Koha Tips #5

Koha – New and Updated Information No. 5          July 14, 2011

Substitute Cards to Allow Customer to Pay Fines

  • In Horizon we were able to give a ‘substitute card’ to a customer to allow them to make a payment on the SelfCheck.  Then we would remove that card number from their account.
  • In Koha any other card numbers assigned to an account remain on the record and can’t be deleted, and thus can’t be used again.
  • I have discovered you can actually use letters in the card number field.
  • Suggest entering the firstnamelastname  or lastnamefirstname (no spaces between names) or use their existing card number and substitute X’s for the zeros for this purpose.
  • Then you can use the Reverse to get their correct card number back in the main field.

Non-Resident Cards

  • When you renew a non-resident card the text in the Fines list appears as “Account Management Fee.”  Don’t try to change it.  That is the Koha term for non-resident fee.
  • No longer have 6-mo. or 9-mo. non-resident cards.
  • If a customer absolutely wants to pay for 6 months you would have to renew for two 3-mo. periods.  You just have to make sure the expiration date is 6 months in the future.
  • Choosing the Summer Non-Resident category automatically assesses the $5.00 Account Management Fee.  Do not writeoff this fee.

Extend Hold Time

  • If you run a Hold that is waiting to be picked up through Check-In before the expired date you will get up to a week longer. For some reason it seemed to vary a bit when I was trying it.

Claimed Returned Maximum Late Fee

  • A Claimed Returned item is basically treated as a Lost item.
  • Changing the status to Claimed Returned does not remove any accumulated late fees (unlike Horizon which did remove them).
  • When a Claimed Returned item is found the customer is charged the maximum late fee because Koha considered it Lost.
  • If the item is found in the library then it is a staff error and the late fee (and any other accumulated late fees) should be waived/writeoff.
  • Claimed Returned items do not automatically change over to Lost after 3 months (or at any period of time).  We will have to figure out how to manually do that.

Renew Column in Customer’s List of Items Checked Out

If customers renew from an OPAC it displays as  —  1 (1 via OPAC) not renewable.


Advance Notifications

  • The System Preference is set to send an individual notice for each title because it will display the due date.
  • Choosing the ‘Digest’ preference will display all the titles in one message but it will not include the due date.  Customers may choose to do this if they want it.  Both ‘Email’ and ‘Digest’ boxes must be checked.

New patrons Expiration Date

  • Koha does not have an ‘ annual address check ‘ function.
  • The Pioneer Consortium agreed to have new cards expire in one year which is a System Preference setting.  This will act in a similar fashion to the annual address check.
  • Go to the More button and select Renew.  New date is automatically set.
  • Records migrated from Horizon still have expiration dates way in the future and we’ll have to figure out how we can change those.

Glitch in Hold Limit of 25

  • When using the staff client the limit of 25 Holds is effective.  The total includes items in any format.
  • Customers who place Holds remotely (from home or office) also have a limit of 25.
  • However we discovered several customers who have more than 25 Holds on their accounts.  The answer from Jane at PTFS is:
    • Whether they’re logged in at the library or not shouldn’t make any difference.  There are some IP limiters based on in-house workstations, but you’re not configured to use them.  However, there are a couple of known workarounds to the limits.  If you have public lists, you can check multiple items on the list and then click Place Hold.  You can do the same by adding items to your Cart, then opening the cart, selecting multiple items, and clicking Place Hold.  Both of those features bypass the hold limitations, and it’s possible some of your users have figured that out.
    • This is something we may want to include in future development.

Searching by Patron Name – to avoid starting a duplicate record

  • To broaden your search to get more results (a list of possible names) use just the first 2 or 3 letters of the first name.
  • Examples:    patron fa    or     fa patron   (notice you don’t need a comma after the last name.
  • This displays a list of anyone with the last name of ‘Patron’ and first names that start with ‘Fa’.  I would also display any that had a middle name starting with ‘Fa’.
  • Use this whenever you are searching to see if a customer has a library card.


Cancel Holds

  • Sometimes the easiest way to cancel or clear a Hold from a customer’s list is to simply check it out to them and then immediately check it in.

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