Koha How-To

Koha Question of the Week: How to turn on Purchase Suggestions in the OPAC?

Each Friday, we will bring you a new Koha Question of the Week. We will select real questions that we receive and share the answers with you!

Question: How to Turn on Purchase Suggestions on the OPAC?

Answer: System Preferences- and there are a few options also!

Koha offers a great feature for your library to allow patrons to make purchase suggestions via the OPAC. There are a few tools that you can use in conjunction with this feature that will help your library.

Koha Purchase Suggestions

  • To allow your patrons to make Purchase Suggestions:
    1. Go to your Global System Preference in the Administration Module search “Suggestion
    2. Turn to this preference to “allow”
    3. If you have multiple branches, there is a system preference called “AllowPurchaseSuggestionBranchChoice” – you can allow your patrons to select a library when making the purchase suggestion.
  • Select your Mandatory Fields – this is very important to pick which fields you would like your patron to be required to fill out when making this purchase suggestion. This global system preference is called “OPACSuggestionMandatoryFields
  • Selecting “Item Type” as a mandatory field could be very helpful in determining what your patron really wants the library to order.
  • Once you select your mandatory fields- these fields will be in red on the OPAC under Purchase Suggestion.If you would like your item types to display in a drop-down menu like this picture- you can set them up in your authorized values under “SUGGEST_FORMAT” Authorized values are found in the Administration module. If the authorized value “SUGGEST_FORMAT” is not set up you can create a new authorized value for this purpose.
  • Once you create this authorized value “SUGGEST_FORMAT” you can add your item types are they are shown in your item types (also under Administration). Below there is a picture of the library’s item type codes. These are the same codes you will enter into your authorized values under the “SUGGEST_FORMAT” category. When creating your Suggest Format codes, enter a Description and an OPAC description into this form.

***Some other purchase suggestion system preferences that you can customize to your library include :

MaxOpenSuggestions– this is an open text box that you can assign a numeric value to the number of open suggestions a patron can make

OPACViewOthersSuggestions– you can choose to allow or don’t allow to show purchase suggestions from other patrons on the OPAC.

AnonSuggestions: you can allow or don’t allow patrons that aren’t logged in to make purchase suggestions- this works with Anonymous Patron

OpacSuggestionManagedBy: you can show or don’t show the name of the staff member who managed a suggestion in the OPAC

MaxTotalSuggestions/NumberOfSuggestionDays: Total number of suggestions allowed in X number of days.

EmailPurchaseSuggestions/ EmailAddressForSuggestions: For libraries that would like their purchase suggestions to go to a specific email, this is a rather new system preference and very helpful to libraries with specific workflow regarding their purchase suggestions.

Few other features for Purchase Suggestions

Koha does perform a duplicate check for the library when a patron submits a purchase suggestion. If Koha does find that the library already owns this title, the patron will get a choice to view the record or continue to submit the purchase suggestion.

Also, under the Tools Module, Libraries can add their own individual text to appear on the Purchase Suggestion form. This can be specific to a branch or the entire library system. When creating a new entry in the News tool, the library would choose, "OpacSuggestionsInstructions".

More Resources

Customizing Purchase Suggestions by Branch

OPAC: Purchase Suggestions Enhancements

Email Library When Purchase Suggestion is Made