Over the past few months, Library IT worked with Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) to implement an Email Addon to Aeon. This feature was added to both instances of Aeon. The Email Addon allows MSSA staff to email patrons when requested materials are in. The emails can be sent out using a batch process providing MSSA staff with a level of automation that allows them to communicate with a large number of patrons in a matter of minutes, quickly and easily. Staff can still use a manual method for emailing patrons for those situations that require special circumstances.
Each item is still scanned by an MSSA staff member in order to trigger the email, preceded by a number of steps that involve monitoring transactions as they move through notification queues, then rerouting them to their final destinations. The Email Addon automates the routing rules that govern the sending of the email so staff does not have to manually send one to each patron for each request.
Since the MSSA Reading Room is the only monitored reading room in Sterling Memorial Library, restricted materials patrons request are sent to this location. The volume of materials being delivered and processed at MSSA is substantial, sometimes receiving as many as 60 boxes with multiple deliveries in one day. The Batch Process helps MSSA keep track of their materials more efficiently making it easier to return materials to Library Shelving Facility (LSF) thus limiting the time materials are at risk. Once notified, the patron then has 5 days to come in and use the materials before it is returned to the LSF.
The benefit to patrons is the quick notification of when materials are available. Access to this information helps to eliminate some of the mystery patrons experience between requesting materials and receiving them. The notifications allow patrons to better plan for their trip to the Library, as some patrons are coming from a distance. Having an awareness of when materials will be available and in what format helps patrons with their planning, especially if only partial orders are received. Ultimately with this new functionality, MSSA is able to manage patron expectations of hold times from the moment an item is put on hold.
The Email Addon has in place since March 1st and has been working very well. MSSA hopes to explore more batch processes in the future.