To import offline circulation files, you must have the following role:
- Circulation Desk Operator
Loans and returns can be performed when network connectivity is disrupted, using the offline circulation utility (see Downloading the Offline Circulation Utility below). When connectivity is restored, the Offline Circulation List page enables you to upload a data file to Alma that contains the offline loan and return transactions. The data file format is detailed below (see The Offline Circulation File).
- The Offline Circulation List page is available only when you are logged in to a circulation desk. Ensure that you are at the correct circulation desk before you begin uploading the file.
- Ensure that you install the offline circulation utility in a location in which it won't get deleted (for example, by a workstation reboot that removes all local data files).
- If a loan and return for an item are being uploaded at the same time, they must be in the same file in the order that the transactions took place.
- Due to a known issue, before you upload the data file that contains the offline loan and return transactions, ensure that the Item is currently on loan by another patron block in Block Preferences is not set to Handle Automatically. Failure to change this option may cause data inconsistencies. After the offline circulation process has been run, the block value should be set back to Handle Automatically if it was set to this option before the data file was uploaded.
Offline Circulation List Page
To upload offline loans and returns:
On the Offline Circulation List page (Fulfillment > Advanced Tools > Offline Circulation), select in the File name field and select the .dat file containing the list of loans and returns performed during connection downtime. The default location of the file (configured during the offline circulation utility installation) is: <Local Drive>\Alma Offline Circulation\OffCirc\files\OffCirc.dat
The file name appears in the File name field.Offline Circulation List Page
Select Upload and Validate File Content. The job appears in the table at the bottom of the page. Its status appears in the Status column.Offline Circulation List Page with Jobs
To view details of a job, select View for the relevant job. The Job Report page appears, detailing the number of items processed successfully and unsuccessfully.
Job Report Page – Offline Circulation Job
When returning an item, the item is put into Processing status for the hold shelf, regardless of the specific desk configuration. An additional scan-in is required to place the item on the hold shelf and send the notification to the patron.
Downloading the Offline Circulation Utility
The offline circulation utility allows you to perform loans and returns offline in the event that your internet connection is down. When your connection is restored, you can upload a data file to Alma that contains these loan and return transactions (see above procedure).
The offline circulation utility can be downloaded from https://developers.exlibrisgroup.com/blog/alma-offline-circulation/. Install the offline circulation utility using the Alma offline circulation Utility wizard (requires Administrator privileges). By default, the utility is installed in the C:\Alma Offline Circulation directory.
After you have downloaded the offline circulation utility, you can perform loans and returns offline.
To perform loans and returns offline:
- Select the Offline Circulation file in the C:\Alma Offline Circulation directory to run the utility. The following dialog box appears.
Offline Circulation Interface
- Scan the borrower’s library card to populate the Borrower and Item barcode fields.
- Under Choose transaction, select Loan or Return.
- Select Loan or Return to complete the transaction.
- When all the transactions are completed, select Save to File to create a data file of all the transactions. The data file is saved to the C:\Alma Offline Circulation\OffCirc directory.
When your internet connection is restored, the data files can be uploaded to Alma from the Offline Circulation List page (Fulfillment > Advanced Tools > Offline Circulation). After the data files have been uploaded to Alma, you can delete them from the C:\Alma Offline Circulation\OffCirc directory.
It is important to delete data files after they have been uploaded to Alma. If you do not, the data files remain on the Offline Circulation List page and are processed into Alma again during the next upload.
The Offline Circulation File
This client tracks four key pieces of information:
What date/time the transaction took place
Whether the transaction was a loan or a return
The patron’s ID (usually patron barcode or username)
The item’s ID (item barcode)
The offline circulation file a delimited text file, stored in the following format:
Col.1 = date (YYYYMMDDHHMM) [12 chars] +L (Loan) or R (Return) [1 char] + item-barcode [80 chars]
Col.2 = patron ID