Masquerade Mode

This documentation describes how to enable and utilize Masquerade Mode in Pika.

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Masquerade Mode basics

Masquerade Mode allows library staff to access patron accounts in Pika without a patron’s personal PIN or password. This is a more secure way to troubleshoot issues with patrons' accounts in Pika, since it doesn’t require that a patron provide their secure PIN or password to library staff.

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Enabling Masquerade mode

Masquerade Mode is enabled in the ILS/Account Integration section of the Library System settings. There are also required settings in the PTypes table that correspond with the staff Ptypes that you allow to masquerade as other users. Follow the instructions in this document to enable Masquerade Mode for your library system.

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Begin Masquerade Mode

To masquerade as a patron, you must be logged in to your library’s Pika instance as a staff patron that has a Masquerade Level enabled. When logged in as a staff patron with an applied Masquerade Level, you will see the Masquerade option in the My Account menu.

Click on Masquerade to bring up the Masquerade As popup window. Enter the library barcode number of the patron you want to Masquerade As and click Start. While the action is processing, you’ll see an alert in the Masquerade As popup window.

A user has to login to their account in Pika at least once for staff to Masquerade as that user. If a user has never logged in to their library account in Pika, Masquerade Mode will fail for that user in question.

When you are in Masquerade Mode and masquerading as a patron you will see purple highlights throughout Pika, alerting you to the fact that you are masquerading as a patron. There is also messaging that displays the name of the patron you are masquerading as.


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Available Patron Actions while Masquerading

When in Masquerade Mode you can preform most actions that a patron could perform themselves, including placing and cancelling holds, viewing current checkouts and holds, viewing account information (including linked accounts, when applicable), user list management, and using enabled search tools e.g. saving or emailing search results.

Reading History in Masquerade Mode

The ability to view a patron’s Reading History in Masquerade Mode must be enabled in the ILS/Account Settings at the Library System level. If this option is not enabled, staff users will not be able to see patrons' Reading Histories when in Masquerade Mode.

If the ability to view Reading History in Masquerade Mode is not enabled and you click on the Reading History option in the My Account section while masquerading as a user, you will see an alert in the My Reading History page.

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Ending Masquerade Mode

There are several options to end Masquerade Mode when you’re done masquerading as a patron.

In the purple banner at the top of the screen you can click the End Masquerade button.


In the purple box on the left in the sidebar menu you can click on the End Masquerading text.

When you click either the End Masquerade button in the banner or the End Masquerading text in the sidebar, you will revert back to being logged in as a staff user under the same staff account you initially logged in with.

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Masquerade Mode Timeout

If you are masquerading as a patron and leave the screen idle for a certain period of time (set in the Masquerade Mode settings at the library system level) the Masquerade Mode session will timeout and automatically end the session, reverting back to the initial staff account you logged in with.

Before timing out and ending the session, several action options will appear on screen in a popup. You can choose to Continue the masquerade session, End Masquerade to stay logged in as a staff user but end the masquerade session, or Logout to end the masquerade session and logout the staff user.

If no action is taken in the popup window, then the current Masquerade Mode session will end, but you will stay logged in as the staff user account.

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Masquerade Mode Errors

There are several scenarios where you cannot initiate Masquerade Mode for a given user.

Failed to initiate masquerade as specified user

In this scenario, Pika is essentially trying to work with unknown or incorrect user credentials. The user in question will need to log into the catalog with their current credentials or reset their password again for staff to initiate Masquerade Mode – this may entail that staff has to reset the patron’s password on their behalf.

This scenario is most relevant to MLN1 libraries as a consequence of the password implementation project. Typically this means that users in this scenario set their new passwords to the default passwords that were randomized by automated processes on 07.31.23.

Cannot masquerade as a user who has never logged in

In this scenario, Pika cannot initiate Masquerade Mode because the user has never logged into the catalog before or there is no user associated with the barcode being used. The user needs to login to the catalog with their unique password or PIN to allow Masquerade Mode.

Even if a patron has set their unique password or PIN in Pika, they may never have actually logged into the catalog. The processes to change the password do not necessitate logging into the catalog after updating the password and patrons are not prompted to login after changing their password.

Multiple users with that barcode

In this scenario, Pika has detected several users in the internal database (not the ILS) with the same barcode number.

Pika retains users in an internal database based on the unique patron ID number rather than barcode, but uses the barcode to initiate Masquerade Mode. Because this error references an internal database and cleanup process that typical library staff can’t access, library staff need to contact Marmot to cleanup the duplicates in the internal database.

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