Sierra Release Information

Keeping current with our software makes it possible for us to move quickly when important enhancements are available. It also ensures that we have all fixes in place. We choose to take each upgrade up after the release has had a period of use and vetting.

Sierra 5.4 in General Release 11/15/21
MHLS upgrade not yet scheduled

New features

  • Date ranges in Days Closed
    When entering many closed dates for the same location in the Days Closed table, library staff want to specify dates as a range so that the table is more readable and takes less time to maintain. With this enhancement, users can enter a range of calendar dates in the Days Closed table and Sierra will act as if the user added Days Closed records for every single date in the range.
    This is useful for extended closures such as renovations, and the impact is especially significant when larger disasters force multiple locations or an entire system to close suddenly.
  • Make Auto Notices observe Days Closed
    Libraries want to avoid sending notices to patrons on days when the library is closed. This enhancement looks at the Days Closed calendar so that Auto Notices aren’t generated on days the library is closed.
  • Globally purge charges by After date
    Libraries need to be able to purge fines and fees for different time periods to accommodate emergency closures and other situations – for example, if a library wishes to apply an amnesty during a disaster. This enhancement allows libraries to waive fines assessed after a given date or between two specific dates, rather than only before a date. This allows more selective targeting of fines assessed during a certain period of time.
  • Batch update hold pickup dates
    Libraries need options to quickly update hold pickup dates for multiple items for multiple patrons, such as extending hold pickup dates during emergency closures, including COVID-19. This enhancement uses Manage Holds to allow staff users to batch update the hold pickup date for items that are currently on the holdshelf. A new staff permission (788: Update Batch Holds) controls access to this feature.
  • Use Time to Holdshelf interval to delay hold pickup notice
    Patrons sometimes receive notification that an item is ready for pickup before library staff can move the physical item to the pickup area. The Time to Holdshelf interval, previously applied only to hold display in My Account, can optionally delay the the Hold Pickup notice so that the physical item will have a chance to reach the holdshelf before the notice is sent.
    Time to Holdshelf does not apply to hold pickup SMS Alerts.
  • Provide specific block messages to patrons
    Patrons need specific information when they are blocked and unable to complete a transaction in the WebPAC. This enhancement will provide clearer explanations for patron blocks so that patrons will know why they are not able to complete an action. If users have more than 1 block, all block reasons are shown.
  • Increased number of Sierra Web users
    Libraries will be able to increase the number of library staff who can access Sierra remotely via Sierra Web. This enhancement provides scaling of Sierra Web through the set up and load balancing of multiple instances of Sierra Web. Although each instance still has a 60-user limit, the library can run multiple instances to increase the number of Sierra Web users.
  • Harvest Sierra data using OAI-PMH
    This enhancement provides a new web app to integrate with external systems to harvest Sierra records using OAI-PMH. This option removes manual update processes and ensures that integration partners have the most updated view of the library’s holdings.
    The OAI-PMH web app is able to present Sierra’s records as an OAI-PMH repository, represented in Dublin Core. The mapping from Sierra records to Dublin Core elements (or “crosswalk”) is configurable by the user in the Admin app. The OAI-PMH web app can also (optionally) organize records into “sets” according to Sierra’s scopes.
  • Support the SDA installer on MacOS Big Sur
    In November 2020, Apple announced the release of the MacOS Big Sur. Libraries that run Sierra on Macs need to be able to install the client on the new MacOS. This enhancement adds support to the SDA for MacOS Big Sur.

Issues fixed

  • Manage Holds omits on-holdshelf and pickup dates in the status bar
  • Sorting bib hold queue by priority sorts in alpha order instead of numerically
  • Create Lists does not persist record view when navigating to Next Record or Previous Record
  • Renaming a review file allows a blank name
  • In Serials Checkin, copying a bibliographic record with location “multi” creates an empty bib record
  • Freeze when attempting to export records from Create Lists
  • Various causes of freezes in Sierra Web sessions
  • Issue with saving after opening and closing multiple Parameters tables
  • Sorting bib hold queue by priority sorts in alpha order instead of numerically
  • And more…

Release Notes for Sierra 5.3 – April 2021

New features

Sierra Holds

  • You will be able to see if holds are frozen in the staff view
  • When staff place title holds they will simply page – no more “page title?” pop up.

Sierra holds reporting improved

  • The View Outstanding holds report will be renamed Rename the feature “Manage Holds”
  • Search and display real-time hold information (IUG ballot winner)
  • Modify, cancel or place holds from the “Manage Holds” window
  • Update limits to better meet library needs for managing holds, including
  • Move limit selection to a separate tab to make more space for viewing hold information
  • The report will be able to export

Updates to Create list

  • Double click on empty review file to start a search 
  • Create List – It’s all about me! Limit view to my login (MHLS Idea lab) 
  • Create Lists: Have the ‘Stop’ range be a wildcard (*) 
  • Enlarge the classic search query window in Create Lists 
  • Copy and paste a line for searching several different values of the same field 
  • Don’t clear Search Criteria if you change the Store Record Type

Release Notes for Sierra 5.2

New features

  • “AND NOT” boolean operator in Create Lists 
    The new “AND NOT” operator allows negation of operators that do not currently allow negation or negation of a group of OR’ed criteria. 
  • Display name on circulation emails.
    Sierra will use the Branch Name from Branch Addresses as the display name for the From: and Reply-To: headers on circulation notices.  Sierra will take the display name from the Library Name for due slips and payment receipts and for circulation notices where email information is not in Branch Addresses.
  • Remember me” does not save passwords.
    The SDA will no longer store and pre-populate the password when a user chooses to “Remember me on this computer.”  Only the username will be stored and pre-populated.
  • Improved Navigation in My Account
    In My Account, WebPAC no longer hides the navigation entry for the currently-visible patron information.  For example, if the patron is viewing holds, the navigation entry for holds will still display.  There is a new class (patFuncBtnCurrent) for the current-page navigation entry
  • Improved accessibility in My Account.
    Several accessibility flaws with the patron function table in My Account have been resolved.  This includes adding labels to form elements and simplifying the table structure for easier parsing by screen readers.
  • Patron name now optional in emails generated for ILL Requests.
    (We will be using ILL shortly) A new option has been added so that system administrators can prevent the patron name from being displayed in emails generated for ILL requests.

Issues fixed

  • Cancel button broken in new bib record creation.
  • Accessing the Holds, on a patron with a large number of holds, takes too long.
  • Exporting records via Sierra Create Lists is slow.
  • Required Restart after Password Change for Checkout Override on hold items.
  • When Verifying Headings in fields 600 and 650 facets don’t always show up.
  • Unable to delete bad fields.
  • Not all messages recorded in Circulation Overrides when renewing an item.
  • Create Lists: double clicking to view or edit a record does not work if review file is owned and user does not have permission.
  • Create Lists: Saved Exports: unable to edit a saved export.
  • Create Lists queries fail when searching against a review file of ITEM records.
  • Create Lists fails to search the punctuation comma on patron address fields.

Release Notes for Sierra 5.1

New features

  • In the Delete Records function, staff can restore deleted records from the Process Summary window.
  • Staff can open up to ten Parameters tables simultaneously in the SDA or Sierra Web (for example, Loan Rules and Loan Rule Determiner).
  • Staff can export the Loan Rules and Loan Rule Determiner tables in CSV format.
  • The button for staff to page an item-level hold now says “Page for item,” consistent with wording for title-level holds.
  • Patrons can freeze holds even if more than 255 days have passed since the hold was placed.
  • Password Policies include an option to disable the Sierra Desktop Application’s Remember Me functionality.
  • Continued improvements to Sierra Web on iOS tablets
  • Security of patron data uploaded from offline circulation stations has been enhanced through an updated version of the standalone installable client supporting secure (HTTPS) connections to Sierra

Issues fixed

  • The entry doesn’t display ‘Your entry … would be here’ if no result is found
  • Ecommerce duplicating payments
  • Scrollbar skips to top of the table in Graphical Browse Display
  • Unable to modify hold pickup location in the patron record if item has been checked out to another patron while on the holdshelf
  • Delay in getting SMS notification
  • Sierra Desktop App shuts down with a “Server not responding” message” when “View Cancelled Holds” is selected.
  • Show Info on some review files does not work and puts the SDA session in a bad state

Release Notes for Sierra 5.0 

New features in Sierra 5.0 (to be included when we upgrade to Sierra 5.1)

  • Staff can choose a print or email due slip (or no slip) when checking out or renewing items in Check Out.
    • New Due Slip Options configure available and default delivery method for each login.  (Staff circulation no longer uses the “Check-out: Print date due slips” Circulation Option.)
      • The Sierra upgrade will automatically set the new Due Slip Options according to existing due slip configuration (for example, if a login had immediate due slip printing before the upgrade, they will still have it afterward).  Email due slips will not be enabled automatically.
    • The “Print slip” checkbox is now a “Due Slip” button.
    • Email due slips require Print Templates.
    • Sierra will not prompt to “Print date due slip?” when entering Check Out (“ASK” setting of “Check-out: Print date due slips” Circulation Option).
  • The intermediate confirmation page for modifying holds in WebPAC and Encore displays a new “Action” column describing the pending change. (Winner of Sierra Public Services Smorgasbord challenge.)
  • Staff can re-run Create Lists queries, either by re-running an existing query or editing an existing query.
  • In Create Lists, if you remove records from the list, you will be able to restore them while you are still in that review file.
  • Improved customize facet functionality to include all facets
  • Support for Sierra Web on iOS tablets using Chrome browser
  • Sierra Web support of 60 concurrent users
  • My Account display of titles will now consistently display the same title as would appear on a circulation notice for the same record.  Previously, My Account used a simpler algorithm for selecting the title which could lead to differences.