Commonwealth Catalog

Comcat CatStaff Login: 

Choose your library from the list to login
All libraries log in to the system using the username: ill staff (with space)
*If you need your password, please contact SAILS (

Staff Requesting on Behalf of a Patron

  1. Log in as staff
  2. Go to item record and click Request. Staff will be prompted to search for the desired patron.
  3. Note: A patron must have logged to ComCat in at least once in order for them to appear in the patron selection list.
    • Select a patron.
    • The request form will appear with the patron’s information
    • Click Submit to send the request.
  4. When Staff request on behalf of a patron:
    • The request is automatically approved and sent out, even if the patron’s account is set to require staff approval
    • Staff can override the “Duplicate Request” message – submit more than one request for the same item
    • Staff can override if the item is available in their local system

View the quick guides on the help desk page (and below) for more details and instruction on how to process requests.

Managing Requests:

Searching and Requesting:

Known Issues/Common Problems

Placing Requests

  • Logging in after requesting – The request is not placed if you try to request first and then log in as the patron. The form is presented, you hit submit, the login screen appears. When it returns to the request, the form is gone, but it was not actually submitted. This should be fixed in the next release.

Solution/Work-around: Always log in as the patron first to place requests on their behalf.

Borrowing Requests

  • Receiving – If you receive an “NCIP error” when you attempt to receive an item, it will stay as “shipped” in ComCat, and the temporary item won’t be created in Workflows. (Basically, it won’t be processed.) This error is caused by a block on the patron’s record in Workflows.

Solution: You must find out what blocked the item from being placed on hold for the patron and clear up the issue. SAILS support is happy to help with this step. Once the record is cleared, you can receive the item again and it should be processed as normal.

  • Receiving – If you receive an “NCIP error” when trying to receive an item, and the error says, “Notes: NCIP error: NCIP AcceptItem: Cannot receiveitem.   (Invalid Message Syntax Error;)”, it means there’s an issue with special characters that autographics needs to fix in the software. For example, the author shows as Sawitzki, G©onther. – it’s that copyright symbol that’s causing the trouble.

Solution: You will need to manually Receive this item in your system.
To manually Receiving an item:
-manually build a temporary item record for the request in your local library system
-alert the patron that their request has arrived
-if needed, place a hold for this item on the patron’s account

You won’t be able to update the item’s status in ComCat.  When the patron is finished, send the item back in delivery.  The Lending Library can still Complete the request when the items arrive.  Contact the Lending Library when sending the items in delivery so they know to expect them.

Lending Requests

  • Returned – You will receive an “NCIP error” when you attempt to check-in an item in ComCat if it has already been discharged from the Library-as-Patron record in Workflows. This error can be ignored.  The status will change to “Complete” on the Borrowing side of things.  Please check status in Workflows to check for local holds


  • Requests stay active in the system for 90 days.
  • Patrons can have 10 active requests at one time.
  • Requests in these categories must be deleted from the system by library staff (once you have decided you no longer need any information/want to process the request):
    • Unfilled
    • Expired
    • Cancelled
    • Retry
    • Passed to local system

Full list of Patron FAQs


ComCat Policies

Creating a Bookmark to ComCat:

You can create a bookmark on your circulation computers that immediately presents your staff with a login screen and pre-selects the library from the drop-down list. Replace xxx with the Commonwealth Catalog library code for your library (ie: SAILS-EFREETOWN):