The patron load monitors which accounts are active in the NOAA staff directory on a weekly basis.
When the patron load detects that a record is no longer active, we make the record Inactive in Alma and set some additional parameters to make sure that Alma does not automatically allow the patron to still check out materials.
At this point, typically:
However, for many patrons:
Because of this, we often end up reactivating some records later.
When we purge a user record in Alma, the system irrevocably anonymizes any remaining record data, and we can no longer look up that record. This can make it difficult (or impossible) to identify changes or reinstate settings should a patron return later. (See also the difference between "purging" and "deleting" below.)
However, there are other ways that we can make it so that Alma no longer shows the record in patron lists or allows the patron to check out materials.
In general, we tend to make records Inactive when patrons leave, and then delete them only after a certain amount of time (e.g., one year) has passed.
When we deactivate a record, we typically run an Update Users job on a set of accounts to be deactivated. For each record we:
These settings let Alma know that the user shouldn't be able to check things out or log into Alma, and let library staff know why the account has been deactivated.
We can reactivate the account by reloading the record from the patron load (if it is an External record), or by manually reversing these changes (for Internal records).
In general, "purging" user records in Alma can be thought of as a batch deletion process. However, there are a couple of important differences.
Purge User Records is a type of batch job that runs against the all of the records of a particular User Group in Alma. It checks the records to make sure that they have a purge date that falls under the criteria of the purge job before deleting them. When it deletes records, it follows our Delete User Policy settings, anonymizing the record and and retaining only non-identifying statistical fields.
Records deleted using Purge User Records can still be reported upon, although many of the fields are no longer present.
When we delete a user from the record actions in Manage Users, Alma deletes the record completely. It does not consult our Delete User Policy settings at all.
No statistical fields are retained at all, and the record can no longer be reported on in Alma Analytics.
When we merge users, it counts as though we have manually deleted the old user account. (However, we can choose to migrate some or all of the information in the deleted record to the new record.)
All of the user account deletion methods we have perform some basic checks to make sure that the account can be deleted. In particular:
Note that Purge Users will also require the patron to have a Purge Date in their record (even if the "Number of Days After Purge Date" field is set to 0), but Delete User will not look at the Purge Date field.
Because we monitor how long records have been inactive in the patron load process, we are able to create sets for purging records based on how many weeks it has been since a record was last active*. However, we can also use this process for smaller or ad-hoc batches.
* Currently we have proposed purging inactive records that have not been active in the staff directory for more than one year.
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