What's the status?

This post was first run in 2009. It is being re-run with minor updates to reflect services that have changed.

Technology doesn't always have to be super complicated. Sometimes the best technology projects are very simple. A great example of this is the SCLS status wiki. This web page allows you to see which SCLS technology services have known issues in almost real time.  You can view this page from any computer, that's right any computer!  (not just a PC on the SCLS network)Crutches

Here is a list of some of the SCLS technology services that might have updates on the SCLS status wiki:

  • Koha
  • Library Online
  • SCLS network
  • Web services
  • OverDrive and other online resources
Let's look at a real world example

The first one will be before you knew about the SCLS status wiki and the second after you started using the SCLS status wiki.


You are sitting at your desk and a coworker says they can't access OverDrive. You spring into action...

Before the SCLS status page

...and in a panic you sprint towards the nearest computer, but on the way you trip and twist your ankle. Down but not out, you crawl to the computer and see that OverDrive is indeed not working. With tears in your eyes, you fumble for the phone and call the Help Desk. After all that, you get a busy signal because everyone else is calling at the same time. Battered and broken, you sit on the floor defeated.

After the SCLS status page

...and calmly open your Internet browser, navigate to the SCLS status wiki see that OverDrive is down.  You also see that SCLS staff are working quickly to resolve the problem. Relaxed and comfortable, you sip on your morning coffee and realize what a beautiful day it is.

Can you really afford not to check the SCLS status wiki?

10 things about Library Online

  1. Reserve_a_Computer Library Online is software used to manage time/bookings on public access computers.
  2. Library Online is programmed by Active Network.  The support for Library Online is based in Burnaby, British Columbia (which is why past upgrades have been scheduled for Memorial Day-- it's a holiday for us, but the Canadians are hard at work that day!)
  3. 36 SCLS libraries currently participate in Library Online.
  4. Most SCLS libraries allow advance reservations, but a few use it only for walk-up bookings.
  5. In addition to making reservations, Library Online can also be used to run reports and get usage counts... some of which can be used for a library's Annual Report.
  6. There are a few system-wide settings that are the same for all libraries, but MOST settings can be customized by each library to fit the library's needs.  ALL libraries choose their own workstation types, descriptions, and time limits (and many other settings).
  7. There is a Library Online email list for communication specific to Library Online. Any staff person at an SCLS library using Library Online is welcome to subscribe!
  8. Kerri  ♥loves♥ to answer your Library Online questions.
  9. There is Library Online documentation on the SCLS website, including:
  10. As non-LINK Library Online PCs come onto the SCLS network in 2011, we'll be able to take advantage of Library Online features that were unavailable to us in the past, like extending in-use bookings.  (Yay!)

Library Online training sessions

There are two online training sessions on Library Online scheduled for August:

Wed, 8/12 at 9am - Library Online Basics. An overview of Library Online for staff that may not have gone through training when your library originally went to Library Online. We'll cover why we use Library Online, where to find information and help, how to make reservations, and how to accomplish various tasks in the admin site.

Wed, 8/19 at 9am - Library Online 3.7. This session will run through some of the changes that happened when we upgraded the Library Online servers to version 3.7. Topics will include Time Slot Manager, Patron Status Report, Deleting No-Shows, and more. This will also be an opportunity for staff to ask questions about the new features and changes in interface. 

We'll be recording both sessions and will make the recordings available for anyone that couldn't attend. If you have questions you already know you'd like to ask at the 3.7 session, please send them to Kerri ahead of time or leave them in the comments (then we'll be sure to have the right answer for the session)!

Then, depending on how the online sessions go... we may have a Users' Group meeting sometime in September to discuss the upcoming 3.7 client changes and how libraries might use the 3.7 changes and features at their libraries.

Library Online 3.7 - changes (part 4)

Here's the last post about changes that will occur when the Library Online servers are replaced and upgraded at the end of May. After the servers are upgraded, we'll start planning the upgrade for the client PCs so they are at version 3.7 also. Upgrading the clients this summer will add some additional features which I'll be discussing in a future post.

Patron Information Consolidation report
This new report is intended to simplify the job of Library staff by giving them easier access to consolidated information on why a patron may not be able to book a PC at this time. The report contains the following:

• Patron information such as birth date, Name and PIN
• Booking Usage
• Printing Usage
• Suspension Information (if currently suspended)

Here is an example.

What this means: Library Online programmers were trying very hard to provide a helpful report with information about a patron and the patron's booking and printing usage. It's a good attempt, but you may find it could still use some work...

Workstation application administration
The workstation application administration process has been changed to simplify the process of adding and modifying applications. Now you create one application and add it to multiple branches, all from the Application Information page. There is also a new option to set the application path for all workstations at a specific branch and a specific default workstation type with a single function.

For instance, you no longer need to add same application 5 times if you have 5 branches. Now you can create one application and attach it to 5 different branches with unique settings for each branch.

What this means:  The interface for managing applications has changed significantly.  Now to generate a list of which PCs have which applications, you must run a separate report
(Reports->Bookings->Workstation Application Report).

Details for managing applications will be available in “Help” in the Library Online administrative interface after we upgrade to 3.7.

Timeout Client Settings
An administrator can now overwrite the Timeout Client and Timeout Client Message Settings for an individual workstation, rather than for all workstations.

What this means:  Previously, Timeout Client and Timeout Client Message settings could only be set at the system level and would apply to all clients.  In 3.7, these settings can be set for individual workstations, workstation types, or all workstations at a library.  Examples of possible settings of interest:  Text of messages and buttons, follow-up bookings (we'll be hearing more about this when we talk about changes that come with the 3.7 client), and a setting to minimize the Available Applications window. SCLS will recommend that some settings not be changed for update reasons.Question

As you've read through these first 4 posts, have you thought about which settings might make a difference for your library? Where have you run into problems and frustrations previously? 

With these upcoming changes, we may be able to eliminate some of the hassle and frustration that you have experienced with Library Online in the past. Keep track of your questions and ideas, and let's talk about what we can do for your library!

Library Online 3.7 - changes (part 3)

Another post about new features and changes coming with Library Online 3.7 in May. (I think we'll probably have one more post after this one, and then a final post about changes that will come when the clients are also updated to version 3.7...)

Allow librarian to view banned patron across all branches
The infraction tracking system has been enhanced so that a librarian can view which branch a patron has been banned from, including those branches which the librarian has no access to.

What this means: This allows VIEWING of suspensions from other libraries. Library staff can still only suspend patrons from their own library.

Non-bookable Workstation Types
This addition gives library staff the ability to make all workstations under a specified type non-bookable, without having to go to each workstation to set the bookable flag to ‘No’. When used in conjunction with the workstation type schedule, staff now has the ability to close a branch in the middle of the day without having to do a special workstation booking for all workstations in that branch.

What this means: This will be especially helpful to libraries like BER, BLV, and MAZ that close during the middle of the day and could eliminate the need for the special workstation bookings.

Patron Time Limit ExtensionExtendTimeBookings
A librarian can now extend time to specific workstation types instead of extending time for the entire branch. A librarian can also now extend bookings for a patron.

What this means: In 3.7, you can extend time and/or bookings for specific workstation types for the current day. 

Workstation types display on Public Site
Order of workstation types in the drop-down box on ‘Search By Workstation Type’ screen and ‘Display Search Results by PC Type’ screen are displayed in alphabetical order. The system now also has the ability now to set the ranking of workstation types to be displayed according to priority. This will enhance the flexibility and usability of the LibOnline public site.

What this means: Library Online displays the workstation types in the workstation type drop-down and also in the “sort by workstation type” results alphabetically by default. If the library wishes to have them displayed in a non-alphabetical manner (ex. "Word Processing PC" before "Internet PC"), this can be done through the Public Ranking setting in the workstation types.

Library Online 3.7 - Changes (part 2)

Here are a few more changes and new features that will be arriving with version 3.7 in late May...

Temporary Patron ChangesMidnight
Currently, a temporary patron card is valid for 24 hours from the time created. In version 3.7, temporary patron cards could instead be set to be valid for the day up until 12:00AM. 

What this means: If libraries wish, this system setting could be changed to “expires at midnight”.  (what do you think? expire at midnight that day? or 24 hours from creation? Please weigh in below in the comments!)

Admin site: User consistently be taken back to the same level or place
Within the Administration site, the user is now consistently taken back to the same level or same place after Search activities for flow consistency.

What this means: If you search for workstations for a library, modify the settings for them, Save, and then click “Done”, you are now taken back to the (updated) search results instead of to the original search screen. This behavior occurs on other screens as well. It should save some time and prevent staff from having to repeat actions when changing settings after a search.

No Show Bookings

A librarian can now remove no-show bookings from the database.

What this means: If library issues caused a no-show or a patron contests a no-show and library staff wishes to “forgive” the no-show, library staff is now able to delete a patron's no-show. Hip-Hip-Hooray!

Redesign of Booking reassignments
A librarian now has the ability to reassign any bookings (previously, librarians could only reassign bookings when creating a special workstation booking). With the "Reassign Workstation Booking" option, all the compatible PCs are listed that a booking can be reassigned to so that the librarian can choose a specific PC instead of letting the system randomly pick one.

What this means: This will allow library staff to reassign a booking to a different PC, instead of canceling the booking and recreating it.

In 3.7, you can also reassign bookings through Time Slot Manager. So many options!

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.