Automatic renewing at libraries using the aleph software (tested with Vienna University of Technology and University of Vienna)

Since I use the libraries of universities quite heavily I wrote a small perl script “” about two years ago which does the renewing of books for me.

The reason for writing it was that I gain an advantage (to other people using the library) when I renew every day (if there are reservations on the book one with the oldest renewing date has to bring it back – at least as far as I understand the behaviour of the Aleph software).

The help should be self explaining:

Usage: ./ [-h] [-q] -b <baseurl> -u <username> -p <password> [-r <seconds>]

-h    : this help message
-q    : quiet (suppress success message)
-b    : baseurl without trailing slash (eg.
-u    : username (eg. $E123456) – you will probably need to escape the “$”
-p    : password – your date of birth in the form of YYYYMMDD (eg. 19730425)
if you did not change it
-r    : wait random time between 1 and “seconds” seconds (before starting and
1 to 30 seconds between the requests – so it does not look like a script)

./ -q -b -u \$E123456 -p 19730425 -r 3600
./ -b -u \$E098765 -p 19851224

A crontab entry may look like this:
0 0 * * 2-6 /path/to/ -q -b -u \$E3862419 -p 0wN4g3 -r 7200

It’s tested with the libraries of the Vienna University of Technology and the University of Vienna but should work with any other library using the Aleph software.

It is released under the terms of the GPLv2.

I do appreciate your feedback!

This entry was posted by ra on September 06, 2008 at 12:12pm. It is filed under Coding, English, University. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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Comments for “Automatic renewing at libraries using the aleph software (tested with Vienna University of Technology and University of Vienna)”

  1. BorrowerBe Said:

    Thanks for sharing this script – just came across it as the only Google hit for “func=bor-renew-all”. You know you’ve encountered a like-minded geek when you get just one hit and it’s a Perl script :) Not tried the script yet but think I might need to tweak it slightly to run here.

    Ours responds with “Items which were renewed” rather than “These items were renewed”. Perhaps just different customisation!

    We get a limited number of renewals before we have to return the book (even if there’s no demand) so renewing every night would mean we’d use the renewal quota up faster than necessary. Perhaps I’ll tweak it to check on the “Loans & Renewals” (aka “func=bor-loan”) page whether a renewal would be premature.

    Our ALEPH seems to allow us to reserve an specific copy of a book. This means you have to trade off using up your renewal quota against having the least desirable copy (I think a rational borrower would reserve the copy that’s due back first).

    If I get around to making the tweaks I’ll post them here.

  2. ra Said:

    Unfortunately I can not find the string “These items were renewed” you are referring to. Can you please send me the exact strings both in the script and within your ALEPH setup?

    Implementing some logic decision wether to renew or not sounds reasonable in your case. If you send me a patch, I would be happy to apply it.

    Thanks for the feedback. (: