Category Archives: CUNY Catalog

Best Practice when Setting up ILL Accounts in Aleph

The best practice when setting up ILL accounts in Aleph is to set up individual accounts (patron status “32.ILL”) for individual ILL borrowers. Having all ILL loans go out under one individual account is not a good practice for several reasons. For example, it is not technically possible in Aleph for a single account to have unlimited loans. There are several advantages to individual accounts:

  • ILL borrowers (the libraries making the request, not their patrons) would receive all patron notices and billing for un-returned items
  • Borrowing Libraries would have a “bill” or lost materials notices to hand their patrons
  • The notices can be targeted to a specific individuals at the borrowing organizations, for better communication
  • Fewer ILL loans to the same account means one is less likely to hit a ‘limit’
  • Several CUNY libraries may lend to the SAME borrower, but only one account is maintained. The work is thus distributed.

You can get more information, including a sample list of such accounts already set up in Aleph, on the OLS Support Site.

Missing ebrary titles

The Office of Library Services has recently seen an uptick in reported problems with ebrary titles showing up in the CUNY Catalog and not showing up in OneSearch. We have been in communication with the vendors (ebrary and Ex Libris) and think we have identified the problem.

In a nutshell, for subscribing to ebrary Academic Complete, we were given access to two complimentary collections: College Complete and Public Library Complete. These titles appeared in the ebrary platform but were never activated in the Primo Central Index (PCI) or SFX for discovery in OneSearch. We activated the collections in both places last week (on 2/15/17) and that seemed to have resolved most of the reported access problems—but not all of them. There are still some titles not showing up in OneSearch.

In talking to the ebrary vendor, we found that there are fewer titles in the SFX targets than there are in the collections: College Complete is short 1200 titles and Public Library Complete is short 1900 titles. They think that there was some problem with a metadata file sent to SFX and they are trying to resolve this issue. They have assured us this is a priority (as this would affect all College Complete and Public Library Complete subscribers who use SFX as their link resolver, not just CUNY). Once this is resolved, all centrally-licensed ebrary titles will appear in the OneSearch platform.

In the meantime, we may also be missing MARC records for these complimentary collections. We’ve been receiving monthly additions to these collections but they have been in the batches with the Academic Complete records and, again, we believe the numbers of records do not match up with the numbers in the SFX targets. We will work with the vendor on this as well; however, we think this will take more time and, in the meantime, are making the discoverability of these titles in OneSearch a priority.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact your ERAC and/or SFX Committee representative. (The latter will be discussing this issue at its next meeting on Thursday, March 9, 2017.)

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CUNY Libraries’ Data Retention Policy

The CUNY Libraries’ Circulation Committee deliberated the issue of privacy and confidentiality of patron records, resulting in the creation of a Data Retention Subcommittee. The subcommittee consisted of six members representing five CUNY Libraries as well as the Office of Library Services (OLS). The subcommittee noted that CUNY has a policy pertaining to record retention:

The CUNY Records Retention and Disposition Schedule indicates the minimum length of time that college and University officials must retain records before the records may be disposed of legally. This Schedule is meant both to ensure that records are retained as long as required for administrative, legal, and fiscal purposes, and to encourage the systematic disposal of records that are no longer needed.

The Data Retention Subcommittee, as well as the CUNY Circulation Committee, determined that the record retention policy did not address particular records associated with the work of the Circulation librarians and staff; thus the Circulation committee convened and decided to provide recommendations on these specific issues to the Council of Chief Librarians. The recommendations are listed in the complete CUNY Libraries’ Data Retention Policy.

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Analytics: Circulation Activity Comparison Tool

In January, we introduced you to a CUNY OLS dashboard showing usage of our main library systems. That dashboard continues to be updated each month and we recently improved it, giving it in a new look and providing more school-specific detail.

Now we have a fun new offering: the Circulation Activity Comparison Tool!

Circulation Activity Comparison Tool

Circulation Activity Comparison Tool showing 2 fiscal years and highlighting loans

Features

  • Select Date Type to change the view from monthly to display by weekdays or by hours
  • Click on a single Event Type to view only one type of circulation event: Loans, Returns, or Requests
  • The title of each chart will change automatically to display the current selections for that chart
  • Remove all filter selections by clicking Reset at the left under the charts
  • Remove your last filter selection by clicking Undo in the same location
  • Includes data from Fiscal Years 2014, 2015, and 2016 (through March 2016)
  • Filter by a single SubLibrary or an entire Library (select all relevant SubLibraries in the drop-down selection box)
  • Click on the Loans line (or Returns or Requests) to display that line’s transaction counts (as we did in the above image)
  • Fiscal Year and SubLibrary selections are applied to one chart only
  • Select Date Type and other selections are applied to both charts

Using this tool, you can easily

  • Check your library’s peak hours for loans, returns, and requests
  • View your library’s traffic by day of the week
  • Compare 2 Fiscal Years by selecting different years on the left and right
  • Compare 2 Libraries (select all SubLibraries for one on the left and for another on the right)
  • Compare 2 SubLibraries
  • Mix and match

Acknowledgments

OLS is currently using Tableau Public’s free service to bring you this information. Check the Tableau Public Status page if you can’t access our OLS dashboards.

We owe a huge thank you to Jennifer Murray at SUNY Buffalo for sharing not only their Tableau dashboard but also the logic used to create it. This allowed us to build on the work they did and adapt it to our needs at CUNY.  In that same spirit, the logic we used appears below.

Technical Details

The data source is the Aleph Z35 Events table.

The selected fields are: Time Stamp (includes date, hour), Date (formatted), SubLibrary, and Circulation Event Type (groups 1 or more related events together)

Circulation Event Type Criteria

  • Loan: selected loan transactions
  • Return: return transactions
  • Requests: hold request transactions

Other Details

  • Limit to certain transaction types
  • Limit transaction dates to the 2 previous fiscal years plus the current fiscal year (July 2013-current date)
  • The order-by option is not required and merely makes the output easily scannable
  • The output is tab-delimited

SQL

set heading off
set pause off
set pagesize 0
set linesize 2900
set colsep |
select z35_time_stamp || chr(9) || substr( z35_event_date, 5, 2) || '/' || 
substr( z35_event_date, 7, 2) || '/' || substr( z35_event_date, 1, 4)
 || chr(9) || Z35_SUB_LIBRARY || chr(9) ||  ( CASE
WHEN z35_event_type IN ('50','56') THEN 'LOAN'
WHEN z35_event_type in ('61') THEN 'RETURN'
WHEN z35_event_type in ('71','72','73','74') THEN 'REQUEST'
END)
from xxx50.z35  -- where 'xxx' is your library prefix
where z35_event_type in ('50','56','61','71','72','73','74')
and z35_event_date > '20130630'
and z35_event_date < '20160401'
order by z35_time_stamp
;
exit
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Changes to centrally-hosted EZproxy authentication

Recently, the Office of Library Services has made improvements to the way the centrally-hosted EZproxy servers handle authentication so that they restrict expired patrons from having access to electronic resources. This issue goes beyond a single group of patrons, such as high school students. This cuts across a variety of patron groups.

Centrally-hosted EZproxy authentication originally only checked whether a barcode was valid (i.e., the five-digit institution prefix). Subsequent improvements gave us the ability to check whether or not a patron had library privileges restricted due to overdue items or fines of $5 or more.

Until a couple of weeks ago, someone who graduated school or left their job at CUNY could have ongoing access to electronic resources for years. By remaining active in the Aleph catalog (e.g., with a minor fine), the patron’s barcode was deemed valid by the authentication process.

The recent changes to the way the centrally-hosted EZproxy servers authenticate users now allow us to also check the patron’s expiration date in his/her Aleph account.

Patrons that are loaded via the automated (CUNY-wide) batch loading process automatically receive global patron accounts. Barcode are needed for remote access to e-resources via the centrally-hosted EZproxy instances. Some libraries add them manually while others add them via a batch process.

Circulation staff are trained in-house about how to manually create local patron accounts. Depending on how staff set up these account, they can be given a variety of different privilege levels, including remote access to electronic resources.

For more details on new patron registration, please speak with your Access Services Librarian. If you have questions about patrons’ remote access to e-resources, please consult with your E-Resources Librarian.

Any remaining questions, please do not hesitate to contact OLS.

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