As I mentioned in my previous post, the Upper Hudson Library System is upgrading its catalog and patron management database. The new software, named Sierra for staff and Encore for patrons, has some great features that we are very excited to offer. As with any software migration (I’m not being overly dramatic – it’s an industry term), there will be some major differences between how the system runs currently and how it will run after we go live on the new system.
In my last post, I focused on some of the new features Encore will have for patrons. This post is dedicated to the issues you need to know about, actions you may need to take to preserve your account information, and the timing of planned interruptions in service.
New Rules and Actions You May Need to Take
- With our current system, patrons can suspend a request for an item if they want to place a request but make sure the item doesn’t show up when they cannot pick it up. In Encore, patrons can only suspend (now called freeze) a request if there are no checked in items at any location to fill the hold. In order to time future requests, we suggest patrons use the new “Reading List” feature when logged into their account in Encore.
- If you currently have suspended requests in your account, they will be activated automatically when we move to the new software on 3/31. You will need to either re-freeze the items or move them to your reading list.
- Currently, if your account is not in good standing for any reason (too many fines, too many overdue items, expired card, etc.), you are blocked from checking out physical items and using our computers. In the future, you will be blocked from ALL functions, including downloading digital items, placing requests, registering for events using your library card, and using online resources that require you to enter your library card number. We would have preferred to keep the old policy, but this is one way in which the new software is inflexible.
- If you have an email address configured in your account, you can have your checkout receipt emailed to you rather than printed.
- Items currently saved in patron accounts under “My Lists” will NOT be moved to the new system. If you save items there, print or email yourself the list prior to 3/27 in order to preserve it.
- There is a chance that you may need to reset your PIN on the new system. In the future, library staff will not be able to see patron PIN information in plain text in a patron account. Staff will be able to reset a PIN, but not determine a current PIN.
- 3/16/15 – We will pause taking requests for materials until we go live on the new system (3/31). This will help us minimize errors with items in transit and on hold for patrons during the move. Traditionally, this is where most of the errors in transition would be.
- 3/27/15 – We will pause taking new patron registrations and item renewals. We will resume registering patrons and renewing items on 3/31.
- 3/30/15 – All UHLS libraries will be offline. Patrons will be able to check out physical materials (with library cards only – no Driver’s Licenses will be accepted on this day), but digital downloads will not be available. Also, other online resources that require a library card number will not be available. Item check-in, fine/fee payment, card signup/replacement, and any other in-person or online account management services will need to wait until we go live with the new system on 3/31. There will be a procedure in place so that public computers can still be used, and our “old” catalog will still be available for reference at http://vufind.uhls.org, though item status will be out of date.
If all goes smoothly, the libraries will be live on the new system when we open for business on 3/31. It is unlikely that online services will be restored before that. Of course, with a project this size we expect some glitches, but we will do our best to keep our users informed of any changes in the plan along the way. If you have questions, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to find answers for you.