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Sierra 5.4 is in general release. Release notes include new and changed features, details on updating your system, and more.

Release Notes

Sierra 5.4 is currently in general release.

 NOTE: Customers with Encore need to be at least Encore 4.6 SP2 in order to upgrade to Sierra 5.4. 

 CAUTION: In Sierra 5.2 and later, the SDA must run on Java 1.8 and will no longer launch if run on Java 1.6 - see Sierra 5.2 Release Notes.

New features in Sierra 5.4

DescriptionRecommended Pre-Upgrade ActionRecommended Post-Upgrade Action

Native SAML-based patron authentication for WebPAC and Encore

This enhancement allows libraries to use native SAML-based authentication in Sierra so that patrons at those libraries will be able to login to WebPAC or Encore using the university's central authentication system, while those users not included in the campus authentication system may still login to WebPAC or Encore using Sierra's native credentials such as barcode and PIN.  *Please note that this enhancement does not apply to INN-Reach. More development is required in order to use SAML with INN-Reach.

NoneThe native SAML-based authentication software must be installed separately. Contact your account manager for implementation services. Separate fees will apply.

Harvest Sierra data using OAI-PMH*

This enhancement provides a new web app to integrate with external systems to harvest Sierra records using OAI-PMH. This option removes manual update processes and ensures that integration partners have the most updated view of the library's holdings. 

The OAI-PMH web app is able to present Sierra's records as an OAI-PMH repository, represented in Dublin Core. The mapping from Sierra records to Dublin Core elements (or "crosswalk") is configurable by the user in the Admin app. The OAI-PMH web app can also (optionally) organize records into "sets" according to Sierra's scopes.


The OAI-PMH harvest software must be installed separately. Contact your account manager for implementation services. Separate fees will apply.

Task name in Scheduler emails

Library users need more information to know which tasks Scheduler is sending a notice about. This enhancement adds the name of the task to the subject line of the email so that the user can easily determine which task the email is referring to.



Increased number of Sierra Web users

Libraries need to make Sierra Web available to more staff users. This enhancement provides scaling of Sierra Web through the set up and load balancing of multiple instances of Sierra Web. Although each instance still has a 60-user limit, the library can run multiple instances to increase the number of Sierra Web users.

NonePlease open a ticket with Support for consultation.  Fees may incur if additional hardware is needed.

Batch update hold pickup dates

Libraries need options to quickly update hold pickup dates for multiple items for multiple patrons. This enhancement uses Manage Holds to allow staff users to batch update the hold pickup date for items that are currently on the holdshelf. A new staff permission (788: Update Batch Holds) controls access to this feature.


Globally purge charges by AFTER date

Libraries need to be able to purge fines and fees for different time periods to accommodate emergency closures and other situations. This enhancement allows libraries to waive fines assessed after a given date or between two specific dates.


Make Auto Notices observe Days Closed

Libraries want to avoid sending notices to patrons on days when the library is closed. This enhancement looks at the Days Closed calendar so that Auto Notices aren't generated on days the library is closed.



Provide specific block messages to patrons

Patrons need specific information when they are blocked and unable to complete a transaction in the WebPAC. This enhancement will provide clearer explanations for patron blocks so that patrons will know why they are not able to complete an action. If users have more than 1 block, all block reasons are shown.



Delay hold pickup notices by the Time to Holdshelf interval

Patrons sometimes receive notification that an item is ready for pickup before library staff can move the physical item to the pickup area. The Time to Holdshelf interval, previously applied only to hold display in My Account, can optionally delay the the Hold Pickup notice so that the physical item will have a chance to reach the holdshelf before the notice is sent.

Time to Holdshelf does not apply to hold pickup SMS Alerts.

NoneIn the Time to Holdshelf table, enable pickup notice delay for any desired locations.

Workflow improvements to clear Headings Reports

Library staff frequently clear the headings reports by accident because of default settings and confusing prompts. This enhancement will plainly indicate which records are being cleared and change the settings so that only selected records are cleared by default. Users who intend to "clear all" reports still have the option to do so.



Resolve error message when users try to run ERM statistics report on contact records

When users try to run Statistics reports on ERM contact records (t), the user gets the error "New record type error: please call Innovative." ERM statistics reports cannot be run on Contact records so we have removed this record type from the dropdown.


Update permissions needed to run the INN-Reach Borrowed Report

The INN-Reach Borrowed Report was introduced in Sierra 5.3. Permission to run the report was available to staff who could run INN-Reach reports (340) and override due dates (97). This enhancement introduces a new permission (345 - View INN-Reach Borrowed/Renew Report) to access this report. For access to all of the INN-Reach reports, a user will need both 340 and 345.


ILL support for the British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) API

The British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) API was designed to provide a more synchronous experience than ARTEmail with real-time searching and search results that include information on pricing and availability. This enhancement adds support for the BLDSS API to Sierra. Initial testing configuration will be handled by Innovative. Moving from ARTEmail to BLDSS in the production environment will require configuration by Innovative and also the customer with regards to their British Library setup.

NoneFor customers currently using ARTEmail who wish to move to BLDSS, please open a Support ticket for assistance with  setup/configuration.

Support the SDA installer on MacOS Big Sur

In November 2020, Apple announced the release of the MacOS Big Sur. Libraries that run Sierra on Macs need to be able to install the client on the new MacOS. This enhancement adds support to the SDA for MacOS Big Sur.



Sierra 5.4 System Changes and Important Fixes

DescriptionRecommended Pre-Upgrade ActionRecommended Post-Upgrade Action

Content-Security-Policy headers prevent "clickjacking"

To help protect against Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and "clickjacking," WebPAC now sends a Content-Security-Policy (CSP) header indicating that the only servers permitted to include (frame) its content are the WebPAC itself, or Innovative's WebPAC-referencing products such as Encore.  Other sites attempting to frame WebPAC will display errors in modern browsers.

If the library has known and trusted sites that need to embed WebPAC, Innovative Support can add those hosts to the CSP header.  More than one host or pattern may be added, but some browsers only honor the first pattern specified.  This configuration can be done before the upgrade, in preparation for Sierra 5.4.

Open a Support ticket to add any sites that embed WebPAC to the Content-Security-Policy header.

If not done before upgrade, open a Support ticket to add any sites that embed WebPAC to the Content-Security-Policy header.

Tomcat Update

Tomcat 9 will be shipped and supported with Sierra 5.4 and Tomcat 7 will be dropped. 



Apache Update

Apache version 2.4.51 will be installed with Sierra 5.4


Transfer Collection Agency files by email

Secure transfer for Collection Agency files was introduced in Sierra 5.3.  The transfer by email option will be removed in Sierra 5.5.

NoneLibraries should configure Collection Agency Settings to use secure transfer as soon as possible.

API updates in Sierra 5.4

NOTE: Sierra API 5.4 changes were limited to internal API updates needed to support feature development in Mobile Worklists 4.1 and 4.2.

Known Issues

Please visit the Resolved Issues in Sierra 5.4 solution for information on issues fixed in Sierra 5.4. For a complete list of existing Known Issues from Sierra 2.0 through the present release, see Outstanding Known Issues for Sierra (2.0-5.3).

Preparing to update your system

System Requirements

Sierra 5.4 will require Red Hat or Centos 7x or higher.  During the Prep Phase, the Sierra 5.4 self upgrade checks for the required Operating System and Red Hat Network requirements and will fail if those requirements are not met. Details are contained in the Sierra Self-Upgrade Solution.


Red Hat Network


Access to several repositories and new packages are needed and the upgrade process for Sierra 5.4 will automatically issue Linux package install requests for packages matching the following patterns:

  • apr
  • apr-devel
  • apr-util
  • apr-util-devel
  • ansible
  • curl
  • expat
  • expat-devel
  • expect
  • expect-devel
  • git
  • jq
  • json-c-devel
  • libcurl-devel
  • librabbitmq
  • librabbitmq-devel
  • libxml2
  • libxml2-devel
  • makeself
  • openssl
  • openssl-devel
  • p7zip
  • pcre
  • pcre-devel
  • perl-LDAP
  • python
  • python-jinja2
  • python-requests
  • python2-pip
  • python3-dnf-plugin-versionlock
  • python3-jinja2
  • python3-pip
  • python3-requests
  • python36
  • rabbitmq-server
  • readline
  • readline-devel
  • stunnel
  • tci
  • unzip
  • wget
  • xorg-x11-fonts-misc
  • xorg-x11-server-Xvfb
  • xorg-x11-utils
  • xz-devel
  • yum-plugin-versionlock
  • zip
  • zlib
  • zlib-devel
  • epel-release (repo)
  • erlang-solutions (repo)
  • erlang
  • logstash (repo)
  • logstash

By issuing these requests automatically during the upgrade, if the system being upgraded to Sierra 5.4 is subscribed to the Red Hat Network (or has otherwise been configured to have online access to a repository of operating system packages) at the time of the Sierra 5.4 upgrade, the package additions for Sierra 5.4 will be made automatically and no action is required on the part of the library even for those libraries ordinarily responsible for operating system updates.


For more information on the Sierra Upgrade External Access, Package, and Maintenance Requirements, please see the Sierra Self-Upgrade solution


Operating System


For Sierra systems running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, or running a 32 bit version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, it will be necessary to upgrade the operating system to one of the 64 bit Linux versions above to upgrade to Sierra 5.4.




For Sierra systems running any version of Solaris as their operating system, it will be necessary to migrate from that SPARC based server running Solaris to a new physical or virtual Intel/AMD server running 64 bit Linux in order to upgrade to Sierra 5.4.


Release Notes


Release notes include software behavior changes introduced in the update (some may have implications for training or data review prior to upgrade), any actions library staff should take prior to or just after updating the system, and notification of new features and other enhancements included in the update.


 NOTE: If you are upgrading from a version older than Sierra 5.0, after you restart the upgrade process via Admin Corner to begin the Commit Phase, you will see a new prompt before you reboot the server into maintenance mode.  The prompt is for a new passkey that you can obtain from CSDirect ( using your login credentials.   This will allow for all future software upgrades to use signed URLs for all software downloads.  Please refer to page 15 in the Sierra Self-Upgrade solution.


 NOTE: If you are upgrading from a version older than Sierra 5.0, after the Sierra 5.4 conversion is complete, a background task is immediately started to recalculate bibliographic record scopes.  This is to correct previous scoping changes made in Sierra 4.0 that caused some items to not be properly ordered in display or included in explicit scoped searches.  This background task should be completed within a few hours even for the largest databases and should not impact your system. If you are upgrading from Sierra 5.0, 5.1, 5.2 or 5.3 to Sierra 5.4, this task was run as part of a previous 5.*  conversion.

Sierra customers who use INN-Reach will not be able to upgrade to Sierra 5.4 at this time if the INN-Reach central server is not on Resource Sharing 3.1 or higher which includes the development to support the expanded codes feature of Sierra 4.0. The Sierra 5.4 upgrade will produce an error in the Prep Phase if the INN-Reach central server you are partnered with is not running Resource Sharing 3.1 or higher.  Please contact Customer Support if you receive this error or have any questions. 

If you have Encore, we highly recommend that you upgrade your Encore to Encore 5.4 soon after installing Sierra 5.4 to keep both Sierra and Encore up to date on the latest and aligning software.

For MyLibrary! customers and Sierra API users who also have the Patron Update Web Service, additional configuration may be necessary to enable all functions in MyLibrary! and the Sierra API.  Please contact Customer Support if you are having trouble updating patron information using the Sierra API or within MyLibrary!.

If you are upgrading from a version older than Sierra 3.4, the Sierra 5.4 update will enable the 2018 Sierra Fines Paid and Collection Agency feature. This was an optional feature in Sierra 3.4 and Sierra 4.0 and if you answered “no” in either previous update, it will automatically be enabled when you upgrade to Sierra 5.4.


Actions staff must take

This update consists of a Prep and a Commit Phase. The Commit Phase will require approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour of downtime and a reboot of the Sierra servers (application and database).  A full backup (both application and DB servers) is required within 24 hours of the Commit Phase.  Please review your backup schedule and choose the day/time for the Commit Phase accordingly. Note, if you own an Encore server, it will also be inaccessible during the Commit Phase.

At the end of the Prep Phase, the update process checks for a successfully completed backup within the last 24 hours and will alert you of potential problems.  For customers on 5-day backup schedules, this may indicate that the Prep Phase ran on a day outside the normally scheduled backup. This same check is also performed at the beginning of the Commit Phase. You will not be able to proceed with the Commit Phase until a successful backup is verified.

Innovative customers can request the update via the "Updating your System" section below. Please use the same request form if your library is running a pre-2.0 Sierra version. You can check your version of Sierra by selecting 'About' after clicking 'Help' in the client menu.

Some libraries have reported that they were unable to launch the Sierra Desktop Application (SDA) after upgrading to Sierra 2.0 SP2 and SP3. This might also be the case with Sierra 5.4 if you are upgrading from an older release (Sierra 2.0 SP1 or older). To avoid this problem, you should either launch the SDA using an icon, or use the "noWebStart" method of accessing Sierra. Add "noWebStart" to the URL used to launch the SDA on each affected workstation (Windows or MAC):http://[APP_SERVER_URL]/sierra/desktop/noWebStart

If the workstation launching the SDA is using "noWebStart" for the first time, the client will be downloaded and installed at that time. A workstation will only need to download the client the first time that "noWebStart" is used.

Libraries that installed Sierra in November 2012 or later had the "noWebStart" method of access set as the system default during installation. It is unlikely that these libraries will experience a problem. If you are not sure what setting is in place at your library, contact Customer Support. The easiest way to determine if there will be a problem on an individual workstation is to look at the contents of the Sierra Desktop Application folder. If the iiirunner.exe file is not present, you should reinstall the SDA using the "noWebStart" method mentioned above.


Updating Your System

If you are a Hosted Sierra system or a Combo (single server) Sierra Training system, please schedule the update with Support. Submit the Sierra Upgrade Request form. 

For libraries running Sierra 2.0 SP2 or newer, you now have the ability to self upgrade via the Admin App. Please visit the Sierra Self-Upgrade solution.


Sierra Release Notes Supportal release notes upgrade 5.4 Sierra 5.4 Enhancements

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