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    Notices

    Configuration, customization

    What configuration options are there related to overdue notices?

    The configuration table ‘Lost Loan Profile’ defines rules related to sending overdue notices to patrons, as well as defining when an item will be declared lost. Any number of rules may be defined. The table allows for configuring rules related to loan status, user group, library and location, item policy, material type.
    If f the Notification only checkbox is checked, then an overdue notice will be sent out
    If the Active box is checked, then the item that matches the parameters in the rule will be declared lost, and a lost loan notice will be sent to the patron.

    Can notices be customized?

    Notices and forms can be customized at the institution level and inherited by all libraries, or customized on the library level.
    Patron Notices are generated using an XML/XSL mechanism that allows the library to fully configure the notices. The customizations may include changes to the style, the addition or subtraction of information sent to users, and so forth. The Configuration Files page lists all of the XML style sheets that are used to format each type of letter and determine what XML data fields display in the letter emails and SMS messages. The delivery schedule of notices can also be configured:

    Can patrons 'opt out' of receiving notices?

    Alma supports the option of allowing patrons to 'opt-out' of receiving certain library notifications. This can be defined at the individual patron level, or groups of patrons by SIS feeds or bulk user updates.
    A configuration table defines the notices that it will be possible to opt-out of. For example, in the table below, patrons will not be able to opt-out of receiving overdue notices.
    An example of an opt-out on the patron record:

    Is it possible to configure the email address to send notices that bounce?

    The EnvelopeFrom parameter determines the “Return-Path” which is used when an email is sent from Alma. An example of an email sent from Alma:

     

    Can copies of notices to patrons be sent to a library email address?

    It is possible to send system emails with blind carbon copies (BCC) for any preconfigured email address:

    Notice types

    What types of notices are supported in Alma?

    Alma supports notices to users, external contacts and staff. These can be printed or emailed.  Alma also supports standard SMS communications (e.g. for item on hold shelf, courtesy notices, overdue notices, etc.). SMS messages are sent to patrons only if they have indicated preferred SMS numbers.
    In general, the transmission of SMS notifications is based on an external SMS service provider, which handles the actual SMS message delivery. Alma’s role is to identify the need to text the patron and produce a message with the required information in the format defined by the institution. Alma places the required information at a configured FTP location for the service provider to collect and subsequently deliver to the patron.
    There are currently more than 50 types of letters that can be customized locally, including receipts, pick slips/paging slips, hold availability notices, overdue notices, and borrowing activity notices. A sample listing follows:
    Name Description
    Borrowed By Letter Sent to patrons indicating that a proxy user has borrowed an item on their behalf.
    Borrowing Activity Letter
    Sent to patrons; contains a list of all the patron’s loans, overdue items, and active fines. Sent either by a job or by request.
    Conversation Letter Used to conduct communication with vendors.
    Courtesy Letter
    Sent to patrons in a nightly job; contains a list of the patron’s loans that are due. Generated when the Notifications - Send Courtesy Notices and Handle Loan Renewals job runs and one of the following occurs:
    • Conditions of an automatic loan renewal rule are not met
    • A block exists on the patron or item, preventing item renewal)
    Fine and Fees Report Letter Sent to patrons; contains a report of the fine and fee transactions that have been performed over a 1- to 7-day period
    Fine Fee Payment Receipt Letter Sent to patrons; indicates that payment has been received.
    footer.xsl Letter Defines the text (such as Contact Us and My Account) used in the footer for all letter emails.
    Borrowing Info Letter Sent to patrons; indicates whether a loaned resource sharing item was successfully renewed.
    Cancel Request Letter Sent to patrons; indicates that a request has been canceled and the reason for the cancellation.
    Citation Slip Letter A slip that is printed out by library staff of a course reading list citation, so that the item can be retrieved from the shelf.
    Citations Slip Letter A slip that is printed out by library staff of all course reading list citations so that the item can be retrieved from the shelf.
    Digitization Notification Item Letter Sent to a patron who asked for material to be digitized. The letter informs the patron that the digitization request has been completed and informs the patron where the digital material can be viewed.
    Incoming Slip Letter A slip that is printed out by library staff from the Resource Sharing Lending Requests Task List when they need to retrieve an item from the shelf to be shipped to a borrower.
    Lost Loan Letter Sent to patrons when a loan has been declared lost. Sent either by a job or when manually changing the loan.
    Notices in Alma are based on XML files generated by the system, and run through XSL files that customize and set the styling on the Alma-generated XML data. The XSL files are fully customizable by the library, so that styling of the printouts is fully controlled by the library.
    Notices and forms can be customized at the institution level and inherited by all libraries, or customized at the library level. The delivery schedule of notices can also be configured. 
    The Configuration Files page lists all of the XML style sheets that are used to format each type of letter and determine what XML data fields display in the letter emails and SMS messages. Alma allows you to configure these style sheets to customize letters for your institution. The customizations may include changes to the style, the addition or subtraction of information sent to users, and so forth.
    The following is an example of an automated borrowing activity letter sent to a patron, followed by an example of notification of a requested item waiting to be picked up from the hold shelf:

    Does Alma support courtesy notices?

    Alma automatically sends patrons courtesy notices and due date reminders via email, in addition to lost loan notices, notifications of items waiting on the hold shelf, recall notices, etc.
    An example of a courtesy letter;

    Notification

    Can patrons receive notification of fines and fees owing?

    Does Alma support automated and customized sending options for notices?

    Patron notices can be printed or emailed. Most notifications are generated automatically as part of a workflow, for example when items are placed on a hold shelf or when an item is considered lost. Some notices are sent as a batch job overnight (fines/fees, courtesy notices, due date reminders) and others are sent real time (borrowing activity, fine payment receipt, recall/hold notifications).  
    Email messages can be sent to patrons from the patron record by activating the email icon on the General Summary tab. Alma also supports standard SMS communications (e.g. for item on hold shelf, courtesy notices, overdue notices, etc.). SMS messages are sent to patrons only if they have indicated preferred SMS numbers.
    In general, the transmission of SMS notifications is based on an external SMS service provider, which handles the actual SMS message delivery. Alma’s role is to identify the need to text the patron and produce a message with the required information in the format defined by the institution. Alma places the required information at a configured FTP location for the service provider to collect and subsequently deliver to the patron.
    Staff members can also send messages to patrons that require them to logon to their account in Primo in order to view.  The screenshots below demonstrate this functionality from the staff side in Alma and the user side in Primo:

    Can notices to patrons be sent by SMS?

    As part of a library’s processes, Alma produces various notifications for the library’s users. The notifications may be sent to a user by email, or printed. Alternatively, some of the notifications may be sent as SMS messages to the user’s mobile phone.
    Alma supports SMS messages for most of the fulfilment generated patron notices, including:
    • Hold Shelf Notifications
    • Overdue notifications
    • Patron Borrowing Activity Reports
    • Courtesy Notices
    • Lost Loan Notification
    • Loan Recall Notice
    • Cancelled Request Notifications
    Alma’s support for SMS messaging is by creating files with the short messages and the required phone numbers. These fines are in turn harvested by the messaging application which in turn sends the text messages to the exported phone numbers.

    Does Alma support printed notices?

    Most notifications are  sent as email, or as an SMS if the patron opts it to this service (by supplying a number to send the messages to), and cannot be sent as printouts as well. Some notifications may be configured to be printed out, usually if the patron is at the library desk. Examples would be loan/return receipts. Overdue loans and overdue notices notifications may also be configured to be sent by print.

    Can ad hoc messages be sent to all patrons or specific patron groups?

    The library may create a list of users’ identifiers, and use that as an input to a job that will send a customizable notification to all of the users in the list. The text and format of the notification is fully library configurable.

    Scheduling

    How is the scheduling of notice generation supported?

    • Courtesy notifications
      • The renew job sends courtesy notices to all non-renewable loans (which may be configured to be all loans) x number of days before the loans are due, where x is configurable at the institution level.
      • Another notification is sent on the day the item is due
    • Overdue notices are configurable via the lost/notification profiles
      •  A notification profile may be set up to send warning if loans are overdue more than x number of days, where x is configurable per library/location, user group, item type and material type. 
      •  A lost item profile may be set up to mark a loan as lost and send a lost item bill if loans are overdue more than x number of days, where x is configurable per library/location, user group, item type and material type.
    • Activity report – A general report, including all on loan and all overdue loans may be sent regularly, on a weekly or monthly basis. The report includes separate lists of on loan items and of overdue items. It also includes the patron’s fine/fee balance

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