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ANSER Training: FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Symphony

Workflows

Q: How can I track the history of an item?

A. Send me the item ID and I can run a report of activity on the item for the past 60 days

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Q: A patron claims they never got a call about their hold

A: Go to the DISPLAY USER HOLDS wizard, and at the bottom, select INACTIVE for holds. Select the item with a left click and look for the notified date. If they are notified by email let me know the date and I can check the Smartermail logs.

Notified field contains date for Available Holds only (both robocall and e-mail)

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Q: What causes a block on a patron's record?

A. A $10 fine or bill will cause the patron's record to have a status of blocked

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Q: How does the patron reading history feature in Enterprise work?

A. A patron cannot opt-in from Enterprise, they have to do it at the library. Youth cannot have their histories saved, and adults have the option. In the Modify User Wizard, select NOHISTORY or ALLCHARGES under Charge History Rule on the Basic Info Tab. Youth will have CIRCRULE in this field.

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Q: What is the user cat 3 field under Demographics (Modify User Wizard) used for?

A: Envisionware software; only the patron's home library should change it

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Q:  How do loan rules and holds work?

A:--When holds are placed via Enterprise, the hold rules on -L items work precisely: those items can only fulfill requests made by patrons of the item-owning library. It does not matter where the patron is placing the request; and it does not matter what pickup location they specify.

--When holds are placed on behalf of a patron by staff in WorkFlows, the system considers the person placing the request to be a patron of the library that logged into WorkFlows. Therefore if I am a Warwick staff person placing a request on behalf of a Florida patron, the system will treat that as a request made by a Warwick patron.

--In the above example, any -O item can fill the request; and Warwick's -L item could fill the request.

Giving one patron priority over another in satisfying a hold queue is a separate calculation that only effects -O items. It gives priority to patrons of the library that owns the copy that is trapped to fill holds. (The exception is Nyack and Valley Cottage, due to their cooperative service agreement).

Where the request was made in WorkFlows for a patron from another library and your library has -L copies, all the requests made by your patrons would take priority over that foreign request if that -L is trapped to fill the hold.

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Q: If there is an item in transit to fill my patron's hold, and our copy is discharged, will our copy fill the hold?

A: This system is set to trap the hold with the first available item, so when discharging an item, the item can try to trap a hold that already has something on the way in transit.

The item being discharged will essentially look at all the holds that are not yet completely trapped and do not already have an item available for pickup. This could include some holds which already have an item in transit for a hold for pickup at the same library as the discharge library.

If one of the holds is for pickup at the owning library it will indeed immediately fill that hold as the system is set to fill their own holds first. Once the transit item arrives, it will either be sent back in transit to the owning library, or possibly may be used to fill another hold if there are other holds on the title at this point.

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Q: How long do we keep paid bills information?

A: Paid Bills info is kept for a period of 6 months. The Display User shows their unpaid bills by default. If you scroll down to the bottom of the unpaid bills, you'll see the dropdown "Bills" and you can change it from default to "All" or "Paid" and then you can see their paid bills.

ANSER POLICY: 3/4/2015

  • ANSER Policy: Previous Borrower information will stay on an item record for 15 days and then will be deleted by a weekly routine.
  • ANSER Policy: Inactive holds (Expired on hold shelf, cancelled by staff or by user) will be removed after 45 days by a routine run weekly.
  • ANSER Policy: Paid bill entries older than 6 months will be deleted on a monthly basis.

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Q: Is it true that I can't take money for overdues if the items are still checked out?

A: TRUE, the fines are still accruing, you can't take money until those items are checked in

note (thanks Dina!) If an overdue item is renewed by a staff member, the accrued fines will then be able to be collected and cleared from the patron's account.

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Q: What is the procedure for emergency closed days?

A: ANSER procedure should be to:

1)      Continue to report to RCLS all days for which you want no fines charged. They will be entered as Closed dates and will be skipped when calculating overdue fines.

2)      On the day AFTER a closed day, use Bookdrop Discharge and backdate checkins to the last date you were open. This will forgive fines for items due when you were closed.

Details:

Clarification of Unexpected Closing and Fine Calculation

Setting a Closed date in a Symphony Library account record has the effect of subtracting that date during the calculation of the overdue fine, i.e. the interval between the due date and the return date.

However, if the date being set to Closed is the due date itself, the system will not automatically extend the due date-it remains the same.

Examples:

Item due on 11/20. Bad weather on 11/20 causes that date to be set as a Closed date. Items returned on 11/21 are still one day overdue. Items returned on 11/22 are two days overdue, etc.

Item due on 11/20. Bad weather on 11/21 causes that date to be set as a Closed date. Item is then returned on 11/22--it is calculated as one day overdue, because 11/21 was skipped in calculating the fine.

Given this logic, ANSER procedure should be to:

1)      Continue to report to RCLS all days for which you want no fines charged. They will be entered as Closed dates and will be skipped when calculating overdue fines.

2)      On the day AFTER a closed day, use Bookdrop Discharge and backdate checkins to the last date you were open. This will forgive fines for items due when you were closed.

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Q: If an item becomes LOST or is Damaged, do fines remain on the item?

A: Yes

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Q: How long do LOST or MISSING items stay in the system?

A: They are deleted after 2 years

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Q: What does the Exempt user status mean? 

A: Exempt means that the user will not be set to Delinquent or Blocked due to fines, no matter what amount they are. it is the User Profile configuration that determines whether fines are charged at all.

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Q: What does the COLLECTION user status mean?

A: The user status COLLECTION means that a patron's account has been sent to a Collection Agency. I don't think any of our libraries have that automated--I've never seen a user record with that status (which I think may only be set by a certain report that is run and then sent to a library collection agency.)

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Q: How are LOST items handled:

A: - an item is LOST if it is checked out to a person and not returned for 90 days
- If you manually mark an item as LOST using the Mark Item Lost wizard, the items remains checked out (but inactive) with  a location of LOST-CLAIM. 


-Claims Returned items stay checked out forever (not related to LOST CLAIM)
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Q: At the last CTUG meeting, I was given examples of items that has a Last Date Charged that was a later date than the Last Activity. Since a checkout is considered in Symphony as one of the activity triggers, the question was how this could happen.

Examples: 32825000149288  Date last charged: 8/9/2004   Last activity:  6/7/1997

32825000050296  Date last charged: 5/12/2003   Last activity:  6/7/1997

 A: The answer is that these dates migrated over from the Horizon system in 2011; and the "Last activity" set in Symphony came from the Horizon item field "Date Modified." In Horizon, that "Date Modified" field only indicated a change to the item record fields, not circ activity. So in Horizon, the Date Modified could be earlier than the last date charged.

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Q: I am a staff member, why do I have fines?

A: Setting a User Status to Exempt only prevents Symphony from changing the status automatically to Delinquent or Blocked based on overdues or unpaid bills.  To stop Symphony from creating any bills, the User Profile must be one that is set by ANSER Administrators to not change fines.

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Q: The Library was closed Christmas Day, why did we give a hold shelf pickup date of only 5 days?

A: Hold Shelf expiration is always 5 days, unless the 5th day is a closed day, then they get an extra day.

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Q: What's the procedure for multi part items?

A: Use the "Number of pieces" field in item records for tape/disc packages, to indicate the number of tapes, discs, etc.

 Use Circ Note to alert staff to check for different components of a package, like "Book and CD", "Booklet included", etc.

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Q: Under what circumstances can I use Barred Status?

A: ANSER meeting 12/15, manually set BARRED when there is no contact info for the patron

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Q: If an item is MISSING will it accept holds?

A: If there are existing holds on an item and it gets set to MISSING, those holds stay even if it's the last available copy. New holds can't be placed.

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One frequent question we get about Symphony is why you can't see a setting for an item that will tell it's circulation settings, i.e. loan period, fine rate, etc.
 
The reason for this is that Symphony does not calculate those settings until it knows the User Profile of the user to whom the item is being checked out. This is needed by many Symphony sites, especially colleges, where the same item will be checked out with different settings to undergrads, grad students, and faculty.
 
ANSER also needs the User Profile to calculate circulation settings in order to enforce Direct Access restrictions between individual libraries; and to accommodate Local-use only cards.
 
At checkout, Symphony looks up these settings in a table called the Circulation Map. The link below leads to the current Circulation Map--although this changes on a nearly daily basis, since libraries request Item Type changes, and we are still assisting libraries in changing -L item types.
 
All the rules that apply to All User Profiles are listed at the top of the table. When Symphony needs to look up a rule, it will read the table from bottom to top, always selecting the more specific rule over the more general rule.
 
ANSER Circulation Map  (this will be old - 3/14/16, left as a sample)
 
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Enterprise

Q: Why is this Book on CD not showing up in Enterprise?

A. In this case, the item had been missing and was shadowed. It was recently checked in and Enterprise hadn't caught up yet.

Also, an item that is shadowed is not searcheable in Enterprise, or BROWSE in Workflows

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Q: I keep getting a status of unknown on my Mac (older iPad)

A: This is a known problem with Safari V.5. Apple doesn't provide a way to upgrade the browser, and that level doesn't work with our level of Enterprise. The fix is to install Chrome or Firefox.

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Q: How do fines work in Enterprise?

A. If you renew an item in My Account and it was overdue, that amount will show immediately after you renew. If the item is discharged at the library, that also causes the fine to be listed. Accrueing fines won't show up until one of those two things happen.

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OVERDRIVE

Q: If I get a new card in Symphony, what happens to the holds I have in Overdrive?

A: Overdrive's patron accounts are totally separate from Symphony. So when an ANSER patron receives a new card number, Overdrive must be notified to merge any active efile requests from the old card to the new.

This is done using the Help form at:

http://frontline.overdrive.com/?Lib=Ramapo%20Catskill%20Library%20System

On the form, select the issue category "Account - Replaced Card"  and in the description of the issue, indicate her OLD card number (which should be in the PREVIOUS_ID field of her record).

 

 

 

Checkout Counters

This Ongoing Checkouts number refers to the checkouts since Symphony

This Total Charges number includes Horizon + Symphony

Rules about maintaining patron info

As of 3/15

 

Currently these are the rules:

- Previous User ID on item records: Removed 2 weeks after last item activity date by a routine that is run weekly.

SITUATION 1
If person A borrows an item and returns it on time person A becomes the previous user. If the item is reshelved and no one borrows it person A will remain the previous user and her/his personal information will remain connected to that item for 2 weeks


SITUATION 2
If person A borrows an item, returns it on time and it is borrowed by person B, person A will become the previous user and her/his personal information will remain connected to that item for 2 weeks

SITUATION 3
If person A borrows an item, returns it on time and it is borrowed by person B, who subsequently returns it and the item is borrowed by person C, person A will be replaced by person B as the previous user and personal information of person B will be linked to the item for 2 weeks

- Inactive Holds (holds that have been filled, cancelled, or expired): Removed after 3 months by a routine that is run weekly.

The personal information of anyone placing a hold on an item will remain linked to that item for 90 days regardless of whether the item is borrowed (filled), cancelled (by the person or staff) or expired (not picked up).

- Paid Bills: Removed after 6 months by a routine that is run weekly.

The personal information of anyone borrowing an item, who incurs a fine or fee and pays the full amount, will have their personal information linked to that item for 6 (six) months (180 days).