The release of Koha 16.11 saw the addition of a new much anticipated feature, the ability for a given patron to place multiple holds on a particular record. This article will explain how to use the feature!
Enable multiple holds per record
To start with, enabling this feature is quite easy. In the circulation rules, you will find a new column title “Holds per record (count)”. This column will tell Koha how many holds a patron can place on a record that matches this rule. Setting this field to 1 would replicate Koha’s current behavior of allowing only one hold per record per patron. If we set it to 3, for example, each record matching this rule will allow that patron to place 3 item or record level holds on this record ( we’ll dive into item vs record level later ). Like most of Koha’s circ policies, the flexibility of Koha’s circulation rules means you can change the number of holds a patron can place on an item based on the the library, the item’s type, the patron’s category!
Record vs Item level holds
Koha’s behavior involving multiple holds per record is quite simple. First, we need to make clear, this new rule does not change how Koha decides if a record can have item level or record level holds. That behavior remains exactly the same as it has always been.
So now that we have made that clear, we can see how simple it is. To put it succinctly, when a patron places the first hold on a record, it will force all future holds on that record to be of the same type. So if a patron places an item-level hold on a record, all future holds must be item level as well. If a patron instead opts for a record level hold, there will be no option to choose an item for future holds.
Once all the holds on a record for a patron have been filled, the behavior resets and the patron will again be able to choose between record and item level holds ( assuming the other circulation rules involving holds allow the patron the choice between the two ).
Put simply, the reason for this behavior is to make sure the fulfillment of multiple holds is easy to understand and predict. Suppose a patron were to put a record level hold on a record, and then an item level hold for item A. Item A is then returned. Which hold should be filled? Should it be the record level hold since it was first in line, or the item level hold since it matches specifically? This is the simplest scenario too! Imagine how confusing it could get with more complicated sets of holds from multiple patrons. The Koha community QA team decided the best solution would be to avoid this situation by making sure all holds for a patron on a record are alike.
This tutorial video will show you a new enhancement for multi item holds in the OPAC and staff client in Koha 16.11.
I hope this has helped clear up how multiple holds per record for a patron works in Koha!