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Offline Transactions

This document incorporates elements of Evergreen Documentation under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode) and is available to share under the same license.

1. Offline Transaction Management

1.1. Using the Standalone Interface

Evergreen’s Standalone Interface / Offline Interface is designed to log transactions during scheduled or unscheduled network outages or other periods of time when the NC Cardinal production database is inaccessible, including library migrations into the NC Cardinal consortium.  These stored transactions can be uploaded and processed once normal database operations are restored.

The terms Offline Interface and Standalone Interface mean the same thing: a separate program to handle simple circulation tasks while the library is offline for a period of time.

To access the Offline Interface, navigate to the Staff Client login screen and click Standalone Interface


The Evergreen Standalone Interface window opens.


Check Out





To circulate items from the Evergreen standalone interface:

  1. Click Check Out on the top menu bar. The Standalone Check Out screen opens.
  2. Ensure that the date on the left-hand side of the menu bar is correct. The default dates are based on your computer settings.

    3. While offline, patrons MUST have their library card barcode to check out, since you will not be able to log into the staff client to look them up by name. Enter the patron’s library card barcode in the Enter the patron’s barcode field by scanning or typing the barcode. Make sure that the full barcode was captured correctly.

Please be aware that Evergreen is not able to check circulation policies or other limiting factors that determine whether patrons are or are not allowed to check out specific numbers or types of items in the Standalone Interface. If you have downloaded the offline patron list, Evergreen will automatically flag any matching barcodes for patrons who were blocked, barred, or expired at the time the offline patron list was downloaded and a pop-up message will appear on screen. Accounts which are inactive will not have a pop-up message.

The pop-up messages displays one of these three messages in preferential order - blocked, barred, expired. So, if a patron has one or more issues  blocked and expired  only one pop-up message will appear to indicate that the patron is blocked. 

Please note that it is still possible to acknowledge the message and continue with checkout to these patrons and the transactions may not appear in the exceptions list, since proceeding with the checkout constitutes a staff override in Evergreen.


The Check barcode? boxes Step 2) for patron barcode and Step 4) for item barcode are intended for libraries who utilize the check digit numbering system for their barcodes. If you are certain that your library system only uses barcodes that have a check digit at the end of them for patron and/or item barcodes, you can mark the Check barcode? boxes to ensure that the string of numbers looks like a valid barcode using that criteria. Otherwise, it is best to leave these boxes unchecked to prevent potential exceptions that the local system administrator will need to resolve. The pop-up warning for ineligible patrons (based on the offline patron list) will appear whether or not the Check barcode? box is checked on screen.

    4. Ensure that the due date is correct in the Enter the item due date field. You may enter a different due date manually, or select a different duration from the dropdown list to select a relative due date based on the loan period for the type of item (dvd vs book). It is helpful to sort like items together before checking out, grouping dvds to check out, then changing the date to check out books, for example.


    5. Check out items:

  • For cataloged items:
    • Scan each item’s barcode in Enter the item barcode field. If your scanner is not set to automatically enter the barcode or if you type in a barcode by hand, make sure you hit the Enter key after entering the item barcode.

    • Check to make sure that each item appears on the right side of the screen and that the full barcode was captured correctly.  


  • For non-cataloged items:
    • Click Choose a non-barcode option to select a non-cataloged category from the drop-down list.


    • Enter the number of items you want to check out, then click OK on the prompt window.

    6. Scan all items, changing the due date if necessary.

    7. If you wish to print a receipt, select the Print receipt? checkbox. You may choose to print two receipts — one for the patron and one for your library — which would allow library staff to do some troubleshooting with upload errors when the system is back up. Note: some receipt setup may be required before the offline period.

    8. Click Save these transactions. This is a very important step.

Note: If you fail to save the transactions, the data is not captured and there is no record of the checkout to the patron.



Pre-catalogued item circulation is not available on Offline Interface. If an existing pre-cat barcode happens to be used, it is checked out with the previous author and title. If a new pre-cat barcode is attempted, an error of ASSET NOT FOUND (item not found) is returned upon processing offline transactions.

Note: The Delete Selected Transaction button at the bottom right of the Check Out and Renew screens does not work:

Unfortunately, there is no code in Evergreen to support that button, so you will not want to use it while offline.

If staff accidentally scan the wrong barcode (ISBN or a misscan that doesn't capture all digits, etc.), they could close the window without saving the transactions listed, including the problem ISBN, but must be sure to re-scan the patron barcode and all item barcodes that were scanned and not saved before, so that they re-capture the entirety of those transactions. Each time the screen wipes after staff click on the Save these transactions button Evergreen has captured and recorded the transactions, so anything that was previously saved in that offline session is fine and does not need to be repeated. All the cumulative saved transactions are in a file on the PC itself. You can close out of the Standalone screen and reopen as many time as you like, it causes no difficulty to do so.

Alternatively, after scanning an incorrect barcode, staff can simply scan the correct one and save the transactions. There will be an exception for the ISBN, but whoever is processing exceptions should see that the number is not recognized as an item and does not match you barcode range.


Renew 

If the offline period is planned, it is best to extend due dates to ensure that no items will become due during the offline period and avoid renewing items while offline.

Note: Using the Renew feature can create additional transaction exceptions once transactions are uploaded into Evergreen, which the local system administrator must resolve.

To renew an item, you must have the item’s barcode number.

Note: The Renew window is very similar to the Check Out window. The differences are that a patron’s barcode is optional on the Renew window, and the non-barcoded option is not available on the Renew window, as non-barcoded items can not be renewed.


To renew items from the Evergreen standalone interface:

  1. Click Renew on the top menu bar.

  2. Ensure that the date on the left-hand side of the menu bar is correct.
  3. (Optional): Enter the patron’s library card barcode in the Enter the patron’s barcode field by scanning or typing the barcode.
  4. Ensure that the due date is correct in the Enter the item due date field. You may enter a different due date manually, or select a different duration from the dropdown list to select a relative due date based on the loan period.
  5. For each item to be renewed, enter the item’s barcode in the Enter the item barcode field. The barcode appears on the right side of the screen.
  6. To print a receipt, select the Print receipt? checkbox.
  7. Click Save these transactions.


In-house Use


To record in-house use transactions from the Evergreen standalone interface:

  1. Click In House Use on the top menu bar.
  2. Ensure the date is correct.
  3. Enter the number of uses to record for the item in the Enter the number of uses of the item field.
  4. Enter the item barcode number in the Enter the item barcode field.
  5. Repeat the previous 2 steps until all items have been scanned.
  6. To print a receipt, select the Print receipt? checkbox.
  7. Click Save these transactions.
Note: Staff may record preestablished non-cataloged type data, such as door count, computer use, reference questions, etc. by clicking choose a non-barcoded option on the Standalone Check Out screen.


Check In


Staff MUST NOT check in items while offline.


Without access to Evergreen database, items on holds or with special status will not be captured in offline mode and offline transactions may not be processed in the same order that they occurred, so a check in transaction could be processed for a recently checked out item before the check out transaction has actually be processed. This would leave the item showing as checked out, when in fact it had already been returned by the patron.

As you receive items during the offline period, it is helpful to go ahead and do whatever you would normally to make sure the returned item has all components and is in good shape (all discs or inserts, no damage, etc.) then sort them into containers or onto carts grouped by shelving location, as much as possible. That way, once you are able to begin checking in items when back online, staff can check in items that are all going to the same shelves (batches of DVDs, audiobooks, etc.) without having to do any sorting on what is likely to be a hectic day. It is a good idea to store those returned items outside the view of patrons, if possible, so that patrons do not try to browse or try to check out items that have not yet been checked in.

A local system administrator for each library system will manage the processing of offline transactions and any exceptions. Only after the local system administrator notifies staff that all transactions and exceptions have been processed and resolved on March 5th can staff begin to check in materials while logged into the Evergreen staff client in the usual way.


Register Patron

NC Cardinal recommends that libraries not register new patrons while offline.

Staff will not be able to search the patron database to see if someone already has a card with fines/fees, etc.


Last Receipt

This button re-prints the last receipt you printed.

Exit

Close the Standalone Interface – the Evergreen Offline window – by clicking on the Exit button at the end of each day. Remember to click on Standalone Interface at the beginning of each day while offline. (DO NOT log into Evergreen at any time during a scheduled offline period.)

Once the scheduled service is completed, libraries staff will be notified when they are free to log back into the Evergreen staff client. At that time staff can begin to check out, but must wait until their local system administrator has processed and resolved all offline transactions and exceptions before beginning to check in items. 

1.2. Managing Offline Transactions Video


1.3. Managing Offline Transactions


Managing Offline Transactions

Evergreen’s Standalone Interface, also know as offline mode, is designed to log transactions during migrations or network outages. Each workstation that is used while offline will record transactions that must be uploaded and processed to be synchronized with the NC Cardinal database once network connections are restored, so it is helpful to limit the number of workstations using the Standalone Interface while offline.

It is important to upload and process the offline transactions immediately after access to the database is restored to avoid the misapplication of patron or item data in the database. If all transactions are not uploaded and processed as soon as possible and staff begin checking in or checking out items while logged into Evergreen, the delayed synchronization of data could create a confusing and frustrating situation if the patron account shows that a patron checked out an item (while offline) after they already returned the item (once the library was back online).

Example: The library will be offline from 2/26 to 3/5. Bob Smith checks out a video on 2/26 and returns the video on 2/27. The library sets aside all returned items, which are checked in on 3/5. However, when uploading & processing transactions, a workstation with outstanding transactions (including Bob Smith's video checkout) is overlooked and those transactions are uploaded on 3/6. Unfortunately, that means the item that Mr. Smith returned on 2/27 would be checked out to him on 3/6. So, it is imperative to make sure all workstations are checked for offline transactions and all transactions are uploaded and processed as soon as possible, ideally before the library checks in any materials while logged into the staff client.


There are four parts to uploading and processing offline transactions:

  • Create an Offline Session
  • Upload the offline workstation transactions to the correct session
  • Process the transactions
  • Resolve exceptions and errors

Each branch at your library that will be using the Standalone Module while offline must have its own individual session (unique to that branch) created and visible at the branch for staff to upload transactions. Please note that you can create these sessions in advance of the offline period so that staff are ready to upload their workstation transactions as soon as you get the go ahead from the INC Cardinal team that our data has been fully loaded on the MOBIUS production servers. The workstation used to create the branch session must be logged in at that branch (based on the workstation branch location showing on the login screen) at the time the session is created. There are directions for logging into a branch remotely in the A Note About Creating and Processing Branch Transactions section below.

Once fully logged into Evergreen for the first time after being offline, staff will upload transactions to the same branch session from every workstation used while offline (as identified by the red ribbon under Offline Use on the Evergreen login screen).



Creating an Offline Session

This action can be performed by any staff member. In the Evergreen staff client:

  1. Log into Evergreen with your username and password.
  2. Select Admin (-) → Offline Transaction Management from the menu. The Offline Transactions screen opens. Previously created sessions are listed in the Offline Sessions section.
  3. In the upper Offline Sessions section, click Create to create a new session.
  4. Enter a specific and unique name for the session. Including the date is a good idea. Click OK.
  5. In the Offline Sessions section, highlight the session you created. An Uploaded Transactions section appears in the bottom of the screen. Initially, this section is empty.
  6. Inform library staff that the session has been created and tell them the name of the session.
  7. Sessions may be created in advance of a planned offline event.

 



Uploading Workstation Transactions to a Session

Once a unique session is created for each library branch, staff at the branch can begin to upload transactions from each workstation to the same session. There may be several sessions listed on the Offline Transaction Management screen, so you will need to ensure that staff are uploading transactions to the correct session.

Every workstation used to perform offline circulation during the offline period must upload its transactions to the offline transaction session as soon as possible after the library is back online.

To upload offline transaction from a workstation to a session, perform the following steps in the Evergreen staff client:

  1. Log into Evergreen with your username and password.
  2. Select Admin (-) → Offline Transaction Management from the menu. The Offline Transactions screen opens. You should see at least one session in the Offline Sessions section. You may also see older sessions.
  3. In the upper Offline Sessions section, be sure to highlight the correct session, then click Upload. The transactions are transferred to the Evergreen server.
  4. When the transactions have been uploaded, select the session in the Offline Sessions section. The value in the Upload Count column has increased by 1 and your workstation is now listed in the Uploaded Transactions section. You have now uploaded the offline transactions to the session for one workstation. Do this for each of your assigned workstations.

Inform the administrator when you have uploaded the offline transactions for each of your assigned workstations. Uploading transactions to the session does not put the transactions into the Evergreen database. The transactions will not be sent to the Evergreen database until the administrator processes the session.

Processing the Transactions

This action is usually performed by an administrator. It is recommended that the workstation has print capabilities for these next steps. 

When all of the participating staff workstations have uploaded their transactions to the offline session, the workstation names are listed in the Uploaded Transactions section. To process the offline transactions and make them live on the Evergreen server:

  1. Log into Evergreen with your username and password. If you are processing transactions for multiple branches, be sure you are logging into the intended branch (shown on the upper right quadrant of the login screen under Workstation).
  2. Select Admin (-) → Offline Transaction Management from the menu. The Offline Transactions screen opens. Previously created sessions are listed in the Offline Sessions section.
  3. Highlight the correct session and, if necessary, click Refresh to verify all the participating workstations have uploaded their transactions to your session.
  4. Click Process. The processing may take some time to complete, depending on how many transactions you have done. Click Refresh to see the updated status of the processing step. Processing is complete when the Processing? column shows Completed.

The number in the Transactions Processed column is equal to the number of items checked out or checked in. For example, 5 transactions processed could mean that:

  • 5 items were checked out, or
  • 3 items were checked in and 2 items were checked out, or
  • 5 items were checked in.

A Note About Creating and Processing Branch Transactions

If an administrator would like to create sessions and process the offline transactions for each branch from the main library, you will have to log into Evergreen as if you are at each branch. When you do so, you can set up sessions, get staff at the branch to upload transactions to the session, and then process the transactions so they are credited to that branch.

If you're logged in to the main branch and want to log into another branch, you can change the capitalization of one of the letters in polk.nccardinal.org to something like Polk.nccardinal.org or polK.nccardinal.org

What you usually see:

What you see when you change the capitalization of one of the letters in the Hostname

The Evergreen client  will then ask you to register your workstation, at which point you choose the branch you want to log into from the drop down list, instead of the branch you're currently at. Then, once you’re logged in as that other branch, you should see the session created by the branch. 

Selecting the branch to log into:


To process the sessions from multiple branches, log off, change the capitalization of a different letter in the Hostname and re-register the workstation for each different branch, then login and process those transactions.

Note: Once you finish processing all transactions and exceptions for each branch, be sure to select the hostname (usually with no capital letters) registered to the actual physical location of your workstation so that future transactions in Evergreen are processed for the correct workstation location. For example, if you left the workstation registered at Saluda, when it is physically located in Columbus, items checked in at that workstation would go into transit to Columbus.


Resolving Exceptions

After your session has processed, you can view the Exceptions for the session. Exceptions are problems that were encountered during processing. Examples of exceptions include: a mis-scanned patron barcode, an open circulation, or an item that was not checked in before it was checked out to another patron. Transactions causing exceptions may not have loaded into the Evergreen database. Staff should examine the exceptions and take necessary action. Please be aware that Evergreen is not able to check circulation policies or other limiting factors that determine whether patrons are or are not allowed to check out specific numbers or types of items in the Standalone Interface. Once the offline transactions are uploaded, these limiting factors may cause exceptions as Evergreen attempts to apply those limits and circulation policies while process transactions.

These are a few notes about possible exceptions. It is not an all-inclusive list.

  • Checking out a DVD with the wrong date (leaving due date set at +2 weeks instead of +1 week) does not cause an exception.
  • Overdue books are not flagged as exceptions.
  • Checking out a reference book does not cause an exception.
  • Checking out an item belonging to another library does not cause an exception.
  • The Standalone Interface does not recognize books on hold, so no exceptions will be generated when matching items are checked in or checked out.
  • The Standalone Interface can recognize blocked, barred, and expired patrons, as well as lost cards, if you have recently run an Admin (-) → Download Offline Patron List action on the workstation on which you are using the Standalone Interface. You will get an error message indicating the patron status from within the Standalone Interface at check-out time only for patrons that were already blocked when the offline patron list was downloaded. Other statuses will generate an exception.


Common error messages (this is not an exhaustive list):


Error Message What It Means What You Can Do
ASSET_COPY_NOT_ FOUND
the item barcode was mis-scanned/mis-typed
You may or may not be able to resolve this with the information available, particularly if there are digits missing. 
  • If the missing character location is identifiable (i.e. 30441100643\45), you can try 0 through 9 in that location to see if the item can be identified (correct barcode is 30441100643345).
  • You may want to call the patron and/or put a note in the account with the information you have.
  • If the barcode is doubled (barcodes back-to-back or an item barcode scanned in the wrong field),you should be able to identify and check the item(s) out to the patron.

ACTOR_CARD_NOT_ FOUND
the patron's library barcode was mis-scanned/mis-typed
May or may not be able to resolve this with the information available. If you cannot identify the patron, mark the item MISSING.
OPEN_CIRCULATION_ EXISTS
a book was checked out that had never been checked in
Open the patron account and check the item out to the patron listed in the exception. Select normal or forgiving checkin for the previous patron.
PATRON_ACCOUNT_EXPIRED
the patron account is expired
Click Retrieve patron and extend the expiration date a few weeks, rather than clicking on the Update Expire Date button.
MAX_RENEWALS_ REACHED
the item has already been renewed the maximum times allowed

ROUTE-ITEM
the book should be routed to another branch or library system
You'll need to find the book and re-check it in (online) to get the Transit Slip to print
CIRC_CLAIMS_RETURNED
a book previously marked as claimed-returned was found and checked in

COPY_STATUS_LOST
a book previously marked as lost was found and checked in

From this screen, it will be helpful to select Retrieve Item and/or Retrieve Patron (depending on the type of exception) to try to identify the error and resolve it. In most cases, you will want to go ahead and check the item out to the patron regardless of whether or not the patron is normally eligible, since the patron went home with the material and you want to make sure their record reflects that information correctly.