Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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Sierra’s Helpful Error Messages

I was reading through last week’s LibStats questions this morning when I came across one that said:

Someone called asking for a librarian (since that’s what the website instructed) because they couldn’t put a book on hold online.

I found that kind of odd, since nowhere do we have anything saying you need to ask a librarian to request a book. So I immediately sensed this was probably another “feature” in Sierra. Sure enough, if you have a locked patron account and try to request something, you’ll get this helpful error message:

Epic error message failure

Besides being HUGE RED TEXT it is completely unhelpful in letting the patron know who to ask and how to get ahold of someone who can help them. So I fixed it with CSS and markup, since this silly message is hard-coded and can’t be changed in any of the preferences. Now it looks more like this:

Not the greatest but better

If you’re nerdy and want to see how I fixed it, the code is available on my Github page.

Thanks very much to Max Eckard, who reported the problem in LibStats. He’s the proud recipient of the first cup of coffee from my Data Bounty!

UPDATE: It turns out we had even more work to do on this, so I wrote a follow-up post.