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Reports Training - Fall 2014

General

Attached to this article is a PDF copy of the handouts included with each training session.

Statistics, Reports, and SimplyReports are accessible using the BCCLS Staff Home Page: http://staff.bccls.org

Internet Explorer is the recommended browser for accessing Reports and SimplyReports.  Other browsers may prevent reports from running or displaying properly.

Statistics

http://www.bccls.org/buckles/stats/

Accessible without a password, this page provides current and historical statistics.  Of particular note:

Downloadables: Audiobooks & eBooks: This is the only place to get circulation statistics for eBCCLS. These stats are updated each month and include breakdowns by format for each library.  Number from disparate sources are combined (ebook counts from OverDrive and 3M are added together before being entered into this spreadsheet).  Beginning in 2015, periodical statistics from Zinio will be included.

Circulation: Monthly: This reports builds on the Monthly Circulation report which is emailed to the library each month and available in Reports.  This data is cumulative for the year, compares with the previous year, and totals include circulation counts from eBCCLS.

Reports - General

These are also called SQL reports or canned reports.

Polaris is built on a SQL Database.  The reports in this section are built using the SQL language and provide set information, based on limited parameters (if any).

BCCLS provides access to these reports through a web browser utilizing SQL Server Reporting Services. This method of access allows reports to be accessed anywhere with internet access, instead of requiring the Polaris client software.  In addition, accessing the reports through the web eliminates the risk of accidentally updating the Polaris database.

The username and password for Reports is the same used for logging into the Polaris client.

When running a reports, any necessary input from the user will be prompted for at the top of the page.  After making your selections, click View Report to see the data.  Some reports may need to process a lot of data and will take some time to run.

When printing a report, it is best to export the report (recommend PDF or Excel) and then print the file downloaded.

Reports – Files, Folders, Reports

After logging into reports, there are three folders and two files.

  • Library Passwords is a document containing general information about passwords (rules and ways to change, persistence of passwords, PAC staff override, etc.)
  • BCCLS SIP Information contains all the information necessary for vendors to authenticate your patrons for a service.  Port, IP, ILS Version, Connection Type, and Login information.
  • Unicorn Report Files provides access to all the saved reports from 2005-2012.  This is the only form of data available for history prior to 12/12/2012.
  • The Polaris folder is the starting point for running all reports that come with the Polaris software.  These reports will also be be referred to as “delivered” or “canned” reports.
  • The BCCLS Custom Reports folder houses all the reports created for specific BCCLS needs.

Polaris Folder Reports

The Polaris folder contains many reports, divided into subfolders by category.

When selecting an end date for a report, take care to note whether the report will include or exclude the end date (ex.  Will a report Starting 1/1/2015 and ending 1/2/2015 contain data for 1 day or 2 days?).  Some reports note this in the description (which can be viewed by hovering the mouse over the report name).  If unsure, test the report by running it for a single day and review the results.  For example, run the report with a start AND end date of 12/13/2014.  If the report contains results consistent with a single day of activity, the report INCLUDES the end date.  More often, 0 data/activity will be reported, indicating that the end date is EXLCUDED from the report and you need to add a day onto your end date.

The following reports were covered during the training sessions:

Polaris > Public Services > Patron Financial > Financial Transaction Summary by Fee Reason

               This report can be considered a “cash drawer” report for your library.  It contains all the payment information that occurred in the selected building.  Any waives are included as a total at the end of the report.  Example of Use: The library staff write down in a notebook any time money is taken in from patrons.  The director uses this report to double check the notebook, ensuring accurate records.

Polaris > Public Services > Patron Financial > Fines and Fees

               This report contains all activity for your items (regardless of where the activity takes place).  It provides useful details such as the exact date and time of the charge/payment/waive and the workstation on which the activity took place.  Useful for investigating transactions.  Example of Use: The director notices a large waive total when reviewing the Financial Transaction Summary by Fee Reason.  She then checks the Fines and Fees report to track down the time and computer where the waives took place so she can speak with the staff member to find out the details of the situation.

Polaris > Circulation > Holds > Holds Purchase Alert

               A system-wide look at titles with holds.  The Number of holds and Number of items parameters are used to set up a minimum ratio (ex. Titles where there are at least 3 holds for every 1 item).  You can utilize the Group by option to separate titles based on format, which is useful for concentrating your collection development on a particular area (media, for example).  There is no way to sort titles by audience (adult, juv, ya).

Polaris > Circulation > Holds > Holds alert report by library

               This report focuses on titles with local holds.  You can limit to titles that have a minimum number of holds (ex. Titles with at least 3 holds for pick up at my library).  This report shows title information and allows you to compare local holds/items to system wide holds/items.  The system wide numbers INCLUDE the local demand (so you might have 1 request for a title, which is 1 of 11 systemwide for the title).

Polaris > System > Statistical Summary

               This report contains a wide array of data about your library.  It is important to note that the Circulation Statistics section is based on activity in your building (regardless of which library owns the item or registered the patron).  A great report to showcase the work your staff is doing.  This report can be run for any time frame, even for specific hours (using a start or end date like “1/1/2014 06:00:00PM”).   The Polaris help file for this report (explaining each piece of data) is attached to this article.

BCCLS Custom Reports

Containing reports written specifically for BCCLS needs, this folder contains the majority of reports you will need to access on a regular basis.  There is a description of each BCCLS reports in the Report Training folder (LINK).

Date selection for all BCCLS reports is designed to be as intuitive as possible, so all dates are included.  If you want to run a report for a single day, you would use the same date as the start and end date (ex. 12/13/2014 for both start and end date would include all activity from that day).

Many of the BCCLS reports have default dates.  These are design to make the report easier to run, but can be modified at any point if you wish to make a different selection.

Some of the reports are emailed to the library (XXXXcirc@bccls.org) on a regular basis, but are available to rerun at any time.

There is a new BCCLS Custom Report!  It will be included in the descriptions elsewhere, but is included here for emphasis.

BCCLS Custom Reports > In Transit and Transferred Items

               This report lists all the items in transit that is owned, sent, or the intended destination of an item.  You select the library and number of days in transit (default is 28).  It includes items that are In Transit (returning to home library) and Transferred (en route for a patron hold).  Excel is the recommended format when exporting the report.

Subscriptions

Subscriptions are a feature of SQL Server Reporting Services that allow a report to be run at a particular time (one time or recurring) and the results are emailed to the email address of your choice.  Subscriptions are how reports are delivered to the library each month and now they are available for use by staff!  An article on subscriptions is available in the Reports Training section of the knowledgebase (link).

SimplyReports

The Polaris software is built on top of a SQL database. While these databases are a powerful tool, accessing the data within them requires learning the SQL language and knowing the database structure.  The delivered reports do not meet all information needs and not every customer has the resources to acquire these special skills.

The developers at Polaris created SimplyReports as a way for the layperson to create custom queries of the Polaris database without having to learn SQL or the database structure.  This interface does nothing but reports.  It is simply reports.

In order to make SimplyReports a flexible, useful tool, there must be options when creating your query/report.  To this end, there are a lot of choices you can make about the data to be included in your report and the filters you can place on the data (so you only get the information for which you are looking).

The most important principle to keep in mind when using SimplyReports is “Don't Panic”. By default, SimplyReports does not include any information or use any filters.  You must select all the data you want included in your report output and you must indicate which filters you wish to use.  You do not need to use every filter or include every piece of information in your output.

The guidelines for the Dusty Patron and Dusty Book reports via SimplyReports have been updated and are available as articles under the reports training section of the knowledge base. (LINK)

If you have any questions about SimplyReports or aid in figuring out how to run a particular report, email polaris@bccls.org.

SimplyReports Example

How do I get the circulation for periodicals by title? Due to how periodicals are linked in BCCLS, the best way to look at circulation is to run an item list report.

Items tab

Item list reports

Columns selected for output: Item barcode, Item call number, Item lifetime circ count, Item ytd circ count, Item ytd inhouse use count

Item general filters: Assigned branch: Your Library

Item general filters: Collection: Periodcials

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