2. Circulation/Notices

Question: How is the book drop date is determined? Is it the last open date for the checkout branch? Is it today's date minus one? Can the book drop checkin date be set?

Answer: If the library is closed for four days for renovations, for example, there would be more than one day needed for the book drop date. You will only have one book drop date and that will be the last day that the library open (determined by the holiday calendar) because there is no real way to know what day the books were dropped into the box during the 4 closed days. The only way to change the effective checkin date in book drop mode is to modify the calendar.

Question: What is the difference between the Holds Queue and Holds to Pull?

Answer: The holds to pull report gives a simple list of what holds need to be filled with available items. It should only be used in Koha installations where there is only one library.

The holds queue tries to do the same thing, but in a 'smarter' way. This allows it to split up the list by library, consult the transport cost matrix and refresh regularly to provide different pull lists to each library.

Question: Why are patrons getting two overdue notices?

Answer: This tool takes all branches in the overdue rules and sent notifications to them. So, if you have a default rule & a branch rule, the notification will be generated twice. A quick fix is to discard "default rule" for instance.

Question: Can I print overdue notices for patrons without email addresses on file?

Answer: Yes. The overdue notice cron job has a setting to generate the overdue notices as HTML for printing. An example of this usage would be:

overdue_notices.pl -t -html /tmp/noticedir -itemscontent issuedate,date_due,title,barcode,author 

In this example, we wanted to use only certain item fields in our notices, so we specified itemscontent fields in the cron entry; that's not a requirement for the feature.

The command line needs to specify a web-accessible directory where the print notices will go -- they get a filename like notices-2009-11-24.html (or holdnotices-2009-11-24.html). The overdue notice itself can be formatted to fit a Z-mailer. Within the notice file, the text is spaced down or over to where it will print properly on the form. The script has code that wraps around the notice file to tell the HTML to obey the formatting, and to do a page break between notices. That's so that when staff print it out, they get one per page. We had to add an extra syspref (PrintNoticesMaxLines) to specify page length because our client allows a _lot_ of checkouts which meant some notices were running onto multiple pages. That syspref says to truncate the print notice at that page length and put in a message about go check your OPAC account for the full list.

The print and email overdues use the same notice file. The print notices for holds are different -- there's a separate HOLD_PRINT notice file and the system uses it if there's no email address. Then a nightly cron job runs to gather those up from the message queue and put them in an HTML file in the notice directory, as above.

The cron entry is gather_print_notices.pl /tmp/noticedir

Question: We're trying to renew some items for our patron. One of the items is on hold and ineligible for renewal, but the other two items refuse to renew even though they should be eligible. When I try to use the override renewal limit, it just returns a little message that says "renewal failed". Any idea what's going on here?

Answer: At the very least you will need to set an absolute default circulation rule. This rule should be set for the default itemtype, default branchcode and default patron category. That will catch anyone who doesn't match a specific rule. Patrons who do not match a specific rule will get blocked from placing holds or renewing items, since there was no baseline number of holds or renewals to utilize.

Question: Why can't I place holds when I have all of the preferences turned on.

Answer: You probably need to set a default circulation rule. At the very least you will need to set an default circulation rule. This rule should be set for all item types, all branches and all patron categories. That will catch all instances that do not match a specific rule. When checking out if you do not have a rule for the default branch, default item and default patron category then you may see patrons getting blocked from placing holds.

Question: Do I have to use my mouse to access the checkout, checkin and cataloging tabs at the top of the circulation pages?

Answer: You can jump between the tabs on the quick search box at the top of the screen by using the following hot keys (if the tab is available):

  • jump to the catalog search with Alt+Q

  • jump to the checkout with Alt+U

    • this will not work for Mac user

  • jump to the checkin with Alt+R

Note

Mac users use the OPTION button in place of ALT

Question: I want Koha to send notices via SMS, what do I need to do?

Answer: First you need to choose a SMS service to use with Koha. There is a list available here: http://search.cpan.org/search?query=sms%3A%3Asend&mode=all Not all SMS services available to libraries have Perl drivers, so be sure to check this list to see if the provider you're considering is listed. If not you want to ask your provider if they have a Perl module, if not you should consider another service. Some common options in the US (that have Perl drivers) are:

Question: What about in India?

Answer: India does not yet have too many options here. This is partly due to the Telecom regulatory authority's (TRAI) stipulations about transactional SMSes and limits on the number of SMSes that may be sent / received per users per day. India specific drivers include: