3 Conferences in 3 weeks

Somehow (most likely due to my inability to say no) I ended up attending 3 conferences (and speaking at 2 of them) in 3 weeks. Two of them in Australia and the third in India. Apart from being really really tiring they were all great.

First up was Linux Conference Australia, held in Geelong (an hour out of Melbourne). It was a full week conference, with the first 2 days being miniconfs then the next three conference proper. I attended Open Source and Bioinformatics, and the Community Leadership Summit X at LA miniconfs. They were both excellent, Bioinformatics was something I knew nothing about beforehand so I learned a lot. The Community Leadership summit was really good, due mostly to the attendees. The programme was great as it always is. I spoke on Thursday, I think it went ok, there was a good write up at LWN. The social track was a highlight (drinks in a brewery are always fun) as well and I met and talked to a lot of lovely people.

2016-02-02 21.53.57Next up, I caught the train to Melbourne, and enjoyed some of the lunar new year festivities over the weekend.

2016-02-06 13.36.182016-02-06 14.02.31On Monday, we gave an Intro to Koha talk in Melbourne, which was really well attended.

2016-02-08 09.08.42Followed by a bunch of meetings then a Koha user group meetup and dinner after. The Koha user group meets in the Melbourne Athenaeum, a fantastic place.

2016-02-08 17.52.34The next three days were the VALA conference, a definite change of pace to LCA, but interesting nonetheless. I didn’t get any photos during the conference, but of course I got some photos of some of the fantastic food on offer in Southbank.

2016-02-11 19.46.09On Friday Kris and I visited the National gallery, which had a great exhibition of Warhol and Ai Weiwei, then flew back to NZ. I had the weekend with my family, and on Monday morning flew out to India to the National Koha Conclave.

I plan to write up a proper post just about it on the Catalyst website, so I’ll just put some photos here.

 

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Catalyst Open Source Academy 2016 – Koha Group

Once again the Catalyst Open Source Academy was a great success. Thanks of course to the students, but also the tutors, mentors and organisers. I won’t talk too much about the first week here, I am sure that will be covered by others, but I wanted to talk about all the work the Koha team got done.

I had a great group of students, who worked really hard and got a lot done. The group work started great as the first day was Chloe’s birthday and she brought in a delicious cheesecake.

Birthday Cake

Myself, Aleisha and others from the Koha community had prepared around 40 issues for the students to work on. But by the end of the day they had already dealt 14 of them and were speeding up. This was just in the afternoon, as getting a working development environment took most of the moring. Which meant I spent the evening finding more work to do, not a bad problem to have.

Day 1

  • Setting up the development environment
  • 12 new patches for bugs
  • 2 existing patchsets signed off

For day 2 I had what I thought were trickier issues that should take most of the day to solve, but nope they still got through way more than I expected.

Day 2

  • Made new favicons for the Koha wiki
  • Some html/css changes to scoreboard.koha-community.org
  • Changed the theme on the Koha dashboard back to normal, not xmas
  • 16 new patches for bugs
  • 4 existing patchsets signed off

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After another evening of scrambling to make sure I had plenty of stuff for them to do, we got into day 3. I had actually managed to get some quite tricky ones, which meant that although it looks they did less, they actually worked just as hard, but to solve much trickier problems

Day 3

  • Fixing up any of their patches that had failed QA previously
  • 9 new patches
  • 1 existing patchset signed off

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Onto the final day, this was just a half day, as the afternoon was taken up with the students presenting what they had done, and a capture the flag security competition.

For something different, I got them to use Gource to create a movie visualisation of the work they had done that week. Here are two of them

 

They also signed off a few more patches, and even added a few new patches also.

In summary they were a super productive group of 4 young people, and I hope they continue with their interest in IT, the NZ IT community would be lucky to have them. Here are some quick stats from git.

  • 39 patchsets created
  • A total of 271 lines added, 95 removed (delta 176)

All of them have at least one patch in Koha now, and I expect that of those 39 patches, almost all of them will make it in.

I just want to finish with a big thanks to Aleisha and Francesca who helped out a lot, and to Kathryn, Liz and Lucio who held down the fort upstairs.

Oh and here’s some pics of “Chris pointing at things” It seems I do this a lot at the academy.

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All pictures in this post are Copyright Catalyst Open Source 2016 – Licensed CC-BY-SA (2.0)

 

Unsung heroes of Koha – Compilation

I’ve decided to put a list, that I will keep updated to make it easier to find the unsung heroes posts, so here goes

  1. Olwen Williams
  2. The Directors of Athens County Public Libraries
  3. Benedykt P. Barszcz and Pawel Skuza
  4. Ambrose Li
  5. Pascale Nalon
  6. Mike Mylonas
  7. Nicolas Rosasco
  8. Roger Buck
  9. Anthony Mao
  10. The Staff at Horowhenua Library Trust
  11. Laurel Barr
  12. Ed Summers
  13. Andrew Arensburger
  14. Rob Weir
  15. The #koha irc channel
  16.  Pierrick Le Gall
  17. Pat Eyler
  18. Glen Stewart
  19. The translators
  20. Georgia Katsarou
  21. The people behind es.koha-community.org
  22. The go it aloners
  23. Frère Sébastien Marie
  24. Owen Leonard
  25. Butte-Silver Bow Public library
  26. Darla Grediagin
  27. Libraries with inhouse developers
  28. Rachel Hamilton-Williams
  29. Jim Minges
  30. Heather Hernandez
  31. Marc Véron

Kohacon15 – Nigeria – Round up (You should have been here)

As is the trend for all Kohacon, this was the best Kohacon yet. Not only was the venue great, but so were the people and the presentations.

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It flew by so fast (that’s how you know it was interesting)  and we covered so many topics. From Automation uptake in Nigeria, to sysadmin tips, to RFID, to digital resources and so much more.

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One of the major takeaways for me was the passion  and the willingness to discuss and share ideas. There certainly are challenges here, with unreliable power, not great internet, and of course as it is libraries, funding. But what there isn’t here is any sense of fatality, people are working hard to make things better, and to serve their users to the best of their ability.

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Apart from the conference proper, for the cultural day we went to ‘The Sacred Grove in Osogbo, Osun” which is a world heritage site, and for good reason.

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We probably didn’t get as much done at the hackfest as we could have, but the internet made that a little hard. We did though explore some monitoring tools that can help deal with the symptoms of the unreliable power. I hope that it was some use to the participants.

In conclusion, I would like to say it was an honour for me to be here, I hope that I provided some useful information for others, I certainly learnt from them. A big e se to Projectlink Konsult, and to my work Catalyst for making it possible for me to come. And e se to all the other participants who made the conference what it was.

You should have been here.

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Kohacon15 – Day 3 roundup

Day 3 was another packed day, we started with the presentation of a paper that studied the uptake of Automation systems in Nigeria. For a lot of the libraries using Koha here, Koha is their first automation system, and the majority of libraries here are still using manual processes.

Following that we had a presentation by Safari Books, on the springer journals and ebooks, including how they can easily be added to Koha

RFID and Koha was next, covering how using the 2 together is very easy, or very hard, but it depends entirely on who your RFID vendor is. Because basically it’s entirely up to them to comply with the standards that Koha already complies with. The presenter made some remark about rugby also …

There was a brief discussion on a Koha Africa user group, which resulted in an unanimous decision that yes that should totally be set up, and the next step is finding a person to take on the coordination role.

For the afternoon we travelled to Bowen University, about an hour away in Iwo. Bowen was the first library in Nigeria to install Koha in 2007. We were welcomed by both the University Librarian and the University Vice Chancellor. Which was a great honour. I always love to see people using Koha, and how they are using it, so this was a real highlight for me.

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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.