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    Patron Configurations

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    Configuring Patron (User) Groups

    To configure patron (user) groups, you must have one of the following roles:
    • General System Administrator
    • Fulfillment Administrator
    You configure patron (user) groups on the User Groups Code Table page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > Patron Groups).
    For details, see Configuring User Groups.

    Configuring Patron Limits

    To configure patron limits, you must have one of the following roles:
    • General System Administrator
    • Fulfillment Administrator
    Alma enables you to define various limits that apply to the patrons who use the services of the institution and libraries within the institution. Patron limits are checked and applied when a patron attempts to borrow or renew a resource from the library. When a patron reaches one of the defined limits, the patron’s account is blocked. For example, you can specify that the patron’s account is blocked when the patron reaches 10 overdue items. The patron will not be able to borrow additional resources from the library until the block is removed.
    Patron limits are defined for groups of patrons, based on the user groups to which the patrons are assigned. For example, you could define a set of limits for all patrons that are part of the Graduate Student user group. For each user group, you can define limits that may block a patron’s account, such as:
    • Maximum number of overdue items
    • Maximum amount of cash that can be owed by the patron
    • Maximum number of bookings (not including resource sharing requests)
    • Maximum number of overdue recalled items
    These limits are configured at the institution level using the Patron Limits Definitions mapping table. Each set of limits can be either enabled or disabled. By default, each new set of patron limits is enabled. The limits that you define apply to all libraries within the institution.
    Patron limits are configured on the Patron Limits Mapping Table page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > Patron Limits).
    Patron Limits Mapping Table Page
    Patron limits can be configured at the institution level only. Select the required institution from the You are cConfiguring filter on the Fulfillment Configuration page.
    The following actions can be performed on this page:

    Adding a Set of Patron Limits

    You can add a new set of patron limits to the institution. When you add a set of patron limits for a specific user group (for example, Alumni), ensure that there is only one enabled set of limits for this user group.
    You define patron limits at the institution level. The limits that you define apply to all libraries within the institution.
    To add a new set of patron limits:
    1. On the Patron Limits Mapping Table page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > Patron Limits), in the Create a New Mapping Row section,  click Add Row and select the patron user group for which you want to create a new set of limits.
      Create New Patron Limits
    2. Enter the following information:
      • Max. cash – Maximum amount of cash that can be owed by the patron before the patron’s account is blocked.
        Max. cash is a required field.
      • Max. overdues – Maximum allowed overdue loans before the patron's account is blocked. If you define max. overdue = 1, the patron account is blocked only after there is more than one overdue loan. Setting max. overdue to 0 will block a patron with one overdue loan.
      • Max. bookings – Maximum number of bookings allowed before the patron’s account is blocked. This value does not include resource sharing requests.
      • Max. overdue recalls – Maximum number of overdue recalled items allowed before the patron’s account is blocked.
      • Max. digitization requests – Maximum number of digital item hold requests allowed before the patron’s account is blocked
      • Max. physical item requests – Maximum number of concurrent active physical item hold requests allowed before the patron’s account is blocked
      If you leave one of the above boxes blank, no limit will be applied in this area.
    3. Click Add Row. The new set of limits is displayed at the bottom of the list of defined patron limits.
    4. Click Save to store the new set of patron limits.

    Editing a Set of Patron Limits

    You can edit the details of any set of patron limits.
    To edit patron limit details:
    1. On the Patron Limits Mapping Table page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > Patron Limits), locate the set of limits that you want to edit.
    2. Modify the specific limit, as required.
    3. Click Save to store the modified patron limits in the system.

    Configuring Loan Limit Rules

    To configure loan limit rules, you must have one of the following roles:
    • General System Administrator
    • Fulfillment Administrator
    You can limit the number of concurrent loans that a user may have by creating a loan limit rule. The rule can be applied according to library, location, material type, and user group.
    You configure loan limit rules from the Loan Limit Rule page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > Loan Limits).
    Loan Limit Rules Page
    Loan limit rules can be configured at the institution level only. Select the required institution from the You are cConfiguring filter on the Fulfillment Configuration page.
    The following actions can be performed on this page:
    • Add Loan Limit Rules (see Adding Loan Limit Rules)
    • Edit Loan Limit Rules (see Editing a Loan Limit Rule)
    • Duplicate Loan Limit Rules (select Actions > Duplicate from the row actions and modify the relevant fields)
    • Delete Loan Limit Rules (select Actions > Delete from the row actions)

    Adding Loan Limit Rules

    You can add a loan limit rule. The rules that you define apply to all the libraries within the institution.
    To add a loan limit rule:
    1. On the Loan Limit Rules page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > Loan Limits), click Add Rule. The Loan Limit page opens.
      If you want to create a copy of an existing loan limit rule, select Actions > Duplicate from the row actions. Once you have copied the loan limit rule, you can modify it as needed.
      Loan Limit Page
    2. Under Input Parameters, enter a name and description of the loan limit rule.
    3. Under Input Parameters, specify the components of the input parameter (Name, Operator, and Value). A set of input parameters may look like this: Library=ArtLibrary.
    4. Click Add Parameter. The set of input parameters is added to the list of parameters for the loan limits rule.
    5. Repeat the previous two steps to add all of the required parameters for the rule.
      All the input parameters must be fulfilled for the rule to be applied.
    6. Under Output Parameters, enter a loan limit – the maximum number of items that a patron can borrow according to the loan limit rule.
    7. Click Save to store the new rule.
      • The order of the rules is not important. All the rules that match the criteria are checked by the system. If a limit defined by any of the rules is exceeded, the new loan is not created.

    Editing a Loan Limit Rule

    You can edit loan limit rules.
    To edit a loan limit rule:
    1. On the Loan Limit Rules page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > Loan Limits), select Actions > Edit from the row actions list for the specific rule you want to edit. The Loan Limit page opens.
    2. Modify the rule name and description as required.
      You cannot edit an existing set of input parameters. To modify an existing set of input parameters, first delete the existing set, and then add a new set.
    3. Click Delete for the specific set of input parameters record you want to delete.
    4. Add a new set of input parameters as described in Adding Loan Limit Rules.
    5. Under Output Parameters, enter a loan limit – the maximum number of items that a patron can borrow according to the loan limit rule.
    6. Click Save to store your changes to the loan limit rule.

    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 Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > 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 (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > 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 You are cConfiguring 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 UserBlockDefinitions Mapping Table page. You cannot change the ID that is defined for a user group definition).
    • Delete a set of user block definitions (click 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:
    1. On the User Block Definitions Mapping Table page, locate the Create a New Mapping Row section click 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
    2. 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.
      • Blocked action – Select the blocked action from one of the following:
        These blocked actions are preconfigured in Alma. To configure additional blocked actions, 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 type. For information on configuring demerits, see Configuring Demerits.
        • Cash
        • Demerit
        • General
        • Loan
        • Resource sharing requests
        • User
      • 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)
      • New for September! 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.
    3. Click Add Row. The new user block definition is displayed at the bottom of the list of defined user block definitions.
    4. Click Save to store the new set of user block definition.

    Configuring Demerits

    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.
    Learn about demerits in the Demerits video (25:05 mins). For a detailed Ask the Expert session on configuring demerits, see Demerits in Fulfillment.
    In addition, for detailed examples of demerit configuration, see How to Configure Demerits.

    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.

    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:
    1. On the Demerit Points mapping table page (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configuration > User Demerits), in the Create a New Mapping Row sectionAdd 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.
    2. Click Add Row.
      Alma uses the following priority to decide which mapping row to use when assigning demerit points to a user:
      1. Both the user's group and the material being returned match the values in the table.
      2. The user's group matches the value in the table and the Material Type is set to All in the table.
      3. The returned item matches the Material Type value in the table and User Group is set to All in the table.
      4. Both User Group and Material Type are set to ALL in the table.
      5. 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
    3. After you have added all of your demerit point definitions, click 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.

    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 User Blocks Due to Overdue Loans

    You can implement a blocking policy so that a loan that is returned overdue will trigger a block on the user record after the patron returns an overdue loan, according to the defined Block When Overdue policy. The block policy may be set separately for each Terms of Use. By default, the policy blocks holds, resource sharing requests, loans, and renewals. As noted in the configuration procedure below, the User Block Definitions mapping table and User Block Descriptions code table (see Configuring User Block Descriptions and Definitions) must be configured in order to create overdue blocks.
    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.
    To configure a blocking policy
    1. Access the User Block Description table (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Patron Configurations > User Block Description). Add a new row with code OVERDUE (see Configuring User Block Descriptions and Definitions).
    2. Add a new row of type Loan using the overdue loan block that was created in Step 1.
    3. Access the Fulfillment Terms of Use (Fulfillment > Fulfillment Configuration > Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Physical Fulfillment > Terms of Use and Policies).
    4. Add a new loan Terms of Use or edit an existing one (see Configuring Terms of Use).
      The Block When Overdue Terms of Use does not block by default.
    5. To create the block, select the blank line from the drop-down, and select Add Policy from the Actions menu.
      Add blocking policy.png
      Add blocking policy.png
      Add Blocking Policy
    6. 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 amount of days that the policy dictates. If a cumulative value is not chosen, the expiry date will be according to the policy only, without considering previous blocks.
      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>.
    7. Click Save.
    8. On the Terms of Use Details page, select Maximum Period for Overdue Block. The maximum overdue block period policy affects the calculation of the overdue loan block's expiry date. If a block's expiry date is calculated to be later than the maximum, the block will be shortened to match the limit. The default policy does not set a maximum overdue block period.
    9. 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 Find and Manage Users. Click 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.
    1. Access Monitor Jobs. Find the Users - Remove Blocks job.
    2. Within the report, click 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).