Between the Sheets: a Library-wide Inventory with Google
When it comes to taking an inventory of physical items, libraries often rely on their traditional integrated library system’s (ILS) à la carte add ons; outside vendors; or other possibly outdated, complex, and often expensive methods. For libraries with shrinking budgets and other limited resources, high costs can put these methods out of reach. At the University of Dayton Libraries, we set out to develop an inexpensive and reasonably easy-to-use method for conducting a library-wide physical item inventory. In this article, we explain a custom built Google Sheets-based library inventory system, along with some code for the implementation of a RESTful API (written in PHP) that interacts with our ILS. We will also explain our use of Google Apps scripts in our Google Sheet, which are crucial to our systems. Although this method used a specific ILS (Innovative Interfaces’ Sierra product) and custom-built RESTful APIs, it may be possible to use similar approaches with other ILS software. Additional notes include areas for improvement and recommendations for interoperability with other ILS systems.