Configuring User Blocks
Configuring User Block Descriptions and Definitions
For details on assigning user blocks to a user, see Blocking and Unblocking Users. These tables are also used when configuring user blocks due to overdue loans (Configuring User Blocks Due to Overdue Loans).
To configure user block definitions, you must first configure user block descriptions (you must select a description when configuring a definition). User block descriptions also appear in the drop-down list when blocking a user (see Blocking and Unblocking Users).
To access the user block descriptions, access the page at Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > User Block Description
User Block Description
The following actions can be performed on this page:
- Import a list of user block descriptions from a file
- Add a new user block description
- Delete a user block description
- Enable/disable a user block description
- Reorder the list of user block descriptions
- Modify the code or description fields
- Select one description to be a default value in the list
You configure user block definitions on the User Block Definitions Mapping Table page (Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > User Block Definitions).
Mapping Table Page – User Block Definitions
Patron-specific blocks can be configured at the institution level only. Select the required institution from the Configuring filter on the Fulfillment Configuration page.
The following actions can be performed on this page:
- Add a set of user block definitions (see Adding User Block Definitions)
- Edit a set of user block definitions (modify settings on the User Block Definitions Mapping Table page. You cannot change the ID that is defined for a user group definition).
- Delete a set of user block definitions (select Delete)
Adding User Block Definitions
The user block definitions that you define apply to all libraries within the institution.
To add a new user block definition:
- On the User Block Definitions Mapping Table page, select Add Row and enter the ID for the new user block definition in the Id field.
Create New Mapping Row Section of the Mapping Table Page
- Select the following information from the respective drop-down lists:
- Description – Describes the block action; the reason for the block. This list includes all of your user block descriptions. See the User Block Descriptions code table for defining descriptions, above.
- Blocked action – Select the blocked action from one of the following:
These blocked actions are preconfigured in Alma. To configure additional blocked actions, including a block for resource sharing requests, contact Ex Libris Support.
- 01 – loan
- 02 – loan, renew
- 03 – loan, renew, hold
- Type – Select the type of block from one of the following:
The Type value is for information only and does not impact the system, with the exception of the Demerit and Consortial Block type, whose values should not be changed. For information on configuring demerits, see Configuring Demerits. For information on configuring consortial blocks, see Configuring Consortial Blocks.
- Consortial block
- Resource sharing requests
- Overridable – Select whether the block is overridable from one of the following:
- ALL – The block is overridable by any circulation desk operator
- NONE – The block is not overridable
- CIRCDESC – The block is overridable only by a circulation desk manager
- OPERATOR – The block is overridable by a circulation desk manager or a circulation desk operator (and not a user with circulation desk operator – limited permissions)
- Network Block - Select whether the block will be copied when creating or refreshing a linked account.
- TRUE - Copy the block
- FALSE - Do not copy the block. This is the default.
- Select Add Row. The new user block definition is displayed at the bottom of the list of defined user block definitions.
- Select Save to store the new set of user block definition.
To configure demerits, you must have one of the following roles:
- General System Administrator
- Fulfillment Administrator
Alma allows you to configure a demerit system that applies patron blocks (such as for loans) based on the number of demerits a user has accrued within a configured amount of time. Once a block is applied, the institution suspends the user for the configured number of days and subtracts the used demerit points from the user's record. If the user receives more demerit points while on suspension, these points and the user's remaining points may contribute to another suspension once the previous suspension period ends.
Accrued demerit points must occur within the configured number of days to receive a suspension.
The Users - Remove Blocks job runs daily to remove blocks from user records.
In addition, for more information on demerit points configuration, see Configuring Demerit Points.
Enabling the Demerit System
Configure the following parameters (see Configuring Other Settings):
- demerit_enable – Set this field to true to enable demerit functionality.
- demerit_history_days – Specify the length of the demerit tracking period in days. If the user's demerit points exceed the value specified in the demerit_maximum_threshold parameter during the demerit tracking period (that is the last number of days specified by this parameter), the system places a block on the user.
- demerit_maximum_threshold – Specify the maximum number of points allowed during the tracking period.
- demerit_suspension_days – Specify the length of a user's suspension period in days.
Demerit points always have an active status. However, if the the time defined in demerits_history_days has passed since the points were created, the points will be ignored when calculating the sum of demerits, even though the points have an active status.
Configuring Demerit Points
The Demerits Points mapping table defines the demerit points given to a type of user and returned material type. You can also apply different points to overdue materials that have been recalled.
To configure demerit points:
On the Demerit Points mapping table page (Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configuration > User Demerits), in Add Row, enter the following fields to define the points assigned to a user group and material type.DemeritPoints Mapping Table
- User group – Select a specific user group or All.
- Material Type – Select a specific material type or All.
- Regular Overdue Points – Enter the number of demerit points to apply to overdue items (not recalled overdue items).
- Recalled Overdue Points – Enter the number of demerit points to apply to recalled overdue items.
- Select Add Row.
Alma uses the following priority to decide which mapping row to use when assigning demerit points to a user:
- Both the user's group and the material being returned match the values in the table.
- The user's group matches the value in the table and the Material Type is set to All in the table.
- The returned item matches the Material Type value in the table and User Group is set to All in the table.
- Both User Group and Material Type are set to ALL in the table.
- If no match is found, no demerits are assigned.
For example, if the following demerit rows are defined and an alumnus returns a non-recalled manuscript late, the system assigns one demerit point to the alumnus:
Example Demerit Point Mapping Rows User Group Material Type Regular Overdue Points Recalled Overdue Points Undergrad Book 3 5 All Manuscript 3 6 Alumni All 1 2
- After you have added all of your demerit point definitions, select Customize to save your changes to the table.
If a user reaches the demerit threshold, the system applies a Demerit block on the patron record.
Configuring the Demerit Block
The User Block Definitions mapping table defines the demerit block given to users that have reached the demerit point threshold during the number of consecutive days defined by the demerit history threshold.
For more information, see Configuring User Block Descriptions and Definitions.
Monitoring the Blocks Job
The Users - Remove Blocks job runs daily to determine whether suspended users have fulfilled their suspension period and have not exceeded the configured demerit threshold while on suspension,. If this is the case, the user's block is lifted.
For more information, see Viewing Job Reports.
Configuring Consortial Blocks
To configure consortial blocks, you must have one of the following roles:
- General System Administrator
- Fulfillment Administrator
You can configure a block that can be copied between members of a fulfillment network. A consortial block, which is copied only from the source institution to the target institution, refers to the incoming block at the target institution. The block is copied when the linked account is initially created or when the target record is refreshed. The copied block appears as a consortial block rather than the original block type from the source, though a block note indicates the original block type as it appeared in the source institution.
To activate consortial blocks on the source side:
- Set up any blocks that will be sent to the target in the User Block Definition table with the Network Block field set to True. See Configuring User Block Descriptions and Definitions.
To activate consortial blocks on the target side:
- Set up Linked Account rules with the Copy Networks Block field set to Yes. See Configuring Linked Account Rules.
- In the User Block Description table, create a record if one does not already exist with code CONSORTIA. Enter CONSORTIA in the Code field and Consortial block in the Description field.
- In the User Block Definitions table, create a record with Type and Description fields set to Consortial block. To ensure that this block is not copied back to the source, set the Network Block field to False. See Configuring User Block Descriptions and Definitions.
Consortial blocks may be used when the linked accounts do not use consortial IDs. If consortial IDs are used, neither account is considered primary. Therefore, refresh actions (and copy of consortial blocks) from one account to the other do not take place.
Configuring User Blocks Due to Overdue Loans
The block may be selected for a period of time depending on the time the loan is overdue (based on only open days or all days), or may be for a fixed time. The block is automatically lifted once the configured expiry date passes, as part of the Users - Remove Blocks job.
Blocks can be configured for short term loans as well. To configure this, set the short_loan_overdue_block parameter to true. For more information, see Configuring Short Loan Reminders.
- Access the User Block Description table (Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > User Block Description). Add a new row with code OVERDUE (see Configuring User Block Descriptions and Definitions).
- Access the User Block Definitions table (Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > User Block Definitions). Add a new row of type Loan using the overdue loan block that was created in the prior step.
- To create the block, select the blank line from the drop-down, and select Add Policy from the Actions menu.
Add Blocking Policy
- On the Policy Details page, select Value type of Other. Enter a number in the Value field. Then select from the Unit of Measurement drop-down list. Overdue blocks may be calculated based on number of overdue days accumulated across multiple loans (cumulative) or based on the overdue days of a single loan (discrete). If an applicable Block When Overdue policy has a cumulative unit of measurement, the expiry date is calculated as the latest block expire date plus the number of days as defined by the policy. If a cumulative value is not chosen, the expiry date will be according to the policy only, without considering existing blocks. Overdue blocks are calculated based on full 24 hour days. If the unit of measurement is for days, the block is applied for a full day (24 hours between return date and due date).
If Days per Overdue Days - Discrete or Open Days per Overdue Days - Discrete is selected as a unit of measurement, the calculation is <Overdue/Open overdue days> * <Value>.Available values for Block When Overdue are:
- All Days - Cumulative
- All Days - Discrete
- Days per Overdue Days - Cumulative
- Days per Overdue Days - Discrete
- Months - Cumulative
- Months - Discrete
- Open Days - Cumulative
- Open Days - Discrete
- Open Days per Open Overdue Days - Cumulative
- Open Days per Open Overdue Days - Discrete
- Weeks - Cumulative
- Weeks – Discrete
- Select Save.
- To create the maximum block policy, select the blank line from the drop-down, and select Add Policy from the Actions menu.
To view user blocks:
Search for a user in Manage Users. Select the Blocks tab to see all active blocks on this user (including the block's expiry date).
View User Blocks
The block also displays when trying to perform certain actions, such as loaning an item.
User block pop-up
To view removed user blocks:
User blocks that have passed their expiry date are automatically removed when the Users - Remove blocks job runs.
- Access Monitor Jobs. Find the Users - Remove Blocks job.
- Within the report, select the link Delete user overdue loan block.
For more information about patron blocking due to overdue loans, see the Patron blocking due to overdue loans video (11:22 mins).
Overdue blocks for active loans (i.e., those that were created by the overdue and lost loan profiles job) will be removed during loan renewal.