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The next release of Abraquest: Unattended Issue/Returns

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This post is the first one of two posts that explain what is coming in the next release of Abraquest, including the powerful new Issue/Return features that identify the pupil using a bar code. Other identification methods could be used if customers request them. Post two will appear next week.

This release is a little late in coming, we had hoped to get this release out a while ago but its not a problem with the software as such. There are plenty of things going on here and I have been making a special effort to collate as much feedback from customers as I can personally, the majority of which will be in the next two Abraquest releases, leaving the remainder of the year hopefully open for some exciting new developments, including associated options for Abraquest and related products for School Libraries.

You can hear all about this via our blog!

What is Unattended Issue/Returns?

As existing Abraquest customers know, Abraquest offers search and reserve facilities for pupils, which can be used when teacher is not in the room. In order to Issue or Return books teacher logs on and lets the pupils use the Issue/Returns option with the scanner to issue and return books. So teacher is in the room and logs out when he/she leaves.

Unattended Issue/Returns is the name given for the features that allow pupils to issue and return books when teacher is not in the room, although there is nothing to stop teacher using these features in addition to the features already available in Abraquest.

This post deals with the maintenance aspects of the release, the actual features that pupils use will appear in the next post.

The new menu options available to pupils are shown below:

Unattended Issues/Returns Menu Options

Identifying the Pupil

With better identification, more features can be made available to pupils and these features can be easier to use.

In the next release of Abraquest the pupil is identified using a bar code using either an ID card or library card that the pupil keeps, or by printing a sheet of A4 per class with names and bar codes that are kept in a folder and can be scanned as required.

At present the system will print labels. If you require ID or library cards to be printed, please be in touch and let us know your requirements.

Barcode Labels

Adding Pupil Bar codes

The system will clear bar codes when pupils become leavers, making them available for re-use. When adding pupils, either by import or by Borrower Maintenance, the option will always be there to allocate bar codes on Borrower Maintenance.

Printing Pupil Bar codes

Abraquest will have the ability to either print bar code labels for the pupils or print class on a sheet of A4 for inclusion in a book. If a pupil is added, the system will allocate a number. These numbers are cleared when the pupil becomes a leaver, making the number available for reuse when new pupils are added or imported.

Whats more, if a pupil is added or removed, the system will remember and show the user that the sheet needs re-printing.

Please see the screen print from the new Class Maintenance option below:

Class Maintenance Screen shot showing new Print bar codes and Mark bar codes buttons.

Class Maintenance will reminder the user if pupils have been added or deleted, and when the bar codes have printed successfully, the user can Mark the barcodes as printed so the reminder is reset.

Pupil Options

Whats the point of all this? Well the old "My History" option for pupils is being replaced. A number of new options are coming, all of which can be switched off in system admin if they are not required:-

  • My History
  • Take Books
  • Return Books
  • Renew Books
  • Lost Books

More options will be added in future Abraquest releases.

A detailed explanation with screen prints for all these options will appear in post two next week.

Any feedback please either comment on this post or contact us in the usual ways.

About the author

Philip Johnson has been a software developer for over 33 years and has been involved with Abraquest since 2005. He is the director of Spherical Software Limited (www.sphericalsoftware.com), the company that owns Abraquest.

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