Koha Tips (Some may only apply to Lincoln)




Koha – New and Updated Information No. 2          June 16, 2011

Check In Tip  (from Maria L. /PTFS)

  • Refresh the Check In screen frequently to help with response time.  A good ‘rule of thumb’ to follow for now would be every time you start to check in from the next shelf on a book cart it’s time to Refresh the screen (roughly every 25 to 75 items).  To refresh just click on the big Koha in the upper left and then select Check In and be sure to checkmark the ‘Forgive Overdue Charges’ box.  If you are checking in non-print items perhaps refresh every 3 to 4 baskets.

Check Out Tips

  • After scanning a customer’s library card ask them their name to verify that you are in the correct record. (from Briony Z./Gere).
  • For privacy reasons whenever you need to verify customer information you must ask them to repeat their address, phone, birth date, etc.  Absolutely do not repeat the information to them to ask if it is current  –  ask them to give the information to you.  This may be a new habit you need to adopt.

Hold Notifications (email) – now shows the Hold Expiration date.

Advance Notification – for those with email notification

  • A separate email is sent for each item that will be due in 3 days.
  • The email now displays the due date.
  • If customer consistently checks out a considerable amount of material they may be getting a lot of separate Advance Notification emails.  If they would rather have all the items listed in one email, they may use the Digest mode under the Patron Messaging Preferences.  However, the due date will NOT be displayed in this mode.
  • To change the Patron Messaging Preferences:

ü  Go to the Details Tab in the patron record

ü  Click on ‘Edit’ just below the box of choices

ü  Advance Notice is the last item listed – checkmark the box in the Digests Only?

Lost items on Customer Record

  • Items that reach the status of ‘Lost’ will appear on the Fines Tab and the Lost Items Tab.
  • They also appear on the Check Out screen.
  • When the items have been paid for or waived (writeoff) then staff must immediately go to the Lost Items Tab on the customer’s record and delete them.

ü  Column.

ü  Click the ‘Save’ button.

Holds Queue

  • The Holds Queue updates every 2 hours on the odd-numbered hour.
  • For example — If you display (or print) the list at 9:10 am you will not see any changes until after 11:00am.   This means any items run through regular check-in remain on the list until after 11:00 am.  If you use the check-in function directly on the list, it disappears immediately.
  • Newly requested items will not appear until the next update.  For example – if a customer places a request for an item that is available at 9:30 am, it will not appear on a list until after 11:00 am.

Credits and Refunds

  • A credit  may already exist on a customer record, or you may create a credit for an item that had been paid for and now returned (within 6 months).
  • If you refund money from the cash register you must then ‘Create Manual Invoice’ for the same amount.
  • Use the drop down menu for Type and select ‘Refund’ (a newly added type).
  • Scan in the barcode.
  • Enter the title in description.
  • Enter the amount of the refund.
  • This will ‘zero out’ the credit.

Replacement library cards

  • If you issue a replacement library card  to a customer you must scan it on their record in two different places.  First in the cardnumber field, and second in the OPAC login field.  Be sure to click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the entry.

OPAC Login and Password

  • When migrating from Horizon to Koha the OPAC login field was filled in with the library card barcode number to be consistent with Horizon.  The Horizon PIN was used for the password field.  We would prefer to maintain these for the sake of consistency.
  • However, the Login can be anything that is at least 1 and up to 14 characters – numbers, letters, or a combination of letters and numbers.
  • Customers may not change their Login, but if they really object to entering 14 digits staff may offer to change it as long as it fits within the parameters above.
  • The password can be changed by the customer.  This is the only item on their record they can change themselves.  It must be at least 4 and up to 14 characters – numbers, letters, or a combination of letters and numbers.

Book Club Bags

  • The checkout due date has been corrected to allow for 8 weeks.  Those that had a 3-week date due have been corrected.

Koha – New and Updated Information No. 3               June 24, 2011

From Pat Sloan, Circulation Librarian. Lincoln City Libraries

Card Numbers

  • Previous card numbers are retained by Koha.  There is field on the right side of the patron’s full details where they are kept.  For example, if someone has lost their card and gets a new one, the previous card number will appear in that field.  Be aware that  card can still be scanned in and used.  Staff will see the message “Warning: Scanned Old Card.”  However, the 3M SelfChecks, the homemade SelfChecks, and Envisionware all allowed the card to be used.   I have notified PTFS of this problem because I can’t remove the previous number.
  • Almost any series of numbers and/or letters can be used in the card number field.  For most of the staff patron accounts as well as the fake patron accounts I have been using numbers like 2304523045####.  I have even put in ‘lostcard’ and it worked.  However, you can only use ‘lostcard’ one time.  I tried to assign ‘lostcard’ to another account and the system did not allow it.
  • Customer accounts without a cardnumber in Horizon show up in Koha with ‘00000XXX######’ as the cardnumber since that field must be filled in with something.

Date Hold was Placed

  • You can find the date a hold was placed in two ways.
  • On the customer account it appears in the list of Holds for the customer under the column labeled ‘Placed.”
  • In the catalog under the bibliographic record, select the Holds Tab and then scroll down to find the list of customers on the Hold list.  The column labeled ‘Date’ is the date it was placed.

Home Library vs. Current Library and Last Seen Date

  • In the catalog bibliographic record each copy of an item is listed in the Holdings.
  • The Home Library is the permanent location of that item.
  • The Current Library is the temporary location when it is sent to another branch to fill a Hold or is returned to a branch other than the Home Library.  This is a totally new concept for us but useful once you get used to it.  Just be aware that the moment an item is scanned to fill a Hold at a different branch that becomes the Current Library even though it has not yet arrived there.  It remains as the Current Library during the checkout period.  Once the item is returned and checked-in, the Current Library becomes the same as the Home Library if it is in transit back to its Home, or another branch if it is in transit to another branch to fill a different Hold.
  • If the Hold is filled from the Home Library or returned to the Home Library then it doesn’t change.
  • On the Item bibliographic record there is a section labeled ‘History’ and a line labeled ‘Last seen.’  The date on that line indicates the date it was scanned to go to a different library or stay at the Home Library.

Use Correct Check In Date

  • It is important to use the correct date when checking in because it is reflected as the ‘Last Seen’ date as mentioned in the section above.
  • When delivery arrives those cart should be labeled with the date the delivery arrived.  The same date would then be used if the items are checked in that same day.  However, if there is a backlog, and that cart does not get checked in until the following day, then the more current date should be used.  This is useful if you are looking at the item record to see how recently the item was scanned in.  It’s a bit deceiving at this time since we are using the check in rather than In House Use, but even then it is a clue the item might be on a To Be Shelved Cart.

Cancel Holds Already on the Hold Shelf or In Transit

  • To cancel a Hold that is ‘waiting’ or ‘in transit’ go to the customer’s account and then to the Holds list.  Under the ‘Priority’ column click on the down arrow for that title and select ‘cancel.’  You will get a pop-up window that says “This is currently on the hold shelf. Are you sure you w nt to cancel the hold?”  Click on ‘OK’ and also on the ‘Update Holds’ button at the bottom of the list to completely cancel the Hold.

Patron Hold History

  • The Hold History on the patron account shows Holds that have been filled.
  • There are additional buttons on that screen to show Expired Holds and Cancelled Holds.

Patron can have 2 Holds for the Same Item

  • We allow a customer to have more than one Hold for the same item.  This allows a patron to request multiple copies of issues of a magazine or a copies of a multi-volume set.
  • Staff are able to do this in the staff client.  Customers may also do this from an OPAC within the library, but not from home.

Check Out – Get Koha error – fatal error as occurred

  • Look at the next line of the message.  If the first line reads  “Unexpected workflow: item probably needs checkin and transfer before checkout.”
  • And the last line reads  “borrowernumber=###### is same as hold’s borrower
  • Then the customer has the item waiting on the Hold shelf at a different library.
  • Easiest thing to do is switch to that library.  Go to the upper right corner of the Koha screen and click on ‘set’ and then change to the library customer designated for pick-up. If they don’t remember you can look in their account under the Holds button to see what is listed.
  • Once you ‘become’ the other branch, scan customer’s card or pull up their account and then check out the item.
  • Very Important– remember to immediately switch back to your library.

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