Homebound Assistant #
The Homebound Assistant is an interactive checklist of the steps needed to ensure settings are in place for opeation of Homebound Services and the automatic Allocations processes. [Please note that this is an administrative tool, and so the Homebound Assistant icon on the Desktop will only be visible to operators with Task level 8 or higher.]
Each step is described below. When you open the Assistant, the number of ticks presented will of course depend on the stage you have already got to. It will look something like this:
Note that there are three command buttons at the bottom:
- Links to this help page
- Allows export to Excel – so you can print the checklist and work through it without having to continually return to it
- Exits the Assistant.
Enterprise ‘HomeServiceUse’ setting #
The first and most fundamental setting is the Enterprise parameter enabling Homebound Services. You need to switch to Administration / System parameters / Enterprise, and scroll down the alphabetic listing to view ‘HomeServiceUse’. The Value ON/OFF should be ticked and then saved:
Homebound screen #
When the Enterprise parameter is saved ON, the Homebound icon will now display in the toolbar:
You can have a look at this now, and it is explained on the Homebound page.
Item Format ‘Profile’ setting #
This step allows you to enable specific item formats to be considered for allocation processes according to the user’s profile preferences. You need to switch to Administration / System parameters / Item formats maintenance. You can select general formats, such as Adult fiction, or focus on the specific formats which may be specific defined for your Homebound Services. You need to ensure that the checkbox ‘May be auto allocated (e.g. by profile) is ticked:
Remember that if this box is not ticked for an item format, then it will not be considered for the allocations process.
When you have defined item formats in this way, the Homebound Assistant will show the number of formats that are enabled.
Users set to receive an automatic allocation. #
Now you can proceed to define one or more users to receive automatic allocations. This is set in the Homebound screen in the Allocation method panel:
Note that it cannot be left with ‘just’ Automatic set – there must be some user preference for request or profile. If you now add a profile selection, and give a selection maximum parameter (to enable items to be allocated to that level) then this step, and others will also be set, giving you a stage view:
If you set the user for request selections, this will be slightly different.
Users with numbers of selections set #
It is necessary to set the maximum number of works to be allocated for a user. By default, when you start defining the user selections, this will be set at zero. If left at zero – or subsequently reset to zero, then this has the effect of suspending service to that user. You can set the maximum for each user individually, depending on the user’s preference. The maximum is set in the Homebound Settings panel.
You may also want to set the user’s reading level here – but the remaining settings are more useful to Libraries for the Blind.
Users with Request Allocation settings #
If the user is to receive allocations according to requests, then settings must be applied appropriately, giving the item formats to be supplied, and the number of works per format.
The Basic settings still need to identify the allocation method, and give the maximum number of selections:
and Allocation settings need to reflect the number of items per format to be selected. Here there is one format and the format maximum is equal to the overall selection maximum. If your library defines multiple formats for allocation, then the listing here may have request values for each of them – say four item formats, with format max of 4,3,2,2 respectively. These sum to 11, but it is the Selection maximum which is the limiter and the allocation processes will stop when this is reached.
At this stage you should have most of the steps now ticked:
NOTE – Request users can be defined, as has been shown above, but they will not be active and receive any request allocation, until works are requested for them.
Users with Profile allocation settings #
Profile users can be defined, as has been shown above, but they will not be active and receive any profile allocations, until the criteria – e.g. Special Interest Code (SIC) or subject, AND item format, AND quantity – are defined.
Ensure directory exists to receive the task to begin Allocations #
Finally, a structural element needs to be in place before an Allocations Task can be run. This requires an update to the DR2 file to set the folder for the Task.
If all steps have now been completed, you can rerun the Homebound Assistant, and it should now show ticks at every step, e.g.:
If so, congratulations – you are ready to start building the user profiles and request details.
NOTE: a user may receive both profile and request allocations. Please see the Homebound details for additional options:
- to identify unwanted headings, and prevent allocation, e.g. of works by a non-preferred author.
- to set up quality preferences, e.g. to avoid material which has violent or sexual content – subject to library procedures.
- to verify potential titles for selection