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Getting Started with Abraquest

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The Abraquest documentation is rather wordy, intended to be a step by step guide. Here is a potted summary in one place of the things you need to think about when setting up Abraquest.

 

There is the getting started guide thats available in the schools area (and in the help menu - I think - I haven't got Abraquest open right now), which gives you some idea but its a bit wordy / few pages I suppose. Also the concepts section of the user guide is worth looking at. You can press F1 to get to the reference for the page you are on at any time.

Just to give a quick overview of the things you need to think about:

Abraquest by default uses the demo database when you install. You should ensure you have the empty database before you start adding books and teachers etc. The databases are in c:\program files\spherical software\abraquest\db\. schoollibrarydatabase.mdb is the one that Abraquest will pick up.

So rename them so the empty one is schoollibrarydatabase.mdb and away you go.

Log in as sysadmin1 and run the setup wizard on the system maintenance menu. Do not rename the STAFF or LEAVERS classes or years.

You can run the setup wizards as much as you like.

Once you have set up the classes you can run a excel import from SIMS to import the borrowers, or type them in as you see fit.

You then have to add books (please ensure online is enabled, as it will find details for you).

I recommend your books locations are logical, e.g. FICTION, NON FICTION and POETRY, not SHELF 1, SHELF BY THE WINDOW, etc, because if you do the latter you will have to update Abraquest when you move books.

There is a section on this be sure to understand it. You set defaults in the first page and then add book details in the second. The first page keeps track of the books you have added today. Each book has its own label you stick on the inside cover of the book and you scan both - the ISBN and the school label when adding books. Always scan the school label after that.

Once you have added some books, teacher logs in as teacher1 and uses Issue/Returns to issue (take) or return (bring back) a book.

The amount of time a pupil can borrow a book is in sysadmin1, Base Data -> System Configuration.

Holidays can also be set up in sysadmin1 maintenance menu.

How many books a pupil can take, renew, lose, etc. is set up on both class and borrower, the borrower value if entered, overrides the one entered against the class, e.g. if you have a pupil who always loses books, or a bright one that wants to take more.

You also need to decide if you want to turn on Unattended Issue/Returns. This is where the pupil can log in with a barcode and operate the system without teacher being in the room. Despite a lot of requests for it, while it was being produced schools have had to do it the traditional Abraquest way with teacher in the room and many are quite happy with it because teacher can keep an eye and ensure books go back in the correct place etc. At the time of writing this is very new, so watch out for the next blog post that will show you along with a short video how to enable it and set it up.

If you have any questions please email our support email address mentioned in the documentation.

I can do a days training to set up the system for £200+ VAT, if you are interested, or there is no reason you can't read the documentation and set it up yourself.

About the author

Philip Johnson has been a software developer for over 33 years and has been involved with Abraquest since 2005. He is the director of Spherical Software Limited (www.sphericalsoftware.com), the company that owns Abraquest.

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