Sunday, May 4, 2014

Using Notability to Weed the Library

This is my second year in my current elementary school library, and it is way past time to do a heavy weeding and reshape the fiction section.

I always struggle with the best report in Destiny to use, or making weeding decisions, as I can't seem to build a report that really gives me the information I want - a Library Statistics report doesn't include a barcode number nor can I figure out how to only show the circulations statistics for the last five years, and a Library copies report will only allow me to check the date it was last accounted - no circulation statistics, and for some copies that would've been the last inventory (this could be user error, I admit). As I was debating what to use, someone on our state's school library listserv posted that they use a Shelf List report #PalmToForehead, so that's what I created for the fiction section to start.

As I was organizing my pens, highlighters and clipboard, and getting ready to press print on my 60 page report, lightning bolts of inspiration struck.  Wait just a minute, isn't this what I've been doing with Notability for the last two weeks as I study up on the NGSS standards??? Why in the world would I print this report when I can do this all digitally AND never have to lose a highlighter in the stacks?? #PalmToForehead for the second time in 10 minutes.

Creating the Report

To create the report I logged into Destiny on my iPad and generated a Shelf List Report.

 I limited the results to the Fiction section with a count on Circulations from 2009-the current date, and selected the publication year be included, with an output as a PDF.  Then I ran the report.

When I opened the report from the Report Manager, it opened in a new tab.  I pressed near the top of the document and the "Open With" menu came up on the iPad, from here, I was able to select Notability.

The report opened in Notability, I created a new note and began highlighting all the books with zero circulations in one color, and those with 1 circulation in another, I also made notes to myself to check certain things when I got to the shelf.  I was able to analyze the report in an evening when watching TV, and the next morning I went in and started pulling books to be weeded.

How to Screencast

Here's a short screencast I made to show you how I got the report into Notability.

Need some More Info about Notability?

Here's another screencast I made about the basics of Notability.

As of today, May 4, 2014, Notability is still the app of the week, so it wouldn't hurt to download it, otherwise you can pick it up for about $2.99 in your device's app store


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this idea. It's motivating me to get weeding!

  2. Just downloaded it yesterday, thanks!

  3. Can I ask why you're downloading your shelf list as a PDF and not as an Excel that can be sorted by circulations and publication date? I love the look of the app and the software, but that's a lot of time highlighting when Excel will do it for you and you can just print out the oldest and least circulated books in shelf order...

    1. I love Excel for all of those things - and have written more if/then formulas this year than I have in my life, but it was one of those weeks where I was on the go quite a bit and it was nice to be able to work on the go with iPad. Plus, if I can avoid printing reports these days that's a bonus. Using Excel would have required time at my desk, and that just wasn't happening. Maybe in the future I'll be able to send those reports to Excel, sort them, save them as a PDF then save them to Google Drive or email them so that I can open them in Notability, which would probably be helpful for those larger sections of the library. This method worked great for me and allowed me to a get a really good look at titles in the collection and circulations - but it might not be for everyone!

  4. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try it out.

  5. I have used these reports on my laptop, but this was just rants to using the iPad like this! Plus, I love having a record of my notes. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Oops, autocorrect! It was just brilliant using the iPad!

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