Serials actions can be accessed by going to the ‘More’ menu at the top of your screen and choosing ‘Serials’ or by clicking ‘Serials’ on the main Koha staff client page. The Serials module in Koha is used for keeping track of journals, newspapers and other items that come on a regular schedule. As with all modules, make sure you go through the related implementation checklist before using the Serials module.

  • Get there: More > Serials

Manage serial frequencies

Koha keeps a record of publication frequencies for easy management and duplication.

  • Get there: More > Serials > Manage frequencies

From this page you can view all of the existing frequencies in your system


and create new ones.


Manage serial numbering patterns

Everytime you create a new numbering pattern in serials you can save it for later use. These patterns are accessible via the ‘Manage numbering patterns’ page.

  • Get there: More > Serials > Manage numbering patterns

This page will list for you the numbering patterns you have saved in the past as well as a few canned patterns.



If you have upgraded from a previous version of Koha you will see ‘Backup patterns’ listed for patterns used in version before Koha 3.14. This is how Koha saved your old numbering patterns. You can edit these to give them more meaningful names from here.

It will also allow you to create a new numbering pattern without first adding a subscription. To add new new pattern click ‘New numbering pattern’ at the top of the list of patterns.


Add a subscription

Subscriptions can be added by clicking the ‘New’ button on any bibliographic record


Or by visiting the Serials module and clicking ‘New subscription’


If you are entering a new subscription from the Serials module you will be presented with a blank form (if creating new from a bibliographic record the form will include the bib info).


  • ‘Librarian’ field will show the logged in librarian’s username

  • ‘Vendor’ can be found by either searching vendors entered via the Acquisitions module or entering the vendor ID number

    • Vendor information is not required

    • In order to claim missing and late issues you need to enter vendor information


  • ‘Biblio’ is the MARC record you’d like to link this subscription to

    • This can be done by searching for an existing record by clicking on the ‘Search for record’ link below the boxes or by entering the biblionumber for a record in the first box. Only if you search will the field between the parenthesis be filled in.

  • Next you can choose whether a new item is created when receiving an issue (if you barcode issues you’ll want to create an item at this time)

  • In order to determine how to handle irregularities in your subscription answer ‘When there is an irregular issue’, if the numbers are always sequential you’ll want to pick ‘Keep issue number’

  • Checking the ‘Manual history’ box will allow you to enter serials outside the prediction pattern once the subscription is saved by going to the ‘Planning’ tab on the subscription detail page.


  • ‘Call number’ is for your item’s call number or call number prefix

  • ‘Library’ is the branch that owns this subscription.

    • If more than one library subscribes to this serial you will need to create a subscription for each library

    • This can be done easily by using the ‘Edit as new (duplicate)’ option found on the subscription information page and changing only the ‘Library’ field


  • Use the ‘Public note’ for any notes you would like to appear in the OPAC for the patrons

  • ‘Nonpublic note’ should be used for notes that are only visible to the librarians via the staff client

  • The ‘Patron notification’ option lets you pick a notice to send to patrons who subscribe to updates on this serial via the OPAC.

    • For this option to appear you need to make sure that you have a Routing list notice set up in the Notices Tool

  • ‘Location’ is for the shelving location

  • The ‘Grace period’ is the number of days before an issue is automatically moved from ‘Expected’ status to ‘Late’. This mechanism requires that the cron job is set up to run regularly.

  • The Staff and OPAC display options allow you to control how many issues appear by default on bibliographic records in the Staff Client and the OPAC

Once that data is filled in you can click ‘Next’ to enter the prediction pattern information.


  • In ‘First issue publication date’ you want to enter the date of the issue you have in your hand, the date from which the prediction pattern will start

  • There are several pre-defined options for the ‘Frequency’ of publication all of which are visible alongside your own custom frequencies by visiting ‘Manage frequencies

    • Without periodicy: some very specific (usually high level science journals) don’t have a true periodicity. When you subscribe to the title, you subscribe for 6 issues, which can arrive in 1 year… or 2… There is no regularity or known schedule.

    • Unknown select this if none of the other choices are relevant

    • Irregular: The journal is not “regular” but has a periodicity. You know that it comes out on January, then in October and December, it is irregular, but you know when it’s going to arrive.

    • 2/day: Twice daily

    • 1/day: Daily

    • 3/week: Three times a week

    • 1/week: Weekly

    • 1/ 2 weeks: Twice monthly (fortnightly)

    • 1/ 3 weeks: Tri-weekly

    • 1/month: Monthly

    • 1/ 2 months (6/year): Bi-monthly

    • 1/ 3 months (1/quarter): Quarterly

    • 1/quarter (seasonal) : Quarterly related to seasons (ie. Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring)

    • 2/year: Half yearly

    • 1/year: Annual

    • 1/ 2 years: Bi-annual

  • ‘Subscription length’ is the number of issues or months in the subscription. This is also used for setting up renewal alerts

  • ‘Subscription start date’ is the date at which the subscription begins. This is used for setting up renewal alerts

  • ‘Subscription end date’ should only be entered for subscriptions that have ended (if you’re entering in a backlog of serials)

  • ‘Numbering pattern’ will help you determine how the numbers are printed for each issue. Patterns entered here are saved and editable at any time by visiting ‘Manage numbering patterns

    • Start with the numbering on the issue you have in hand, the numbering that matches the date you entered in the ‘First issue publication’ field

    • You can choose to create your own numbering pattern by choosing ‘None of the above’ and clicking the ‘Show/hide advanced pattern’ button at the bottom of the form


  • The ‘Locale’ option is useful when you want to display days, month or season. For example, if you have a German serial, you can use the German locale option to display days, etc. in German.

  • Once a ‘Numbering pattern’ is chosen the number formula will appear.


    • The ‘Begins with’ number is the number of the issue you’re holding in your hand.

    • The ‘Inner counter’ is used to tell Koha where the “receiving cycle” starts

      • For example: If the first issue to receive is “vol. 4, no. 1, iss. 796”, you need to set up “inner counter = 0” But if it’s “vol. 4, no. 2, iss. 797”, the inner counter should be “1”.

    • After filling in this data click the ‘Test prediction pattern’ button to see what issues the system will generate, if there are irregularities you can choose which issues don’t exist from the list presented.


  • If you have added a custom field, it will be editable above the buttons at the bottom of the screen


Click ‘Save subscription’ to save the information you have entered. Find sample serial examples in the serial pattern library on the wiki.

Edit a subscription

To edit a subscription, click on ‘Edit’ and ‘Edit subscription’ from the subscription page. This will take you back to the same form as the one used when creating a new subscription.


You can also batch edit subscriptions. To do so, search for the subscriptions you want to change. In the results, check the boxes next to the subscriptions to edit. The link ‘Edit selected serials’ will appear.


From there, you can change:

  • the vendor

  • the shelving location

  • the library

  • the item type

  • the public note

  • the nonpublic note

  • whether or not to create an item when receiving an issue

  • the expiration date



Leave the field unchanged to keep the original values.

Receive issues

Issues can be marked as received from several locations. To find a subscription, use the search box at the top of the Serials page to search for the serial you’d like to receive issues for:


From the search results you can click the ‘Serial receive’ link or you can click on the subscription title and then click the ‘Receive’ button.


The final way to receive serials is from the ‘Serial collection’ page. To the left of the Subscription summary page there is a menu with a link to ‘Serial collection’


From the page that opens up you can click ‘Edit serial’ with the issue you want to receive checked.


All three of these options will open up the issue receive form:


  • Choose ‘Arrived’ from the status pull down to mark a serial as received.

  • If you have decided to have an item record created for each issue an item add form will appear after choosing ‘Arrived’. You can add multiple copies using the ‘Number of copies to be made of this item’ option at the bottom of the form.


  • If your issue has a supplemental issue with it, fill in the Supplemental issue information.

    • Key the entire numbering in the box after “Supplemental issue” no numbering will be inherited/auto-filled from the main issue, and exactly what you key in the box after “Supplemental issue” will be auto-filled in the item record’s Serial enumeration/chronology [MARC21 952$h] (if you create item records).

      • E.g., key this in its entirety if it’s what you would like displayed: “v.69 no.3 (Mar. 2015) suppl.”

  • If you have decided to have an item record created for each issue an item add form will appear for your supplement and for the issue itself

  • Once you have entered your info you can click ‘Save’

Serial collection

Each subscription has a Serial collection page available from the main Serials menu.


From this page you can manage additional tasks related to subscription issues such as multi receiving and editing.


Click on the Multi receiving button to bulk receive future issues of a subscription.


  • You can choose how many issues to receive and whether to set the received date to the current date.

Clicking the Generate next button will generate the next issue for you and mark the previously expected issue as ‘Late’ automatically.

Tick the box in the Edit column for one or more previous issues and then click the Edit serials button. You can edit the numbering, dates, status and add notes.

Create a routing list

A routing list is a list of people who receive the serial before it goes to the shelf. To enable routing lists you want to set your RoutingSerials preference to ‘Add’.

When on the subscription page you will see a link to the left that reads ‘Create routing list’ or ‘Edit routing list’


Clicking that link will bring you to the menu to add a new routing list.


From here you want to click ‘Add recipients’ in order to add people to the routing list. In the menu that appears you can filter patrons by part of their name, their library and/or patron category.


Clicking ‘Add’ to the right of each name will add them to the routing list. When you have chosen all of the people for the list, click the ‘Close’ link to be redirected to the routing list.


If the list looks the way you expect it to, then click ‘Save’. Next you will be brought to a preview of the routing list. To print the list click ‘Save and preview routing slip.’ This will open a printable version of the list.


If RoutingListAddReserves is set to on then patrons listed in the routing list will automatically be added to the holds list for the issue.

To see a list of all of the routing lists for a specific patron is visit the Routing lists tab on their patron record. Patrons are able to see a list of their own routing lists when logged into the OPAC in the your routing lists tab.

Subscriptions in staff client

Subscription information will appear on bibliographic records under the ‘Subscriptions’ tab


Clicking the ‘Subscription details’ link will take you to the Subscription summary page in the staff client.


If you are using the Acquisitions module to keep track of serial subscriptions you will see an extra ‘Acquisition details’ tab in your subscription details.


Subscriptions in OPAC

When viewing the subscription in the OPAC there will be several options.

Like in the staff client, there will be a Subscriptions tab on the bibliographic record.


Under this tab will appear the number of issues you chose when setting up the subscription or in your OPACSerialIssueDisplayCount system preference. Clicking the ‘More details’ link will provide you with additional information about the serial history. You can set the default view of a serial in the OPAC with the SubscriptionHistory system preference.

There are two views, compact and full. The compact serial subscription will show basic information regarding the subscription


From this compact display patrons can subscribe to be notified of new issues as they are released by clicking the ‘Subscribe to email notifications of new issues’ button. For this link to appear you will want to have chosen to notify patrons on the subscription itself.


You can see those who subscribe to new issue alerts by going to the subscription page in the staff client and looking on the right of the ‘Information’ tab.


Whereas the full view shows extensive details, broken out by year, regarding the subscription


Claim late serials

Koha can send email messages to your serial vendors if you have late issues. To the left of the main serials page there is a link to ‘Claims’


The links to claims also appears to the left of the subscription detail page


If you don’t have a claim notice defined yet you will see a warning message that you need to first define a notice.


Clicking ‘Claims’ will open a report that will ask you to choose from your various serial vendors to generate claims for late issues.


From the list of late issues you can choose which ones you want to send a claim email to by clicking the checkbox to the left of late issue, choosing the notice template to use and clicking the ‘Send notification’ button.

Check serial expiration

When adding serials you enter a subscription length, using the check expiration tool you can see when your subscriptions are about to expire. To use the tool click the link to ‘Check expiration’ on the serials menu.


In the form that appears you need to enter at least a date to search by.

In your results you will see all subscriptions that will expire before the date you entered. From there you can choose to view the subscription further or renew it in one click.


If there is more than one subscription, you can check the boxes and click on ‘Renew selected subscriptions’ to renew all the serials. The serials will be renewed for the same amount of time as their previous subscription (i.e. if the last subscription for that serial lasted one year, the serial will be renewed for one year; if the last subscription was for 16 issues, it will be renewed for another 16 issues).


Renewing serials

If your serial subscription has expired you won’t be able to receive issues. To renew your subscription you can click the ‘Renew’ button at the top of your subscription detail page.


Another option is to click the ‘Renew’ link to the right of the subscription on the Serial collection page.


Once you click the ‘Renew’ link or button you will be presented with renewal options.


  • The start date should be the date your subscription period starts.

  • For the subscription length you’ll want to fill in one of the three fields presented: Number of issues, Number of months or Number of weeks.

  • Finally enter any notes you might have about this renewal.

Searching serials

Once in the Serials module there is basic search box at the top that you can use to find subscriptions using any part of the ISSN and/or title.


You can also click the ‘Advanced search’ link to the right of the ‘Submit’ button to do a more thorough search of your serials.


From your results you can filter by using the search boxes at the bottom of each column and adjust the number of results using the toolbar at the top of the results set.