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    You can't request this" form -- is it possible?

    • Article Type: General
    • Product: Aleph
    • Product Version: 18.01

    Is it possible to make ALEPH display a "you can't make a hold request for this item" page for items that are not requestable for the particular patron based on their status and the item status?

    In v.18, when some patrons try to perform a hold request for an item in ALEPH, they get to the request screen (item-hold-request) but the "pickup location" drop-down box is empty. When they submit the form, they remain on the hold request screen and an error message at the top informs them "Pickup sublibrary does not exist" (www_f_heading code 9102). Patrons don't always realize that this means that their hold request didn't go through.

    We have several patron status/item status combinations where this happens. For example, we have hold-request links on items that aren't checked out, because we allow graduates and faculty to place hold requests on them, but undergraduates who try to place hold requests on these run into the problem described above. The hold-requests links have to stay, since ALEPH doesn't know who the patron is until they sign in, but it seems that ALEPH should be able to tell them that requesting isn't possible, once they've logged in and followed the hold-request link.

    We would like ALEPH to take patrons from the hold-request link straight to a page that indicates that such a request isn't possible, rather than taking them to a form they can't successfully submit. I don't see a page in the "wf" area that would be, for example, equivalent to the title-request-error page, so I suspect it may not be a configurable choice, but I'm curious if anyone out there has been able to do this without using a local JavaScript implementation.

    We solved a similar problem by creating a request form that is not really a form, but gives a more understandable error message. These "custom forms" are controlled by tab_hold_request_form, which has fields for patron status and item status. Here's a simple example that I hope explains this better:

    Items that are in one of our sublibraries have to be requested through a form external to Aleph. Instead of making these items non-requestable, I put this line in tab_hold_request_form in my ABC50 library:

    ! 1 2 3 4 5 6
    SWN ## ## ## # utk01swn

    and created these three files in my $alephe_root/www_f directory:


    Instead of being an actual request form, these pages direct users to the correct way to request this item.

    Column 1 is for sublibrary, column 2 for item status, column 3 for item process status, column 4 for patron status and column 5 for item availability status, so it can be used to deliver the appropriate "Yes" or "No" screen depending on whether the user can do an inter-campus request or not.

    Thanks to Maribeth Manoff of the University of Tennessee for posting this information to the ALEPH-NA list.

    • Article last edited: 10/8/2013