Table of Contents
This presentation was the second of a two-part forum. Part two covered Checkins/Checkouts, General, Parameters/Setup, and Reserves.
Amy was asked to dispel a few misconceptions about holds placed from the OPAC, which were brought up at the first session. Amy agreed that holds are somewhat confusing. III is working on better documentation and that some of the questions that were brought up in these sessions would be made into a FAQ that users can find on CSDirect. There is also the possibility of an interactive tutorial through CSDirect on holds.
Kriss began the discussion by asking those present if they would be interested in discussing potential circulation enhancements at the IUG meeting? This would allow the functional experts to get input from members before the final ballot goes out.
The INN-Reach group does something similar to this. They have their enhancements list together at least one month before IUG and then they go through the list, discussing the possible enhancements. They vote at the conference after their discussion, but with the size of this group this is easier for them to do.
The consensus was that people are generally interested in doing something like this. Kriss will set up a listserv for circulation people. She will send a message to the general IUG listserv once the circulation list is up and running so others may subscribe as well.
Topic 1 – Record in Use
A patron returns materials to the library and then wants to check out other materials. While the patron is looking for items library staff have begun to check in the items they have returned. The patron comes back to the desk to check out and the staff finds that the patron record is in use. This appears to be a problem not only in Mil.Circ but the character-based systems as well. Amy confirmed for us that an item is processed in the transaction file as soon as it is checked in but at check out items are not processed until the enter key is hit (in character-based circulation) or the patron record is closed (in Millennium Circulation). There are many legitimate reasons that the records are in use by the system, however there are times when the records appear to be busy for other reasons and we would like III to investigate this problem or find a way to move the process along more quickly.
Others questioned whether this was happening due to a control issue that III would be in a library’s system and stop control while they were attempting to fix a problem with that system. Amy confirmed for us that it is an III policy to alert a library that III was going to be in a system and stop control for a limited amount of time to fix a problem. (When control is stopped, there is a delay in processing updates to the database.)
Topic 2 – Renewals
A patron wants to renew an item and you get a message that you have reached the maximum number of renewals but no dates show. When you view the item you can see that the renewal has taken place and they have the ability to see the date of renewal. Amy suggested that the problem be reported to the help desk.
Topic 3 – Mystery Checkouts
Two libraries sharing an III system and have two different ptypes. One library is not able to check items out of the other library. These patrons have found that items have been checked out on their record when they do not have the authorization to check items out at that library and they have not even been in the other library.
Many suggestions as to why this was happening were offered. One is that there could be a problem with people doing checkouts by name as opposed to by the patron barcode. Perhaps the person doing the checkouts had been checking items in and did not close out the patron record when going back to check-ins. Several libraries stated they do not allow their students to check patrons out without their ID cards. It could also be a staff error in that they could not get the barcode to scan so it was keyed in and was not keyed correctly. There was also a suggestion that perhaps the patron received the incorrect university issued ID card. (Some libraries have seen this happen at their institution.) Perhaps the book was checked out using the t for title and the incorrect title was selected. There are many reasons why this would happen and no real solutions.
Topic 4 – Checkin/Checkout from Patron record in Mil. Circ
One of the libraries in attendance at this forum suggested that a patron brought something back and they checked it in using the patrons record, then they wanted to check something else out but they could not get back to the check out tab in that persons’ record. This is possible so it was suggested that this institution has a bug that needs to be reported to the help desk.
Topic 5 – Holds/Reserve
Reported as character based problem – Library places a hold on an item to put on reserve. Aren’t we supposed to be able to cancel the hold in the course record? Also when scanning it does not take the in transit message off the item and it must be done in check-in (so you have to leave the course record).
Topic 6 – Claims Returned
If a claimed returned (status z) item is checked in at any location other than the owning location, the status is changed from z to t but the claimed returned notes are not removed from either the patron or item record. Because the status is no longer z when the item is checked in at its owning location, the notes aren’t removed then, either because the notes are only removed from the item/patron records if the status changes from z to -. There’s nothing to alert staff that notes need to be removed at that point, and even if there were it would be inefficient to ask staff to manually remove them then, so we want this to happen automatically. That they don’t is a problem because we can’t delete patron records or withdraw items that have a potential fine associated. Everyone agreed that there is no reason to retain the notes once the item is checked in from status z to any other status.
Topic 7 – Notices
Libraries have started sending notices by e-mail and wanted suggestions of what to do when you get the bounced e-mails back. Kriss suggested that she puts the whole deal into the envelope to let her patrons know why they are not getting the notice via e-mail and then they will usually come in and update their information.
There were many requests to have the ability to see the notices going out on e-mail before they are sent. That was the top request from IUG last year. Amy said that they are working on this at this point but cannot commit to a particular time period or anything like that. Some go in and view the notices under print, then take out those they don’t want to go and then go back and say the notices did not send successfully and then send them via e-mail.
Some libraries send notices both via e-mail and paper so that the patron can not claim that they were not notified that there was a problem with their record.