Kohacon15 day 2 round up

First up on day 2 was ‘A sysadmin look at Koha’. This talk covered common issues when setting up and maintaining Koha. As well as some issues that are harder to deal with, including lightning strikes frying motherboards, and unreliable power. It was a great talk with at lot of good information.

Next up was Brooke with a great talk titled “Can’t code? How you can still make Koha better”

Then there was a presentation of  a paper titled “User perceptions of the Koha ILS – Nigeria” it was really excellent, I will again link it when I have it. Here were the conclusions.

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After that was “Now you have Koha – What is next?

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Again, a great talk, I’m gonna keep saying that, because they all were.

Then we toured the campus for the afternoon.

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Kohacon15 – Day 1 – Bowen University Koha Experience

Next some librarians from Bowen University reported on their Koha experience, they have been Koha users since 2007. Bowen university has used Koha versions 2.9.0, 3.0.1, 3.0.4, 3.12.3 and 3.18.0

The key findings are

  • Koha helped tremendously with the technical processes of the library core functions
  • Issues – duplication of barcodes, wrong mapping
  • Positive experience far outweighs the few challenges

They covered all the advantages of Open Source, I will link the presentation when it is up, so much was covered I can’t take notes fast enough (where is Nicole Engard when you need her?)

Bowen was started in 2001, as was the library, with the mandate to create first rate graduates. Therefore the library has to use first rate library software.

Reasons it was chosen

  • OSS
  • MARC compliance
  • Hardware agnostic
  • Web based

The paper is very comprehensive and covers how Koha is installed, and who is in charge of its maintenance. It also covers all the things they like about Koha, which was great to hear and always good to remember. We as developers spend so much time hearing about bugs, that it is great to hear of things that are working well.

I stopped taking notes to listen, as it was so full of information. I will update the post with the link to the paper when I have it.

Kohacon 15 – Day 1 – Welcome

The day started with a welcome from Adetunji Adepeju from Projectlink Konsult Limited, one of the organisers of the conference.

He made some great points using humour about the unjustified fear of kidnapping, and the other things that the western media report unfairly on.

He then talked about why do we have this Kohacon

  • Knowledge sharing
  • New developments in Koha
  • Networking/collaboration

He moved on to talk about Turkey and its usage of Koha, (which is really pretty impressive). It was a really inspirational talk, putting forward the case that we can do all this here in Africa too.

The talk covered how Nigeria got the conference this year, which is an interesting story in own rights (boo the Australia government refusing a transit visa). It also covered how it got organised, the troubles of finding sponsorship etc.

It then moved on to Free vs Freedom, and talking about funding. (Free software is not Free cost software)

He moved on to talking about learning, unlearning and relearning is the key to the success of libraries.

Takeaways from the conference

  • Learn new things
  • Network
  • Inter-library cooperation
  • Join Koha list
  • Bring the National library up to speed

How may Africa/Nigeria contribute to Koha

  • Development
  • Testing
  • Bugs and fixes
  • Offer to serve on projects
  • Translation
  • Help others solve issues


The ‘great’ pumpkin tasting

Every time I come to the USA I always do some ridiculous thing to do with food/drink. Ive done the chocolate based cold beverage challenge. Where as we drove from Seattle to LA I tried all the chocolate drinks I could.
I’m on a continuing mission to find a cheesesteak as good as I had in Philadelphia.
There are a few more, in 2013 in Reno, it was just to be able to finish a meal in the casino. Never managed it.

This time around it is Autumn or Fall as they call it over here, so everything has fall flavours (basically everything tastes like pumpkin pie). So I’ve been trying to taste as much as I can.

I’ve been drinking coffees


Drinking smoothies


Eating bread


And drinking beer




I even got given a pumpkin beer T-shirt

2015 - 1

The Pittsburgh leg is nearly over, but I have a week in California to go. I’m sure they probably have “soy skinny low fat kale quinoa pumpkin chai latte” or something that I will have to try. FOR SCIENCE.

Some random statistics about the last 5 years of Koha.

Someone asked on the mailing list if we could tell them how many bugs were fixed in the last 5 years, and how many features added etc.

So because I could I looked up the answers. Since Jan 1 2011 there have been

  • 11650 Commits to the master branch of Koha (2427 + 2563 + 2997 + 2538 + 1125)
  • 378 trivial severity bugs fixed
  • 741 minor severity bugs fixed
  • 1472 normal severity bugs fixed
  • 432 major severity bugs fixed
  • 205 critical
  • 98 blockers fixed
  • 1283 new features or enhancements to features
  • 64 major new features
  • 1436 edits to the Koha manual (284 + 387 + 291 + 297 + 177)

Future of Libraries summit 2015

I know, I know, the future of libraries is to endlessly discuss the future of libraries, I had the same level of skepticism going in to the day as well. I have to admit that a lot of my cynicism comes from the overabundance (and let’s be real here, 1 is 1 too many) of self described futurists in the library world.

Happily though this was not one of those come and listen to someone lecture you on what he (and it is pretty much always a he) thinks the future is going to be. I have science fiction books for that, and they are a lot more enjoyable.

This was instead a day of guided group discussions, which I think resulted in some actually useful outputs. While these kind of days are always a mix of frustration and useful discussion, I think that by the end we had more of the latter. This was due to the people in the room, but also due to the desire of the organisers for the day to result in some concrete outputs. Which meant we were pulled back on track a few times when it felt like we were going in circles.

I am not going to say that I think the day has resulted in people having a clear idea of where libraries are going to be in 2025 but I think that it resulted in some ideas, and some more ideas how to get there.  I am not going to try to summarise them all here, I am sure there will be much better write ups than mine.  But I  will list some of the takeaways I had. First of all from my kids 2015-07-31 11.13.25

In our group we consistently returned to the role of Libraries being all about people, and that equitable access to information is a major driver. We talked a lot about the need for better collaboration and cohesion in the sector. Funding of course was mentioned more than a few times as something that will be a major influence on what libraries are like in 2025. We also talked about training, and how to bring in and keep new workers.

This happened 

Then I learnt about the 3rd man rule, to paraphrase “If two men have just spoken, don’t be the third one” which is a great rule.

Karaitiana had some great advice (as always)

And as always happens, I managed to get myself an impossible job

It was near the end of the day when I went into full on random blurt mode.

Cath chipped in too

All the random blurting may have resulted in this

Or it may have been this

Finally I’d like to leave you with this image, which came from one of Wendy’s typos, but I think it works as it is