MassLNC October 2013 Update
The Evergreen developers released the beta version of 2.5 at the end of September. The beta release is when new features are cut off for a specific release and gives us a definitive idea of what features will be available. Please note that your library will not see these features until your consortium upgrades to 2.5 (or, in the case of MVLC, during your next update), and the timing of this upgrade varies by consortium.
In the last MassLNC update, I reported that an alphabetical browse, funded by MassLNC and Bibliomation, as well as catalog links to a library's web site would be part of 2.5. Other highlights are below:
A catalog that displays well on mobile devices came out of a developer hack-a-way in Grand Rapids, MI last month. I attended the hack-a-way along with Jason Stephenson from MVLC and Dan Pearl from C/W MARS. The mobile catalog working group made the catalog more responsive by allowing it to resize and reposition elements as the screen size shrinks. The group also set a goal of not losing any functionality when the screen size is reduced. With more and more people using mobile devices as their primary device, our hope is this project goes a long way in making the more usable to more people. Read more information about this project, including screenshots, on the Evergreen web site.
Billing & Long Overdue Development
Georgia PINES sponsored development to support native long overdue functionality in Evergreen. This project was similar in scope to a project that came out of the MassLNC development ideas process and enabled MassLNC to reallocate its development funds to address other billing needs (more below). This development will allow sites to easily configure their systems so that items that have been overdue for a long time can automatically be set to a long overdue status instead of being set to lost. Sites will also have the option to decide whether or not they want to bill for an item when the status is set to long overdue.
The following billing development projects will also be available in 2.5:
- The ability to block checkouts for a patron based on the number of long overdue items they have checked out (sponsored by MassLNC). The ability to create a similar block for lost items is also introduced in 2.5, but this project was sponsored by Bibliomation.
- Also sponsored by Bibliomation is an option to include lost items in the total Items Out count that displays in the patron record.
- A setting will be available allowing libraries to list lost and claims returned items in the top pane of the Items Out screen. There will also be an option to exclude items with outstanding bills from appearing in the Items Out screen if those items have been returned. (sponsored by MassLNC)
- The staff client has an option to disallow payments by credit. The option to convert change into a patron credit will also be hidden in the patron editor when this option is enabled. (sponsored by MassLNC)
- Checked-out, Long Overdue and Lost items will now use different colors to make them more distinguishable for the user. (sponsored by MassLNC)
Patrons may now fill out a web-based form to create pending user accounts. When enabled, a Request Library Card link will appear on the home page of the patron catalog. The goal is to make the registration process more efficient by allowing the patron to provide much of the registration details in advance of registering with staff. The user account will have no privileges until staff approve the account.
- A copy location limiter will be available on the advanced search page.
- Wrong-shelf holds will be included on the report to clear shelf-expired items.
- When using the staff client, the font size in the catalog will be adjustable by using the Ctrl key with + or -. A user preference will also be available to set the default font size.
- Serials alerts will be available and will be visible at receiving time.
- In acquisitions, the cancel reason will now be visible from the main PO page, making it easier to distinguish between lineitems that are really canceled and those that are just backordered.
- Acquisitions staff will have the ability to activate an order without immediately loading live copies into the catalog.
As a result of the spring development ideas process, MassLNC will soon be seeking quotes for a handful of small development projects. We are also in the process of scheduling meetings to further discuss some other circulation and public catalog development projects that came out of the ideas process. Separate groups are also being convened to specifically discuss development opportunities for acquisitions, course reserves, reports and serials.
The test server for the MassLNC-sponsored performance evaluation has been up and running for a few weeks, and our consultants from OmniTI have begun their work. The expected timeline for the project is 2 1/2 months. However, the OmniTI folks have already sent suggestions for improvements on some database queries to the community. The developer community has been providing good feedback to the OmniTI consultants and has already been looking at ways to incorporate their suggestions into Evergreen.
Next year's MassLNC Conference will be held Thursday, May 29 at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill. We are currently assembling a committee of network and library staff to begin planning the conference. We hope to see many of you there!