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Library Online 3.7 - Changes (part 1)

The new version of Library Online will be 3.7, and it is tentatively scheduled to debut in late May. Here's a glimpse of a few of the changes we'll see when the servers are upgraded:

Admin site look
In version 3.7, the entire Admin portion of Library Online has been upgraded to .net development platform. The biggest impact of this change is that you will notice an updated look & feel to some of the screens. You will also find a calendar instead of drop-down menus for selecting dates.

Ignore System or Branch settings
Version 3.7 allows settings for the branch(library) to ignore system settings. It also allows settings for the workstation types to ignore branch and system settings.

What this means: If you want to increase some settings (booking length, booking limits, time limits) for a certain type of PC, you can do so without changing your library's overall limits. You will be able to have a workstation type that isn't subject to branch limits (or system limits).

Field Length Expansion
Field length for Machine Types description expanded to 100 characters from 50. Provides more flexibility for libraries that have a large number of machines to display more accurate descriptions.

What this means: A Workstation Type description could be very long now. Full length will display on Public Booking site when searching by PC Type. A very long description will still be cut off when displayed on Timeout clients. 

Time Slot Manager
A librarian can now view, create, and cancel bookings directly from the Admin site.

The Time Slot Manager is found in the Admin site and gives library staff a visual representation of the workstations' statuses and allows staff to make a reservation for a patron using the patron's card number. It permits custom start times, stop times, and length of bookings and allows staff to easily override normal booking restrictions (booking length, booking limit, time limit). 

What this means: Staff can *easily* make custom bookings for patrons. Here is the Time Slot Manager documentation which includes some screen shots.

Questions or comments on any of these features? Please leave a comment.

Comments

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Just a quick comment to say that the PDF documentation you created looks outstanding. It's for a service I'll probably never use, but it's so well arranged (and illustrated! in color!) that it seems to be totally user-friendly.
Seriously, congratulations on a fine piece of work.

intrigued by many of these changes... thinking about our own policies and the effect that the new option of custom bookings will produce. right now it is much easier for staff to 'blame the system' and not 'make exceptions'-- though of course we've sometimes used special workstation bookings to solve problems (like a customer who needs to take a long online test, say.) But still, at most locations, demand is intense/heavy, and those who want extra time are already uber-maximizers. I'll be curious to hear how other staff here react to this option-- whether we'll just pretend it doesn't exsist or what. I do so like many of these changes, like the calendar dates instead of drop down menu... and the ability (it sounds like) to book computers within admin. thanks for your work, kerri. looking forward to more info over the next months.

will new telus need to be installed on the client/workstation side for these new options to work?

All of these changes and new features that I'm discussing in these first few posts will be available with the server upgrade in late May.

There are some changes and features that will only be available once the client/workstation side is also upgraded, but I'll save those for a separate post all of their own (with a BIG DISCLAIMER saying they require the 3.7 client).

Speaking for myself, Liz, I don't think it will cause me to change the circumstances under which I make an exception and give extra time; we already do this occasionally in extenuating circumstances, but I don't see a need to let patrons know that it's now easier for us to do it! Love, love, love the ability to start a booking at any available time and not just on certain points of the clock. Much more customer friendly. And the ability to actually book a non-standard slot (e.g., reserving the 20 minutes coming open at 2:20, which is all the patron needs) will be outstanding.

Probably coming in another post, but will patrons have the ability to book their own "non-standard" slots, or will that be just staff?

Only staff will be able to book "non-standard" slots. (Which is probably good, as it may not turn out to be the most efficient use of the available time. If many bookings were non-standard with odd amounts of time in between them, libraries might have less time that is actually used. It'll be interesting to see how this works in the "real world").

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