The bar code scanner must scan each tape or the back of the storage slot until it reads the bar code label for the cartridge or storage slot, or determines that the slot is empty. The bar code scanner can identify a properly labeled cartridge on the first scan. It can identify an empty slot on the second scan. It will try several more scans and then tap on the cartridge before determining that an unlabeled cartridge is in the slot, which takes about four times as long as identifying a properly labeled cartridge. The inventory time for an MSL8096 filled with unlabeled cartridges (96 tapes) is about 30 minutes. Even if you do not need the barcode information, use bar code labels to speed up inventory time.
The above action is only for the library to discover which slots are occupied and which are not. This is different from the BE inventory task which must identify which tapes are in which slots. During the BE inventory process, the tape is taken from its slot, put into the tape drive to have their internal labels read and then returned to their slots. This process is repeated for each tape and hence the inventory process for a large library can take a long time. For my HP MSL2024 tape library with 14 tapes, an inventory of the entire library will take 25 minutes.
If your tapes are properly barcode labeled, an LTO4 tape would not be fed into an earlier generation tape drive.
With barcode labels, when you import a tape, it would be recognized immediately. There is no need to do an inventory of the slot after the import.
When there is a need to update the status of the slots in the library in BE, you can use scan instead of inventory if you have barcode labels. What scan will do is to read the barcode labels and it is done within a couple of seconds. Otherwise, you would have to do an inventory (described above).
Now that you are convinced that barcode labels are good, how do you get them?
You can buy pre-printed barcode labels from your tape vendor. The disadvantage of this approach is that the labels may not be in the format that you want. You are likely to get them in some series like 100000L4, 100001L4, etc., whereas what you wanted is ABC001L4, ABC002L4, … Also, when you buy the next lot of barcode labels, you are unlikely to get them in the continuing sequence.
Alternatively, you can print your own barcode labels. Check with your tape manufacturer as to what the specifications are for their tape libraries. For example, for HP tape libraries, the barcode portion of the label should be on top and the labels is in the format
aaaaaaLn, where a = any alphanumeric character and n = 1 for LTO1, 2 for LTO2 and so on
For cleaning tapes, the label should be CLNaaaL1, where a = any alphanumeric character.
There are shareware that can generate barcode labels that match your specification. This website
can also do the trick. I did not know that this website exists when I did my barcode labels so I use a freeware barcode generator from Bytescout (attached) and Word. The barcode symbology used for LTO barcode labels is Code 3 of 9 or Code 39. Attached is a sample Word document which you can use if you choose to go this route. The dimensions for the various objects should not be altered. I printed the document on a sheet of plain adhesive paper and cut the labels out. Of course, you can also use pre-cut labels like Avery #6571 or #6577. Do make sure you use a good laser printer and print at the highest resolution.
I got the barcode labels, how do I implement them?