Table of Contents
April 2014, Milestone Release 1.5
This document is intended to provide a basic overview of OLE’s circulation features and functions of interest to the circulation librarian. It therefore assumes familiarity with commonly used terms or phrases (e.g., “patron”, “borrower”, “shelving location”, “recall”, “checkin”, “checkout”, etc.). More detailed descriptions of functionality and instructions on using the circulation staff interface are provided in the Guide to OLE Deliver Module. This and other OLE user guides are available from OLE Documentation Portal.
OLE circulation is based on the ability to link patron data to item data in various combinations under various circumstances and conditions. While the combinations are often common to all libraries, circumstances and conditions vary considerably, so OLE allows each library to select a wide range of options to meet local circulation policy requirements, e.g., patron-related blocks, item-related blocks, loan periods, notice types and notice frequency, etc.
Like many other library systems, OLE circulation rules are based on the combination of:
Patron type (e.g., “undergraduate”, “graduate”, “faculty”, “staff”, etc.)
An item’s shelving location (e.g., “Main Library”, “Bookstacks”, etc.)
An item’s item type (e.g., “Book”, “DVD”, “Map”, etc.)
OLE allows as many patron types, locations, and item types as well as the creation of infinite circulation rules. Each institution or library could set up ONE policy that applies to all patron types, all item types, and all shelving locations, or they could set up a policy for each unique combination of the three elements. Each institution could also set up a limited number of policies for various groupings of the three elements—this being the option that most libraries will probably follow.
Libraries apply circulation policies by using the Loan, Return, and Request functions.
OLE provides the features/functions that most circulation librarians would consider essential for any modern, up-to-date system. These include (but are not limited to):
Item Records/Fast Adds
Notices and Other Batch Processes
“My Account” Features for Patrons
OLE allows for the batch ingest of patron records from external sources with the ability to set overlay rules. Operators can also create and update records manually online. Key patron record data includes (but is not limited to):
unique system-generated ID
photo image (optional)
telephone number(s) (texting options available for cell phones in a future release)
data source (to identify external sources)
general block flag (for any reason)
flags to permit delivery, paging or courtesy notice privileges
locally defined statistical category, department/institution affiliation, etc.
Multiple addresses include a flag to indicate the preferred address for receiving notices and deliveries. Libraries can by default grant delivery and paging privileges by patron type, but turn these on or off for any individual patron. [See Requests for more information on delivery and paging.] Patrons can also elect to NOT receive courtesy notices (e.g., return reminders when items near their due date/time).
The patron barcode is the identifier when a patron initiates a circulation transaction. Patron barcodes are unique, can be distinguished from item barcodes, and can be subject to check-digit routines (local option).
Item records in OLE contain the unique barcode which identifies each physical object presented for a circulation transaction. Item barcodes can be distinguished from patron barcodes and can be subject to check-digit routines (local option).
Item records also contain other circulation-related data such as shelving location, item type, item status, piece count (at Return, a number of pieces > 1 results in a prompt to count the pieces in the item), and checkin note (appears at Return to prompt the operator to follow special directions/procedures for this item).
From the Loan screen, operators can quickly create a brief bibliographic and item record for any item presented without a barcode. Such records are flagged as “fast add” and require entry of a checkin note to the item so that upon Return the item can be routed to the appropriate staff for follow-up.
Circulation Desks are the work areas that provide services for items in designated shelving locations. Desks can be established to handle any circulation transactions for any item at any shelving location or be limited to items from designated shelving location. Each shelving location is assigned to a Circulation Desk as its “home”. If so configured, items returned to a Desk other than its “home” will be put into an “in transit” status for routing to its “home”.
Operators are authorized to work at designated Circulation Desks and identify at login the Circulation Desk at which they work (or accept the one assigned by default). Supervisors authorized for multiple Circulation Desks can thus switch back and forth as needed.
Each Circulation Desk has certain parameters:
OLE requires library staff to establish at least one Circulation Desk but they can establish as many as they need to.
An operator can perform check-out and renew transactions from the Loan Interface. A loan transaction is completed with the relevant data displaying for the operator including the due date, etc. if appropriate circulation policies are applied and no blocks exist on either the patron account or item record. Any successful loan transaction also updates the item status in the item record.
When the system cannot determine an applicable circulation policy, the operator can still loan the item by entering a due date/time manually. Also, authorized operators can change due dates by editing the loan transaction.
The Loan screen also displays all items previously loaned to the patron. Selecting any one of these permits the operator to perform a renewal (assuming that the circulation policy permits renewals and there are no applicable blocks on the patron or the item). OLE supports the ability of patrons to perform their own renewals. See My Account Features for Patrons for more details.
The Loan screen also allows the operator to mark an item on loan as “claims returned” when the patron believes the item has been returned. A note is included to explain any details.
Loans or renewals can be blocked for a number of reasons. Most of the values that cause blocks are locally defined. A partial list of blocks includes:
Patron record has expired
Patron record has a general block
Patron has the maximum number of items on loan
Patron has the maximum number of overdue items
Patron has the maximum number of overdue recalled items
Patron owes an amount in excess of the maximum allowed
Item cannot be loaned by policy
Item cannot be renewed by policy
Item has been renewed the maximum number of times
Item cannot be loaned at this Circulation Desk
An operator initiates a Return transaction by entering the item barcode. Assuming no notifications or exceptions, the system displays details of the returned item and then allows for entry of the next item barcode. Operators can back-date the return due dates/time as needed (often used to process items returned while the library was closed).
If an item is visibly damaged, the operator can set a flag to record this information.
Returning an item removes the loan transaction (i.e., the link between patron and item is removed) and creates a circulation history record that archives all the necessary data about the loan. An option exists to include or exclude patron-specific data from the history record. Another option is to create a temporary circulation history record for the purpose of allowing patrons to view their previous loans. This record, if it exists, does include patron-specific data; these can be purged by a batch process run on a locally-determined schedule limited to records of a specified age.
Returning an item also updates the item status in the item record. If the Circulation Desk has defined an interval between return and reshelving, the item status becomes “Recently Returned” (or whatever literal is wanted). After the interval, a batch process changes the item status to “Available” (or whatever literal is wanted).
During Return, the system also applies any overdue policies that may be in effect, e.g., if fines are charged per day/hour, the Return transaction calculates the amount and creates an overdue fine bill; this is then sent to the patron after running a batch process See Notices and Other Batch Processes for more information.
Return also captures any pending request(s) for a returned item and prompts the operator to act accordingly. Check-in notes in an item also appear to the operator at the time of Return.
OLE allows requests of various types to be placed on items. The request types are:
Recall/Hold: allows a patron to request an item on loan to another patron, thereby potentially shortening that patron’s loan period; when returned, the item is placed “on hold” at the Circulation Desk (i.e., the “pick-up location”) specified by the requesting patron; an availability notice is sent to the patron.
Recall/Delivery*: allows a patron to request an item on loan to another patron, thereby potentially shortening that patron’s loan period; when returned, item is automatically loaned to the requesting patron, a mailing label is generated, and the item is physically sent to the requesting patron’s preferred street address.
Hold/Hold: allows a patron to request an item on loan to another patron without shortening that patron’s loan period; when returned, item placed “on hold” at the Circulation Desk (i.e., the “pick-up location”) specified by the requesting patron; an availability notice is sent to the patron.
Hold/Delivery*: allows a patron to request an item on loan to another patron without shortening that patron’s loan period; when returned, item is automatically loaned to the requesting patron, a mailing label is generated, and the item is physically sent to the requesting patron’s preferred street address.
Page/Hold*: allows a patron to request that an available item be paged; when retrieved, item is placed “on hold” at the Circulation Desk (i.e., the “pick-up location”) specified by the requesting patron; an availability notice is sent to the patron.
Page/Delivery*: allows a patron to request that an available item be paged; when retrieved, item is automatically loaned to the requesting patron, a mailing label is generated, and the item is physically sent to the requesting patron’s preferred street address.
Copy: allows a patron to request that a print or electronic copy be made of an item (or portion thereof). Copy requests are routed to designated staff for manual fulfillment.
*Delivery and/or paging privileges may be set to apply—or not—to all patrons or all patrons of a particular borrower type. These privileges may also be granted on an individual basis (e.g., a physically disabled patron) as desired.
For now, OLE supports requests at the individual item level. Title-level requests are planned for a future release.
OLE supports the ability of patrons to place their own requests. See My Account Features for Patrons for more details.
OLE provides a number of batch processes to generate patron notices, bills, and perform other maintenance functions. Notices and bills can be emailed or printed for mailing. Batch process schedules are locally configurable to support a variety of institutional needs. These include:
Overdue notices, due date reminder notices*, expired hold notices*, on hold notices
Replacement fee bills (for lost items, i.e., long-overdue items with the maximum number of overdue notices sent) and overdue fine bills (recorded at the time of Return)
Changing “Recently Returned” item status to “Available” after the designated interval for each Circulation Desk
Purging temporary circulation history records
Generating a report of on hold items now beyond the expiration date
*Considered “courtesy” notices, libraries can decide to send these or not. Also, if such are sent, a flag in the patron record can be set so that no courtesy notices are generated for that patron.
OLE has been designed so that certain circulation-related functions can be performed by patrons themselves using a library’s public user interface. This includes login, renewing loaned items, making requests, viewing lists of previously borrowed items, viewing a list of bills, requesting or making address changes, etc.
In order to offer these functions, a library’s public user interface will need to be properly configured so that it can exchange messages and data with OLE using NCIP (NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol).