Alto Blog

Archive for the 'Alto' Category

Alto Release 5.9 is now available

We are pleased to announce that Alto 5.9 is now available on general release to all customers.

You will find the release notices and supporting documentation for this release on the MySupport portal.

Please ensure that you download and read the relevant documentation for your operating system prior to downloading the installation package.

Key features within Alto 5.9 are:

  • Allow a specific British Library account to be added to an Interloan request
  • Marc description file updates for updates 22 and 23
  • Borrower Notifications improvements
  • Defect fixes throughout the application.

A new version of Local Data Services (LDS), version 2.8, is also available which supports the new multiple supplier account codes functionality for interloans in LMS 5.9. Please raise a support request to arrange your LDS upgrade.

Alto Release 5.7 is now available

We are pleased to announce that Alto 5.7 is now available on general release to all customers.

You will find the release notices and supporting documentation for this release on the MySupport portal.

Please ensure that you download and read the relevant documentation for your operating system prior to downloading the installation package.

Key features within Alto 5.7 are:

  •     Sybase 16 is now supported
  •     Scottish libraries no longer require a separate version of Alto in order to use the NEC smartcard
  •     The Status field on item forms and lists now shows ‘On Loan’ or ‘In Transit’ when appropriate
  •     It is now possible to set more than 255 location profiles and other values held in the TYPE_STATUS table
  •    A new script allows the item ‘last seen’ date to be populated
  •     Additional parameters have been added to Borrower Notifications for auto-renewal and borrower information notifications
  •     A number of defects have been fixed
  •     Authority and bibliographic MARC description files have been amended to include the latest MARC format updates.

New versions of Assure and MarcService are included in this release and a new version of Local Data Services (LDS), version 1.9, is also available.  Although Alto 5.7 will still work with LDS 1.8, the new version supports the new auto-renewal features in Borrower Notifications and many features within Soprano. Please raise a support request to arrange your LDS upgrade.

Admin Console Release – 18 December 2014

We’re pleased to announce that the latest release of the Admin Console is now live.

This release includes:

  • Prism:
    • Redesigned editor for Prism themes
  • Notifications
    • Ability to schedule a “one-off” rule
    • Validation of mandatory fields when adding a rule
    • Adding name of rule to deletion modal dialogue
    • Rule parameters multiple value selection now uses a control with ability to move values into and out of a ‘selected’ box
    • Improvement to notifications editor to stop the page jumping around in certain browsers

Details of the Prism Theme Editor are given in the release notice in the Prism blog.

 

Notifications

One-off Rules

We’ve now added the ability to create a special ‘one-off’ rule, that will send a notification on a specified date, rather than running on a regular basis. When adding the rule you now have the option to set the schedule to ‘Once’ or ‘Recurring’. When ‘Once’ is selected you can specify a date and time.
once

Mandatory Field Validation

When adding a rule, you’ll now be prompted with a warning message to fill in certain required fields, rather than defaults being provided which could previously be accepted inadvertently.
mandatory

Deletion Modal Dialogue

If you have a long list of inactive rules and are in the process of cleaning them up, confirming you’re deleting the intended rule is important. To that end we’ve now added the name of the rule you are about to delete to the modal dialogue that pops up asking for confirmation.
modal

Selecting multiple values for rule parameters

We’ve had some feedback that selecting multiple parameter values when creating a rule can be a bit cumbersone, especially if you have a long list of values. We’ve now adopted a similar selection widget to that used in the Prism Facets section of the Admin Console to make this a bit easier.
collection

Comments and contact

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please get in touch. You can comment here on the Alto blog, on the Alto forum and Alto Ideas, or contact your Account Manager or the Prism team directly.

BDS records for video games and Welsh resources

We’re pleased to announce that a new dataset from BDS has been added to Base containing MARC records for video games, and that the BDS Welsh dataset has been greatly expanded.

 

Video games

BDS records for video games are now available in a new dataset in Base.

The cataloguing broadly conforms to AACR2, not RDA. The records include extensive descriptions and PEGI ratings, and they contain the elements needed by Prism to accurately identify format and content information. Many of them will have cover images when displayed in Prism.

The video games records are available to all Capita library customers. The name of the dataset is BDSGamM21. It is included in BDSAllM21, so you may have seen and used some of the records already.You can configure access to BDSGamM21 in Alto Configuration Setup under the Target/Attributes tab. The simplest way to do it is to copy an existing Base target and fill in the Name, the Sort code, and the Description, and change the database name part of the Connection.

 

Welsh resources

The BDS Welsh database has been refreshed with the inclusion of  large number of records from the National Library of Wales. There are now 418,247 records in the dataset.

The scope of the dataset is material with a Welsh focus, either as the subject, the place of publication or the language in which it is written.

The name of the database is BDSWelshM21. It is not included in the BDS All dataset collection.

 

Both BDSGamM21 and BDSWelshM21 are updated regularly. If you have any problems with configuring or using them, please raise a support case.

Alto Release 5.6.1 is now available

We are pleased to announce that Alto 5.6.1 is now available on general release to all customers.

You will find the Release Notices and supporting documentation for this release on the Customer Support Portal.

Please ensure that you download and read the relevant documentation for your operating system prior to downloading the installation wraps.

Key features within Alto 5.6.1 are:

  • Borrower names and addresses containing Unicode characters can now be imported and displayed in Alto
  • Alto user passwords are now subject to a more secure form of encryption
  • Users can be prevented from reusing previous passwords
  • You can configure the automatic renewal of loans about to become overdue, and inform the borrower
  • A number of defects have been fixed
  • Authority and bibliographic MARC description files have been amended to include the latest MARC format updates.

A new version of LDS (1.8) is required for this release.  When raising your support case for the LDS upgrade, please include the date when you are planning to upgrade your LMS, as this will allow us to schedule your LDS upgrade.

 

We’ve updated the Borrower Notifications: Getting Started Guide

Updated versions of the Borrower Notifications: Getting Started Guides (for Cygwin, and Solaris and Linux) can be found on the MySupport Portal or on our web site. These contain an expanded troubleshooting section and the first in a series of FAQs.

 

 

 

Alto Release 5.5.1 available

We are pleased to announce that Alto 5.5.1 is now available on general release to all customers.

You will find the Release Notices and supporting documentation for this release on the MySupport Portal or on our web site at http://capita-libraries.co.uk/customer_area/alto/.

Please ensure that you download and read the relevant documentation for your operating system prior to downloading the installation wraps.

Key features within Alto 5.5.1 are:

  • Obsolete borrower types, item types and item formats can now be suppressed, so they are not visible within Alto.
  • A number of defects have been fixed
  • Authority and bibliographic MARC description files have been amended to include the latest MARC format updates.
  • A new environment variable  is included for the use of libraries experiencing a problem with reservation charges not being generated when a reserved item is collected.
  • Ad hoc emails can now be sent via LDS, if the Alto client PC is not able to communicate directly with the SMTP server.

There have been some changes to the MarcService to prevent it stopping unexpectedly. If you have had problems with this service please raise a case and we will supply you with the latest version.

To minimise end user disruption, if you haven’t already upgraded to Alto 5.5 we recommend that you upgrade straight to Alto 5.5.1.  You must still load each server upgrade in turn, including 5.4.1, but you need to load only the latest (5.5.1) version of the client software.

Don’t forget that for the main Alto 5.5 you need to schedule your upgrade with Capita Support, so that the files can be released to you and LDS can be upgraded.

Alto Release 5.5 Available

We are pleased to announce that Alto 5.5 is now available on general release to all customers.

You will find the Release Notices and supporting documentation for this release on our web site at http://capita-libraries.co.uk/customer_area/alto/.

Please ensure that you download and read the documentation prior to downloading the installation wraps.

Key features within Alto 5.5 are:

  • New ‘borrower notifications’ for messages such as overdue items or reservations awaiting collection and more
  • Faster user login to satisfy audit requirements
  • Ability to send ad hoc notifications by email
  • Bulk payment of invoice lines for part received orders

In order to gain access to the installation wraps, please raise a support case with the support team via http://www.capita-libraries.co.uk/services/support/index.shtml indicating when you will be performing your LMS upgrade, as this will allow us to schedule your LDS upgrade.

Alto 5.5 requires LDS in order to provide access to the new Notifications functionality. In order to benefit from the new Notifications system through Alto, please ensure your desktop environment has access to ports 8083 and 25 on your Main LMS server.

The new borrower notifications can be implemented over a period of time. The old notification Perl scripts will continue to work, and will be supported by Capita until support for Alto 5.5 ends. You can set up a new rule and test it with a small set of borrowers before allowing it to run for all borrowers and switching off the old Perl script that it replaces.

 

Alto 5.4.1: frequently asked questions

The list of FAQs below has been put together from questions raised by customers re the Alto 5.4.1 release.

Q. Can we upgrade straight from Alto 5.3 to Alto 5.4.1?

A. No, you must be on Alto 5.4 to upgrade to Alto 5.4.1.

Q. We are running a version of Alto earlier than Alto 5.2; will following the steps for the new  Usemarcon rules and Zebra amendment work?

A. We have tested the amendments on the supported versions of Alto (Alto 5.2 and above) and we fully expect them to work with earlier versions. If you are running an earlier version we recommend that you perform the full Alto 5.4.1 upgrade prior to 28th January.  If this is not possible you should load the updates and raise a case if any problems arise.

Q. What will happen if we don’t load these files?

A. You will find that if you use an RDA record, publication details from the 264 field will not appear in the Work field that is widely used in Alto to display brief bibliographic details.

Q. Can the new Usemarcon rules be loaded into the database at any time i.e. while users are logged on to Alto?

A. Yes but it’s best to do this when it’s unlikely that a user will be in the process of logging on and thus trying to read the file.

Q. Does the Deployment Assistant which loads the Usemarcon rules need to be installed on the PC that runs the MARC conversion process?

A. No, it can be installed on any PC that can access the database.

Q. I’m using the MarcService but not the Cataloguing Service. Do I need to update the Usemarcon files on the server that has the MarcService installed?

A. It’s not essential but we recommend keeping the Usemarcon files on this server up to date.

Q. Is it necessary to stop Zebra before updating the indexing rules?

A. No, the change will be picked up next time Zebra runs.

Alto 5.4.1 is now available on general release

On 28 January BDS will begin to supply bibliographic records catalogued using the RDA rules.  The main difference that will be seen is the use of the new 264 field for publication details.

We have now released Alto 5.4.1 to allow you to use these records.  The release consists of a small server upgrade and a new Alto client version, plus an updated set of Usemarcon rules and a change to the Zebra indexing rules.

The Usemarcon and Zebra changes are not dependent on the Alto release and should be implemented before 28 January.  If they are not, the implications are as follows.  For any record that you import containing field 264:

1. The Place of publication, Publisher and Date display fields in the WORKS table will not be populated.  These are normally seen in the Work field at the top of forms such as Item and Order in Alto.

2. The publication data will be absent from the WORK_SUBFIELD table.  This means that any scripts that read publication data from the WORK_SUBFIELD table, such as those that produce ILL requests and orders, will not find the data.

Such records would need to be edited to replace the 264 field with 260, or dummy edited after the new Usemarcon rules have been loaded.

For Assist Managed Customers, we will be in contact over the next few weeks to schedule in the Usemarcon and Zebra changes required.

For those libraries that have a bespoke set of Usemarcon rules, an updated set will be sent to system managers via email.

The Alto 5.4.1 release itself includes these features:

In Bibliographic Search:

  • In the Bibliographic Search results grid, the Publisher and Date fields show the contents of the new RDA 264 field if there is no 260 field in the record.

In Cataloguing:

  • A new bibliographic template is supplied, which sets the Leader Descriptive Cataloguing Form code to ‘i’, as appropriate for RDA records, and displays the 264 field instead of 260.  This template is only used if the new environment variable TAL_CAT_RDA is set to ‘YES’.
  • The Quick Manage Work form now reads publication data from field 264, if present, when displaying an existing record.  When creating a new record, it will create field 264 if the new environment variable TAL_CAT_RDA is set to ‘YES’.

In System Management:

  • A new environment variable, TAL_CAT_RDA, can be used to indicate that the library is now creating catalogue records following RDA.  This controls the template that is used when creating bibliographic records.

You will find the release notices and upgrade files at http://capita-libraries.co.uk/customer_area/alto/.  You will need your Members’ Enclosure username and password to access the files.  The files are also available via the FTP server.