Session 5 – Managing "My Borrowing"

BiblioCommons provides users with the same type of account management functionality they’re accustomed to receiving from other library OPAC products. (Most “discovery layer” product offerings replace search only – forcing users to move back and forth between two very different user experiences).

Users will find all account information related to their library borrowing, under My Borrowing, which is located in the drop-down menu at the top of every page in the OPAC.

Let’s start by exploring some of the account management features that are most important to users for day-to-day use. For instance, keeping track of loans and fines.

5.1 Current Loans

Task: Renew your real (or imagined) items on loan.

  • Go to My Borrowing and select Checked Out.
  • If you have any items that you wish to renew, do so now. (Otherwise, just pretend!)
  • If you have an item that has already been renewed, try renewing it again, beyond the allowable number of renewals. Note where the resulting error message is displayed.
  • The default sort is by date, with overdue items first. Try sorting by format, title etc.

5.2 Managing Holds: Placing Holds

Placing holds is an activity that frequent library users value highly. BiblioCommons provides an easy interface for accomplishing this routine task.

As in most other OPACs, there are two places from which users can place holds. Let’s try using both of them. (You’ll have a chance to cancel these test holds at the end of the session.)

Task: Place a hold from within a search.

  • From the search results page, select an item and place it on hold
  • Now either do another search, or select an item from your first result set. Instead of placing a hold here, click through to the item’s bibliographic record.
  • Place a hold from within the bibliographic record.
  • Without leaving this last bibliographic record, cancel the hold you just placed

Note that now the system automatically replaces the Place a Hold button in that record with one that says Cancel Hold BiblioCommons is beginning to personalize the catalogue for the logged in user.

5.3 Managing Holds: Suspending, Reactivating, and Canceling Holds

Holds can be managed from the My Holds page, which is accessible through the top navigation bar, under My Borrowing.

Task: Suspend, reactivate and cancel holds from the My Holds page

  • Go to My Holds
  • Locate the hold you placed in the task above, and suspend it for a few weeks.
  • Now, on the same page, try to figure out how to reactivate it.
  • Now, on the same page, or in the item’s bibliographic record, look for the button that enables you to cancel that hold, and do so.

How quickly does BiblioCommons store information about activity on my account?

5.4 Recently Returned

Under My Borrowing on the top navigation bar, you’ll notice a section called Recently Returned. This section contains a list of each item recently returned to the library by a user. This is an opt-in feature, meaning that users have an opportunity to decide, while registering for their BiblioCommons account, whether or not they would like their borrowing history stored in this way. To date, 70% of BiblioCommons’ users have opted to use Recently Returned.

It is important to note that Recently Returned is only for the private reference of users. Borrowing histories are not visible to other users.

Currently, items remain in Recently Returned indefinitely, but in the future these will be stored for three months only. This feature is intended to be used as a personal reference for users – to confirm that items were received by the library. It is not intended as a permanent archive. That’s what My Shelves>Completed is for.

Let’s take a look at how it works.

Task: Familiarize yourself with Recently Returned

  • Go to Recently Returned under My Borrowing. You will only see items displayed here if:
  • You selected this feature during registration
  • You have returned books SINCE turning this feature on. It is NOT retroactive.
  • If you didn’t opt-in to Recently Returned during registration, you will see a message here that will allow you to do so now, or at any point in the future. If you enable it right now, you won’t see any items you’ve already returned listed. Only items you return from this point forward will be reflected in your Recently Returned.