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Improvements to Search (Done 21/11/16)
Although not every customer uses Abraquest for Key Stage Reading (we have more developments planned in the new year to remedy that), it has always been possible to enter the Oxford Reading Tree level of a book into Abraquest.
The intention is to improve the search so that it is possible to find books of a given level and also add the Colour Bands to Abraquest to make the search even easier.
One of the developments planned after christmas 2016 is to integrate this with individual pupil reading histories so for younger pupils, it will be clear at a glance which books have been read and which are in the library at the appropriate level to be read next.
Improvements to Issues/Returns (Done 23/12/16)
Abraquest release 220.127.116.11 contains improvements to issue / returns, to make it slightly clearer and also to cover things like renewals and lost books.
Renewals information will be available to be reported on. It will also be possible to set controls so that only a given number of renewals will be allowed for example.
Having a lost books option will mean that the pupil losing the book will be clearly identified so additional rules could be set, for example, lose three books and you will be charged, or lose three books and we won't let you borrow any more. This will be able to be set as an option in a future release. For now, we just ensure that we record the information correctly so that we can add further features that use this information in the future.
A new Reporting Dashboard (Released 02/01/17)
Abraquest release 18.104.22.168 has a new reporting dashboard that presents all the management information in one place. At present you have to know what to look for (which report), and enter parameters such as date ranges etc. into these reports. Although we are not removing the old ways for ad-hoc queries the new system will remove the need for all of that most of the time. The user will look at the dashboard and click to explore further.
Unattended Issue/Returns (Released 18/09/17)
Abraquest release 22.214.171.124 introduces the first release of Unattended Issue/Returns, which allows books to be taken or returned from the library when teacher is not in the room.
There is a blog post that explains more about it that also contains links to an introductory video.
Talking Stock Take (Released 23/10/17)
Amendments were made to the Stock take in 126.96.36.199 to allow a wireless scanner to be used. So the idea being you go round your library scanning books and the stock take input has all prompts removed so you can just scan multiple books without returning to the computer. Unfortunately you might not be able to see any messages, so the option if you have speakers is for Abraquest to speak any error messages. We will extend this to include Issue/Returns as well if the demand is there.
Year End (Released 2018)
Year end is the process of moving pupils up a year removing those who leave and adding the new intake.
We have got it organised for most schools (those who don't have tutor groups where pupils can go anywhere are the most demanding), the existing Year End has worked well for many years and has recent enhancements to make it easier to understand, bearing in mind you only use it once per year.
We are going to compliment it for next year with one that just takes your entire pupils from SIMS on a Excel spreadsheet... and just sorts it out. It will give you a report saying what it will do and if you press Confirm, just do it! So we will have reduced it to about 3 mouse clicks!
Use of Pupil Ids (Released 2018)
Unattended Issue/Returns has introduced the use of Pupil Id's which can be barcoded either on a sheet of A4 or on labels to be added to Pupil ID badges.
We are going to offer a third option: Teacher Issue/Returns will accept pupil barcodes. So you can scan the pupil, scan the book, Next pupil?
As always with Abraquest, you can decide which options you actually want to use by logging in as sysadmin1 and selecting the appropriate options in the System Configuration option on the Base Data Menu.
New Reports (Released 2018)
Many new reports have been added following a complete review, so we have operational (e.g. overdue books), book related, and pupil related.