Kohacon12 – My Highlights

To be honest, I could just write Everything! and that would be correct. But I will try to write up a few highlights of Kohacon12 for me.

  • I counted 18 countries represented, and I probably missed some : England, Scotland, Ireland, USA, New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany, Croatia, Nigeria, Zambia, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands.
  • All the presentations were great, my personal favourite was Marcel de Rooy talking about SRU and Koha
  • 252 kittens saved at the hackfest, with even some people not present participating.
  • Norrie “Tago” MacIver performing for us, as well as the whisky, port and teacakes.
  • Meeting lots of people I have only talked to online, as well as catching up with old friends
  • The venue, what a beautiful venue .. and oh my .. what great nachos they had available.
  • Our hosts – they were utterly fantastic, no problems were encountered that weren’t overcome with aplomb.
  • And of course, the ‘hallway’ track (all the conversations when presentations weren’t happening) was fantastic as always. Evenings in the pub(s), chatting over dinner(s), watching France vs England with the great people from Biblibre .. all tons of fun.

Kohacon 12 – Day 1

First up on day one was Paul Poulain from Biblibre talking about what is new in Koha 3.8.0. When the slides are available I will link it here, since that would be much easier than listing all the features here.

Up next was Nason Bimbe from BDLS, talking about their process of migrating to Koha. He made a few great points, one of which was that the amount of mail on the mailing list was at first daunting. But then he noticed that the questions that were being asked were also being answered in a short period of time. So what originally was scary became empowering instead. He then talked about evaluating the community and that Koha scored well on that because of an active and diverse community.

I was next up with my “It’s all about the people” presentation, which I think I did a much better job of at the NZ User Group day, but after 36 hours of travel and wearing stinky clothes I think it was ok.

Then was Paul Poulain, following on from my talk, telling people how they can become a Koha person. His presentation was all about using the fantastic sandboxes to test, without needing a Koha installed or any IT knowledge. It is a great tool and I hope more people make use of it.

After a great lunch, we resumed the conference beginning with everyone introducing themselves. There were a lot of countries represented, including Ireland, UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany, Croatia, Nigeria, Zambia, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Belgium, Sweden, Italy and probably others I missed.

Up after that was Robin Sheat talking about Migrating to Koha, covering mostly the how, since the why is plainly obvious 🙂 The second part of his talk was an informal discussion session with attendees sharing their stories of migration processes. This ended up turning into an interesting discussion around itemtypes vs collection codes and the uses of both.

Next up was Nicole Engard, talking about “Open Source, Freedom & Community” which as usual was a great talk. She covered a lot of points that will help Librarians convince their colleagues and bosses that Open Source isn’t scary and that it works.

To end the day, we had a panel session for Q and A, with Nicole, Nason Bimbe, Paul Poulain and myself. We had some good questions and even one quite curly one.

The day went really well, and I have already made some new friends, and caught up with a lot of old friends, which for me is the most important part of any conference. Now I’m going to sleep and dream of having clean clothes, I really do hope my luggage arrives tomorrow.

Unsung heroes of Koha 25 – Butte-Silver Bow Public Library

The Butte-Silver Bow Public library is special for a few reasons. They have sent people to attend Kohacon09, Kohacon10, and now not only attending Kohacon12 but co-hosting even though the event is in Edinburgh!. The presentation they gave at Kohacon10, with librarians saying what they enjoyed about Koha, was definitely one of the highlights of the conference, and I am sure Lee’s presentation will be great again this year.

Yet another reason they are heroes, is that when things started going wrong with a former Koha support company they decided to stick with Koha and go it alone. Something Koha allows you to do, but still a big decision.

So Lee and the team, hats off to you all!