FAQ

Administration

I’ve just installed Koha, I haven’t touched any settings, and I can’t add patrons! Why?

You need to define your patron types and circulation rules before you can add patrons.

This will be especially relevant if you have not installed any sample data.

You can do this under More -> Administration.

How do I find out what version of Koha I am running?

Version information can be found on the About page of the Intranet. It’s usually a link in the lower right hand corner, right after the login. (Answer by BWS Johnson)


Authorities

Is there a way to not use authorities?

Yes. You need to edit the desired subfields in your MARC framework and set the value of the ‘Thesaurus’ to blank.
For more information, see section 1.4.1.3 in the manual, and look to the entry on ‘Thesaurus.’


Cataloging

Why can’t I edit 1xx, 6xx, or 7xx fields in my catalog record?

These fields are authority controlled and you probably have the BiblioAddsAuthorities set to ‘don’t allow’. When it is set to ‘don’t allow’ these fields will be locked and require you to search for an existing authority record.

What’s the relationship between ‘Koha to MARC Mapping’ and ‘MARC Bibliographic Frameworks’?

Mapping can be defined through ‘MARC Bibliographic Frameworks’ OR ‘Koha to MARC Mapping’. ‘Koha to MARC Mapping’ is just a shortcut to speed up linkage. If you change a mapping in one of these modules, the mapping will change in the other as well. (In other words, the two modules ‘overwrite’ each other in order to prevent conflicts from existing in Koha).

Can Koha globally edit authority records or any elements in the bib. record?

If you use authority control in Koha you can set the system up to automatically update all bibs that link to that authority when you make changes to it. See Administration > System Preferences > Authorities > dontmerge for more information.

There is also a bulk item edit tool in Koha 3.2 that will let you change items in bulk, but nothing for changing the bib records in bulk.


Circulation

How is the dropbox date determined? Is it the last open date for the checkout branch? Is it today’s date minus one? Can the dropbox checkin date be set?

If the library is closed for four days for renovations, for example, there would be more than one day needed for the dropbox date. You will only have one dropbox date and that will be the last day that the library open (determined by the holiday calendar) because there is no real way to know what day the books were dropped into the box during the 4 closed days. The only way to change the effective checkin date in dropbox mode is to modify the calendar.

Why are patrons getting two overdue notices?

This tool takes all branches in the overdue rules and sent notifications to them. So, if you have a default rule & a branch rule, the notification will be generated twice. A quick fix is to discard “default rule” for instance.

Can I print overdue notices for patrons without email addresses on file?

Yes. The overdue notice cron job has a setting to generate the overdue notices as HTML for printing. An example of this useage would be:
overdue_notices.pl -t -html /tmp/noticedir -itemscontent issuedate,date_due,title,barcode,author

In this example, we wanted to use only certain item fields in our notices, so we specified itemscontent fields in the cron entry; that’s not a requirement for the feature.

The command line needs to specify a web-accessible directory where the print notices will go — they get a filename like notices-2009-11-24.html (or holdnotices-2009-11-24.html). The overdue notice itself can be formatted to fit a Z-mailer. Within the notice file, the text is spaced down or over to where it will print properly on the form. The script has code that wraps around the notice file to tell the HTML to obey the formatting, and to do a page break between notices. That’s so that when staff print it out, they get one per page. We had to add an extra syspref (PrintNoticesMaxLines) to specify page length because our client allows a _lot_ of checkouts which meant some notices were running onto multiple pages. That syspref says to truncate the print notice at that page length and put in a message about go check your OPAC account for the full list.

The print and email overdues use the same notice file. The print notices for holds are different — there’s a separate HOLD_PRINT notice file and the system uses it if there’s no email address. Then a nightly cron job runs to gather those up from the message queue and put them in an HTML file in the notice directory, as above.

The cron entry is gather_print_notices.pl /tmp/noticedir

Why can’t I place holds when I have all of the preferences turned on.

At the very least you will need to set a default circulation rule. This rule should be set for the default itemtype, default branchcode and default patron category. That will catch all instances that do not match a specific rule. When checking out if you do not have a rule for the default branch, default item and default patron category then you may see patrons getting blocked from placing holds.

Also check AllowOnShelfHolds is really turned on, if the book is checked-in.

Why am I getting fined 5.00 for every loan?

Maybe you loaded the default item types and haven’t changed the charges in Administration: Item types yet. If so, it’s not a fine, it’s a loan charge.


Display

Can I have my own set of item type images (or authorized value icons)?

Absolutely. To add additional icons to your system you simply add a new directory to koha-tmpl/intranet-tmpl/prog/img/itemtypeimg/ and to koha-tmpl/opac-tmpl/prog/itemtypeimg and put your icons in the new directory. Your icons will show up in a new tab as soon as they are in the folders.
TIP: Remember to put the icons in both places (on the OPAC and the intranet).


Installing/Upgrading

My Zebra Indexing won’t work! How do I fix it? (AKA: I search for stuff and nothing comes up! Help!)

There are several things to check:

  • FIRST: If you imported the records you are looking for less than 20 minutes ago, you may simply need to wait for the indexer to catch up. Results are not instantaneous – the update process only runs once every 10 minutes by default – so go get yourself a cup of coffee and try it in a little bit. If THAT doesn’t work…
  • Make sure zebra is installed!
  • Are your environment variables set correctly? Try this as the user zebra runs as (koha by default): export PERL5LIB=/path/to/your/koha/ (this is the directory above where your C4 directory is) and export KOHA_CONF=/path/to/your/koha-conf.xml and run rebuild_zebra.pl again.
  • Make sure that you are pointing to the correct koha-conf.xml, and that you don’t have duplicates.
  • Make sure that you are running the reindex as your Koha system user (or root, depending on your setup).
  • The indexes must be owned and readable by the correct user (usually your system koha user or root, depending on your setup). Permissions are a common cause of indexing not working.

The usual command for an initial index of a Koha system is as follows:
misc/migration_tools/rebuild_zebra.pl -b -r -v

To rebuild using the packages you do:
sudo koha-rebuild-zebra -v –full $(/usr/sbin/koha-list)

If this has not been run at least once, you will get no results. Preferably, run this after you have added a few biblios, so that the result is immediately clear. See also: New items aren’t getting updated when I catalog.

What kind of barcode scanner will I need for Koha?

Any barcode reader that will read your barcodes into a notepad document accurately will work with Koha.
Most institutions use handheld USB models that range in price from $50 (USD) to $300 (USD).

I added some books for testing, now I’m done testing but I want to delete all of my test items and bibs and start fresh. How do I do it?

You can delete them all in MySQL.
** Please make sure you have made a backup of your data, just in case. We are not responsible for your lost data **

In your MySQL client, issue the following:

truncate biblio;

This will clean out biblio, biblioitems and items (by cascade), leaving you with a fresh biblio database for production use.

Additionally, until you clear the indexes, your deleted items will still be searchable in the database. To clear the indexes issue:

at your shell prompt.

Should I use the Debian packages or the tarball to install Koha?

For the beginning user, it is highly recommended to use the package install of Koha – it provides many simple commands to do powerful things to your Koha installation. Packages should almost always be your choice of install on an ordinary production Koha install. A relative minimum of system administration skill is required to install Koha using the Debian packages.

Installing from tarball or git is much better for developers or more experienced system administrators – and is the only option for people not installing on Debian or Ubuntu. Users who choose this route will have much more control over the install.


OPAC

Can I customize the images in the OPAC?

Absolutely. Koha comes with a series of original images that you can alter to meet your needs. The originals can be found in the misc/interface_customization/ directory.

How do I get the subtitle to display on the detail pages for my bib records?

Subtitle display now depends on there being a keyword mapping for the MARC field in question. Adding a mapping for “subtitle” -> “245b” for an item’s framework results in display of the subtitle in OPAC and staff client search and detail pages (although not in all instances where subtitles might be displayed, e.g. the Cart).

Why is Amazon’s enhanced content not appearing?

Amazon uses your server time in its API requests and so if your system time is off you will not be able to use Amazon content. Update your server time and make sure all of your Amazon preferences are turned on, this should solve the problem.

Amazon also requires an ISBN for displaying book covers – make sure that you have the correct ISBN for your title.

What cookies does Koha use?

Koha uses 3 cookies :

OpacLanguage : User prefered language, expires one year after the user chooses a language
KohaOpacRecentSearches : Keeps the latest user searches, expires at the end of the session
CGISESSID : Keep the information of the user session, expires at the end of the session


Reports

I don’t know SQL, but I want to write a report that does X. Can you tell me how?

The community people in the Koha IRC channel are usually happy to help write reports, but a great many reports have already been shared by the community, so there are a few places to check before you ask:

Koha Reports Library
Koha Database Schema

Help with custom report parameters:
Koha Manual – SQL Reports (scroll down to section 1.1.2)


Searching

I have double ups in my search results, how do I clear my index and start again?

It should be as simple as running rebuild_zebra.pl with the -r switch. But if this doesn’t work you can drop and recreate the zebra indexes. To do so for the biblios index.
As the user your zebra runs as (probably koha)
run
zebraidx -c /path/to/zebra-biblios.cfg drop biblios

For me that is
zebraidx -c /home/chris/koha-dev/etc/zebradb/zebra-biblios.cfg drop biblios

Then
zebraidx -c /path/to/zebra-biblios.cfg commit

Then you can run rebuild_zebra.pl -b -r -v

What does ‘scan indexes’ on the advanced search page mean?

When you choose an index, enter a term, click ‘scan indexes’ and do the search, Koha displays the searched term and the following terms found in this index with the number of corresponding records That is search is not made directly in the catalog, but first in the indexes It works only for one index at once, and only with no limit in Location (All libraries needed)

I have added rebuild_zebra.pl -b -a -z in crontab, however, new entries are not indexed and cannot be found. I have to reindex everything each time with rebuild_zebra.pl -b -a -r. What’s wrong?

The problem could be one or more of several issues (given in order
from most likely to least likely):
1. Check that you are exporting the two environmental variables
necessary to run Koha scripts from the command line. These are (modify
to fit paths on your system):

PERL5LIB=/path/to/koha
KOHA_CONF=/path/to/koha-conf.xml

Note: You must also include these at head of the crontab file which
invokes any Koha scripts.

2. Be sure that you are running rebuild_zebra.pl as your kohauser.
This would include setting up the cron job under your kohauser.

3. Check directory permissions. Everything Zebra must be owned by your kohauser.

4. Be sure you are *not* running the zebraqueue daemon. Currently this
daemon has major problems and the recommended method of indexing is to
run rebuild_zebra.pl as a cron job. Running both causes more problems.

After deleting all the biblios and biblioitems we are still seeing the deleted items. What’s wrong?

The most likely cause of this problem is the need to re-index the Zebra database. Simply execute ‘rebuild_zebra.pl -a -b -r’.

My Zebra Indexing won’t work! How do I fix it? (AKA: I search for stuff and nothing comes up! Help!)

There are several things to check:

  • FIRST: If you imported the records you are looking for less than 20 minutes ago, you may simply need to wait for the indexer to catch up. Results are not instantaneous – the update process only runs once every 10 minutes by default – so go get yourself a cup of coffee and try it in a little bit. If THAT doesn’t work…
  • Make sure zebra is installed!
  • Are your environment variables set correctly? Try this as the user zebra runs as (koha by default): export PERL5LIB=/path/to/your/koha/ (this is the directory above where your C4 directory is) and export KOHA_CONF=/path/to/your/koha-conf.xml and run rebuild_zebra.pl again.
  • Make sure that you are pointing to the correct koha-conf.xml, and that you don’t have duplicates.
  • Make sure that you are running the reindex as your Koha system user (or root, depending on your setup).
  • The indexes must be owned and readable by the correct user (usually your system koha user or root, depending on your setup). Permissions are a common cause of indexing not working.

The usual command for an initial index of a Koha system is as follows:
misc/migration_tools/rebuild_zebra.pl -b -r -v

To rebuild using the packages you do:
sudo koha-rebuild-zebra -v –full $(/usr/sbin/koha-list)

If this has not been run at least once, you will get no results. Preferably, run this after you have added a few biblios, so that the result is immediately clear. See also: New items aren’t getting updated when I catalog.