Heading to New Zealand for KohaCon10

For those who follow me on other sites know that I’m heading to New Zealand for KohaCon 2010. I mention this because my posts here will consist of conference summaries and then will probably become quite quiet while I travel around the country. Be sure to keep an eye out for pictures on my Flickr account and regular posting will resume when I return in November!

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Updates due to come in Koha 3.2

Galen Charlton started by reminding us that Koha 3.2 in an ambitious release. There will be a new acquisitions module (which I saw a demo of yesterday – and it made me very very happy!!), new holdings support, many circulation improvements (a lot to do with holds) and improved stability.

Remember to check the RFCs on the wiki to keep up with new developments. RFCs are Requests for Comments – we use them as a way to get feedback on new developments. Some RFCs are “wouldn’t it be nice” type requests, so keep in mind that not all RFCs will be implemented for 3.2 – so will be deferred and some will not happen at all. An RFC does not mean there is a commitment to do anything with it.

Galen went on to talk to us about the big features (his own personal list):

  • New Acquisitions Module (review and testing period)
  • Holdings Structure
    • Introduces “summary” records into Koha (which will be optional)

    • support the MARC format of holdings display
  • Circulation Features
    • Proxy patrons

    • Fines thresholds (or fine forgiveness)
      • a way to define different fine types and forgive fines with the running of a simple job
    • Callslips
      • similar to Koha’s current request (or hold) system, but makes it easier for when you have pull things off the shelf
    • Recalls
      • if someone has something on loan it’s a way for the patron to be notified that they have to return a book right now
    • Hourly loans
      • to handle reserve desks on campus where you can only check out an item for hours instead of days
    • Email checkout slips (a feature I have already documented and see in action in my own system)
    • Calculate fines in days debarred
      • if your item is overdue by 1 day you will be prevented from checking out for 2 days (instead of charging money as fines) – which is very common in France and developed by BibLibre
    • Place hold on multiple items at once (also already available and documented)
    • Additional hold request improvements
    • Course Reserves – Integration with ReservesDirect
  • OPAC Enhancements
    • Syndetics support (done)

    • LibraryThing (coming)
    • Babelthèque (done)
    • Ability to tag multiple items (done)
  • Cataloging
    • ‡biblios integration

    • Improved browse indexes
    • ISBN13 normalization
    • Item bulk status change (BibLibre has one development on this and LibLime has global change enhancements in the works as well)
    • Brief records
      • ability to add records at point of check in (ILL or paperbacks)
    • Record maintenance
      • attach workflow status to bib records
    • Deleted records
      • gives the ability to delete records but still be able to search for them in specific context
  • Serials
    • General improvements to the display and prediction pattern

    • More control over display of recently checked in issues
  • Administration
    • Improved system preferences editor (Thanks Jesse Weaver!!!)
  • Reporting
    • Guided reports parameter system will allow you save your report so you don’t need to do one for every month – should save lots of time
  • Misc
    • Granular permissions (new acq module already implements some of these)

      • Galen says: “I regret to inform you that the superlibrarian permission still doesn’t come with a cape”
    • IE compatibility improvements
    • Improvements to overdues report
    • Improved OAI-PMH server (the open data protocol for metadata harvesting)
    • URL checker

Of course we all wonder about the the timeline will be for the release of 3.2. The target is for late summer, early fall, but 3.1 should be out in early summer for testing and such of these features!!

In addition to these planned developments, there will be at least one cool development that comes out of Developer Weekend here at KohaCon – and Galen will lock the doors until it happens :) Librarians are welcome to join in with the developers’ conference so that they get input from us while hacking away.

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KohaCon 2009: The History of Koha

Chris Cormack with input from Paul Poulain started the conference off with a history of Koha.

Chris started working on Koha 3077 days ago :) (he thinks).

Koha was started at the Horowhenua Library Trust by Katipo

  • need a new ILS (because of a y2k bug)
  • no suitable response to their RFP (none of the vendors actually read it – because none of their solutions would actually work)
  • it’s just a database, how hard can it be? (hehe) — this is what they thought!!

Neither HLT or Katipo wanted to be vendors so they decided to release it under the GPL – didn’t want to write the project and then try to sell it (they were developers and weren’t sales people and HLT was a library not a sales team). They also looked at it as if you give something out you’ll get something back.

We didn’t understand how libraries worked so they did rapid prototypes where they would show the librarians what they had and ask if that was how they wanted it to work and then the librarians said yes or no and they moved on once they got right. We only had one day off in the year – Christmas day – because of their deadline – in the end they found that it was just a database – “but a database with INSANE rules” and exceptions to those rules.

January 5, 2000 Koha went live and announced to the world on July 2000 (article in Library Life in NZ). In that time they did a lot of cleaning of the code to make it tidy so that other people could install it. Soon after the release HLT won some awards and the software started selling itself – just like they wanted. When 1.0 was released in July 2000 it only took 20 minutes before someone first downloaded the system.

By 2002 things really got moving. Paul Poulain joined up and started working on Koha for a friend because his company went bankrupt, he wasn’t planning on starting a business around it, but in the end this led to BibLibre. Also in 2002, Nelsonville Public Library in OH started looking at Koha. 2002 also brought the next major release version 1.2.0 (which included Paul’s first major contribution which was the ability to edit the system preferences in the browser instead of directly in the database.

As the community grew, they needed to organize the community by adding roles. Kaitiaki is the guardian, Release Manager, Release Maintainer, and Documentation Manager. Chris told us that: “I like writing code, but even more, I like the community that has grown up around Koha” :)

By 2005 the pay for support options spread to the US with LibLime. This is also when Henri Damien Laurent and Paul formed a partnership to work on Koha together.

In 2008 we saw the release of Koha 3.0 and the best manual ever written (okay – Chris didn’t say that – but come on – you all agree don’t you?? :) ). 2008 and probably 2009 seems like the year of India for Koha. There is a large growth spurt going on right now with Indian librarians switching to Koha.

2009 saw the release of K’s Helping Hand, KohaCon 2009 and (this is almost finished) the release of Koha integrated with SOPAC – two awesome open source projects integrated into one!!

You can find the entire history online at: http://git.koha.org/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi?p=Koha;a=blob_plain;f=docs/history.txt and Chris will finish it soon and then put it in git so that we can all add to it – in particular libraries adding themselves when they go live so we can start keeping track of that more efficiently.

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