Add a Catalog OPAC login to your library’s website

Place this HTML code where you want a Catalog OPAC login on your webpage.

<form action=”http://papillion.pioneer.kohalibrary.com/cgi-bin/koha/opac-user.pl” method=”post”><input type=”hidden” name=”koha_login_context” value=”opac” /><strong><span style=”color: #000000;”>Log in to your Account</span></strong>
<label for=”userid”><span style=”color: #000000;”>Card#: </span></label><input id=”userid” style=”font-size:16px; font-family:ariel;” type=”text” name=”userid” size=”14″ /><label for=”password”><span style=”color: #000000;”>     Password: </span></label><input id=”password” type=”password” name=”password” size=”13″ /><span style=”color: #000000;”>     </span><input type=”submit” value=”Log In” /></form>

The section in red needs to be modified for your library. papillion is the first part of Sump’s OPAC Search Group URL. You can get if from the URL displayed when you bring up your library’s Koha OPAC.

How to do an inventory

We are wrapping up our first full inventory on Koha at Sump. I’m pleased to say it was much better than the process we had with Follett. I highly recommend doing an annual inventory and Koha makes it very easy to figure out what’s gone missing. Every time an item is scanned in Koha, the item’s “Last seen” date gets set. We will use the “Last seen” date in a SQL report exported to Excel to figure out what’s gone missing.

There are three things you need to take inventory. A laptop computer, a barcode scanner and wireless Internet access. Inventory CartA cart for the laptop and an extension cord for charging it are very helpful too. (See picture.) If you don’t have a wifi network or laptop, you can cart the books by sections over to the Circ Desk to scan them. Log in to Koha on the laptop as Staff and go to the Check In screen. I recommend you check the “Forgive overdue charges” box before scanning any barcodes. This way a patron won’t be fined if you scan a book on the shelf that was still checked out. Have the laptop’s sound enabled. This will allow you track your scanning success by ear as you work your way down the shelves. It is also recommended that you scan the items by shelf-order to make it easier keep track of where you’re at.

Make sure to record the date you start doing the inventory. We used a map of our library and a hi-lite marker to cross off what shelves had been scanned and when as we went along.

As you scan, you should hear the beep from the scanner that the barcode was scanned successfully, see the “Not Checked Out” (NCO) message and hear the NCO double-tone warning on the laptop. If you don’t get the NCO message and tone, stop and see what’s up with the item you just scanned and take appropriate action for it. If the item has a Hold or was Lost you will get the tone for that and have to clear the Hold or Lost screen to be able to continue scanning. The items that have a Hold or were Lost can be placed on the cart for processing later.

Once your inventory is completed, run the Std Item List report and export it to Excel (2010 version used for these instructions). To make the barcode column display the full 14-digit number, click on the top of the barcode column to select the entire column, click Format and Format Cells. Click Number, set decimal places to zero and click OK. Use Excel’s Data/Filter tool any clear any item rows with an onloan date or an itemlost code greater than zero. This will eliminate all the items that are checked out or already set to a Lost/Missing status. Next, sort by datelastseen and clear all the records with a date equal or greater to the day you started the inventory. The item rows remaining in the spreadsheet will be what may be missing. Sort the spreadsheet by ccode AND itemcallnumber AND author. This should give you a shelf-ordered list of items to go search for and validate. Any items located on this list should be scanned so their “Last seen” date gets set.

And there you have it! Feel free to contact me if you need any assistance with this process.

Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, IT Coordinator, Sump Memorial Library

Shortcut for counting the number of Holds on an item at your library

Here’s a shortcut for counting the number of Holds on an item at your library when patrons ask you where they’re at in the queue.

  1. Search for the item in the catalog.
  2. Bring up the Bib Record Detail for the item.
  3. “Edit holds” for the item.
  4. Change the “Sort by” (in the upper-left corner of the screen) from “Priority” to “Pickup Library”.

The holds for this item at your library will now be at the top of the Edit Holds list where they can be easily counted.

Getting Support When Having an Issue

If you’re having an issue connecting to Koha, try another website to verify your Internet access is working. You may also want to contact another Pioneer library to see if they are having the same problem.

Tip: Instead of writing down patron and item barcode numbers while Koha is down, you can open Notepad and scan barcodes into it. I recommend entering a blank line between each patron so you can see where the checkouts for a patron start and end. Remember to save the file often. Once Koha is back up, you can copy and paste what was scanned from Notepad into Koha. (The Offline Store & Forward backup feature only works if your library is using true 14-digit barcodes for all scanning.)

You can open a support ticket with PTFS/LibLime by:

  1. Sending an email to support@liblime.com.
  2. Calling 1-888-564-2457 ext.2 and leaving a voice message.
  3. Access the customer support webportal at http://sc.ptfs.com. This is also where you can view the status of your support requests. You should have a login for this that was provided to you during migration.

When reporting an issue to PTFS/LibLime include your contact info, the time of day the issue occurred, and what transaction you were doing (this will direct them to which logs to view to spot the problem).

The most common thing I help other libraries out with in Koha is reports. Feel free to call or email me at if you need help with a report. You are welcome to contact me with any other questions you may have and I will do my best to help you out.

For Koha cataloging questions, Tammy Teasly at Lincoln City Libraries is the best resource. You can email her or call her.

Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, IT Coordinator, Sump Memorial Library

Koha Tips #6

Koha – New and Updated Information No. 6           July 26, 2011   by Pat Sloan   

 Substitute Cards to Allow customer to Pay Fines

  • I mentioned how to substitute a name for a cardnumber in the No. 5 issue.  However, this doesn’t help if the customer just needs a substitute card to pay with a credit card.

 

 

Search Techniques to find Patrons

  • Use just the first 2-3 letters of a first name or even the last name to help expand the results list.  If either the first or last name is unusual, just put that name in to get a list as well.
  • Use the Advanced Patron Search – Enter first and last names in their respective fields.  This will help find names where a regular search returns too many hits to reasonably look through.

ü  Can also search by address, phone, email, almost any field.  Caution about address is variations caused by using ‘N’ or ‘N.’ for North, St vs Street, etc.

 

 

Can’t delete a message added by another branch – sign in as the other branch (and remember to go back and sign in as your branch) or send to Pat S.

 

Claims Returned items returned in bookdrops – don’t waive any of the charges.

 

Always close out of Koha at the end of the day

 

Not able to use override to renew or extend an item if there is a Hold on it

 

 

Question from Greg W.  —  Both the self check and the staff computer won’t check out James Patterson’s 10th Anniversary barcode 33045035428883 to patron Ryan Beiermann barcode 23045004917413.  An error message keeps coming up.

 

Answer from Tami B.  —  It wouldn’t check out because the book was “expected” to be picked up at BMPL.  It happens if a customer asks to pick up a book up at a different location than it was being held at.  So for example, Mr. Beiermann probably had it held at BMPL but then asked us to send it to South for pickup.  The easiest way I have found to get around this is to go into his holds, cancel that particular title, update the holds, then just check out the book as normal!

 
How to view reviews attached to a bibliographic record
Charlotte K. discovered this  —  Click on File in the upper left corner, then select Print Preview. Scroll past the bib record and holdings to see reviews that have been attached.  This doesn’t work for everything, but I found info from the publisher and some Amazon reviews.

 

Orphaned checkout record.

  • No title or barcode for an item on a customer’s checkout record.
  • This happens occasionally – the item was deleted without being checked in first, but Koha doesn’t care.  Because the item record no longer exists, the checkout record is orphaned.  We have cleared it at the table level.  We are writing some safeguards into our later code so that you can’t delete something that’s checked out.  Until you get upgraded, though, warn your staff to be careful about deleting items – make sure there are no existing checkouts.  (Info from Jane W. at PTFS)

 

 

Check-in then Checkout for same customer

From  Jodene   —  If you check-in some items for a customer and then immediately checkout some other items to the same customer it is safest to start fresh in the check out screen with their card or typing in their name instead of using the “last patron” info from the check in screen.  This will avoid any chance or checking out the items to the wrong customer.

 

 

 

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.