Koha Newsletter: Volume 1/Issue 2: February 2010

Official Koha Newsletter (ISSN 2153-8328)
Volume 1, Issue 2: February 2010

Table of Contents



Teaching Koha in Library School
by Thomas Krichel

One problem with OSS in libraries is lack of education. As a library school professor, I am trying to help.

In January, I ran an intensive course. Students, without any previous system administration experience, installed Debian, then rented Debian servers (since we can’t host the servers at the school) and then installed Koha. All 17 students managed to do it. For what it’s worth, I am making my syllabus available (http://openlib.org/home/krichel/courses/lis508p10w/) with slide presentations, and the installation documentation.

I have not seen the course evaluations yet, but I believe it was a success.

Koha Training Videos
by Nicole C. Engard

In December I gave two tutorials to librarians in California. Both of these training sessions were recorded and the recordings made available to all:

  • Introduction to Koha: OPAC & Circulation

    In this archived webinar, Nicole Engard, Director of Open Source Education introduces attendees to the first open source web-based integrated library system – Koha.  This first of a two part series covers the features of the OPAC as well as managing patrons and handling circulation functions.  This webinar was originally presented on December 17, 2009

  • Introduction to Koha: Cataloging & Advanced Functions

    In this archived webinar, Nicole C. Engard, Director of Open Source Education and a professional cataloger walks librarians through the cataloging functionality within the first open source web-based integrated library system – Koha.  In addition to the cataloging overview, attendees are shown how to handle some of the advanced functionality within Koha, such as, Serials, Acquisitions and System Preferences.  This webinar was originally presented on December 21, 2009.

Also the question and answer sessions were archived in the Q&A part of the site.


Koha Development

New Recommendations Feature
by Mark Osborne

Ever been stuck for a good read? Ever said to a librarian ‘I really like this book; have you got anything similar?’ Well now Koha can help you find the perfect read every time. Albany Senior High School recently had Chris Cormack of Catalyst IT write a recommendations feature for Koha. If you go to http://library.ashs.school.nz/ and search for a book you enjoyed reading, go into the details page and you’ll notice a link called ‘Recommendations’. If you click this link, you’ll see ‘X people who read this also read … ‘ and a list of other items in the catalogue. What this allow patrons to do is visit the details page of their favourite book and see what other patrons with similar tastes have read. It works for all item types too, so patrons can discover new magazines, DVDs and sheet music as well as books. The recommendations feature only works for libraries who don’t anonymise their patron data and of course the larger your collection and borrowing data, the better the recommendations get. Albany Senior High School only has a few thousand items and several hundred patrons, and it’s only been open for one year, but as the borrowing data builds up, it’ll be a very useful tool for helping people find just the right book. Long-term, we’d love people to pick up this feature and extend it so that it might be able to look through your entire borrowing history and make personalised recommendations for you. Now wouldn’t that be nice? A professional ‘good reads’ finder working for you around the clock!

Keep an eye out for the Recommendations feature, it didn’t make it in before the 3.2 feature freeze, so it will be in 3.4! For now you can find it in the public Catalyst Git Repo (http://git.catalyst.net.nz/gw?p=koha.git;a=summary).

Full Git Stats for Koha
by Chris Cormack

So after the great article by Eric Hellman on his blog about the copyright to Koha code I decided to learn about subtree merging so I could combine the old koha repo, with the new one. That way instead of having the stats broken into 2 different ones, pre 2000 and post 2000, I can generate stats for the whole of the history of Koha.

Github has a great tutorial that I’m not going to repeat here. But if you follow it, you will end up with a repository that combines as many other repositories as you need.

So here’s the stats report. Some interesting things:

  • If you look at at the activity tab, you can see that we have pretty even coverage for all 24 hours of the day.
  • If you look at the general page you will see we average 3.2 commits a day .. doesn’t sound that much until you realise that is 3.2 commits average for 3755 days!!
  • Out of the last 32 weeks, there is a only a single week where commits dipped into single figures

So whatever might be happening elsewhere, main trunk development of Koha is as strong as ever. Tis good to see.

WordPress Plugins for Koha
by Liz Rea

The Northeast Kansas Library System would like to announce the contribution of two widgets for WordPress based library (or personal!) websites: Koha Search Widget and Koha Login Widget. These WordPress plugins allow any WordPress 2.8+ site to easily add catalog search and login boxes to the widget space of any “widget ready” WordPress theme. Configuration is simple: the WordPress admin user only has to know the URL of their Koha catalog and the plugin handles the rest.

Download the plugins from the WordPress plugin repository at the following links:

The plugins were originally developed for the State of Kansas’ My Kansas Library on the Web project (http://www.mykansaslibrary.org) and are released under the GPL2+ license.


Koha News

Koha in Norway
by Magnus Enger

Norwegian libraries and librarians are slowly waking up to the fact that there is a new alternative in the ILS marketplace. So far one library has converted completely from a proprietary system to Koha: The Library of the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, led by Thomas Brevik (http://lib1point5.wordpress.com/). Their OPAC is at http://sksk.bibkat.no/

There are three more libraries that have committed to Koha:

  • The Norwegian council for folk music and folk dance (http://www.rff-sentret.no/index.php?lang=en) is using Koha internally for keeping track of a collection of some 10.000 books.
  • One school that teaches according to the Waldorf pedagogy is in the process of adopting Koha, but have not gone live yet.
  • One county library is going to use Koha for a collection of about 1.000 movies that it will lend to the libraries in it’s county, but they are not live yet either.

Enthusiasts led by Thomas Gramstad and Axel Bojer secured funding for translating Koha into Norwegian (both dialects: “bokmål” and “nynorsk”), but this translation is now slightly out of date and needs to be looked after. Thomas and Axel are planning to start an organization that will be able to apply for support to this project, as well as organize the fledgling Koha community in Norway.

I am working on support for NORMARC, our local variant of MARC, in Koha. It works today, but needs some more work before it is complete. I hope to be able to contribute this work to Koha 3.4.

The annual Norwegian library conference will be held in March, with 600-700 attendees, and my company (Libriotech) will have a stand there, to promote Koha and the services it can provide. Nicolas Morin from BibLibre will also be present, to lend a hand in convincing Norwegian librarians that Koha is a good alternative to the proprietary systems they are used to.

The Acquisition that Didn’t Happen
compiled by Nicole C. Engard

With the announcement last month that PTFS would acquire LibLime came many comments from librarians, Koha community members, customers of the two companies and even those from outside the library world. Most of these included words of hopes for the continued open future of Koha. Two days before the publication of this newsletter we were informed that this acquisition fell through, but I had already compiled a list of comments – most of which are very optimistic – and I thought it was necessary to share these comments with you all so that we can all remember that we’re in this together.

Breeding, Marshall. “LibLime Acquisition by PTFS Marks a New Era for Koha.” Library Journal, January 13, 2010. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6714841.html.

Cormack, Chris. “PTFS acquires Liblime.” Korerorero, January 14, 2010. http://blog.bigballofwax.co.nz/2010/01/14/ptfs-acquires-liblime/.

Engard, Nicole. “So much Koha news today.” What I Learned Today…, January 13, 2010. http://www.web2learning.net/archives/3478.

Haydock, Ian. “PTFS to acquire Liblime.” Meeting on the ledge, January 14, 2010. http://ianhaydock.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/ptfs-to-acquire-liblime/.

Hellman, Eric. “PTFS to Acquire LibLime and Move to Library Systems Premier League.” go to hellman, January 21, 2010. http://go-to-hellman.blogspot.com/2010/01/ptfs-to-acquire-liblime-and-move-to.html.

———. “Who Owns Koha?.” go to hellman, January 29, 2010. http://go-to-hellman.blogspot.com/2010/01/who-owns-koha.html.

Horton, Valerie. “Major Shake, Rattle and Roll in Koha Land.” Collaborative Librarianship News, January 13, 2010. http://collaborativelibrarianship.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/major-shake-rattle-and-roll-in-koha-land/.

Ojala, Marydee. “PTFS Acquires LibLime, Expands Its Open Source Capabilities.” Information Today NewsBreaks, January 21, 2010. http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/PTFS-Acquires-LibLime-Expands-Its-Open-Source-Capabilities-60726.asp.

Phillips, Lee. “A request to PTFS from Montana Koha Libraries.” Lee Phillips’ Weblog, January 16, 2010. http://leephillips2.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/a-request-to-ptfs-from-montana-koha-libraries/.

Ray, MJ. “The Koha Company-go-round.” Software Cooperative News, January 18, 2010. http://www.news.software.coop/the-koha-company-go-round/870/.

Rea, Liz. “If all goes well, a bright new day for Koha.” Things I’ve Learned, January 15, 2010. http://wizzyrea.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/if-all-goes-well-a-bright-new-day-for-koha/.

Shoemaker, Kristin. “Koha Optimistic That Forked Tree — And Troubles — Are History.” OStatic, January 15, 2010. http://ostatic.com/blog/koha-optimistic-that-forked-tree-and-troubles-are-history.

“What now for Koha: PTFS to acquire LibLime, new Koha newsletter out.” Blog. MmIT blog, January 15, 2010. http://mmitblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/what-now-for-koha-ptfs-to-acquire-liblime-new-koha-newsletter-out/.

The Nelsonville Public Library chooses ByWater Solutions

by Owen Leonard

On February 2 the Nelsonville Public Library migrated its Koha installation to ByWater Solutions’ cloud hosting. The Nelsonville Public Library, serving seven branches in Athens County, Ohio, was the first public library in the United States to implement Koha. Since 2002 we’ve been regular contributors to the project, taking full advantage of the Open Source process by contributing hundreds of patches for inclusion in Koha. We feel confident that our move to ByWater Solutions will facilitate the continuation of that full participation. This move gives us the building blocks we need for a successful Koha library: an up-to-date, 100% Open Source installation of Koha, direct access to our database for specialized data interactions and customized reporting, and a guarantee of personalized attention and community involvement. With ByWater’s help we plan to continue to help make Koha as good as it can be. Visit our catalog at http://search.myacpl.org.


Koha Community

February IRC Meeting Summarized
by Galen Charlton

The full log of the meeting today can be found at http://stats.workbuffer.org/irclog/koha/2010-02-09#i_387991.

Significant news and updates:

  • Koha 3.2 beta will be targeted for release around 1 March. There is a bug squashing session tomorrow all day, all time zones in the #koha IRC channel.
  • Koha 3.0.6 is expected to be released in the next week or so.
  • The following people have been confirmed for 3.4 project roles:
    • 3.4 Release Manager: Chris Cormack
    • Documentation Manager: Nicole Engard will continue
    • QA Manager: Colin Campbell
    • 3. 2 Release Maintainer: Chris Nighswonger
    • DB Documentation: Zeno Tajoli
    • Bug wranglers: Jesse Weaver, Henri-Damien Laurent, CALYX
    • Translation Manager: Frédéric Demians
  • A vote for Translation Manager will be held tomorrow, 10 February 2010, at 19:00 UTC+0 in the #koha IRC channel
  • A call has been issued to update the default bug assignees, with volunteers to respond by the next general IRC meeting.
  • Nicole called for contributions to the upcoming newsletter by 14 February.
  • There was a discussion of the desire for more tutorials

The next general meeting will be held on Wednesday, 3 March 2010 at 19:00 UTC+0.

The Koha Community Rocks
by Joann Ransom

Early this month a Koha Community meeting was held to discuss, yet again, the community assets problem. The whole LibLime thing is still dragging everything to a near-standstill …..

But at the meeting, well the community just said enough – in the nicest, most polite way possible – we took back control of our community to make sure we had the tools we need to keep Koha rockin’ along. The idea was that it was just a temporary measure, just until the whole LibLime – PTFS thing was settled and PTFS had had time to work out what their customers want and what they wanted to do etc etc. And while we understood and were happy to give them the time they need to get their stuff sorted out, we needed to still be able to function as a community.

The biggest problem over the last 18 months has been the lack of access to the koha.org site and having no way to expose the up-to-date Koha information, news, demos, documentation, pay for support options etc.

Anyway, the big thing to come out of the meeting was the decision to make a new temporary website for the Koha community, to carry us through until we learn about the status of koha.org. We brainstormed names, voted, grabbed a domain and within a very short time – like a few hours – we have a community website again!

irc has been an amazing place to be today. Developers and users and vendors all working together, volunteering support, hosting, mirror sites, content, testing – whatever they could and whatever was needed to get a Koha Community place up and running again. Liz Rea has done an incredible job on the website – and so fast!



Newsletter edited by Nicole C. Engard, Koha Documentation Manager.

Please send future story ideas to