An AMH or sorter exceptions bin sometimes gets a bad rap when measured by an arbitrary “percentage of materials” that ends up there—as if it’s an indicator for failure of the AMH. There are far more practical reasons for your totalAMH to sort materials intentionally to the exceptions bin.
Here are 10 examples of ways that the exceptions bin can be the hardest-working bin on your totalAMH.
(Note: an asterisk* indicates examples which only work with an RFID-equipped AMH)
1. The exceptions bin stores checked-in materials that could not be sorted into a full bin, perhaps during hours when the library is closed.
2. If a small sorter does not have a separate bin for holds triggered during check-in, they can be sorted to the exceptions bin for manual check-in to print holds slips. (When a sorter has a separate bin for holds, the slips can be printed immediately by the totalAMH and then placed inside holds or applied to the exterior of holds by a “Print & Apply” device.)
3. *If the library has chosen to use “paired” RFID tags for discs, the totalAMH will verify that the correct disc is paired inside its matching case. When the pairing fails due to a missing disc or a disc in the wrong case, the item is correctly sorted to the exceptions bin for staff handling.
4. *Some library materials are bound in metallic or foil covers, which can block an RFID tag’s signal. If the totalAMH cannot detect the tag’s signal, the material will be correctly sorted into the exceptions bin.
5. *During and after the conversion of the library’s existing collection to RFID, the totalAMH will identify and separate returned materials that are not yet tagged by sorting them into the exceptions bin.
6. The totalAMH will identify and separate any unreadable or damaged RFID tags or barcodes that are returned. If the tag or barcode is not readable, the totalAMH will find it so it can be replaced.
7. *Tech Logic’s totalAMH accepts stacks of materials from patrons at book drops and doesn’t require them to painstakingly check in each item individually. If two returned items cannot be separated by the totalAMH (a book inside a magazine, for example), the items are still checked in and then sent to the exceptions bin to be separated and sorted.
8. Materials donated to the library by patrons can be dropped off on the totalAMH and will be sorted into the exceptions bin for staff to handle according to the library’s donation policy.
9. The totalAMH can identify materials tagged for deletion from the collection, such as outdated travel guides or discs exceeding a maximum number of checkouts. The tagged materials are checked in appropriately but sent to the exceptions bin as candidates for weeding.
10. *Even after materials are deleted from the catalog and sold at a library book sale, they may still find their way back to the library. If they are returned on the totalAMH, the RFID tags may be detected but the records were deleted from the catalog, and the totalAMH sorts them to the exceptions bin. According to library policy, the items can then be “recycled” for sale or disposal.
Using the totalAMH exceptions bin intentionally to sort categories of materials extends the ways the totalAMH assists library staff and streamlines materials handling. While excessive numbers of exceptions can be a symptom of an AMH issue, don’t be misled into thinking that a “perfect score” of 0% exceptions is necessary. Instead be creative in putting the exceptions bin to work …perfectly.
If you have questions for Gretchen or you would like to connect, please feel free to reach out to us!
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