OWWLUG Meeting: Friday, July 29, 2011

Time Warner outages (Bob and Aaron)

Even when PLS loses its Internet connection, libraries has should still be able to access Evergreen because those servers are in Georgia. However, when PLS is down, that does mean that library WiFi connection is unavailable (because users are authenticated against PLS servers), email is unavailable, access to owwl.org is unavailable, and databases maybe also be unavailable.

To troubleshoot Internet outages and determine who to contact, use your library's copy of the Library Internet Outage Directions flowchart (generic version attached). Each library has a customized version that includes your library’s account number. Using the account number streamlines the support process when speaking with TW. ALERT! If you need a replacement or additional copies of your library's custom flowchart, email Aaron.

Call Bob first for critical problems occurring after PLS hours or the PLS office is closed. If Bob is unavailable (on another call, etc.) then try Betsy.

The Time Warner number printed on the flowchart is a PLS number that re-directs to Time Warner – this ensures that the number on the flowchart is always correct even if TW should change numbers.

Other TW issues:
Wideband upgrades. TW has been talking about wideband upgrades, but has not been forthcoming with information. PLS recommends holding off on any wideband upgrade until tiers/pricing structures stable.

Other PAC issues:

Turning on staff and PAC machines. Within 5 minutes of first starting up PAC machines, they look for Kaspersky updates. When first starting up staff machines/Evergreen, they look for Evergreen updates. Both updates running at the same time can cause network slowdowns. Aaron recommends staggering starting up staff machines and PACs, for example: if you plan to start working in the staff client right away, turn all staff machines on first. Once they are up, turn on PACs.

Check out, modify due dates, and renewals for Inter-Library (out of system) Loans (Kathryn)

Forms for requesting ILLs: Interlibrary Loan Request

ILL items circulate according to rules set by the lending library – the U of R, etc. Due dates and renewals do NOT follow typical PLS standards – so loan periods may be longer than usual or shorter than usual. Look carefully at the due date written on the band wrapping the ILL item. NOTE: this date is the day on which the item should be BACK TO PLS – adjust the date you give to the patron to account for delivery time between your library and PLS. When checking out the item, use the CheckOutSpecificDueDate function, or EditDueDate function.

Also note: some ILL items may NOT allow renewals; do NOT renew an ILL item – contact Kathryn.

ILL due dates are VERY IMPORTANT – we need to get the material back to its owning library on time. If ANY ONE ILL item is 10+ days overdue, this blocks ALL PLS ILL PRIVILEGES – we cannot order any ILLs for ANY patron. The owning libraries typically do NOT like extending due dates.

PLS does not handle ILL requests made for HWS or FLCC items – these requests are made directly from the PLS library to the HWS or FLCC library. PLS is not involved in due dates or renewals. HOWEVER, once an HWS or FLCC ILL is initiated, contact PLS so we can create a brief record for the item for circulation.

TODO: Kathryn and Lindsay will work on a cheat sheet covering ILL circulation: Circulation Inter-Library Loan

Troubleshooting problems using Item Status and Items Out

Both ItemStatus and the list of checkouts in ItemsOut can be used to get almost any piece of information necessary to figure out a problem item or problem loan.

Use Item Status when trying to find information about or take some action on a record for which you have the barcode.

Use Items Out list when trying to find information about a particular loan. Often, questions arise because of a pre-catalog (non-cataloged or mis-scanned) item.

Advanced Search tips

Bibliographic database searching is not like searching Google, Amazon or other sites. It uses indexes not algorithms, very literally matches data in the search string to data in the MARC record, very prone to “garbage in, garbage out” (bad MARC data = bad search results.)
Often, when looking for something without specific information – title, author – it is more effective to start with NoveList or Amazon. These have more sophisticated search engines better equipped for “exploratory” searches. NoveList has the advantage of linking directly to a title record in Evegreen.

When trying exploratory searches in the Evergreen catalog, use these basic strategies:
  • Use Keyword
    • This will match your search string to all parts of the record
  • Start BROAD
    • Note the major keywords within the patron’s request, start with the most general parts
    • If the request is too broad “I want books about dogs” – help them refine their request: dog training, breeding, care, fiction, etc.
  • Add terms gradually
    • Refine your keywords by adding more terms: “dog training” or “harry potter christianity”
  • Add filters carefully
    • Filters limit search results based on codes in the MARC leader fields. Sometimes, this information is wrong, or was created using an out-dated standard.
    • Use filters when dealing with a very large result set, or when you wish to remove a large part of the results quickly. For example, a patron wants only nonfiction vampire books. Use the keyword “vampire” and the non-fiction filter to eliminate the huge amount of vampire fiction materials.
    • Do not add too many filters to one search. Filters may conflict with each other, or, because of bad data
See also: http://plum.pls-net.org/twiki/pub/Evergreen/EvergreenQuickGuides/EG_QG_CatalogAdvancedSearch.pdf and http://plum.pls-net.org/twiki/pub/Evergreen/EvergreenQuickGuides/Reference_searching_tips.pdf

Search for your library’s materials by Shelving Location

To do this is a two-step process:
  1. In Advanced Search, limit the search to your library
  2. Enter search terms (this could be any random term), click Submit Search
  3. Return to Advanced Search – a Shelving Location filter appears at the end of the filters column, select your Location, example: Children’s Picture Books
  4. Enter search terms, click Submit Search

See also: http://plum.pls-net.org/twiki/bin/view/Evergreen/SearchTheCatalogByShelvingLocation

Legacy "Lost" items - Bills and Items Out

Legacy bills for lost items correspond to items in the “Lost, Claimed Returned, long Overdue, Has Unpaid Billings” part of the Items Out list. Due to the way data was migrated from Workflows, the bills and the Item Out entries are NOT related to each other.

After the bill is resolved, the Items Out entry must be cleared. This is done by adding a billing to the Item Out entry, then forgiving the bill. For more information, see: LegacyBills

Legacy Overdue bills do NOT correspond to anything else in the patron record. Currently, the only way to get information about legacy overdue bills is to look the patron up in Workflows.

Negative Balance "bills"

Negative balances typically happen when a Lost item that has been paid for is returned. The system attempts to refund the paid money.

To prevent negative balances, do NOT check in lost items if the bill has been paid. To determine if this si the case, see: CheckInLostItems

To resolve negative balances, you must add a bill to the SPECIFIC LOST ITEM BILL. For more information, see: NegativeBalanceBills

Webpage "Find" function

Whenever you are looking for a specific piece of information in a long webpage - INCLUDING TWiki indexes and pages! - use the "Find" function.

Simply press "Ctrl+F" in any web browser to open a search toolbar. You may also click through the tools menu (this varies depending on your browser.)

Hold denials

Currently, when a patron cannot place a hold – for whatever reason – this is the message they see: "No items were found that could fulfill the requested holds. It's possible that choosing a different format will result in a successful hold. It is also possible that you have exceeded the number of allowable holds. For further information, please consult your local librarian."

Because this is wordy and confusing, PLS will be requesting the following changes be made to the hold denial message:
"Unfortunately, your hold was not able to be placed. The item may not be holdable, or you may have too many holds, or overdue items, or fines. Please call you local library for assistance."
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