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Email notices still to come

by eli

We're having a problem with email notices on the new system, including hold notices, overdue notices, and advance due date notices. While we are not currently able to send any notices, we are working on the problem, and we hope to have these services restored before the end of this week.

In the meantime, keep an eye on your My Account page to see when things are due. We are refining this page based on your suggestions to give better information about renewals and clearer explanations for renewal failures.

Please Contact Us if you're having any trouble with your account. More to come!



I have 4 titles due today. When I renewed all four of them, this was my result:

Book title 1... 08-08-05
Book title 2... 08-08-05
Book title 3... Now due 08-08-05
Book title 4... Now due 08-08-05

Additionally, in some cases, it might be helpful if the fields on the items checked out were larger so that the entire title or the title + author name is visible. While it's probably sufficiently obvious in most cases, in the previous catalog, both fields were visible in their entirety and this seems nicer to me.

Since some people find the phrasing of the holds confusing, why not add the word "Number" in front of "40 of 205 holds", or some other information on this line.

I'd like it if you made the search box on the general catalog search page larger, and make it so that the cursor doesn't end up along that left-hand vertical line of the search box where it's basically invisible. A pull down menu with title/search/keyword with the default on keyword would be incredibly helpful because as it is now it's an extra step to go to advanced search for what I don't think is a very advanced feature. I do like the ease of narrowing the search based on age/location/material and whether it's checked in.

And an idea! There are certain books I've read that are sufficiently good that I'd like to read others by the author (or on the same subject) -- except that I forget, or I lose my little scraps of paper on which the salient info has been scrawled. Also sometimes you find a list of books you want to look at and if you could get a "wish list" type thing that listed all the things you want to look up, that would be helpful. If it could alert you when new books by your favorite authors came in, now that would be neat.

To respond to willow's last paragraph -- what would really be nifty is if we could just keep a list of authors whose work we wish to read, and be automagically notified when new books by that author are ordered. With an offer to put us on the reserve list for the new books. :-)

That would be fantastic! I have to agree, so far the new system certainly seems inferior to the old system. I am very hopeful this will be reversed once the bugs are worked out.

I had a similar problem when I renewed multiple books - but only one showed with the "now due" line and the others with the just the new due date.

Also, I tried to renew a bunch and I think that I had to renew one several times before it actually renewed.

Some ideas:

I have a lot of books checked out since I get books for my daughter and myself. When I renew some books, it would be nice to see a confirmation above the listing of my books saying that 4 books or whatever were renewed - so I know that the renewal process went according to plan. It would also be nice to see the new dates in the confirmation line, but I understand that could be difficult given that books and CDs, etc. renew for different periods of time.

Also, when I log into my account, I would like to see ALL of my checked out books listed, rather than having to click to a new 'show everything' page everytime. I liked that the old system showed me all my books right away.


katbrehob, these are great suggestions. We're thinking about giving some settings for the my account page, such as 'show all checkouts by default', etc, so that we're not applying a one-size-fits-all approach. More to come.

Aha! Light dawns! The system shows the first *ten* checkouts by default. If you have more than ten checkouts, then you have to click "show all checkouts".

There are more than a few of us who have come to depend completely on the email notices to know when we need to return something.

So it would be nice to broadcast an email to everyone who previously received email notices, letting us know that we can't count on them for the time being.

Otherwise some people will be unpleasantly surprised when they discover they owe large fines and realize out what's happened....

I agree with the previous comment about getting email notices of system difficulties. I depend on email notices to remind me when my books are due. Since I have not heard anything from the library for a time I thought all my books were current. Yesterday when I put in a request for book I was unpleasantly surprised to find to one of my books was overdue. It was only for one day but the fines would have mounted if I hadn't put in that new request for a book.

Thanks for your comments. If you had items go overdue because you were expecting advance notices, please mention it the next time you visit a library branch, and we can waive those fines for you. We are still hoping to get this service restored this week.

On a technical note, broadcasting messages like this to our patrons can cause as many problems as it solves; last time we did so, we were flagged as spammers by U of M (because so many patrons have U of M addresses) and we could not send any email to U of M addresses for over a week. I didn't want our warning of email notice unavailability to subsequently prevent a large percentage of our patrons from receiving the messages once they started up again.


"On a technical note, broadcasting messages like this to our patrons can cause as many problems as it solves; last time we did so, we were flagged as spammers by U of M."

Ouch. I'd say the UM's spam filtering was pretty broken, then. And surely the public library isn't the only institution with this problem? There must be mailing lists that significant percentages of the UM userbase are subscribed to.

The service at the university which accepts e-mail for addresses has changed much in the last year and the anti-spam process is completely new, so merely sending a lot of mail to U-M addresses will not cause blocking.

Unpleasant surprise. Fines due! Fines should be waived. We have gotten used to communicating with the library by e-mail, hence no due date stamps in our books. We really rely on reminder e-mails to get the books back on time. Also, what happened to summaries and reviews of books? So far the new system seems much more cumbersome and difficult to navigate through than the old. Maybe the bugs aren't out yet. Hopefully!

Hi there,

I am finding now that I have set up an account, my computer takes me directly into my login page when I use I prefer the privacy of my account to be maintained until I get to the library site and actually login myself. Is this occurrance my doing, some kind of local computer memory issue or is this a bug in the system?

Please advise.


Cindy, that's the way it currently works, you stay logged into unless you logout. You can click 'logout' in the upper right corner of the screen when you're done, and you'll then be prompted to log in the next time you go to access your account. Note that we are working on options to allow people to choose whether or not they stay logged in, and that this does not happen at public computers at the library, where you are logged out after 5 minutes of inactivity.

Gavin, thanks. That is very good information, as I was also getting concerned as to what would happen when we finally get the problem solved and unleash a flood of email on unsuspecting servers around town and beyond...

Hey there -- something seems to be wrong with the stylesheets for items checked out such that when something is overdue and goes to two lines, it covers the item below it in the list. I had a CD that was overdue (oops!) and I knew I had two other books checked out, though only one showed. Once I renewed the CD, the "hidden" title reappeared.

And now, I've completely forgotten what I came to look up in the catalog!

I think I am missing something. I had thought that I saw a menu item which indicated the borrowing history of the patron. I don't seem to see it today. Did I make this up? Also, I miss the summaries of the books and I am glad that this is coming back. I would also like to see the library pick up default to that library after it has been initially entered.

Malman, there is a search history, usually at the top of your catalog searches, but we also have an optional reading history on the way, that will allow you to tell the system to keep a list for you of everything you check out. You may have inadvertently seen that linked somewhere, but it's coming soon. Also, it does look like summaries will be back this week, and we think you'll be pleased with the new way we'll be able to present them.

As for the default pick-up point, we're working on that, but it's a little farther off. The system wants to always make you choose, or never let you choose, so we need to do a little hacking to get it to work right. Stay tuned.


In this patron record thing, would it be possible to delete some items, or is it an all-or-nothing approach? Issues of privacy and search warrants aside, sometimes a book just isn't any good or we might only want to remember certain interesting items, not everything we check out.

Then again, when I was in junior high, I repeatedly checked out the same book from my local library, always thinking it looked so interesting, only to read a few pages and decide it was, in fact, terribly boring. Luckily I did eventually manage to remember the title, which I haven't forgotten.

Willow, the contents of the checkout history will be entirely under your control. After turning on the service, you can delete individual items from your history, delete all items from your history and start over, or turn the service off and discard all your records. We are very concerned about patron privacy, and we are confident that this service offers the control over their own data that our patrons need to feel comfortable using the service.


Here's another small thing -- in the paper mail that tells us something we've reserved is ready for pickup, there's a heading that indicates it will tell where to pick up, but no pickup location is given.

Woohoo! Got two email notices of things I've reserved that are ready!

Yay. :-)

Thanks, you guys, for all your work getting this stuff smoothed out!

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