Sierra Circulation Notices FAQ

Web Notices FAQ

How do I find the Merlin print notices?

Merlin print "notices" are online and are therefore referred to as Web Notices. Once you click on your library link, you will be prompted to log in. To print the notices click on File > Print. You can print the entire file or just selected pages. To view a column of thumbnail pages, click on the pages icon in the black column to the left of the notice page.

What are Merlin Web Notices?

Merlin notices on the web include printable PDF hold pickups, overdues, and bills for patrons, and paging lists (item and title) from libraries. Patron notices on the web need to be mailed because they were undeliverable by email or telephone. Print notices are available on the Web to view, print (all or select pages), save to your computer, etc. The print files are automatically processed once each morning as part of the Automatic Merlin Notices process and labeled with the date and type of notice.

How long do the notices remain on the web?

One week. Each day's file will replace the one from the previous week.

Why doesn't a barcode print on the title paging list?

A title/bib hold can be filled by any of the items attached to the bib record. If you own multiple copies, either copy could fill the hold.

What causes items on my paging list not to trigger holds?

Between the time the notice was printed and your item was scanned, another library checked in an item that triggered the hold and chose to fill the hold.

Can Merlin Web Notices be saved to my computer?

To save a file to your computer, open the file and then click File > Save AS. You can then select the location on your computer to save the file, and rename the file if needed. Bills can be managed and resent at a later date by saving a copy to your computer.

Why is there a link labeled Failed in the Merlin Web Notices?

The "Failed" link is a file for unsuccessful telephone notices. This file will be blank if your library does not use automated telephone notification.

What causes a telephone notice to fail?

There are a few things that could cause a notice to fail. The telephone software is configured to make 6 possible attempts to complete a call. If a call is not completed in those six attempts it is considered unsuccessful.

If the main phone number in the patron record is invalid or non-existent, the call will be unsuccessful.

The main phone number in the patron record may also include a block designation (## before the number), so the phone software considers them unsuccessful.

Why might a patron not receive an email notice?

There are a few things that could prevent email notices from being delivered to a particular email account:

1.  A valid email address must include the @ and . (dot) symbols
2.  To prevent library e-mails from getting caught in spam or junk mail filters, they can be whitelisted. The patron can add to their address book (or email filter list) the email address used by the library for sending notices (for example This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Contact NWLS if you'd like the address changed. 
3.  Sometimes free email accounts (i.e. Hotmail) will close the account if there has been no activity within a certain period of time.  Reinstate a closed account.
4.  Some email servers will not accept email messages if a mailbox is full and out of storage space.
5.  Review and ensure your message rules are not inadvertently deleting reminder notices.
6.  Firewalls may also be a factor.  Service providers have the discretion to accept or not accept email messages for delivery.

If delivery of email notices to the account continues to fail, an email address from another provider may need to be used.

What can I do if a patron isn't receiving automated telephone calls?

• Verify the main telephone number in the patron record, making sure it is a standard 10-digit number without a block (## before the number.)
• Find out if the patron has a service such as SBC Privacy Manager to automatically block calls with a message, such as "The number you are calling has “Privacy Manager” a called ID service and your number is not identified. At the tone, say your name or the company you represent and your call will be completed."
• Call the number and make note of any sounds you hear while waiting to connect. Forward the information to the NWLS Helpdesk.

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Automatic Merlin Notices

What are Merlin Auto Notices?

All of the different notice types were previously processed in Circulation by each library. On June 17, 2010 the automated method of notice delivery was implemented. Email and Telephone (Teleforms) notices are automatically sent each day. Not all Merlin libraries have opted to participate in the automatic notice delivery system. Patrons can receive electronic notices from participating libraries by requesting that the preference is set up in their library record (see "Notice Preference" ).

What are the reasons for automating notices?

In 2010, NWLS launched changes to the patron notification process as part of the Advanced Patron Notification Grant of 2010.  NWLS used a three-step approach to fix problems with library notification and further enhance the process to provide a greater benefit.

  1. NWLS enabled a notices feature that automatically processes and deliver notices (without staff intervention) depending on the patron’s preference in receiving notices.
  2. NWLS added a scripting program to the process, so that notices sent to print are saved to the web for librarians to print more easily and manage more effectively. 
  3. NWLS enabled Teleforms to allow more timely notification for held materials ready for pickup and for overdue materials.

The new notification changes save time and money previously required for processing and sending notices. A Teleform notice costs about 3 cents compared to a 44 cent stamp and requires no staff time and materials. The notices that aren’t sent by email or telephone can be conveniently viewed and printed from the web where they are automatically stored each day for a week. Patrons willingly support library programs that improve services as well as promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. Automated notice delivery is a win-win service for both libraries and patrons.

How do patrons receive Merlin Auto Notices?

Normally Auto Notices uses a Saved Parameters Table to manage the automatic delivery of notices. The Saved Parameters Table allows libraries to determine the default method for sending each notice type. For example, one library may wish to have their "hold pickup" notices sent to the web for printing and overdues sent to email while another library may wish to have all notices sent automatically to either email or telephone the patrons.

What is the "Notice Preference" in a patron record?

The choices listed in the Notice Preference field in a patron record include: ‘a’ (print), ‘p’ (phone), ‘z’ (email), and ‘‘–‘ (none). The Notice Preference overrides the Saved Parameter Table settings of a library. If any choice but ‘–‘ (none) is selected, the delivery method for all notices will follow that setting. When a patron's Notice Preference field is set for ‘–‘ (none) the automatic notices will follow the default settings of the Saved Parameters Table of the library sending the notice. For example a library with a Saved Parameters table set to print overdue notices will telephone notices to patrons with a notice preference of phone.

Changing a patron Notice Preference to 'z' (email) will email notices to the patron unless there is no email address, in which case the notices will be sent to the web to print. Patrons who wish to avoid automated telephone notices should set their notice preference to email.

What is the priority for notice delivery?

Auto Notices first sends email notices to everyone with a valid email, and a phone notice to those without a valid email. If an automated phone call cannot be completed for any reason, the notice will finally move to the Web for printing. The Saved Parameters Table can be used to send notices to print, preventing automatic email and telephone delivery.

Patron Preferences will influence the priority changes. A notice preference of a (print) will send all of the patron's notices to Web folders as PDF files. A preference of p (phone) delivers all notices by Teleforms, and calls that cannot be completed move to the “Failed” link in the web PDF files. A preference of z (email) delivers all notices via email and any undelivered emails go to the Web folders as PDFs.

How often do the notices run?

The notices are generated once a day. Emails are sent at 6:00 a.m. and telephone calls are delivered between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with an hour break from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

How do I know what has been sent?

You can view a count of how many notices were generated by notice type in Circulation. Click on the Circulation Desk icon and then click on Tools and select Notice History.

Why do Telephone notices leave a caller ID of 715-682-2724 which is always busy?

Telephone notices are sent from equipment that places the automated calls. The software cannot receive calls. Calls made from the Teleforms equipment will use the number 715-682-2724 or 715-685-2708.

Why do I occasionally see a greater number of failed notices in my Web file?

When Teleforms encounters an error in the Call Manager feature of the program, it stops and holds all other calls while “looking” for a solution.  If a solution cannot be found within its guided time parameter, all pending calls are then considered “incomplete.”  These incomplete calls are the notices found in the “Failed” file on the web.

The internal parameter guiding the length of time Teleforms analyzes the call cannot be adjusted or modified since it is proprietary to the ILS vendor.  The error will manage itself by clearing itself.  Nevertheless, NWLS makes every attempt to watch for Teleforms hang-ups if and when they occur, but it is difficult because these errors are unanticipated.

These notice errors seldom occur and can either be mailed or phoned or copy and pasted into emails for patrons.

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