PAC Online Self-Registration

Libraries have the option to activate an additional function within the PowerPAC that allows patrons to self-register for a library card. When registering, the patron selects a home branch, fills out a modified registration form, and receives a temporary card number. The number for this temporary card begins with “PACREG” (example, PACREG12345) making it easily distinguishable from standard library cards. The library receives an email alert about the registration. A “verify patron ID” block is placed on the card until the patron can formally come in and present identification to the library. The library has some flexibility over what the patron can access before they verify their ID in person.

Jump to section:

 

Configuration

To set up online self-registration, the library will work with CCS to configure the following:  

  • Expiration/address check date period 

  • Patron code 

  • Other account defaults such as: Statistical Class Code, ILL/RB Library Code, Internet Access option 

  • Library email address to which the registration alert will be sent 

  • Block settings 

Configuration considerations 

Three configuration elements will affect patron access to library services: expiration date, patron code, and block settings. Some questions you will need to consider are: 

  1. How long should the temporary card number be valid for? 

  2. Should the online registrant have access to e-content?  

  3. Should the online registrant be allowed to place holds via the PAC?  

 

Expiration Date 

The library can determine how long the temporary account is valid for before expiring. The temporary account can expire in as little as one month. At that time, a “registration has expired” block will be added to the temporary account and the patron will be blocked from services they had access to.  

 

Patron Code 

The PAC self-registration form will assign a default patron code to the registrant. The library can choose what the default patron code should be. If the selected patron code can place holds, the temporary patron account will also be able to place holds via the PAC. Only one patron code can be applied to online registrants; it is not able to assign different patron codes based on how the patron fills out the registration form.  

If the library wants to give online registrants access to e-content, the library can use the patron code to manipulate access. CCS will work with the library to determine an appropriate patron code to use.  

 

Block Settings 

A “verify borrower” block will automatically be placed on the online registrant’s account. Staff will encounter this block when checking out to patrons in Leap and the staff client. The block itself will not automatically stop the patron from checking out at a self-check, but CCS can configure self-check settings to recognize this block. Beyond this, the library has a small amount of flexibility for controlling this block.  

  1. Blocking for Patron-Initiated Circulation setting = when active, this setting will block the patron from renewing items in the PAC, having items auto-renewed, renewing via telephony. This setting also blocks access to Cloud Library and other services that authenticate via API. 

  2. Blocking for Self-Check Unit setting = when active, this setting will block the patron from SIP connected services such as self-checks and computer sign up software. This setting also blocks access to integrated e-content, Overdrive, and Axis360.  

 

Patron Verification and Duplication Detection

Patron Verification 

There is no functionality for zipcode or address verification. Staff will have to check and verify addresses as they are reviewing online registration accounts. 

 

Duplicate Patron Detection 

The database performs a modified duplicate patron check when the patron submits their online registration form.  

It runs through a specific process for detecting a duplication. It will look at, in this order: 

  1. Last name 

  2. First name 

  3. Birthdate 

  4. Email  

 

If the database detects a match during a stage, it will move on to the next data point to check for further matches. For example, if it matches on the last name, it will start looking at last name and first name together. If it finds a Last Name+First Name match, it will start looking at Last Name+First Name+Birthdate matches. The database will run the duplication process as far as it can go. For example, if the existing record does not contain a birthdate, it will still declare a duplicate if the accounts match on Last Name+First Name. 

There may be situations where the patron does have an existing record, but the database is not able to detect the duplication. For example, if the patron registers online using a nickname instead of their full name (for example, “Bill” instead of “William”), the database will not be able to match the online submission to the existing record where they use their full name.  

When the patron comes in to the library to fully register their account, staff should still perform the usual duplicate patron search as when registering brand new patrons.  

 

Access to Services

Checking Out 

Online registrants will not be able to checkout physical items at the circulation desk until they verify their ID with library staff. If the library activates the settings to block at the self-check unit or designates a patron code with no borrowing privileges, the patron will be unable to check out at self-check units as well. 

 

Holds 

The online registrant will be able to place holds on items via the PAC. (If the library wishes to block the ability to place holds, the library can work with CCS to configure restricted access.) The patron will need to come into the library and verify their ID with staff before they are able to check out the holds.  

Staff may encounter complications with holds and duplicate patrons. If the patron has an existing account but was not matched by the online registration duplicate detection, library staff will not be able to merge the accounts until any holds with statuses of In Transit or Ready for Pickup have been checked out.  

 

E-content 

The Polaris self-check block settings can control access to integrated e-content. However, deactivating the block to allow online registrants access to integrated e-content will also allow them to check out items at the self-check. CCS recommends libraries who want to allow online registrants access to e-content designate a specific patron code for online use. CCS will work with the libraries to determine patron code configuration.  

 

Databases 

If libraries wish to allow online registrants access to databases, CCS again recommends using a designated patron code for online use and will work with the libraries to determine patron code configuration.  

Due to the nature of the Polaris block settings and the temporary PACREG barcode structure, libraries will still need to test access to databases and coordinate with database vendors who authenticate using barcode prefixes. CCS cannot guarantee access to 3rd party databases for online registrants.  

 

Reports

Libraries have access to a couple reports to help manage online patron registration records.  

1.STAFF CLIENT REPORT “Verify Patron Data” 

This report can be located in the Polaris Staff Client, under Utilities -> Reports & Notices -> Public Services -> Patron Services -> Verify Patron Data. The report lists all patrons registered to your branch with a “Verify patron data – online registration” block on their card.  

 

2.WEB REPORT “Monthly Expired PAC Registrations” 

This report can be located in Web Reports, under Patron Management -> Monthly Expired PAC Registrations. The report is compiled on the first day of each month. It lists patron accounts with a PACREG barcode number whose accounts have expired.  

January 2020