Notes from IUG Zoom Forum: I'm a New Systems Administrator

Thanks to everyone who attended! Please add your thoughts in the comments!

Notes from the discussion and chat

  • Permissions management:

    • Always use permission groups (never assign permissions outside of a group - even if you have to create groups of 1)
    • When staff members encounter permission errors, ask them for a screen shot so get the exact wording and know which permission they are lacking
    • To clean up individually assigned permissions, use the “remove all permissions” button. Any permissions assigned from a group will remain.
    • Once permission groups and staff roles are set up, copy permissions from existing users to create new ones. It is quicker and better for accuracy and standardization (though it can also reproduce mistakes).
    • Here is an earlier forum post related to permissions
    • New permissions to consider after (or before) an upgrade:
  • Things to do on a monthly/annual basis:

  • Resources for SQL

  • SQL querying versus using SimplyReports:

    • If you can easily get the data you need from SR, go for it
    • SR is limited in how it can pull together data from different tables (i.e. each search type has a set of tables and views it pulls from, so you can’t combine item data and patron data for example)
    • SR has output limitations
    • If you have complicated parameters for an SR report, save the report! It will save you from trying to reproduce it and wondering why you can’t get the same results.
    • Generally speaking, SR is good for snapshot data, while SQL querying is better for historical or statistical data
    • Capturing point-in-time data after the fact can be tricky if it includes things that may have been modified or deleted (e.g. item records). If this is very important for you to be able to capture, either run regular snapshot reports and retain them or create database tables to retain historical data.
  • Creating a new branch:

    • Can be done manually or as a paid service by Support
    • Always use a check-list!
    • Pain points/things to consider:
      • Permissions (need to be added for all branch specific activities, like registering a patron, assigning items, etc.)
      • All ‘codes’ need to be added (collections, patron codes, etc.)
      • All the tables that govern circ rules are set to default values. Ask your site manager (or use SQL if you are comfortable) to update the values. Copy from an existing branch if possible.
      • Think about what the branch will be used for and what settings will be needed and when (is it a real branch or a holds locker? Is it going to be fully open immediately or should holds and notices be turned off initially?)
    • Once created, branches are kind of permanent
  • Bulk waiving charges:

    • Functionality to do this is coming in 7.6!
    • In the meantime, you can pay to have charges waived
    • If you are comfortable trying it yourself, there are Javascript/SQL options that some libraries have used. Ask in the Discord for more information.
    • Always add a note with a date stamp
  • System upgrades:

    • Frequency
      • Depends on the library and the content of the new versions, but it is generally a good idea to do them about once a year. If too many versions accumulate, it is a lot of work to go through all the new features.
    • Polaris 7.5
      • Known Issues has been updated (requires Supportal login)
      • All the really big features are manual/optional, so you can take the time to explore any that make sense for your library
      • Check out Discord and the Forum for conversations about 7.5 features
    • Use a checklist for upgrade tasks (pre, during, and post)

Other useful links