Cleaning Up Databases Through Purging
Kent Smallwood, Customer Service Specialist
While libraries continue to grow and expand, the amount of information in the library’s computer database continues to rise. Some libraries look for ways to clear out some data to make room for new information. One way to do this is through purging old inactive accounts. This takes that information from older accounts and deletes it permanently from the library’s database. Unique understands the need to do this, but we have a few suggestions when looking at purging old accounts.
First, when looking at a cut off date for purging, we recommend that you not purge anything under 7 years old. Any credit reported accounts stay on the patrons record for up to seven years. If the library has no record of this debt and cannot update UMS of balance changes, we have to
clear their debt and the library would not receive the full benefits of credit reporting or potentially recover the balance owed. We receive hundreds of calls a month from patrons looking to clear their credit reported accounts.
Second, if the library does decide to purge accounts, please let your Customer Service Specialist know prior to running the purge. We can help remove these accounts on our end, so that the purge does not show as recovery on your monthly reports. We strive to make sure that we are reporting to the library accurate figures of recovery. Also, this insures that we close out these accounts correctly.
Remember that we are here to help the library bring patrons back to the library in good standing through the recovery of their materials. Accurate records at the library insure that we recover the proper amounts. So, before you do that purge, check and make sure there are not any
records that might help the library bring in over due materials.