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Archive for the 'Systems, Collections & Processes' Category

Online Payments Additional Training and Dashboard

Bethan Smith12 September 2022

Following on from the launch of our online payments portal, we would like to inform colleagues of the availability of additional, post go-live online payments training sessions, as well as highlight the new online payments dashboard. 

Additional Training Sessions 

For the benefit of colleagues who did not have the chance to attend a training session prior to go-live, over the next few weeks we will be hosting more online payment training sessions.  

These training sessions will recap the same content covered in the live training sessions prior to the launch of the online payments platform, as well as the online payments training document which is available here 

Please note that these additional sessions are designed for colleagues who could not attend any of the previous training slots, or colleagues who feel they need a refresher. 

You can sign up to a training session via the following Eventbrite links: 

Online Payments Dashboard 

We would also like to inform colleagues that a new dashboard has been made available in Alma to display information about fines and fees.

The Online Payments dashboard will allow staff to view fines and fees over a custom period of time and will allow you to filter the results by payment method and library. This dashboard can be used for your local reporting needs and is accessed in the usual manner by viewing ‘reports’ in the analytics section of the main Alma menu.  

Colleagues who are unable to see the dashboard but require access can request this by contacting Bethan Smith 

Customer Online Payments Now Live

Bethan Smith24 August 2022

We would like to inform colleagues that the ability for customers to pay fines and fees online has now been made live. Customers can now pay their outstanding fines and fees by navigating to the payment portal from their library accounts in Explore.

As a reminder, a training guide has been created to act as a refresher for colleagues involved in online payments. It contains a detailed breakdown of the online payment process, as well as the procedures associated with our new way of paying fines and fees.

We would also like to remind all colleagues that, from now on, all testing and training which involves online payments (including any training for new starters) should be completed on the Alma Sandbox rather than the live production version of Alma, in order to ensure that all future financial reporting is accurate.

If you have any questions about the online payment process, please contact Bethan Smith or Jonathan Fowles.

Change to Logging Into Alma

Tom Beauchamp15 August 2022

As part of ISD’s strategy to switch many of UCL’s services to Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (AAD) identity management tool, how you sign into Alma is changing. If you use the short URL we have provided, e.g. via a bookmark, it will change automatically tomorrow morning (Tuesday 16 August 2022). Instead of entering your username and password into the current Shibboleth login screen, you will instead see one similar to when you log into your UCL email account, Explore, and other UCL IT services. If you have recently logged into another service using Azure, you may be logged automatically into Alma.

If you have not bookmarked the short URL, you will need to take action between now and Monday 3 October 2022. Please see the Alma page on LibNet for details.

If you have any questions regarding this change or encounter any problems, please use the Digital Services online form.

Customer Online Payments Update – Training Guide

Bethan Smith11 August 2022

Following on from our previous online payments training reminder, we would like to share the Online Payments Training Guide, which is now available here.

This training guide is designed to be used to complement the live training sessions. It contains a detailed breakdown of the online payment process, as well as the procedures associated with our new way of paying fines and fees.

We would encourage all colleagues who are involved in customer queries, as well as fine and fee payments, to view the document and use it as a reference guide going forward.

In addition, we would like to remind all colleagues that there are still training slots available for live online payments training and would encourage any interested staff who have not yet attended a session to sign up.

The remaining training slots are as follows:

We would also like to take the opportunity to inform staff that the go-live date for the online payments portal is anticipated to be Wednesday 24th August 2022.

If you have any questions about the online payment process, please contact Bethan Smith or Jonathan Fowles.

Customer Online Payments Update

Bethan Smith27 July 2022

Following on from the previous blogpost regarding online training sessions, we would like to remind you of the Online Payments Training sessions which will be taking place throughout late July and early August. The first of these sessions took place yesterday – you can sign up to any of the remaining sessions here.

There are training slots still available for the following times:

Furthermore, we would like to inform colleagues of the recent change to the lost item procedure. As of Monday 25th July, we have made changes to the process for significantly overdue books. Impacted colleagues were informed of this last week.

The changes are:

  • We no longer automatically apply a lost status and lost fee in Alma when an item becomes significantly overdue.
  • We automatically apply a block on borrowing as soon as the item becomes overdue.
  • When the item becomes significantly overdue, we will also apply a block for renewals and requests. All blocks will be removed when the items are returned.

As a result:

  • There is no longer any need to add prices to items from an Alma report.
  • There is no need to manually block users for overdue items, or to send a second invoice email. Colleagues can still follow their local procedures to chase significantly overdue items, based on due date rather than lost status.
  • Alma will no longer produce the following reports: Items Requiring Prices; Items Requiring a 2nd Invoice; Lost Loans Returned Yesterday; Invoice Letters Generated Yesterday. We will also remove the invoicing dashboard.
  • If a customer reports that a book is lost, we will have to add the price to the item record and mark the item as lost manually. When online payment is live, this will allow the customer to pay the fee remotely, at which point it will be removed from their record automatically.

For further information on these changes, please consult the accompanying documentation here.

We are still reviewing historic Alma lost fees and blocks, and will make a decision regarding these before online payment is operational. This will be communicated to colleagues.

We will also conduct a review in 2023 to assess whether these changes have had any impact on the number of books returned to the Library.

If you have any questions about training or the new lost item procedure, please contact Bethan Smith.

Customer Online Payments – Upcoming Training Sessions

Bethan Smith13 July 2022

Following on from the recent blog post reminding staff of the existence of the Explore Upgrade SharePoint in relation to online payments, we would like to now advertise the online payments training sessions which will be commencing in the next few weeks.

These training sessions will allow staff to become familiar with the online payment portal, so that they can assist our customers in navigating the platform and answer customer queries where needed.

Training will take place from 26th July through to 18th August. The first few sessions outlined below will have an Issue Desk Heads focus, so if you identify as a member of this group, we would particularly encourage you to sign up to one of these sessions.

The training sessions will include the following:

  • A demo of the online payment process
  • An opportunity for staff to try out the payment platform using test payments
  • Troubleshooting, process outlines and FAQs (including refunds and the new lost item procedure)

We would recommend that all interested staff sign up to one live session. Colleagues can sign up to training sessions via the Eventbrite links below:

Additional training documentation which can be used for reference will be provided and made available on the Explore Upgrade SharePoint once live training sessions are underway.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about Online Payments, please email bethan.smith@ucl.ac.uk.

Customer Online Payments Update 

Bethan Smith7 July 2022

As we are now well into the summer period, we would like to take the opportunity to update you on the progress on the Online Payments strand of the Explore Upgrade Project, which addresses the online payment of fines and fees by library customers. 

Having set up the testing environment, User Acceptance Testing is now underway to test the basic functionalities of the online payment portal. This period of testing will last the next few weeks; following on a successful period of testing, we will aim to launch the online payments platform for customers in time for the start of the next academic year, by the end of August 2022.

In preparation for go-live, we would like to remind you of the existence of the Explore Upgrade SharePoint, which will continue to be updated with new information regarding online payments in the coming days and weeks. The updates will include training documentation and an outline of processes associated with online payments. Colleagues are advised to periodically check the SharePoint for any updates and information. 

We are also aware that colleagues will want to familiarise themselves with the workings of the platform well in advance of the go-live date. To facilitate this, online payments training sessions for staff will shortly be advertised. Colleagues will be asked to sign up to live, virtual training sessions via an Eventbrite link. Training will cover the following elements: 

  • A demo of the online payment process 
  • An opportunity for staff to try out the payment platform using test payments

  • Troubleshooting and FAQs 

Please do keep an eye out for the training sessions, which will be advertised on the blog next week. In the meantime, if you have any questions about Online Payments, please email bethan.smith@ucl.ac.uk 

Task Library – Staff Survey

Bethan Smith27 June 2022

As part of our ongoing efforts to refresh LibNet, we are re-examining how we present and signpost useful information on our intranet. Anecdotally, we have received reports that staff have had difficulties finding the location of some data, forms and documents required for work processes. A task library is one way in which we may be able to more efficiently signpost to the useful content which we need as part of our daily workflow. 

We would like to find out what content you would want in a hypothetical task library for Library Services staff. The aim of the task library is to make task information easily available, and we would appreciate your help in assisting us to inform its content and shape.  

With this in mind, we have created a staff survey to find out more about what content you would value in a hypothetical task library. We would appreciate your help by filling out the survey with your opinions and experiences. We anticipate that it should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. 

At this stage, the exact format and nature of the task library is still being discussed, but the findings of the survey – and the content you suggest – will help to shape its eventual look and structure.  

Please note that this survey will close at EOP on Monday 25th July 2022. If you have any questions about the survey, or about task libraries more generally, please contact Bethan Smith. 


Developing Standards for Our Services

Bethan Smith7 June 2022

This is the first of a series of blogposts to update colleagues on the work of the Services Standards Working Group.

Implementing measurable targets at a service-level has been a long-standing ambition within Library Services. By measuring how we are performing against agreed criterial, we can more easily celebrate our successes, build business cases, and target areas for service improvement. Building on the recent work on the public facing, top-level service standards page, we are now directing our attention to creating and implementing standards for each of the services we provide.

In January 2022, a Service Standards Working Group was set up to test the implementation of library service level standards via a pilot scheme, with Sarah Aitchison, Peter Dennison, Thomas Meehan, Bethan Smith, Alex Stagg, Margaret Stone, Jay Woodhouse and Angela Young all forming membership of the group. This cross-section of representatives ensures that we cover different sections of the library, including Facilities and Projects; Cataloguing and Metadata; NHS Library Services; User Teaching, Training and Skills; Membership; and Special Collections. This group reports to the Service Improvement Steering Group.

The working group meets monthly to discuss measurable, ambitious, and achievable standards that they wish to set up as part of the pilot. Suggested areas for measurement include satisfaction rates, application turnaround times and usage of our collections. We are aiming to try out these target standards on a pilot scheme basis in the next few months to better understand how to roll out service standards more widely throughout the library.

Upon completion of the pilot phase, the group will publish a series of recommendations on how to implement, measure and publish our standards. Eventually, there is an ambition for every service in the Service Catalogue to have some form of measurable standard in place, following the guidance of this recommendation document and consultation.

As the working group continues to develop its pilot standards, we will post more progress updates soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions or wish to hear more about the working group, please contact Bethan Smith.



Teams Calling and telephony update

Margaret Stone11 May 2022

Library Services as a whole moved to telephone calls via Microsoft Teams Calling in October 2021.  Since then, most staff telephone handsets have only been available for outgoing internal calls, and these will eventually be removed.

We have been working with ISD to identify those handsets which need to be replaced with Teams handsets, and also identify which numbers (currently associated with handsets) need to be set up as ‘Call queues’ in Microsoft Teams.  This is being done on a site-by-site basis, ensuring that sufficient handsets are provided for emergency purposes.

As each site is scheduled, the ISD project team will work with the site manager to agree the replacement plan and the queues which need to be set up.

Any staff who need a headset for on-campus work should make a request to Library IT Support.

If you have any other queries as the process continues, please route these via site managers to Margaret Stone.