Masquerade Mode


Masquerade Mode

With these settings, you can:

  • Enable masquerade mode for specific admin users
  • Control whether users in masquerade mode can view patron reading history


This optional setting allows staff with the Masquerade permissions to act as other users and see their account information within Aspen.

For example, this can be useful for staff who need to assist patrons over the phone, such as when walking them through how to access information in their account or performing actions as the patron. When using Masquerade, you will never have to ask a patron for their PIN/password -- the only information you need is their library card number.



Using Masquerade Mode

Using Masquerade Mode

While logged into an administrative account with the Masquerade permission, click on your username, then click Masquerade.


Depending on the ILS, a box will pop up asking to enter the Library Card Number or the Username. Enter the patron's information, then click Start.


You will know Masquerade Mode is enabled when you see "Acting As" next to the patron's username.



You can now view the patron's account information and perform actions as the patron, such as placing and managing holds or checking out eContent.
To end Masquerade Mode, click on the patron's username, then click End Masquerade.




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What can I do in Masquerade Mode?

While masquerading as a user, you can:

  • View account pages (including econtent integrations*)
  • Place and modify holds
  • Renew checkouts
  • Update preferences and contact information (if applicable)
  • View reading history (only if this setting has been enabled and the patron has opted into recording reading history)
  • View recommendations and rate titles
  • View and create lists
  • Manage materials requests*

*In some cases, the patron must log into Aspen first before a staff member can fully perform all masquerading tasks - such as managing purchase suggestions or perform actions with econtent integrations (place/view holds, place/view checkouts).

Enable Masquerade Mode
Go to Aspen AdministrationPrimary Configuration > Library Systems > click into the library system > ILS/Account Integration > Masquerade Mode > Allow Masquerade Mode



From the dropdown, choose Allowed for all IP addresses to enable masquerade mode for all.
Now, assign the Masquerade role to any staff account who will need to use Masquerade Mode.  
If enabling masquerade mode for all front line staff, you likely will want to assign this role by patron type.
Visit the Users & Permissions section to learn about roles and permissions.


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Limit Masquerade Mode to Certain IP Addresses

Libraries can choose to have Masquerade Mode enabled for certain IP addresses so that the functionality is limited to only work within the library.

To enable this, first go to Aspen Administration >  Primary Configuration > Library Systems > click into the library system > ILS/Account Integration > Masquerade Mode Allow Masquerade Mode > Allowed from enabled IP addresses



Next, go to Aspen Administration >  Primary Configuration > IP Addresses > click into the IP address settings > check Allow Masquerade



This is also something you can update in batches for libraries with multiple IP Addresses by using the Batch Update Selected or Batch Update All buttons underneath the listed IP Addresses.

Then, select Allow Masquerade from the dropdown.

Please keep ByWater-related IP Addresses with Allow Masquerade Mode checked so that we can troubleshoot tickets.


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Adjust Automatic Timeout Length

Go to Aspen Administration >  Primary Configuration > Library Systems > click into the library system > ILS/Account Integration > Masquerade Mode > Masquerade Mode Automatic Timeout Length

Specify an amount of time, in seconds, to have Masquerade automatically time out. This will ensure that the masquerade mode will end so that staff cannot mistakenly perform actions on the patron's account.

The most common timeout length is 120

If no timeout length is set, there will be a timeout of 15 minutes of inactivity. The page will automatically refresh upon the ending of the session.


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Reading History and Masquerade Mode

Libraries can choose if staff are able to see Reading History in Masquerade Mode. By default, this is turned off. To check your settings, go to Aspen Administration >  Primary Configuration > Library Systems > click into the library system > ILS/Account Integration > Masquerade Mode > Allow Display of Reading History in Masquerade Mode


With this option enabled, Administrative staff using Masquerade Mode will be able to see a patron's reading history if the patron has opted in to recording their history.

Username Option in Masquerade Mode

If you are a library using an ILS that has Username as an available option for patrons, you can add/remove the Username option in Masquerade Mode. 

To adjust these settings, go to Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > click into your library system settingsILS/Account Integration > Masquerade Mode > Allow Masquerading Using Username


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Masquerade Mode and your ILS - Do users have to log into Aspen before Masquerade Mode will work?

Evergreen, Koha, Polaris, Sierra, or Symphony: Staff can masquerade as users regardless of whether or not they've previously logged into Aspen.

Evolve: The user must have already logged into Aspen before staff can masquerade as the user. Otherwise, you will receive an error when trying to masquerade as the user. 

Restrict Masquerading as Certain Patron Type

If you'd like to restrict certain patron types from allowing staff to masquerade as them (exp: We don't want staff masquerading as staff), then you can set this in Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Patron Types > click into the patron type you do not want to allow the masquerading of > check Restrict masquerade from accessing patrons of this type.

Next, we recommend for your general staff, you make sure they have this permission assigned in System Administration > Permissions: Masquerade as unrestricted patron types. 

For Full Admin, you might want to give them the permission: Masquerade as any user.

Masquerade Mode and eContent - Holds and Checkouts Not Working

Masquerade Mode is a great way for staff to help patrons in Aspen Discovery. Learn more about Masquerade Mode.

In Masquerade Mode, staff can help patrons view their econtent checkouts and holds, as well as help with other econtent functionality - like checking out titles, placing titles on hold, seeing hold queue position and returning titles early.

To use Masquerade Mode to assist with eContent, users must log into Aspen Discovery at least once. For example, if patrons only log into apps like Libby and not directly into the catalog, you might want to check with them if staff are having issues with the patron's account in Masquerade Mode.

Similarly, even if the patron has logged in before, if it has been a while and they have changed their password since the last time, they might need to log into Aspen Discovery again before staff can assist patrons in Masquerade Mode.

The logging in by a patron is what authorizing the connection between the ILS, the econtent provider and Aspen Discovery/LiDA. 

Logging in by the patron should almost immediately correct any errors you might have been seeing.