Reports overview

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Only users with reporting permissions (granted by Sitka Support on libraries' request) can access the Reports interface, but the output can be visible to all staff accounts. Any staff requesting reporting permissions must sign and submit the Reporter Privacy Agreement see https://bc.libraries.coop/support/sitka/reporter-privacy-waiver/

The Reports interface is accessed from the Admin menu, under Local AdministrationReports.

Reports are owned by the account used to create them, though the owner can allow other people to view and copy (template only) them if he/she shares them with other staff in the library, other libraries in the federation, or the whole Sitka Consortium.

Evergreen has very powerful reporting functionalities. It is possible to report on almost every field in every table in the database. Connections between tables are pre-made on the Reports interface. Some views are also provided to group together records meeting certain conditions. For details refer to Commonly used tables and views in Evergreen Database.

The ultimate goal of reporting is finding the records in the database which meet the requirements. Sometimes the result records are processed to some extent before they are included in the output, such as counting and displaying the count of the records found instead of showing the records themselves. The requirements include two parts: the conditions used to extract the records and the information to be displayed in the result file.

Evergreen is designed to achieve the above goal by creating a template first. The template specifies the fields to be displayed in the result file (Displayed Fields) and the fields on which conditions can be applied (Filter Fields). For example, in an overdue template, Due Date in the circulation record should be a filter field so that a date can be given in order for the reporting program to compare and decide whether a checkout is overdue; while patron's names may be displayed fields so that staff may know who has the overdue item. In short, a template simply contains a list of displayed fields and a list of filter fields. The template can be used for multiple times. For example, the afore-mentioned overdue template can be used to run a report to capture circulation records with Due Date before 2012-01-01. It can also be used to capture circulations with Due Date before 2012-02-15.

Once a template is ready, the next step is assigning values to the filter fields, for example, giving 2012-01-01 to the Due Date field. This process is commonly known as defining a report, or running a report or setting up a report. The process also schedules the report's run-time and frequency (one time only or on regularly basis), selects the result file format(s) and designates output file receivers, if preferred. The information provided during this step is saved in a file called "Report" on Evergreen. This file contains the template information and the value for each filter. Unfortunately, most of these contents are neither viewable nor editable after the file is saved.

When a report starts to run, the program goes through the database and gathers the records that meet the conditions into a file in the selected format(s). This is the Output file that contains the result records.

The three types of files created during the above procedure need to be kept separately in different folders on the Reports interface. Before anything, you must create at least one Template, Report, and Output folder as described in Chapter 27, Folders.

This chapter focuses on the movements on the Reports interface while demonstrating how to create reports in Evergreen. Once you understand how to navigate around the Reports interface, you can create your own reports from scratch or take advantage of Sitka's pre-packaged report templates. Some background knowledge of Evergreen database and database terminology are at the end of this chapter.

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