Skip to main content
OCLC Support

Send message to patron

Use the following procedure to send a message informing the patron about the work on his or her question without changing the question status in QuestionPoint.

For example, you might inform the patron of the expected turnaround time, an unexpected delay, or the referral of the question to another library.


This message differs from an answer or a clarification request because it leaves the question status unchanged.

Its subject line is "Library Question - Message [Question #nnnnnnn]." The content includes only your message and the question history. It does not include your library's Custom Reply Text, nor is it customizable by your administrator (Administration > Institution > Settings > Custom Messages).

If the patron replies to the message, the reply is received at the library's FROM address (if the custom outgoing email address feature is used.) (Administration > Institution > Settings > Outgoing Address).

The patron's reply is not added to the question history inside QuestionPoint and the question status remains unchanged. You may wish to set up a script for use in this message that advises the patron not to reply.

Inform the patron about the work on a question

  1. Go to the Full Question.
  2. Click Answer to view the Answer Question page.
  3. (Optional) To view all information about the question, click Full Question View to view it in a separate window. Resize and position the window as needed.
  4. Do one or more of the following to prepare your message:
    • Include text
    • Include scripts
    • Attach files
  5. Click Send Message.


  • Displays a confirmation message.
  • Redisplays the Full Question with your message in the question history.
  • Leaves the question status unchanged.
  • Sends the message to the patron's e-mail address.

Include text in a message

  1. Click in the Answer or Message box where you want to place the text.
  2. Type or paste the text.

Formatting: The message box uses a WYSIWYG editor, which allows a variety formatting options. Inline images are not allowed, but attachments can be appended to the message using the attachment tools on the Answer screen, below the message box.

All outgoing messages are sent to the patron's email address using "multi-part" formatting. This means that two versions of the message (HTML and plain text) are sent out in the same email to the patron, allowing the patron's own email handler to determine which version to display to the patron.

Include one or more scripts in a message

  1. Select a script in a scripts drop-down list.
  2. Click the + button for that list to insert the script text at the end of the Answer or Message box.
  3. Repeat steps 1–2 as needed.

Attach files to a message

Attachments sent by librarians to patrons are stored with the transaction. While the transaction is in the 90-day current database, the attachments are downloadable from within the "Ask" module, by any librarian with permissions to see the transaction.

Attach up to four files to a message

  1. In an Attachment box, type the path to the file.
    Click Browse, find the file, and select it.
  2. To attach more files, repeat step 1 in the other attachment box.


Do not type a URL in an Attachment box. Include URLs in the Answer or Message box. Do not attach a file that is larger than 5 MB. If you do, an error message appears when you try to send the answer and the answer text is saved as a draft without the attachment. A total of 12 MB worth of attachments can be included in each answer sent.

Do not attach a file that has any of the following file extensions - Table
.ade .crt .jse .pcd .vb
.adp .exe .lnk .pif .vbe
.bas .hlp .mdb .reg .vbs
.bat .hta .mde .scr .wsc
.chm .inf .msc .sct .wsf
.cmd .ins .msi .shs .wsh
.com .isp .msp .shb  
.cpl .js .mst .url  


When an Answer is sent, the attachments are sent with the answer to the patron via email. They are also scanned separately for viruses, and if they pass the scan, they are uploaded to a storage server and given a unique id.

When the transaction is viewed in the Ask Module, questions lists, a paperclip icon is displayed in the far right column.

On the Full Question page, there are three possible states visible for each attachment sent:

  • Attachments awaiting virus scan - Attachments spend up to 5 minutes in this state, awaiting or undergoing virus scan. During this time, the attachments are not available for download by the viewing librarian.
  • Attachments saved - Attachments that have successfully passed the virus scan are hotlinked and downloadable for examination or reuse by the viewing librarian.*
  • Attachments not saved - Attachments that have failed the virus scan are identified but are NOT downloadable for viewing or reuse by the viewing librarian.

*Downloading and viewing the attachment will not result in its deletion for subsequent users. Once attachments have passed the scan and are saved, they remain accessible for any subsequent viewer of the question, until such time as they transition to "Service History" (typically 90 days after last action taken on the transaction.)


The virus scan that the attachments undergo does NOT prevent the attachment from being sent to the patron via the emailed answer. The virus scan only protects the attachment from being stored with the answer, thereby preventing unintentional virus delivery to other librarians viewing the attachments at a later date. Librarians should continue to carefully assess any attachments that they choose to send to a patron.


  • Was this article helpful?