Sierra 5.4 Introduces Native SAML Authentication, More Sierra Web Users, Improved Notices


Innovative is happy to announce that Sierra 5.4 is in general release, offering several improvements to libraries using Sierra.

Native SAML-based patron authentication for WebPAC and Encore* 

Sierra now supports native SAML-based authentication for WebPAC and Encore. This means patrons will be able to login to WebPAC or Encore using the university’s central authentication system, while users not part of the campus authentication system can still log in to WebPAC or Encore using barcode and PIN.  

Harvest Sierra data using OAI-PMH* 

There is 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 latest up-to-date view of the library’s holdings.  

The OAI-PMH web app can present Sierra’s records as an OAI-PMH repository, represented in Dublin Core. The mapping from Sierra records to Dublin Core elements is configurable by the user in the Admin app.

* The software for this feature must be installed separately. Contact your account manager for implementation services. Separate fees will apply.  

Messaging Improvements 
  • Job name in Scheduler emails – The name of the job is now part of the subject line of emails so that the user can easily determine which job the email is referring to. 
  • Provide specific block messages to patrons – Explanations for patron blocks are now clearer so that patrons will better understand why they’re unable to complete an action. If users have more than 1 block, all block reasons are shown. 
  • Delay hold pickup notices by the Time to Holdshelf interval – The Time to Holdshelf interval will now be used to delay the Hold Pickup notice to increase the likelihood that the item will be on the holdshelf when Hold Pickup notices are sent. 
General Improvements 
  • Increased number of Sierra Web users – Through the set-up and load balancing of multiple instances of Sierra Web, each library can now have more than 60 users for Sierra Web. Libraries must contact Innovative for information on configuring additional Sierra Web users. 
  • Support the SDA installer on MacOS Big Sur – The Sierra Desktop Application (SDA) now supports Big Sur. 
  • Workflow improvements to clear Headings Reports – Library prompts and defaults have been clarified so that it is more difficult to accidentally clear headings reports, as now only the selected records are cleared by default. Users who really want to “clear all” reports still have the option to do so. 
  • Resolve error message when users try to run ERM statistics report on contact records – Users can no longer run Statistics reports on ERM contact records (t) because Contact records don’t have variable fields, and thus ERM statistics reports can’t be run on them. 
  • ILL support for the British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) API – The British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) API is now supported by Sierra. Innovative will provide initial testing configuration and moving from ARTEmail to BLDSS in the production environment, but additional configuration will also be required of the library. 
Batch Workflow Improvements 
  • Batch update hold pickup dates – Manage Holds now lets staff users batch update the hold pickup date for items currently on the holdshelf. A new staff permission (788: Update Batch Holds) controls access to this feature. 
  • Globally purge charges by AFTER date – Libraries can now waive fines assessed after a given date or between two specific dates. 
  • Make Auto Notices observe Days Closed – Sierra now looks at the Days Closed calendar so that Auto Notices aren’t generated on days the library is closed. 
INN-Reach Report Permissions Change 
  • Update permissions needed to run the INN-Reach Borrowed Report – The INN-Reach Borrowed Report was introduced in Sierra 5.3. Permission to run the report was available to staff who could run INN-Reach reports (340) and override due dates (97). This enhancement introduces a new permission (345 – View INN-Reach Borrowed/Renew Report) to access this report. For access to all of the INN-Reach reports, a user will need both 340 and 345. 
System Changes and Important Fixes: 
  • Tomcat Update – Tomcat 9 will be shipped and supported with Sierra 5.4, and Tomcat 7 will be dropped.  
  • Apache Update – Apache version 5.4.51 will be installed with Sierra 5.4 
  • Transfer Collection Agency files by email – Secure transfer for Collection Agency files was introduced in Sierra 5.3. Libraries should configure the transfer of Collection Agency files to use secure transfer as soon as possible. The transfer by email option will be removed in Sierra 5.5. 

You can read the detailed release notes for Sierra 5.4 on the Innovative Supportal (login required).