for a substring (example: you are looking for the “Terminator”, but do not remember, whether the exact title “The Terminator” or “Terrminator”)
        • Select “All” from the dropdown to stop filtering or press the button “Remove Filtering”
        • Filter on more than 1 column by selecting options in multiple dropdowns
      • The blue color (in row headers and dropdown arrows) indicates that these results are filtered.
    • or by sorting, using the button “Sort on active column” (click on a field in the column you want to sort on, then click the button),
      • To sort by multiple columns, sort in descending order of importance.
        • Example: you want to go alphabetically through the titles of the French Videotapes.
          • click on a field in the column  “main & sub”,  click “sort”,
          • then click on a field in the column “Media type”, click “sort”,
          • then click on a field in the column in “Language” and click “sort”.
          • Then scroll to “French” in “language”, within the “French” items, scroll  to “Tape:Video”, now you can browse the French videotape titles in alphabetical order.
    • Note: if the spreadsheet becomes slow or unresponsive, try one of the following:
      • remove filtering, especially on two or more columns. Sorting is faster than filtering
      • Ctrl-alt-delete, “task manager”, end application and start over; the spreadsheet has been programmed to remove the filter on restart
  • When to do what:
    • When should you use regular find?
      • Whenever possible. That means: If you look for an item which has a findable substring from a single database-field
        • Example: Video with the word “Wunder” in the title
    • When should you use the dropdowns?
      • If you look for an item that does not have a findable substring from a single database-field
        • Example: You are looking for a movie with the title,main&sub=”El”
        • Example: You are looking for a specific issue of a periodical title,main&sub=“Schauinsland”, field:volume = 1, field:issue=18 (means: you need to search on multiple  fields)
      • If you want to browse multiple items
        • Example: You need to get an overview what parts of the language program “Deutsch, na klar” we have (there are the main textbook, several workbooks, instructor handbooks, cds, dvds, … etc.)
    • When should you sort?
      • If you expect a dropdown search to get too slow.
  • Locate items in the Media Cabinet by label number
  • record checkin and checkout of items in the (violet) section “Location & Loanee”, appropriate column for loanee and date:
    • instructor: instructors can check out materials for use within and outside of the lab; record instructor name and date
    • students can check out materials for use within the lab only; record the student id number
    • when an item is returned, reset the name and date column to blank
  • Editing:
    • You have been given the editor password (complain if not). This password does not completely unlock the spreadsheet.
  • Hiding Columns
    • For specific tasks, you can hide certain columns to fit the columns you are working with on the screen. You need to get the advanced password for doing that.
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