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?

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


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)

Unsung heroes of Koha 30 – Heather Hernandez

We have a few Heathers in the Koha community and they are all pretty great. I’m singling out Heather Hernandez here as she has been really helpful to a lot of other Koha users and developers.
Heather not only takes time to answer a lot of questions on the Koha mailing list, but she answers them in a comprehensive and positive manner. If you combine that with her enthusiasm on Twitter, it adds up to a person that makes you happy to be developing on Koha.
I often say that someone saying thanks is a powerful reward, and Heather never fails in doing that.

So here’s some thanks back to you Heather. I hope to buy you a beverage of your choice at a Kohacon someday.

Koha Kindness

The Koha community is a great community to be part of. Not only do we create a great piece of software but we try to make the world a better place in other ways also. Here are just a few examples of how we do this.

I have run a server (since 2010) that hosts bugs.koha-community.org, download.koha-community.org, paste and a few other services. I haven’t minded funding it, I think of it as penance for making the bad decision I made in 2007, but recently I wanted to upgrade it. So I thought I would give patreon a whirl, to get some funding to increase the ram and and a couple more cores.
Within days I had more than enough pledges, and the recurring cost is more than covered. I promised each person who pledged a haiku, so here they are, can you guess who is who? (be warned I write crappy haiku)

In the northeast of
Kansas, libraries love software
freedom and koha

In Greece a lovely
woman translates software to
help grow its usage

Norway can be cold
but there lives a man with a
warm heart and kind soul

Because he cares, he
donates both time and money
to help the project

She moved to nz
but that wasn’t enough so
she donates things too

She walks the walk and
talks the talk documenting
everything in sphinx

The next example is that earlier this year Tómas, the current release manager, had his house broken into and things, including his computers, taken. Within days Kyle had set up a gofundme campaign and in I think 3 days we hit the $2000 target.

There is another gofundme campaign running at the moment as well. Nicole (our documentation manager) has had a tough time of it lately and is currently seeking funds to help pay the medical expenses for one of her gorgeous dogs. Please help her out if you are able.

The last example I wanted to mention is the Koha Kiva team. We have loaned out $3275 in 131 loans to small businesses all around the world. Pretty neat huh?