Oh very young, what will you leave us this time?

Yesterday Kahurangi came to work with me, as he likes to do when he is on school holidays, but this day was a little bit different. Normally Kahu spends most of the day reading, and playing on the tablet, but yesterday he decided he wanted to do some work.

One of the bonuses of working on Free Software is that if your child says “Can I do some work with you?” you can say “Yes, lets fix a bug together” knowing that there is a good chance you can get your patch submitted.

So the two of us sat down to do some pair programming, Kahu at the keyboard and me beside him. It took us about 30 mins to get his dev environment set up, and check out a copy of the Koha source code. I knew of the perfect bug, while we were having our Koha team Xmas function (Bubbles and bugs, drink some bubbles and fix some bugs) we spotted that one of the developers names was missing from the about page. A perfect low barrier to entry bug to fix, but still one well worth fixing. It took us a little while to find the file that needed editing (got distracted showing him how to use locate) but once we found it, Kahu found the place that needed editing (the names are in alphabetical order so it wasn’t too hard) and we added the missing name. We then committed the fix to git, and created and attached a patch to the bug in bugzilla (bugs.koha-community.org)

Last night, Katrin (from Germany) checked and signed off the patch and this morning the Release manager (Tomás from Argentina) pushed it to the master branch. So now Kahurangi has a patch in Koha. http://git.koha-community.org/gitweb/?p=koha.git;a=commit;h=70de2cae53d93a47a7666015a79f35d7f458f4fe

I think we may be the first parent and child team to both have patches in Koha.

(And yes, that is a Cat Stevens lyric)

Cordoba – The food edition

Kohacon14 Day 3 – Coral

Paul presented about Coral which is an ERM (Electronic Resource Management) software. Paul told us it is well documented, with an extensive manual. It is software for Librarians to use, not end users. It is for managing all your subscriptions for digital resources. Large universities often have hundreds of subscriptions and tracking licenses and url, and acquisitions etc are very hard to track. Coral was developed to manage this.

It is not packaged, but is still pretty easy to set up. Setting up authentication is the hardest bit, but once you have done that, the rest is pretty easy. It has one big problem it is only available in English and it currently cannot be translated. Hopefully since it is OSS we can fix this issue, but it is a big task.

Coral is divided into modules

Organisation

  • Define all publishers, vendors, partners

Licensing

  • Define all licenses
  • Highly flexible
  • You can attach files like pdf

Resources

  • This tracks the subscription
  • You can define workflows
  • store access details

Statistics

Paul then demoed the software for us.

 

Kohacon14 Day 3 – EDS plugin integration with Koha

My battery on the laptop went flat, so Tom kindly took notes on this session for me so I could write this blog post
Alvet and Ricardo from EBSCO talked about EDS and the integration work they have done with Koha

To start they began by explaining why they had developed this plugin

  • NIWA, a research institute in NZ, wanted a simple interface where their users could access discovery services
  • An a interface where Koha was the Front end

They then explained what a discovery service is:

  • A way to access all of the library’s full-text content (electronic and print) in a single search
  • High quality metadata = high quality search results
  • Relevancy ranking
    1. Match on subject heading
    2. Match on article titles
    3. Match on other keywords
    4. Match on keywords in abstracts
    5. Match on full text

Next the showed us what EDS looks like in its’ native interface so that they could show that it is quite similar in Koha using the plugin

Then they showed what EDS and Koha look like

  • showed the NIWA search (Discovery) box, including the detailed list of field codes you can search on.
  • Demoed the Catalyst work to use tabs instead of drop-downs to segregate the search options
  • When the drop downs are changed a pop-up appears that notifies you of the search mode
  • demoed the integration between the Koha catalog and the EDS resources, including patron services, accessing EBSCO resources through the koha interface, limiting the resources searched to what the library has available,
  • reserving resources across Koha/Ebsco and cart functionality
  • demoed guest access restrictions to show that limited resources will not be displayed unless authorized
  • demoed login and authorization methods (userid/passwords, ip addr restrictions, etc)
  • demoed search options (options per page, boolean search options, sort, etc.)
  • demoed interaction between search results and checkboxes including the functionality that depends on those boxes (more details, etc)\
  • demoed accessing EBSCO content from the Koha interface (html results, PDF, etc)
  • showed that all EBSCO functionality is available through Koha interface in advanced search and that the Koha advanced search can be toggled through tabs/links including add/remove of search

They explained that support is only available in 3.12+ because integration has been implemented as a plug-in. Plugins allows for features to be added quickly through plug-ins in-between release Koha cycles.They then stepped us through how you install and configure the plugin
Improvements for the future

  • Support for newer versions of Koha (3.16, 3.18) (ready at the end of October)
  • Research Starters
  • Multi-facet support
  • Looking to enable default language support in Koha and the Ebsco plug-in

Where do I get it

If you google for EDS API Koha, you will find a github page that has the newest version available for download. EBSCO also provide a wiki, an Integration Kit as well as training and help

 

 

Kohacon 14 Day 3 – Funding the Koha project

Brendan with help from Tomas who was translating talked about possibilities for funding the Koha project.

Brendan mentioned we need money for developments, and other things. He covered the process for getting code in, someone submits, another entity signs off, qa checks, then the release manager checks and pushes or not. Out of this whole process, the only part that is directly funded is the initial development of the feature/fix. Once it is passed to community, we rely almost entirely on volunteers.

Developers get paid for new features mostly, because new things are what libraries want to fund, but there are also things under the hood, often called plumbing problems, that they don’t want to fund. Some of these plumbing issues are big pieces of work. Brendan proposes as a community we need to create some kind of community that can collect and disburse money which we can use to fund fixes to these 2 issues.

Brendan showed the Koha dashboard, showing that today 215 patches need to be signed off, and 64 waiting for QA. He covered the fact that most signoffs are done on volunteer basis, and in a conservative estimate we can see we need at least 700 hours to per 6 months to keep up with development.

Two complementary options:

  1. Add more people to the project to signoff/test
  2. Create an entity to grab funding which we can pay people

Big features take lots of time to test, very hard for a volunteer to deal with these, so they wait for a while. Also this means that if the code has moved, rebasing needs to be done.  So if we can fundraise and have people working on signoffs and QA as their job.

Brendan then talked about stability vs rapid development. Brendan sees that both points are valid and that it is a balancing act. With so many libraries (10,000 ish) it is peoples livelihoods depending on the stability of the product. However we need to continue to innovate as well. So get involved have your ideas presented. Mail the list, come to hackfests, chat on IRC etc. No ideas are bad ideas, only the ones you don’t present.

An audience member asked about the idea of a foundation, Brendan said lets start with a funding organisation, and start small with perhaps a donate now button. But that organisation should not having anything to do with the direction of governance of the project, just collect funds.

Action Plan

Bob and Brendan are going to work on a proposal during hackfest for this funding organisation to present to the community, to get this ball rolling

Kohacon14 Day 3 – School Bibliotecology 3

Next up 4 more students presented on their project.

They started by thanking all the teachers of the different subjects who helped them. In their studies they noticed some issues with the display of ISBD, MARC and normal display in the Koha OPAC.

They found some inconsistencies in the display so they wanted to document these problems so we as a project can be aware and work on the fixes of them.

Them main issues they noticed with display was for:

  • Uniform titles
  • Items with subordinate items
  • Principal author (s)

They showed some screenshots, demonstrating the issues they found. If the slides are online I will link them in when I find them. And if there are bugs filed I will link them in here also.

What is even better they proposed some solutions:

  • Add punctuation around subordinate entities
  • Redesign the display of the uniform titles
  • Display should be Title, responsibility, then uniform title