SWIMS Network and SWIMS System
You are here: SWIMS > Modules > Circulation > Overdues Fines Calendar

Overdues Fines Charges Calendar

Overdues

  1. How are emailed overdues generated and how do they work?
  2. Can I implement overdues by SMS?
  3. At what point does a copy get the copy status of ‘Long Overdue‘?  SWIMS Network mandatory policy
  4. What do I need to know about emailed overdues sent for ILL loans to SWIMS Network and other libraries?
  5. What can I do about defaulting users with long overdue loans and/or long outstanding fines?  SWIMS Network mandatory policy

The calendar

  1. What do I need to know about closed days on SWIMS, and how these affect return dates, issuing, fines and delivery of emailed notices?

Fines and manual charges

  1. When can fines be paid?
  2. What do I need to know about waiving fines?
  3. How do I apply a manual charge?
  4. What do I need to know about fines on books returned via a book bin?
  5. How do I apply a refund when the user’s balance is zero?
  6. Can I print a receipt from OLIB?
  7. Why can’t I see the issue/due/return dates in the fine/charge/payment/waive/history box at the bottom of the ***Library User Charging screen?

Configuring fines

  1. Can I set a maximum on fines/debts?
  2. Can I set a fine limit beyond which users can’t self-renew?
  3. What is the function of ‘Replacement Cost‘ in a Fines Sequence?
  4. What do I need to know about ‘switching on‘ fines after we have gone live with Circulation?

 


How are emailed overdues generated and how do they work?

  • They are generated by the OLIB Daystart process in the early hours each morning, including Saturdays and Sundays. This is done according to the relevant overdue sequence.
  • They are all emailed from the from address DoNotReply @ oclc.org.  This cannot be changed.
  • They are emailed direct to the user – all details are in the body of the email and no attachments are used.
  • Items all due on the same day and subject to the same overdue sequence are grouped into a single email. However separate emails are sent for items which are at different stages of the overdue sequence or which are subject to different overdue sequences.  So an end user might conceivably receive more than one overdue email on any particular day – see next bullet point.
  • The overdues are generated on the basis of user category. This means that a non-home user who keeps items overdue will receive the emailed overdues set up for their home location, i.e. with the wording from their home location and at the frequency determined by their home location.
  • Copy categories can be dealt with separately by having separate overdue sequences. So this means you can either treat all items the same and use one sequence and one set of notices, or you can use one set of notices but different sequences to vary the timing, or different sequences AND different notices so that you can vary the timing and wording. This may be useful, say, if you have fines for 7 Day for not for 28 Day loans.  However this does mean that a user may receive more than one email on the same day if they have more than one item overdue.
  • The overdue sequence needs to be linked to the relevant loan term (i.e. copy category/user category combination) before the item is ISSUED in order for the email to be generated. If the relevant loan term is not linked to an overdue sequence, then no emailed overdue will be generated for that loan, regardless of how long it remains on loan and overdue, even if it is renewed and goes overdue again.
  • It is possible to set up emailed overdues such that they are not delivered to end users on calendar closed days; instead delivery is postponed to the next calendar open day. This is optional.  The delivery date of subsequent overdues follows on exactly according to the steps in the overdue sequence, meaning that all deliveries are shifted later. In order to implement this, each location needs to set all its own calendar days, even for those calendar dates which are set globally on the system.  Information about setting calendar dates is in the FAQ below.  Location record closed days (for many locations these are all Saturdays and Sundays) are not included in this functionality and emailed overdues will still be delivered on location record closed days.  If you wish your emailed overdues not to be delivered on these days, it is necessary to create calendar closed days for all of these too.  More details on location record closed days are in the same FAQ.

What about missing/incorrect email addresses and addresses?

  • If the user doesn’t have an email address, the notice is copied to the email address in the To List field of the notice record, which would normally be the library email address. If the email is successfully delivered to the end user, it is not copied to the email address in the To List field of the notice record.
  • However to receive copies of all emailed overdues, the CC and/or BCC fields can be populated
  • If a user’s email address is added after the emailed overdue has been generated the notice will be emailed out the morning after the address has been added. Notices both sent and not yet sent can be viewed in the Notice History tab of the user record.
  • The same is true if the email address is corrected so that it works. If the loan is quite a long way through the sequence it may be that after correction, several emails are received in quick succession.
  • The SWIMS system administrators currently check periodically for incorrect email addresses and correct them where found.

Records of notices sent, and resending

  • Notices to an individual are recorded in the Notice History tab of their user record, including if the email was sent to the librarian rather than direct to the user.
  • Records of notices sent are also visible in the Notice Alert History tab of the notice record.
  • Information on how to interpret this information and on checking for email addresses with incorrect syntax is in the FAQ on checking for alerts which haven’t been delivered.
  • It is possible to resend an email to the same recipient (email address) again.  See the relevant FAQ.

Suspending

It is possible to suspend emailed overdues for individual users and for user categories – see the FAQ on suspending alerts

Halting all emailed overdues

If you remove the From email address from the notice record the overdue sequence will continue in the background and populate the alert history but emails will not be sent.  To prevent these emails being sent at a later date use the purge facility (see above).

Back to top


Can I implement overdues by SMS?

In order to do this you need to engage an SMS aggregator outside the NHS. 

Note that overdues by SMS do not include bibliographic information.

See the OLIB Web help file for information about how to configure.

Back to top


At what point does a copy get the copy status of ‘Long Overdue’?

The System Administration manual defines the Copy Status of ‘Long Overdue’ as “The status to which a copy will move when the final overdue has been generated”. This refers to the overdues sequences set up in OLIB Web. So the move to ‘Long Overdue’ will vary depending on the combination of user category and loan category affecting that particular loan.

SWIMS Network mandatory policy:

Copy records with status of Long Overdue must be returned from loan no more than 2 years after the date of issue.  This is to assist with system data integrity.   To compile a list of items with status of ‘Long Overdue’ at your location:

  • Launch a Copy barcode search
  • Refine on own location
  • Refine on Copy Status > Long Overdue
  • Refine on Date Issued > Before > enter the date 2 years ago
  • Return the item(s) from issue

The options are then to delete the copy record, or change the status to Missing, or to do a ‘Claims Lost’ return and change the copy status to Unreturned – see this suggested procedure.

Back to Top


What do I need to know about emailed overdues sent for ILL loans to SWIMS Network and other libraries?

  • Emailed overdues to SWIMS Network libraries started in March 2009.  They started for loans to libraries outside the SWIMS Network on 1st Dec 2010.
  • The emails are emailed direct to the email address in the library borrower record.
  • They are emailed automatically by SWIMS early in the morning and can be sent on any day of the week including Sat and Sun.
  • The emails include barcode, title, classmark, due date and loaning location.
  • The first overdue is emailed 7 days after the due date and the second 7 days after that, i.e. 14 days after the due date. The third and final notice is an invoice prompt and is sent 14 days later, i.e. 28 days after the due date.  It is sent to the SWIMS Network administrators at W01 who will forward it to the loaning library to follow up.  They will forward as soon as they receive the email – note there may be a delay owing to working days or annual leave.
  • It is not possible for individual libraries to opt out.  It is also not possible for individual libraries to have a different delivery frequency to this, or localised wording.  It is not possible for the emails to come from the individual library’s email address.
  • You can check that your library email address is correct by looking at your own library borrower record and change it if necessary.
  • When loaning to a library outside the SWIMS Network please ensure that the library borrower record on SWIMS has the correct email address.
  • If you wish to check if a library has received an emailed overdue you can look at the Notice History tab on the library borrower record for that library.

To check your loans to other libraries:

  • Launch a copies search
  • Refine on At Location > your location
  • Refine on Copy Status of On Loan, Overdue, Long Overdue as desired
  • Refine on Users With Items On Loan > User Category (for filtering) > the user categories starting Library…

Back to top


What can I do about defaulting users with long overdue loans and/or long outstanding fines?

Defaulting users are users with long outstanding loans, or long outstanding fines, or both.  Only the library which is the home library at the time of the defaulting should update user records in respect of the outstanding loans/fines, including adding and removing of traps.

For defaulting users with long outstanding fines only:

  • This applies to users with fines of £2 or above only.
  • Ban the user
  • Add the trap: “Banned – long outstanding fines.”  (This trap is available in the system for selection.)
  • Leave the expiry date as is
  • A maximum of 5 years after the expiry date, if there have been no further developments, delete the user record.  See also the
  • FAQ on deleting banned users.

For defaulting users with long outstanding loans:

This is a suggested procedure created by the SWIMS Circulation Group.

After the overdue and invoice procedure has been completed and the item(s) are still not returned or paid for:

For each copy record, do as follows:

  • Carry out a return in the issues screen as ‘Claims Lost Return’
  • Update the copy status in the copies screen or hitlist to ‘Unreturned item’
  • Update the copy category in the copies screen or hitlist to ‘Hidden in WebView’.  If desired, note the previous copy category in the copy record notes field.  More information on hiding copies in WebView is available in the relevant FAQ.
  • Also check the title record – if all copies attached to this title are hidden, also hide the title record
  • Re-acquire the copy for the library as appropriate

The copy will still be linked to the user record and it will be visible in the Lost Items box on the user record.

SWIMS Network mandatory procedure:

Copy records with status of Unreturned must be deleted no more than 5 years after the date that the item has been returned from loan.   To check for these records:

  • Launch a Copy barcode search
  • Refine on own location
  • Refine on Copy Status > Unreturned
  • Refine on Last Returned On > Before > enter the date 5 years ago
  • Delete the copy records

 

In the user record:

  • Ban the user
  • Add the trap: “Banned – long outstanding item(s) – see lost item(s) on user record.”  (This trap is available in the system for selection.)
  • Leave the expiry date as is
  • A maximum 5 years after the expiry date, if there have been no further developments, delete the user record and the copy record.  See also the FAQ on deleting banned users.

If the item(s) are subsequently returned:

  • In the copy record, change the copy status to Available and remove the user from the Lost By field.  (This activity is not recorded in the copy record history tab or user record history tab.)
  • Unhide the copy and title if appropriate – see the FAQs linked above.

There is an ‘Archive’ user feature on OLIB but we have chosen not to use this as it cannot be cross searched with the live user file.

 

Banned users from other libraries

If a banned user from another library wishes to borrow, the ban first needs to be removed by the home library – see the FAQ on this.

Back to top


What do I need to know about closed days on SWIMS, and how these affect return dates, issuing, fines, and the delivery of emailed notices?

In order to determine closed days, OLIB has an Opening Hours function and a Calendar function.

  • The Opening Hours function (see point 1 below) in the location record allows us to set regular opening days and times for each day of the week for each location, and therefore by implication closed days too
  • The Calendar (see points 2-3 below) in Reference Data allows us to set closed days, either for individual locations or for all locations.

The closed days which pertain to an issue desk transaction are determined by the ‘PC Location’ of the staff member logged in at the time.  The user and copy location have no bearing.  More details in the relevant FAQ.

Closed days and return dates – If a particular day of the week is indicated as closed on SWIMS in the location record, items at that location will be due for return the first open day after that date.  If a particular day of the year is indicated as closed on SWIMS in the Calendar, items will be due the day after.  It is possible to set it up when creating the Calendar entry so that items are due before the closed day if desired – the default is the day after.

Closed days and issuing – Closed dates do not affect issuing, i.e. if a location is ‘closed’ according to SWIMS on a particular day it is still possible to issue at that location.

Closed days and fines – It is possible to determine if fines will be charged on location closed days by selecting Yes or No in the ‘Fine on Location Closed Days?’ box when setting up the Fine Sequence.
It is possible to determine if fines will be charged on Calendar closed days by selecting Yes or No (blank=Yes) in the ‘Generate Fines?’ field of the relevant calendar record.  It is not clear what happens if there is a conflict between the Fine Sequence and the Calendar, but tests suggest that the Calendar setting overrides the Fine Sequence setting.

Closed days and overdues/recalls/res held notifications – It is possible to determine if these automated alerts will be generated on calendar closed days by selecting Yes or No (blank=Yes) in the ‘Send Odues/Recalls?’ field of the relevant calendar record.  However note that this doesn’t work for global calendar entries, i.e. those without a location specified.  If you want to prevent these alerts from being sent on calendar closed days, you need to create a calendar entry with your location specified.  A future enhancement on OCLC’s  list is “all calendar settings should be hierarchical with “global” settings used if there is no location specific calendar”.
There is apparently no setting which allows us to determine whether other automated notices, such as loan reminders and claims, are sent or not – it appears that they are sent by default.

 

1. Location open and closed days

Each location should set up its own opening days and times.  This is done as follows:

  • User Management > Locations
  • Search for your location, display in full and put into Modify
  • Amend the days and times at the top of the Circ. Details sheet
  • Save

2.  Global calendar closed days

A system administrator sets up the 8 main bank holidays each year as closed dates on SWIMS to apply to all locations using the dates publicised on the Direct Gov website.  The work needs to be done at least 28 days in advance of the each bank holiday.  These dates are:

  • New Year’s Day or the weekday bank holiday if different
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Early May bank holiday
  • Spring bank holiday
  • August bank holiday
  • Christmas Day or the weekday bank holiday if different
  • Boxing Day or the weekday bank holiday if different

More than one consecutive closed day must have a single entry on OLIB as a date range, rather than several entries as individual dates.  The fields will be set up as follows:

  • ‘Return Before?’ will be set to No, i.e. return dates will be set to be after the holiday rather than before.
  • ‘Return Same Day of the Week?’ will be set to No
  • ‘Send Odues/Recalls?’ will be set to No.  But note that this not honoured and a location specific calendar setting needs to be created in order to prevent overdues/recalls being sent.
  • ‘Generate Fines?’ will be set to No.  (If this is set to Yes or blank it will override any individual settings regarding fining in location records and fine sequences).
  • ‘Send Res. Held Notifications?’ will be set to No. But note that this not honoured and a location specific calendar setting needs to be created in order to prevent res held notices being sent.

3. Location-specific calendar closed dates

Each library can set up any additional closed dates for their own location by creating entries in the Calendar.  Also if a library wishes to have different options regarding return dates, fines, overdues etc, to the global settings (see above), then a calendar entry can be created for that particular location and the different settings will override the global settings.  In this scenario, populate specifically with Yes rather than leaving blank.

Creating a location-specific calendar setting is done as follows

  • User Management Reference Data
  • Calendar
  • Wildcard search to check existing entries
  • Create a new record and complete in the same format as existing entries
  • For more that one consecutive day create a date range rather than individual dates
  • If the closed days are adjacent to global closed days, include the global closed days in the date range; e.g. if a global closed day of 26-Dec-2005 has been set, and you are creating a location specific closed day for 27-Dec-2006, set your closed dates for 26-Dec-2005 to 27-Dec-2005.  Similarly, if the closed days are adjacent to library specific closed days, include the library specific closed days in the range.
  • You must populate the location field as otherwise your entry will affect all libraries
  • ‘Return Before?’ – if you wish items to be due back before rather than after the closed day, populate with Yes.  Blank or No means No.
  • ‘Return Same Day of the Week?’ – if you want loans to be returned on the same day of the week, populate with Yes.  Blank or No means No.
  • ‘Send Odues/Recalls?’ – if you want emailed overdues not to be delivered on calendar closed days, populate with No .  See the FAQ above on emailed overdues.  Blank or Yes means Yes. 
  • ‘Generate Fines?’ – if you have implemented fines and do not wish fines to be generated during calendar closed days, populate with No.  Blank or Yes means Yes.
  • ‘Send Res. Held Notifications?’ – if you do not wish reservation held notices to be delivered on calendar closed days, populate with No.  Blank or Yes means Yes.
    There is apparently no setting which allows us to determine whether other automated notices, such as loan reminders and claims, are sent or not – it appears that they are sent by default.

Note that it is not necessary to delete historical Calendar entries and indeed the consequences of doing this for historical circulation transactions aren’t clear.

Back to Top


When can fines be paid?

Fines can be paid either when  terminated or accruing.

A fine is terminated as follows:

  1. Return
  2. Renewal
  3. Reaching the maximum for this copy category / user category combination which is dictated by the number of days in the Fine Sequence.  In this scenario the item may still be on loan but the fine will appear in the ‘Terminated Fines/Charges’ box, rather than the ‘Accruing Fines’ box on the Library User Charging screen.  It may then happen that the fine gets paid even though the item is still on loan and becoming increasingly overdue.  To avoid this situation it may help to set the number of days in the fine sequence such that it lasts as least as long as the end of the overdue sequence, i.e. until an invoice alert is generated, and the user can then be dealt with accordingly.  For further advice contact your SWIMS system administrator.
  4. Reaching the max debt for the user category, if this has been implemented, and if in conjunction with this ‘terminate at max debt’ has been set to Yes in the relevant Loan Term.

Optionally fines can also be paid whilst still accruing.  This became possible after the upgrade in Dec 2012.  Notes:

  1. If you pay all or part of an accruing fine, the fine keeps accruing from the next day, until it is terminated by one of the methods above.  The total payable on that particular fine will not exceed the maximum debt if a max debt has been implemented.  Maximums are determined by the fine sequence and/or the user category max debt.  If both have been configured, then the lowest will be honoured.
  2. This is optional and each library service should decide if they wish to implement this.  If they don’t, the option can simply be ignored on the payment screen. It is not possible to ‘switch off’ the option to pay accruing fines as this would require large changes to the payment screen, and may also affect the way that terminated charges are paid.

Back to Top


What do I need to know about waiving fines?

It is up to each individual library to decide what evidence is required in order to waive a fine. The Fine Waive Types (i.e. reasons) set up in SWIMS are:

  • Balance transf to invoice – waive
  • Bereavement – waive
  • Claimed fine paid – waive
  • Claims returned – waive
  • Family illness – waive
  • IT problems – waive
  • Illness – waive
  • Overnight Return – waive
  • Reader invoiced for lost books – waive
  • Staff discretion – waive  (this was changed from ‘Staff error – waive’ in Nov 2014)
  • Stolen item – waive
  • Weather – waive

These can be used by any location. These should be comprehensive and it was agreed by the Circulation Group in Sept 2013 that  no new ones will be added (only System Administrators have permissions to add new waive types) and that additional information can be recorded in the Note field.

It is not apparently possible to report or carry out a refined search on waive types, however it is possible to see the waive reason in the ‘***User Auditing’ screen.

Back to Top


How do I apply a manual charge?

These are applied from the Issues screen:

  • Enter the User Barcode
  • Click ‘Pay Charges’
  • Scroll down to the Manually Applied Charges box and click ‘Search’ under this option
  • Search for a description and click ‘Choose and Insert’
  • Check/enter the ‘No. of units’ and ‘Amnt per Unit’ – do not fill in the ‘Total Amount’
  • Click ‘Save and Close’

Back to Top


What do I need to know about fines on books returned via a book bin?

The upgrade to OLIB 7.5 in summer 2006 included the ability to change the date of return manually, and this feature was designed particularly for the book drop scenario. However fines still accrue as part of the automated early morning ‘daystart’ process, so it still necessary to remove/adjust fines manually.

Back to Top


How do I apply a refund when the user’s balance is zero?

If you try to apply a refund to the user’s record when the balance is zero, OLIB won’t allow it because it won’t accept a negative number.

A workaround is to create a Manually Applied Charge with Transaction Type of Refund to the value of zero, and in the notes field to record the amount.  It may also be helpful to add a trap to the user record, as the refund entry will not be flagged up on the issues screen.
When running CI003 Payment Report, the column totals will not add up correctly, however the note will be visible.

Back to Top


Can I print a receipt?

This became possible after Service Pack 2 was applied in April 2012.   The layout is called ‘User Charging Receipt’.  It can be printed just after payment or later from the ***Library User Charging screen.    It prints only the last transaction carried out.

Back to Top


Why can’t I see the issue/due/return dates in the fine/charge/payment/waive/history box at the bottom of the ***Library User Charging screen?

This is on OCLC’s bug list for fixing.

 Back to Top


Can I set a maximum on fines/debts?

It is possible to set a max fine per loan, and in addition a max outstanding debt per user.

Max fine per loan

The number of days in the Fine Sequence multiplied by the Daily Rate determines the max fine per loan.  (If the number of days in all the steps adds up to more than 999, the fine will not be applied.)

But note that in a particular scenario it is possible for an item to attract a fine which is greater that the number of days times the daily rate. There are two possible reasons for this discovered so far.

  1. A single loaned item can attract two separate and discrete fines. An item is borrowed, goes overdue and the fine is terminated. It is then renewed and the fine is not paid. The item then goes overdue again, and a second new fine starts to accrue. This means that the total fine on that loaned item could be the maximum fine times the number of renewals.
  2. If the maximum total per item (i.e. the number of days over which a fine accrued and/or the amount per day) is changed, any items issues before that date and still on loan will honour the maximum in place when the item was originally loaned.

Max outstanding debt per user

After the upgrade to OLIB 8.2 in Dec 2012 it became possible in addition to set a max outstanding debt per user.

To set this up for your users:

  • Populate your User Category Max Debt field with the maximum value required (Reference Data > User Category > Details screen) in the format 30.00
  • In all of the relevant Loan Terms (Reference Data > Loan Terms), i.e. those for copy categories for which loans could incur fines, populate:
    • Accrue beyond Max Debt: No
    • Terminate at Max Debt: Yes

    (Note that you may need to change the layout (screen) to Loan Terms Standard Layout in order to see these fields.)

Notes:

  • The max outstanding debt comprises either or both of terminated and accruing fines.
  • If the user has several loans, and the maximum outstanding debt per user is approaching, the system will assign new fines to individual loans on a random basis, but such that the max debt is not exceeded.
  • It is possible to override the max debt with manual charges
  • When implemented the max debt per user is not retrospective in respect of existing outstanding debts, i.e. any user with outstanding debts greater than the new maximum will not have them reduced by the system; however they will not incur further fines.
  • If max debt per user is required in conjunction with payment of accruing fines, then further testing will be required as it is not yet clear how to configure for this scenario.

Back to Top


Can I set a fine limit beyond which users can’t self-renew?

This is set up in User Categories > Details.  It works as follows.

Once the user reaches the fine in this box:

In OLIB Web a message is displayed warning staff that the user has reached the max, and renewal is put in the problem box.

In WebView the end user simply doesn’t see the renewal option.  It would be more helpful if they attempted to renew but saw a message telling them they couldn’t.  This is now logged on OCLC’s list of enhancements.

Back to Top


What is the function of ‘Replacement Cost’ in a Fines Sequence?

If this option is set to YES, it is also necessary to populate the Replace Other Fines? field. The replacement cost is taken from the price field in the copies records. The majority of our copy records do not have the price field populated and therefore no replacement cost will be calculated. If Replace Other Fines is set to YES this will result in a zero balance on the user record.

Back to Top


What do I need to know about ‘switching on’ fines after we have gone live with Circulation?

It appears that fines are applied retrospectively as soon as the fines are ‘switched on’.  More information may be available from OCLC via your SWIMS System Administrator, or from libraries which have switched on fines after go-live.  These include I01 and W01.

Back to Top