Numbers in Papyrus Explained

This will explain the various Numbers and Terms in Papyrus

Publication Types

Libraries contain collections of different types of Publications or Media. Examples may be Examples could be simply Book, Non Fiction, Fiction, Serials, DVDs or English Fiction

Papyrus can have an unlimited number of Publication Types, although it is recommended to not make the selection too numerous. Most of the reports will provide lists of the contents of a library by grouping them into Publication Types.

Bibliographic Reference Number

Every Catalogued item in Papyrus is uniquely identified by a Bibliographic Reference Number or BRN. This number is an 8 digit number and usually starts from 10000000 and increments for each new item. The BRN is not that important other than identifying the record in the catalogue. In some libraries, the BRN number is also referred to as the Call Number

The BRN does not refer to the physical item in a library, but rather its cataloguing entry. It must have a Title linked to it and can have other descripors such as Author, Subjects, Editions, etc. The BRN is not the same as the barcode or accession number of the item. These are described later.

The BRN is linked to a Publication Type.

An example of a BRN would be a Book Great Monster Hunt by Norbert Landa with a BRN 10671132. Its Publication Type could be Book


Each Catalogued entry is described by an ISBD or International Standard Bibliographic Description

An example of a ISBD would be Great Monster Hunt / Norbert Landa. - 2010. - 32 pages. - 9781848950221

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The Accession Number

Each BRN may have physical stock such as Books, CDs, Posters, Photographs, etc. Libraries use an Accession Number for each copy of an item in a library. For example, there may be a BRN 10561002, a Book, with the title Badger Boy / Anthony Masters. - 1999. - 91 pages. - 9780749738051. The library may have three copies

The number can take any form, but usually the most common is in the form yyyy/nnnn where yyyy is the year it was brought into the library and nnnn is a incrementing number. An example would be 1997/1172 or 2008/781.

The Accession Number must be unique and can be up to 15 alphanumneric characters. The number cannot be changed, and an audit trail is kept of when it is added, changed or deleted

Each BRN may have many copies of the item. A Library may Catalogue Great Monster Hunt / Norbert Landa. - 2010. - 32 pages. - 9781848950221 and may have several copies of the book. such as

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Each physical copy of a stock item linked by the Accession Number, could have a barcode on the item. The Barcode could be the same as the accession number, but it is more usual to have a smaller, 5 or 6 digit barcode number that starts at say 10000 and goes upwards.

The function of a barcode is to facilitate quick, accurate entry of the identifying number of a stock item by the use of a barcode scanner.

Barcodes must be unique and so if you have two copies of a book, eqach copy must have a unique accession number and barcode. Barcode must not be long as the physical barcode becomes very long and will not fit on a sticky label. The barcode cannot be the same as a different stock item's accession number


An ISBN or International Standard Book Number, is a 13 digit number assigned to each separate edition of a book

ISBNs assist librarians to uniquely identify a book and obtain the cataloguing information from the publisher such as title, authors, subjects, pages, publisher, date of publkication, etc

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