Success! Catalog and Checkout Systems Upgrade Complete.

We are pleased to announce that the upgrades to our catalog and checkout systems have been completed on schedule. We are grateful for your patience and understanding over the last week.

Much of what is new is not visible to the customer, but there are a few features that we think you will love:

  • You are now able to choose whether or not to keep a record of your check out history. This is an opt-in feature. Your history will not be saved unless you choose to save it. It's easy to do. Log in to My Account, choose preferences, and then make sure that both the "show my checkout history" and "record my checkout history" are selected. NOTE: Your history begins when you opt in.
     
  • You can now change your preferred pick-up location for your holds, as well as change the pick-up location for current individual holds.
     
  • Enhanced search capabilities. You can now limit searches
  • ---to show only items that are currently available for checkout
    ---to show only items for a particular audience (children, teen, adult)
    ---by collection: fiction, nonfiction, large type, etc.
  • ---If you want to browse a particular collection--say you want to know what DVDs HCPL has--you can now simply choose the  collection you want to see and click "search." You will then see all items in that collection

FAQs

Q: Why isn't the app allowing me to login to my account?

A: This was an unexpected consequence of the upgrade. We are working on the issue and will post here when it is up and running.

Q: Why is my hold position in the queue zero on my favorite author's latest book?

Items that are "On order," will display a hold position of zero until the item has been received by the HCPL Acquisitions Department. We are working to resolve this issue.

Q: Why can't I renew my book when I check it out?

A: We are aware of this issue and it will be fixed as soon as possible. For now, it is best to wait until the book is about to become due, then renew.

If you have any questions, ask us!

Again, thank you for your patience over the course of the upgrades.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Today I did a search and got

Today I did a search and got an error like this: type Exception report message HTTP transport error: java.net.ConnectException: Connection refused description The server encountered an internal error that prevented it from fulfilling this request. exception com.sun.xml.internal.ws.client.ClientTransportException: HTTP transport error: java.net.ConnectException: Connection refused 

This is not the first time this has happened. I cleared cookies and re-tried the search, and it just keeps happening. This is not my first continual "error" experience. Sometimes the catalogue system works as expected and other times, I get these constant errors no matter what I do. I called last month to administration to let them know. At that time, clearing cookies and trying again solved the problem on my end. It happens when I search or go to my account. I can search the "classic" version of the catalogue, but obviously cannot place a hold because I get the above message. FYI: Houston has the same software, and this does not happen for me. Did you consider Fort Bend County's system? I like there catalogue better--very clean look, good search results. (For instance, in HCPL, I recently searched for "joke book" and got over 300 items--many of these items included words like "Jake" or "Jose" and didn't have the word "joke" in the entry anywhere. And these irrelevant results were on the first page of results. This is frustrating...)

Thank you for this heads up.

Thank you for this heads up. I have forwarded your comment including the error message to our Technical Services team. The server is currently down and access to the catalog is not available. Judging from the time stamp on your comment, we believe that your search results error message is a function of the server issues and that clearing cookies should work once the server is running.

If, when the server comes back up. you are still getting this error message, or if you get it in the future, please use this contact form, and we will try to come up with other solutions.

In regards to your "Joke book" search issues. If you use the Advanced Search feature, you can limit your search results to the exact words you want.

We understand your frustration, and continue to work to improve the system.

We hope this answers you questions, and thank you for your feedback.

OK. By now presumably the new

OK. By now presumably the new catalogue has weathered its shakedown cruise, hiccups have been noted and corrected (or never will be, like "in transit status"). Among the things that was to be tweaked was how to do a search for "on order" items. But I still cannot find any way of confining a search to incoming/on order material. Initially this catalogue had a control for "HCPL On Order" but it didn't grab but a tiny sliver of what was on order, and now it seems that faulty button has been removed. So how does one do a search for "on order" stuff? Oh, and pointing to the "new titles" is not really an alternative. Maybe there is just a way I am not seeing. Thanks.

We are still working with the

We are still working with the vendor on the "on order" browse function. It is not only a catalog interface issue. It involves our acquisitions and cataloging systems as well as our partner libraries in Montgomery County. There just is no quick fix, but understand your frustration and will continue to work to restore "on order" browse. We thank you for your question and your continued patience.

Back in early February you

Back in early February you were "still working with the vendor on the "on order" browse function". There still appears no way to sift for new items as they come into the system. Any progress that would give us hope?

I wish I had better news, but

I wish I had better news, but as we said in our earlier response the function you are asking about involves several different systems (acquisitions, cataloging, as well as our Montgomery County partner libraries), At this time, there is no good estimate as to when/if it will be restored. Thank you for the follow-up question.

And thanks for your prompt

And thanks for your prompt and candid follow up answer. So if they are really working on this what IS the ETA? Professionals usually have a ballpark notion of what it takes (as your comment indicated) and when it can be done. If the answer is 2019 that would be more than a little dispiriting, but at least it would say how high a priority this is. I have found librarians (and the tools designed for them)can be very, very good at searching but largely indifferent to (and tools rarely designed for) browsing. Still, it would be good to know this is really an ongoing project and when we might expect to see it. Thanks

I am attempting to place a

I am attempting to place a hold, but the Cy-Fair branch library is not listed as a pick-up option. I understand renovations should have been completed Jan 3rd. Why is Cy-Fair not an available pick-up option? When will the option be restored?

The Cy-Fair Branch Library

The Cy-Fair Branch Library location has been restored as a pick-up option for customer requests.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

Where does one find the

Where does one find the checkout history? I have clicked in preferences for it to be saved but don't see where to show it. In HPL's version of this awful new catalog (ask any branch librarian)there is a button at the bottom of current checkouts to show the history. Where on this one? Thanks.

Hello, Please forgive me if I

Hello,

Please forgive me if I go over information you already know. I just want to be thorough in my answer.

1. In My Account under the Personal Information tab, please make sure that both the "Show my checkout history" AND "Record my checkout history" boxes are checked. then click the Update button (even if you have not made any changes). Your history will show and be recorded from the time you updated your account to show and record history. The catalog cannot provide previous checkouts and checkouts from the previous checkout system.

2. If both of the boxes were already checked and you have returned items since you opted in to checkout history by updating those boxes, click on the Checkouts tab of My Account (immediately to the left of the Personal Info tab). There, you will see a list of current checkouts. Below that list will be your checkout history. Note: items appear there only when they have been returned and checked in to the library.

I hope this answers your question. If not, please let me know.

Thank you for contacting us.

 

 

Are you still working on the

Are you still working on the renewal option so that we can renew further before the due date? I go out of town frequently and it really helps to be able to renew books several days before I leave so that I know which ones need to be finished and returned before I leave and which ones I can take with me to enjoy on my trips. Thanks!

Yes, we are working with the

Yes, we are working with the vendor to get this fixed as soon as we can. We don't have an ETA yet, but will post it here when we do. Thanks for checking in.

Comes now fresh irritation

Comes now fresh irritation from this awful new catalog. New things appear but you can't place a hold on them! "Inside Amy Schumer","Doc Martin, season 7" and others simply don't allow that function. Why ever not? Also the "Classic Catalog" is not "back" by any means. Some window does appear that allows searching, but advanced search on the new catalog did so as well. Will the "classic" i.e. former (what else could "classic" or "back" mean?) truly be "back"? Thanks.

Thank you for contacting us

Thank you for contacting us with these issues. I'm sorry for the delay, but I needed to check with Technical Services to make sure I provided accurate information.

The selection list in which these items were included was loaded on Friday, Dec. 11 and is currently being processed through Acquisitions. In the previous system, these items would be hidden from public view until they were available for holds. This is not possible in the new one.

As we have said in previous responses, the classic catalog is no longer supported by any vendor. Because so many customers were alarmed at its absence, we have provided what we believe to be the best replacement available. The classic catalog feature whose absence the most commenters lamented was the ability to "browse search." That feature has been restored with the new "classic" catalog.

If you have any more questions, please let us know.

 

 

"This is not possible in the

"This is not possible in the new one" (in transit status, hold position, existing holds totals, etc. etc.) is a refrain to which I suppose we must now become accustomed. But thanks for looking into it and frankly giving us the lowdown.

I have just reported that

I have just reported that CYFAIR is not on the drop down box that lets the system know where I want to pick up a book I placed on hold.

That is correct. Cy-Fair

That is correct. Cy-Fair College Library will be closed for carpet installation, December 12 - January 3, so we have had to  suspend it temporarily as a pick up location. You can pick up holds at Northwest Branch Library (Map). Please note, that some current Cy-Fair holds may have been sent to Aldine Branch Library as a default. Please, make sure that you choose your preferred pick up location when placing holds during Cy-Fair's down time.

Here is a little more information about the closure: http://www.hcpl.net/content/library-renovation-closure

We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience. Thank you for reaching out to us.

SURPRISE, the "new" system no

SURPRISE, the "new" system no longer sends me an alert a few days before my items are due. When combined with the inability to renew things until the last minute, I now have a fine on my account, for a big book that would otherwise just sit on the library shelf. Email alerts for items that are due are a significantly helpful feature in me NOT having to keep library info in my head all the time. It is a great inconvenience to log into my library account everyday, and doesn't help the library work any better. I agree with many other comments that do not feel the new is improved, but had not seen this particular issue addressed yet.

We are sorry for the

We are sorry for the inconvenience and understand your frustration. Holds notices and overdue notices have resumed, but the pre-due notices are not yet up and running. We are aware of the issue and are working to fix it. I cannot give you a firm date for their return.

Some people have reported that notices have been going directly to their spam folders, so when pre-due notifications do resume, you may have to mark them as ‘safe sender’ again.

If you would like, you can use this contact form and we will be happy to review your account to see if there are any accommodations that can be made. All we need is your name, library card number and PIN.

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your feedback.

I would like to report a bug

I would like to report a bug in the new system: On a title called "Dope" in my hold list, when I select it and click "cancel hold(s)", the system would act like it's updating, but when the page refreshes the canceled item remains in the hold list. My wife is having the same problem on several title in her hold list as well. Please fix this bug

Hello, Thank you for your

Hello,

Thank you for your note. We are aware of the issue and are working to correct it. For the time being, please use the contact form, and supply your wife's and your library card numbers, your PINs and the titles of the holds you would like deleted and we will handle that for you.

Thank you again, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

This new system is slower. I

This new system is slower. I agree with other comments. Also, I have been in the #1 spot for several books for over a week and there has been no change. So is that a system issue or a human issue with the system? And no, i have NEVER waited for over a week for that many books as number 1 in line and not received any. Lastly, are you going to get the IN TRANSIT code back or not? I saw comments that said you were and some that said no. As far as I can tell as the user, this was a downgrade, not an upgrade. I have not experienced anything better.

Hello, There are several

Hello,

There are several possible explanations for the delay in your holds. We would be happy to look into this for you, but we need your account information. Please use this contact form. It will prompt you for name, card number and home branch. If there are specific titles you would like us to investigate, please list those. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

We are sorry for the confusion about the "in transit" status. It will no longer be available.

We understand your frustration with the new catalog, and appreciate your feedback.

Again, you say the "in

Again, you say the "in transit" status "will no longer be available." Yet surely the system knows when an item is going from point A to point B. So WHY did you ditch it? WHY can't we have it? Also on the terminal in my branch yesterday I saw a notice that the "classic" catalog would be back. But I don't see that happy notice on the site today. Why?

As you have probably noticed

As you have probably noticed in the comments below, the unavailability of the "in transit" status has been one of, if not the, biggest bones of contention concerning the new catalog. If we could provide it to our customers, we would. It is simply not available from the software vendor. Customers will receive email or postal notifications when their items are ready for pickup.

An updated version of the Classic Catalog is indeed still in the works, and the banner is still flying on the front page of the website.

Thank you for your questions and your feedback.

 

 

 

Thanks for your prompt and

Thanks for your prompt and helpful response. I posed the same question to HPL and got no answer. Your transparency is much appreciated (though why the vendor would not have included this helpful utility beats me). I see now the gladdening news about the classic catalog was on the flying banner and had already flown by when I logged on today. That better catalog's return is an indication of how seriously you take patron concerns. Thanks for that as well.

Thanks for the kind words. 

Thanks for the kind words.  We'll continue to try to improve service. Let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

I used to be able to see when

I used to be able to see when holds were in transit. Will that functionality be restored? It helps save multiple trips over short periods of time if I know there are items in transit. Also, when items are on order, will the status show when they've been received and are processing? Thanks. BTW, compared to a certain large local library system, this was a MUCH better and smoother transition! The IT department did a great job.

Thank you for the kind words.

Thank you for the kind words. Our IT department worked very hard to make the migration as smooth as possible. With any task as big and complex as this one, there are inevitably going to be rough patches.

To answer your question, the 'in transit' status will not be available in the future. at the moment, items are only showing the "On Order" status once they have been received in the HCPL Acquisitions Department. We are working to remedy the issue.

Thank you for your feedback.

Perhaps I misunderstand. You

Perhaps I misunderstand. You say that "once items have been received, they will show up as "on order"." What would it show up as BEFORE it is received? I thought "on order" = NOT yet received, but, well, on order. I totally agree with the previous comment about the value of the "in transit" status. It saves time, trouble, and gasoline. HPL ditched it when they embraced Sirsi and that was dumb. Why would we do the same? And, yes, HCPL's adoption of the new catalogue, regrettable as that decision was, has been smoother than HPL's some time ago. Kudos for that. Also your hosting of this notice board to answer questions publicly is a great idea and very helpful. Thanks.

I'm sorry, I miswrote. "On

I'm sorry, I miswrote. "On order" items will show a holds queue position of zero until they are received, but at the moment, items are only showing the "On Order" status once they have been received in the HCPL Acquisitions Department. We are working to remedy the issue.

 

This seems to be the same

This seems to be the same catalogue that the Houston Public Library has. I have noticed the same flaws in the HCPL as in Houston--definitely slower, much more cumbersome, and poorer search results than the previous software produced. For a long time, I could do side-by-side searches in the classic and the new catalogues so I could actually compare speeds and results. The new catalogue is not an improvement in terms of speed or results. When you renew an item in Houston catalogue, it gives you three more weeks from the day you renew it; it does not add the time to the original due date. So if you want to keep it longer than the original due date and maximize your borrowed time, you have to renew it on the actual original due date. This is quite inconvenient. Will you continue to be able to renew Harris County items from the due date automatically or will it be like Houston?

We are sorry your experience

We are sorry your experience with the new catalog has not been all positive. We would ask that you give it a little time. As with any undertaking as large as this one, there are going to be some issues. We will continue to try to improve the new catalog's performance.

As to due dates: we are working on the renewal issue. As I understand it, the aim is to make it work like the old system: you will be able to renew most items twice (DVDs only once). Each renewal will add two weeks to original checkout date. The date you place the renewal will not affect the due dates.

Thank you for your feedback, question and patience.

I have to agree with the

I have to agree with the comment above - the new system is not an improvement, but previously I was able to select the classic catalog. The new one is VERY SLOW!! I mean really, really slow. It shouldn't have been chosen based on this alone - it is incredibly irritating. Visually it is too busy, and everything is too big on the screen. I find it much easier to manage my account in the old one. It also insists on opening new windows every time I do something, which is problematic on my tablet. (I do not want a mobile app - the screen is not tiny like a phone and the apps are almost invariably worse than using a regular website - so please don't suggest this.) The renewal issue is a huge problem, as it invariably leads to unnecessary fines when you try to wait to renew (and then forget). (Mind you, I wouldn't mind if you didn't allow the second renewal until you were into the first renewal. I have several times went looking for something only to find that the only copy has been checked out a couple days ago and it will be six weeks until I can get it with a request.) Honestly, I don't know why the switch, but I wish you would continue to offer the classic catalog.

To address your last point

To address your last point first, the old library software was discontinued by the vendor a couple of years ago and we could no longer renew the maintenance contract. The Classic catalog is legacy software and is no longer supplied by any vendor. After the migration to the new software under the new contract, the Classic catalog had to be totally replaced.  The new catalog is more powerful and has many features, but it is going to be a change for some folks.  Mainly it is much more like Google than the traditional library catalog.  For some users therefore it is much easier to use, for others it is a big change.

I know this doesn't give you immediate relief, but we are working on the speed issue. The new catalog has been handling all the traffic since November 13.  There have been times when it has been slower than we would like as the server processes  the backlog of transactions and reports that occurred while we were offline during the data migration.  Library I.T. staff are working to complete the data processing and tune the new Enterprise catalog so that it will not have response time issues.

We are aware of the renewal issue and are just as unhappy as customers.   In the old software we could set the software so that when a person renewed an item, it added 2 more weeks onto the due date.  Then they could renew it again and add another 2 weeks on for a total of a 6 week loan period.  The new software does not do that.  It calculates the renewal period from “today.”  So when the user checks something out, then renews it the same day, the due date does not change because it gives them 14 days from today just like the original loan.  Our contract specifies that the software must give us the option of handling renewals like we have always done.  The vendor realized they answered this question wrong and they are working quickly to make good on the feature.  It is in priority development and we expect it to be available during Quarter 1 of 2016.   We will definitely turn the feature on as soon as it is delivered.

I hope this has addressed your concerns. We thank you for you feedback. 

 

 

How's the renewal issue

How's the renewal issue coming? We are about halfway through Q1, and I'm still having to remember to check daily or so to renew things. I go to the library a lot less because of this--trying to keep things checked out to a minimum and not have items due on different days. I used to go at least twice a week. Now I go about two weeks or less. Also, I cannot cancel things on hold if I no longer need the item. I tried four times on one item before I gave up. Tried again on another item and still not working.

Apologies for the slight

Apologies for the slight delay in this response, I wanted to get the latest information available. Here is what I learned: the vendor's next update of the software will fix the renewal issue, and you will be able to make the maximum renewal yourself at the time of checkout. The target date for the update is the first quarter of this year.

We have also made progress on the holds issue. We have created and instituted a nightly procedure which will allow customers to see their queue position and to cancel or suspends holds once the item is 'in processing,' however, while you will still be able to place holds on items that have a status of 'available soon,' you will not be able to see your queue position, and cancel or suspend holds until they are in processing.

As always, as long as there are no other requests for an item you want to renew, we will be happy to extend your check out period to the maximum of six weeks--either at checkout, over the phone at any HCPL branch, or using this contact form

We hope that you will make your HCPL branch a regular stop during your week. Thank you for your feedback.

 

 

Hi, Just following up on the

Hi, Just following up on the renewal issue. We are now past "Q1" or the first quarter (which I think ended March 31 if I understand correctly), and the renewal issue is still not quite right. If I understand what you wrote, I must renew when I check out, does that mean that I need to check out at the desk and not use the do-it-yourself machines? I don't know how to do it with those machines. When I try to renew from my home computer, it doesn't renew from the due date--it's from the current date. I just had to deal with this renewal thing today, so I thought I'd ask again.

Thanks for the follow up.

Thanks for the follow up. Sorry for the delay, I wanted to make sure I had the most up-to-date info. I wish I had better news. You are correct, the renewal issue has not been resolved. We are still working on it with the vendor. Given the circumstances, I'm sorry to say, it would unwise to estimate when it will be resolved.

Until then, the renewal options are:

1. In library: the best thing to do is to check out at the circulation desk and ask that your items be renewed the maximum number of times during the initial checkout. As long as there are no holds on the item, that means two times after original checkout. This entails the HCPL staff member "overriding" the system which is why customers are unable to do it themselves on the self-checkout machines.

1. If you do not renew at initial checkout and have an internet-enabled device or computer, the best thing to do is to wait until near the due date and then renew. The renewal dates, as you have noticed, start at the date of the renewal as opposed to the initial checkout date, so this is the best way to optimize checkout periods without visiting the library.

Thank you again for the follow up question and thank you especially for your patience and understanding.

Can I just say that with all

Can I just say that with all new systems there will be flaws. However, don't confuse customers voicing their concerns as complaints. It's important to hear their opinions and their experiences with the new catalog to make sure that no new problems arise for other patrons in the future. For example, one of my relatives library cards was rendered null and void because when the "upgraded" catalog system went into effect; it rolled back her library card number to a previous card number. So she was locked out of accessing her account for days. (Which might've been the issue for one of the commenters below) Along with items that we returned not being checked-in properly and incurring unnecessary overdue/late charges. Luckily most of the items were located and found and the errors were resolved, but I think both the customers and the staff need to have a little more empathy with this frustrating new system. No one likes change, I was content with the old system but you have to adapt - sometimes for the good and sometimes for the worse - just calmly explain your situation and I'm sure the library staff will direct it to their conversion team or network administrator to handle these issues like they did with us.

We agree and have said that

We agree and have said that HCPL needs and wants to hear all feedback--positive and negative--not just for the catalog migration, but for everything we do. That is the best way to improve customer service. All of this is striking evidence that our customers are passionate about, and personally invested in, their library. That is a very good thing.

We are sorry you and your relative had some issues, and we are grateful for your patience and understanding. We would like to underscore what you said about asking library staff when there are problems. Everyone here wants to make every customer's experience a good one and the only way we can do that is if we know about the problem.

Congratulations on the

Congratulations on the completion of the upgrade. I suspect it was a great deal of work and lots of effort went into making it as smooth a transaction as possible. Of course with change comes resistance and a period of getting used to it once again. Thanks to all of you for your continued support and I look forward to doing my part to make it a smooth transition. It's easy to get lost in the complaints, so I thought I'd toss in a little appreciation. Keep up the good work!

Thank you! It was indeed a

Thank you! It was indeed a big undertaking and as is usually the case there some unexpected issues to deal with, but our Network Services Team continues to work on those. We appreciate everyone's feedback--whether it be complimentary or not. That being said, we appreciate your kind words and your support. Thanks again!

I am trying to get a handle

I am trying to get a handle on the (so far, wretched) new catalogue. On the catalogue start page there is a box where new titles are featured (upper left). Within that is a place for "on order" items. Within that you can choose media. Clicking on video produces 10 items, most of them not new in the least. Isn't this patently ridiculous? I have not figured out a way to look for "on order" dvds or audiobooks that is at all helpful. And there are items (e.g., "Nurse Jackie: Season Seven") that I have on hold that do not show up in the catalogue when searched for. So something, indeed much, is screwy. Perhaps someone can help. Though why HCPL followed HPL down the awful Sirsi path I would also like to know.

We understand your

We understand your frustration and we apologize for any inconvenience.

There are several issues at work here.

  • At the moment, items are only showing the "On Order" status once they have been received in the HCPL Acquisitions Department. We are working to remedy the issue.
  • In preparation for the migration, it was necessary to suspend ordering, processing and cataloging new items for nearly four weeks, so there will be a lag in items showing in the catalog.
  • The "On Order" videos are indeed not new releases. When you see older items on the "On order" lists it is, more likely than not, that those items are either replacements or gifts to the library.

Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience and are working to resolve these issues.

Thank you for the comment. It helps to know what the customer is experiencing during the transition.

 

The old site used to show the

The old site used to show the due date of items that were checked out. I could "guestimate" how long I might have to be on the wait list if others had renewed the item. Will that information be available or has it been eliminated?

The due date for checked out

The due date for checked out items is now showing in the catalog!

Don't you just love it when

Don't you just love it when administrators or software providers say a valued feature is "no longer available" as though this were dictated by the Gods instead of being a human decision intentionally to remove and discard a useful tool?

I see that the website is

I see that the website is back up and running, however the mobile app is not. There is no option to log in to an account, and no matter what title i enter in the search field, it says "no results found"