Anonymous Issue & Return (AIR)
Some clients have requested the ability to perform issue and return actions without logging in the Mystic system. There are naturally a number of problems with this concept, not least of which is that Mystic is a web application and the last thing that anyone would want is the ability for anyone to log into your database. Let's face it - you either identify yourself to a web application or you don't, and if you have then you could simply use the standard Issue & Return features.
In order to provide some of these features, we are currently developing the Anonymous Issue & Return (or AIR) feature, which lies on the Mystic landing page - the one where users would normally log into the system. Not everyone will want Anonymous Issue & Return, so you have the ability to turn it off within Mystic.
In order for AIR to work, Mystic needs to place a cookie onto your machine which uniquely identifies it, and therefore allows YOU to control whether AIR is allowed. You can therefore turn on AIR for use within the known machines of your library or register your reader's personal computers at home but, by default, prevent it from working with a machine on the other sides of the world, or simply outside your controlled school environment.
AIR can work in three ways:
Full Return features, but Issue must be self identified
The reader needs to enter their Password / PIN, as set in the Readers manager;
Full return and Issue
Each Issue is assumed to always be taking place by the reader entering their reader number (this is by far the least secure way and is open to abuse, so is not a mechanism which Esferico advise);
Unique Reader ID
The final mechanism is a variation of method (1) and is really only useful for clients who can issue library ID cards from Mystic, or at least print a sheet of reader barcodes for common use, but is actually the most powerful. This mechanism creates a unique ID which uniquely identifies the reader and their password. It is not a Unique ID which can be easily remembered by the reader and is therefore read using a card reader or standard Library barcode reader. Issues are registered to the reader borrowing the item.
Provisional Release Date: w/e 14th February 2020
Python 3 Integration
Currently, both Pergamon and Mystic support the XojoScript and LUA scripting languages in use within both BISON import scripts as well as the Reports scripts. The main reason for their inclusion is that both scripting languages are embedded directly within the application and can therefore be controlled and distributed by Esferico.
Up until this point Python, which would be a logical addition in the current environment, has been left off this list as Python is not embeddable - a Python installation would need to be installed by local IT staff / outsourced providers for use with the desktop versions of Pergamon.
With direct control over Mystic by Esferico ltd. on our own servers however, we are now looking at making Python available for scripting for Mystic users only, and possibly far further than that currently available. While Python is now available internally to Esferico for the addition of new Report scripts, decisions are now being made to determine which, if any functions, will be made accessible to end-users for the creation of end-user Python scripts.
Provisional Release Date: Not yet determined.
The new version of Pergamon HUB - the main bibliographic database provided by Esferico for Pergamon and Mystic applications, is currently being updated. Unlike the first version of the HUB, HUB2 will be updated either on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on current needs being discussed with SLSs - the simple fact is that most schools now receive data about their new books from their book vendor (e.g. Peters) and the reliance on up-to-the-minute bibliographic databases is now greatly reduced.
Unlike other bibliographic providers, Esferico provide bibliographic data under a Creative Commons license, with data principally being drawn from the British Library bibliographic service (itself a Creative Commons source). HUB Bibliographic provision by Esferico is a service with the access means being part of the Mystic and Pergamon applications - Esferico do not charge or make any income from bibliographic data provision.
Provisional Release Date: March 2020.
Online Video Training Package
While Mystic was deliberately designed to mimic the desktop Pergamon application as closely as possible, so as to reduce or even remove training needs, we do recognise that some clients are signing up directly for the Mystic application.
A comprehensive new video based training package is therefore underway for all users of the Mystic application, covering all aspects of the application and with provision for new features as and when released. The training package is currently being filmed by our Education sister company, Edukus, and will be released to all SLSs, Pergamon and Mystic clients free of charge when completed.
As anyone who has been involved in film production will know, this is a laborious process with actual filming being only a small part of the process. We hope to get the new training package out as soon as possible, and hopefully in one single package, so please be patient.
Provision Release Date: End March 2020.