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OCLC Support

How can I notify users to renew their accounts before their Expiration Dates?

Applies to
  • WorldShare Circulation, WorldShare Admin
Answer

For paid Membership expirations, see Manage library memberships.

For general, unpaid accounts, there is no built-in way to send notifications to users before their account expiration dates. But you can download a patron report, use Excel to delete out the rows for patrons that you do not want to email, then use that spreadsheet to create a mail merge in Microsoft Word.

There are three different ways to do this. Which method you choose will depend on how often you want to email your patrons, and whether you have access to to Report Designer.

Method 1: Use the 'Patron Information Detail Report' in Analytics

This method is good if you only email your patrons occasionally, or if you do not have access to Report Designer.

The Patron Information Detail Report is one of the built-in reports in Analytics. It includes all the patron's contact details and the Patron Expiration Date field. Unfortunately, it does not let you filter the results by the Patron Expiration Date value, so you will have to do some work on the results in Excel.

The steps are:

  1. Download a copy of the Patron Information Detail Report as a .csv file:
    1. In WMS, navigate to Analytics Reports Reports Circulation, and open the Patron Information Detail Report
    2. You can click OK on the Prompts window to accept the default settings. Anaytics will then display a report of all active patrons
    3. Click the Export icon from the toolbar
    4. In the Export Window, select Data and click OK. A .csv file version of the report will download
       
  2. Use Excel to filter out the patrons that you don't want to email:
    1. Open this report in Excel
    2. Sort the table using the Patron Expiratation Date column.
    3. Delete all the rows of patrons that you do not want to email
    4. You may get some patron rows with a date like "0001-01-01 00:00:00". These patrons have no expiration date, so you can delete these rows too.
    5. Save the remaining rows as an .xlsx file
       
  3. Use this .xlsx file to create a mail merge document, as per Microsoft's instructions: Use mail merge to send bulk email messages.

 

Method 2: Use the 'Circulation Patron Report Full' from the OCLC File Exchange Server

Like Method 1, this method is good if you only email your patrons occasionally, or if you do not have access to Report Designer.

It is essentially the same as Method 1, expect instead of using the Patron Information Detail Report in Analytics, you download the Circulation Patron Report Full from the OCLC file exchange server.

Every week, OCLC generates a report listing all the active patrons in an institution, and places this report in your File Exchange Server folders.
 

  1. Download the Circulation Patron Report Full from the OCLC File Exchange Server:
    1. Connect to the OCLC File Exchange Server using an SFTP client like FileZilla - see the Help page for instructions
    2. Navigate to the folder /xfer/wms/reports
    3. Download the most recent version of the Circulation Patron Report Full - it will be called OCLCSYMBOL.Circulation_Patron_Report_Full.YYYYMMDD.csv

Then follow Steps 2 and 3 in Method 1 above.

 

Method 3: Create a custom report in Report Designer

This method is the best one to use if you email customers regularly and have access to Report Designer.

Creating a custom report takes a little bit of work. But you only need to create it once, and by adding prompts to your custom report, you can have Analytics filter which patrons get included in the report results, saving you from having to edit the results in Excel.

  1. Create a custom report:
    1. Go to Analytics > Report Launch Pad > Applications > Web Intelligence
    2. Click New (blank page icon)
    3. Select Universe as the data source
    4. Select Circulation Patron Information as the universe to query
    5. Add these Results Objects:
      • From Personal Information, add Patron Given Name and Patron Family Name
      • From Contact Information, add Patron Email Address
      • From Account Information, add Patron Barcode, Patron Expiration Date, and Patron Home Branch Name (optional)
    6. Add this Query Filter:
      • Patron Expiration Date
      • 'Between'
      • Set Define filter type to Prompt for both values using the pull-down menu icon
    7. Run the report to check it's returning correct results
    8. Save the report using the Save icon. Call it something like Patrons with Expiration Dates within a selected range
       
  2. Run your custom report
    1. Decide the start date and end date for which expiration dates you want to include in your report.You might choose the first and last days of a month, or the start and end dates of your library's upcoming closedown period, for example.
    2. Go to Analytics > Report Launch Pad > Applications > Web Intelligence
    3. Click the Open icon. Select your saved report and click okay
    4. Enter your start and end dates
    5. Click OK
       
  3. Export the results as a CSV
    1. Click the Export icon (the hard drive with an arrow on it)
    2. Select Data. The File Type will automatically change to CSV.
    3. Click Save File
       
  4. Use this .csv file to create a mail merge document, as per Microsoft's instructions: Use mail merge to send bulk email messages.

You can then reuse your customer report by following the steps in the View a custom report help page.

Additional information

See Basic user data for more about setting the user's Expiration Date.

If you would like WMS to include the ability to send expiry notices to users, you can add your support to the Patron account expiration notice Enhancement Suggestion on the Community Center.

Page ID
37243

 

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