Best Practices for Cataloging On Order Items

Re-posting, because it’s useful information…

So, you have the new Best Seller, but you can’t put it on the shelf until next month.
How do you catalog it so that patrons can start placing holds on the title before it hits library shelves?

The OLD cataloging specs were:

Item Subfield 7: Not for loan: Ordered
Collection: On order
Shelving Location: Cataloging
Item type: On order*

*We suspect that Koha gets confused when assigning holds on materials cataloged this way when/if the item type designation on the items are changed from On Order, which is completely unrestricted, to Local Hold.**

**I created an elaborate test video to recreate this scenario, but of course Koha worked just like it was suppose to!  Figures, eh?

However, the Best Practice is this:

  • Go find a Bibliographic record from the ether
  • Catalog your items as you would normally (Local Hold as Local Hold, Walk in as Walk in, Book as Book)
  • Set the Not For Loan status in Item Subfield 7 to “Ordered”
  • When you are ready to start circulating these items, edit and change the Not For Loan status back to ‘blank’

An Example:

Harley Highlights 1.1 Release Notes

Harley Highlights 1.1 Release Notes

The Upgrade has been postponed until Saturday, August 21 to give PTFS time to fix an issue with Holds, specifically with reviving the “Please return THIS BOOK to Home Library” prompt after all of the holds have been filled.  (Just a note, all of the patrons shown are fictional.)

PTFS-Master 1.1 Release Notes (.pdf)

New or Enhanced Features

Turn Off Item Type/Collection Code Search Section in Advanced Search – We will leave the Collection Code Advanced Search sections ON in both the Staff Client and OPAC.  This, with the addition of the Shelving Location limits, should assist in all of your searches.  Read and Watch more about Searching.

Add XSLT Support for Staff Search Results and Record Details – We have turned on this feature, which will display the 245 subfields h, b, n and p in the Search Results list in both the Staff Client and OPAC.  However, due to some ugly looking code, we will NOT turn on this display in the Staff Client Details Display.  So, make sure you selected the correct Go Diego Go or Naruto before going to the details page, because the sub-title will magically disappear.

Use Slave Database for Reports – We have asked PTFS to setup our system to run Koha reports against a backup database rather than the primary database.  We are still trying to determine if this means running MySQL command line (uber geeky) reports, or just using the Circulation Wizard, which is what we want.

Fixes and Functionality Enhancements

Written by PTFS or picked from “other Koha codelines,” with details available in the Bugzilla report.

  • Translate ampersand (&) in XSLT title display. (Note: You still need to remove punctuation from searches). But, now titles display will go from this:

  • Bug 3344Hold priority list needs additional status for items assigned but not waiting. We made this enhancement request, which Galen Charlton picked up and ran with.  So, when an item has been confirmed and is “In transit” to fill a hold, that item will no longer be a numbered hold in the Holds priority list, but will be down with those ‘waiting’ holds!
  • Bug 4224Holds queue (Pick List) report includes items already allocated.  This fix should remove extraneous entries.  We need to wait until we are ‘live’ to really test this.
  • Bug 4372Transferring an item does not update date last seen. Adds a date update to the Circulation History table for items when transfers are initiated, items are checked out AND when transfers are completed.  This was a bug we reported and our good friend Chris Cormack fixed!
  • Bug 3299Sticky calendar renew date doesn’t work.  The calendar gadget in the patron checkout/renewals column should work now!  Thank You to Galen Charlton for patching this for us.
Harley Highlights Continued

Harley Highlights Continued

More Bits and Pieces from the Release Notes


Bugfix to Allow User Specified Limit in SQL – This is more of a back end fix that we are excited about, but it does mean that we can run a report on your Shelflist, say for the Insurance agent or City auditor.

Patrons and Holds

Patron Batch Edit and Batch Delete (Bug 3468) – Sorry, but until there is a granular permission that allows us to limit this feature to TECH and DIRECTOR accounts, we will suppress it.  Too dangerous – we’d rather not tempt fate and accidentally delete a group of patrons we meant to just change from Child to Adult.  Anyway, it’s a bit buggy – the “Select All” link within the Cart doesn’t work.  But we wanted you to be aware of this functionality, which we can turn back on if there is a pressing need.

Patron Improved Searching (Bug 3468) – PTFS added email, phone number, and borrower number to the standard search.  They also added an optional SQL search, but we thought it best to suppress that for now.  For email or phone number, use an asterisk (*555-1212 or *  Note that searching (212) 555-1212 and 212 555 1212 are NOT equivalent, you have to search for the phone number as entered, or truncate to just a part (like *1212*).

Predefined Borrower Notes (Bug 3472) – Diana and her staff at Atchison are excited about this feature.  It allows us to have predefined “canned” messages in a drop-down menu that are visible on the checkout tab.  For example, “Proof of Address Required” or “Email Correction Requested.”  Still testing this, can’t get any of the canned messages (or free text notes) I created to actually show up on the Checkout Tab of my patron record!  Hmmm….

Allow Multiple Holds on Items for One Title (Bug 4239) – This is the “I need 4 copies of the same book for my book club” feature.  We have set up this feature to allow patrons to place multiple holds on items with the Item Type of BOOK and NEWBOOK, but nothing else.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to get this feature to work, even though we set up the system preference.  We’ve sent a support request….

Place Hold Option on Checkout Tab (Bug 3659) – We’d like you all to test this “Search to Hold” feature and see what comments, suggestions and changes you’d like to see.  We think this is a good feature that can get better.


Calculate Fines on Claims Returned Items (Bug 4236) – PTFS wrote a feature to stop fine accrual on claims returned items.  When a patron says they’ve returned an item, but it’s not on the shelf – instead of marking it lost, you can mark it “Claims returned”.  The item will stay on their account, but fines won’t accrue and the item will show up on the Patron details page AND Fines page.  This message stays until the item is marked LOST and charged to the patron for replacement or found and returned to the library.  In this example, I am using one of our testing patrons…

Pre-Defined Fee Types (Bug 3476) – This is another feature we need feedback on…what standard fees are typically used when you create manual invoices for patrons?  Photocopies? Replacement cards? Debt collection fee?  We can add these to the Manual Invoice Type drop-down menu.


Change Checkin Date (Bug 351o) – We call this the Snow Days check in feature – you can back-date the Check in feature, in case you were closed 2-3 days because of weather or flood…something that wasn’t expected and recorded using the Holiday Calendar.  You can also choose to Forgive overdue charges AND backdate the check in, in the name of exceptional customer service 😉

Check In Damaged (Bug 4242) – If an item’s status is set to damaged while it is checked out (say the called over the phone or you noticed the missing front cover while clearing the drop box), and there are existing holds on the item, checking the item in will NOT trigger the next hold.  Instead, you’ll get a message like:

Item Damaged: Title of Book
Hold will remain on item until repaired

Clear Borrower Record After Checkout (Bugs 3485 and 3486) – In the name of patron privacy, there is now a built in “Circ Timeout – Are you finished with this patron?” prompt after 300 seconds AND a Clear Screen button.  New habits!


Batch Item Edit (Bug 3509) – After further review and discussion, we discovered that the TOOLS permission needed to view this feature has to be reactivated for every TECH account.  Also, this feature needs additional training before it can be widely used – it’s that powerful.

Adding Additional Items Copies Item Data (Bug 3480) – We want to bring this to your attention because this is NEW behavior when adding additional items to a Bib record (from the Bib record, not the Cataloging Module).
So, you Search the Catalog, find a title, click New, and click New Item on the title display page will open a new item screen WITH DATA (except barcode and other fields such as number of checkouts) COPIED from the FIRST item attached to the record.  So, you will need to be very careful when editing your new Item record, or your call number scheme may look a lot like Basehor’s or Atchison’s or whichever library cataloged the first item attached to the record!

Step One: Search the catalog and select New > New Item:

Step Two:  Edit, fix, update

Save Import Profiles (Bug 4247) – Heather will create MARC Import Profiles that have pre-defined fields set up to make importing easier.


Bestseller’s Club and Email Notifications (Bug 4245) – We are still trying to test this feature, but hope to make the E-mail Lists work this way – Patron subscribes to a list and receives an email notification when new materials matching certain Item Type or Call Number scheme criteria are met.  For example, when new DVDs (‘MEDIA’  item type) are added to the collection or items that match a specific call number scheme (F QUINN or SF %).

OPAC Inactivity Timeout (Bug 4238) – An OPAC session will time out after 300 seconds (5 minutes) of inactivity and return to the main OPAC page.  We will need to craft a warning about the inactivity timeout to the OPAC’s main page – if you have any suggestions.

NOTE: The only guaranteed way for a patron to ensure that their “My Account” information can’t be accidentally seen is to CLOSE the BROWSER.  Logging out is not enough.

OPAC “Did You Mean” FEature (Bug 4240) – This new feature uses an open source dictionary to suggest five terms if an OPAC search term is misspelled or not found.  This does not work with some author names, but does work with commonly misspelled words that may appear in a title or subject.

OPAC and STaff Advanced Search Changes (Bug 3665) – A Search button has been strategically placed higher on the Advanced Search page, so you don’t have to scroll to the bottom of the page!  PTFS also moved subject, title and call number/barcode search options higher int he pulldown list.

Sorting of Item Holdings in Staff and OPAC (Bug 3702) – One of my favorite new features, the default sort order for the Item Holdings table will now be ALPHABETICAL by BRANCH LIBRARY DESCRIPTION, “so that a library’s holdings display together.”
NOTE: We are also working with PTFS to maintain our current CUSTOMIZATION of the Items holding table.  Our Catalog displays the items Permanent Home Branch in the Staff Client, rather than Current Location, which is the default behavior in Koha.  We needed a way to see how many copies were owned by a library at any given time for collection development.

Search by Shelving Location (Bug 4239) – NEW to the Advanced Search pages – You can limit to any of the following shelving locations!

Coming next…PTFS-Master 1.1 Release Notes