[Koha] Another terminology survey: Debarred, restricted, etc.

gsl gsl at rhcl.org
Thu Jul 8 05:07:16 NZST 2010

We are currently using with a certain ILS, but dislike, two different 
terms. A patron can become "blocked" for fairly minor peccadillos, like 
overdue materials, which is set by the system but controlled with 
sysprefs, or simply a yearly renewal of their card/account. A staff 
member can "bar" a patron for more serious situations--vandalism, a 
number of seriously overdue items, etc. The system automatically 
"unblocks" a patron when the items are returned, but to be unbarred 
requires staff intervention. These are actually set under a patrons 
"privilege" and "status".

"Restricted" implies to us there are things you can do, and other things 
you cannot. For example, in driving you may be restricted if you are 
required to wear glasses, or if you can drive during the day but not at 
night. An ILS equivalent might be that a young patron could not check 
out adult materials (i.e. "The Joy of Sex"). I/we do not take a position 
on this matter, except to point out what I perceive the term 
"restricted" to mean.

"Suspended" seems to be a good term, and would seem to be well understood.

One place where these categories and terminology becomes important is 
for related computer systems, like public access control systems "PACS", 
that need to access these categories when checking the ILS for 
authentication. The "PACS" need to be able to read these fields in the 
database, and have system options that either grant or deny access to 
the computer based on system preferences. It also may be that the 
library would chose to permit different access based on different 
database fields. For example, using our case of  "blocked" and "barred", 
we might permit a "blocked" user to login to the computer locally with 
full access to the installed software, but not grant Internet access, 
while a "barred" patron would get no access at all.

In short, I'm not stating a strong case for any particular terminology, 
except to note again that "blocked" and "barred" are not very good, and 
that "suspended" probably has some merit.



On 07/07/2010 08:47 AM, Owen Leonard wrote:
> Nicole writes in Bug 4947
> (http://bugs.koha-community.org/bugzilla3/show_bug.cgi?id=4947):
>> In the patron management and overdue notice settings you can 'debar' a patron,
>> but when you do that the patron record says they're 'restricted' - we should
>> use the same language so that it's clear that this is why the patron cannot
>> check out
> "Debar" is the term Koha originally used. When we were working on 3.0
> we were doing an "audit" on librarian-speak and trying to come up with
> more user-friendly terms. "Restricted" was chosen for the staff client
> because it seemed to be a more commonly understood term. To make
> matters more confusing for us, the term "frozen" is used in the OPAC.
> In my opinion as a speaker of American English, "Restrict" is better
> and we should be working to eliminate "debar." I don't mind that the
> patrons see "frozen" because I think that best reflects their status
> from their point of view.
> What does everyone else think?
>    -- Owen

More information about the Koha mailing list