Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes


Currently, there are three areas for this type of information:

Messages Tab

Other Tab > Notes

Edit Tab > Alert Message


One interface to rule them all so that they are easier to find and understand. For example, have "message to patron" be a choice in messages not a separate entity.


Planned development


Re: Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes

These are technically three different types of information, and there isn't (to my knowledge) a good way to represent them in one interface. Do you have a suggestion that might work, based on the below information?

The Messages tab is technically standing penalties, and is somewhat badly named as a result. The fact that Alerts and Notes are standing penalty types is besides the point. Standing penalties can be created at multiple levels of the org tree and be visible only at those levels and below, so something created at one branch may not be visible at others. Standing penalties have a type and an optional note, but no title, but can alert, block circs/holds/etc, or be informational. Also, blocking and alerting are two different flags at this point, so something can block without telling staff. Local types can be created that automatically float to specific points in the org tree as well.

The "Notes" interface is always global and never alerts, but in theory can be made patron visible (but I don't think the OPAC does anything with that currently). These have a title and a note, both of which I think (but have not verified) are required.

The "Alert Message" is actually on the patron record, is also always global, but always alerts and has no title. Of the three this is the only one I think is a candidate for removal, but in some systems it is the only way to get a global alert to fire due to the way standing penalties are configured. In addition, the only permission that grants the ability to edit this is the ability to edit the patron in general, compared to the others that have their own permissions (or in the case of standing penalties can be 100% automatic).

Re: Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes


I don't think we need a specific suggestion yet on how this information should be presented. My guess is that it will take quite a bit of time to work out what an ideal interface is. But I have heard there is an interest in improving the way this information is presented, and, with this first step, I think we just need to hear how loud the cry is for improvement.

Thanks for the information Tom. It lays some groundwork for the issues we should be considering if we decide to proceed with this enhancement.

Re: Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes


MassLNC's current project description is available at

See also the discussion at

Re: Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes


Moving this project to the Planned area of the site since the development committee has identified this project that might receive funding for FY18. Adding a note that, although helpful, the old requirements are really outdated. Any new work witll be done in the web client, and we also have the addition of messages in the patron message center to consider. The discussion on the linked bug also suggests an alternate method to what we had proposed.

Re: Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes

Feedback on Draft Requirements:

  1. Each alert should also automatically store the UserID and Workstation Location of the staff person.
  2. I'd also like to mention Bug - current penalty types are set up with an Org Depth so that consortiums should be able to determine whether alerts are displayed to staff at the same branch or system where the alert was applied, or to the entire consortium. However, it doesn't actually work (PINES has ours set to 0 which is consortium level, but they are only appearing to people at the same branch). This new development should either have an option to set what level a new alert should be displayed at, or a decision should be be made to show all alerts to everyone.
  3. I don't like the popup alerts option - I much prefer having the alerts appear in red on the left so that they are visible to staff regardless of which patron screen they are looking at.





Re: Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes


In our original requirements, we had talked about merging the patron alerts and notes into one entity, but keeping the messages as a separate thing. In the Launchpad bug report to which I linked in an earlier comment, Jason Etheridge was suggested that we merge patron notes and messages. I'm wondering if we can find a way to merge all three in such a way that staff doesn't have to think about which entity to use.

Perhaps we have a "add note" or "add message" function that provides the following options:

- public or not

- alert or not

- the depth at which the message should display (branch, system, consortium)

Following up on what Terran said in #2, as of now (when it's working properly), the depth is identified when creating the penalty type, and staff then need to remember to select the correct message type when they first create the message. I think it might be a little more intutive if they first select a generate create message option and then select the depth at which it displays as they select the other options.

For #3, I agree that alerts should display in the left sidebar as should the patron notes. I think we have staff who do like to use the popup alert, though, for some types of messages.


Re: Consolidate patron alerts, messages, and notes

I'd prefer merging all of them into one interface. The trickiest part might be retaining the Patron Message Center history/archive that indicates whether or not the patron read / deleted the message. Maybe keep that part on its own screen since it's already in a different location than where the message is created.