Expand 'Bulk Change Due Dates' to disregard expired patrons and include recalled items
Configuring Alma to deliver an exclusively off-campus service in response to the Coronavirus pandemic included the extension of due dates for us. We were thankful for the 'Bulk Change Due Dates' functionality, which we were able to use to push back the due dates of a majority of items on loan (until 1 June in the first instance for us). We encountered problems though when it came to any items borrowed by patrons whose records were due to expire before that date. The items wouldn't go beyond the patrons' expiry dates, which under normal circumstances would be exactly how we would have Alma work, but in this situation was inconvenient and required us to do a manual workaround. Likewise, the due dates of any items on loan that had been recalled due to policy (e.g. having reached the end of the maximum renewal period) or requests were not extended, so again we had to deal with those separately.
Recognising that the way Bulk Change Due Dates works currently is suitable for Alma users probably a majority of the time, could tick-box options such as 'Disregard patron record expiry dates' and 'Include recalled items' be added to that screen please?
Some further improvements would be fine:
Due to short-term library closings, we also have to change the due dates for many books.
If you enter an exception (a closed day) in the Calender Management, the due dates of the books concerned are changed with a job that runs overnight. So far, so good.
But if a closed day is entered for the next day, we also use the function "Bulk Change Due Dates" to change the due dates immediately so that our users are also informed immediately (to avoid user requests) and not just as part of the overnight job.
However, the "Bulk Change Due Dates" job does not work the same as the job that runs overnight.
(1) Different behaviour:
If a book is recalled
- the "Bulk Change Due Dates" job does NOT change the due date
- the overnight job changes the due dates of recalled books as well
Idea: We would be glad to have an option to include recalled books, if wanted.
(2) Running the job:
The "Bulk Change Due Dates" job can only be executed for a single sublibrary and for all user groups (if you select none) or only for a single user group.
Sometimes we have to run the job for the whole institution or for several libraries, but only for some user groups.
Idea: We would be glad to have the possibility to select several sublibraries at once or even all sublibraries (= whole institution) and also multiple user groups.
Otherwise you have to run the job multiple times and each new job can only be started if the previous job has finished.
Example: We had a temporary closure of the library for some user groups only. Therefore we could not enter an exception (closed days) in the Calender Management, because this change would have affected all user groups.
So we had to run the "Bulk Change Due Dates" job in 40+ sublibraries for 5 different user groups.
(3) Letters to users
Currently the "Bulk Change Due Dates" job sends one letter per borrowed book. This means that if a user has borrowed 30 books that qualified for the job, then she/he will receive 30 emails.
Idea: Only one email should be send a user which includes all books from all sublibraries.
Thank you in advance!
(Note: Salesforce case #00896443)
I had an exchange about this with Support this morning. This was a problem for us even before the pandemic because of the way our academic calendar works. We, the libraries, not Ex Libris, should determine the best way to handle expired patrons.
Tom, can you share your workaround? Thanks.
Michał Wawro commented
I suggest also to add possibility to select all libraries for a single bulk job. Currently with 40 librares in an institution it's a lots of work.
Lori Hilterbrand commented
The tick boxes are really important as the expiration and recalled exceptions might not be desired every time due dates are being advanced. The ability to add those features or opt out with each run of the job would be very helpful.
Chuk Goodin commented
A toggle to confirm overriding expiration dates is good. Also you can work around this limit with the API.
Florian Steinborn commented
Graham Bamber commented
Greta idea. It would also be nice if we could do this for more than one library at a time. Having to change bulk dates per library is a tad annoying.
Henry Steele commented
This is a great idea, and I think is important for bulk due dates to work properly. If possible it might be good to make this a toggle feature, like a check box that says "override expiration dates?"