Kohacon 14 Day 2 – MetaBiblioteca: implementando una red de Koha

Building a meta library network, integrating Koha in Latin America

This presentation was about the implementation of Koha in Colombia, presented remotely from Colombia. The presentation is licensed under CC-BY, big props to having the license statement up front.

What is Meta Biblioteca?

  • Formed as a project by a Colombian library and other library professionals
  • The aim was to investigate and provide solutions for all parts of information science, focussed mainly on Open Source systems
  • Started in academic community, changed into a commercial project
  • To offer services to libraries
  • Uses Koha, Scriblio, Zotero, dpasce, joomla etc
  • They believe in Free and Open source software, and know it is the best option for Libraries
  • They provide Open access to digital books

They are always looking forward to new ideas, and new systems to help their users. They have been working with Koha since 2006. In 2008 they created a website http://www.kohacolombia.org which was doctoral thesis. Since 2012 have been active members of the Koha Spanish list. Their aim now is to be more actively involved in the community to share their knowledge.

They offer these servives

  • Help libraries to implement Koha, have 30 projects working with Koha
  • Offer Koha hosting
  • Training
  • Offer technical support in Colombia, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador (for Koha)

They have done these things with Koha

  • Personalisation of the Koha installs
  • Written Spanish manuals they would like to share with the community
  • Integrating with financial systems

One of their Koha implementations is the National Police of Colombia, which has meant a lot of focus on security. As you can imagine, the police systems are under constant attack.

They are very interested in growing Koha in Latin America. They have seen an almost exponential growth in Koha use in Latin America. At the moment there are around 5 new libraries going into production with Koha in Latin America every month. There is a really good chart showing the number of installations, I will link the slides when I find the url.

One of the best quotes was “In Colombia we have Koha fever, all Universities want Koha”. Almost all institutionsare implementing Koha, and there are 6 companies offering Koha support in Colombia alone.  MetaBiblioteca want to not only implement Koha but create a network of Koha libraries in Latin America, so everyone can share and contribute. The aim is to create a Free (as in freedom) and open community, built on Koha.





Kohacon14 – Day 2 – DigiBePé

This talk was about the use of Koha in public libraries in Argentina.

Conabip was founded in 1870, funded by the ministry of culture, since 2003 strategy is to strengthen popular (public) libraries in Argentina. Since 2009 main role to create and promote high quality services to promote and strengthen literacy and training. It offers a platform that allows libraries to tailor their services to match their community

Main parts of digital inclusion plan

  • Hardware
  • Software (Koha)
  • Training
  • Web Dev
  • Content management and production

They focus on 2 things, implementation and collective catalogue.

The purpose of this plan, is to try to reduce the digital gap, socio economic and generational gaps. Also to upskill libraries and their uses in the use of digital technologies. In 2010, DigiBePé was created, which is based on Koha, this runs 1037 libraries with a union catalogue in Argentina. The collective catalogue has 6 million bibliographic records.

They went on to show us a demo of the collective catalogue, it was super impressive, when I find the url I will post it here.

Before DigiBePé, they had a decentralized system, every library got an installed a copy of the system, it was CDS/ISIS which ran on MSDOS. It worked ok, but with time it became obsolete and maintenance became very expensive. They needed a new system that would be usable but be contemporary and be able to be used for a collective catalogue. With these criteria they ran an evaluation of both Proprietary and Open Source systems, testing and evaluating sometime with the help of consultants. While doing the software evaluation, they found that 10 public libraries in Cordoba were running Koha successfully, so it was decided that it would be the base for DigiBePé.

It was a big project, setting up the system and migration of all the library data. Also they had to restructure the hardware infrastructure, network and servers. A really big project. They used OpenVZ for virtualisation, but found it sometimes unstable so are migrating to XenServer. The system was designed to be low maintenance and high interoperability.

The system is set up in this way – 13 servers running Debian

  • 1 proxy http
  • 10 Koha/DigiBePé  servers (running from the Koha .deb packages) for public libraries
  • 1 Koha/DigiBePé  for non public libraries
  • 1 Koha/DigiBePé  server for collective catalogue


The collective catalogue can be found at the conabip site.

For NZ readers, the collective catalogue is very similar to Te Puna, except more up to date. It facilitates Z39,50 searching and web based searching. The fact that the collective catalogue allows Z39.50  allows for copy cataloguing easily.

To conclude this system has been highly successful since 2010, and now not only public libraries are using but libraries of lot of other types are taking it up also. Conabip plan to continue with Koha, and continue helping libraries. This presentation just blew my mind, I never would have thought that a system first used by 4 small libraries in NZ would in14 years time be running 1037 libraries in Argentina.

Kohacon14 Day 1 – Community Organisation

After a great lunch, Paul was up to talk about the community organisation. He talked about the differing wants and needs of developers vs users, and how to reconcile these.  Paul made these following points:

  • Why is the community important? The second thing (after checking the software works) is how does the community work, because the longevity of the project is directly related to how the community is structured.
  • Koha used to do feature based releases, sometimes causing major delays, since Koha 3.4 we have been doing time based releases
  • Time based releases work well, it is predictable.

How does Koha manage these releases, it’s all about people.

  • Release Manager – person responsible for the next major release
  • Release Maintainer  – person responsible for bugfix/maintenance release
  • QA Manager – responsible for checking for code quality as well as functional requirements
  • Doc Manager – responsible for documentation
  • Translation manager
  • Packaging manager
  • Any other roles you can think of

But we also need tools

  • Mailing lists
  • IRC
  • Wiki
  • Bugzilla
  • Jenkins (Continuous Integration testing)
  • Koha dashboard
  • Pootle (translations)

And we need workflows.

Paul also covered what he sees as weaknesses in the community.

Kohacon14 Day 1 – Translating the Koha Manual

Bernardo did a great presentation, with a really smart idea of speaking in Spanish but with slides in English, I wish I had thought of that and got our slides translated to Spanish .. next time maybe.

Bernardo has beeon investigating a lot of different tools to use for translating the manual, and he thinks the best option for us is Publican. The reasons are

  • It is DocBook based, which is what we use for the manual already
  • OpenSource (of course)
  • Used by many big projects

He also suggests we should split the manual into one file per chapter, with one corresponding .po file. This will make it much easier for offline translations or working in teams. He then went on to show us a proof of concept of this. It is looking really fantastic. Where to from here?

  • Migrate current one file to multiple files
  • Integrate with git and the translation server
  • Make it simple to replace images in the manual
  • Promote it!!!

Kohacon day 1 – Choir and History Presentation

The next session started with a fantastic choir, which I think was quite mean, because Paul and I had to follow that with our presentation on the History

2014-10-06 10.59.13Because I was presenting, Katrin blogged the History presentation, her notes are below


Paul and Chris gave their presentation on the history of Koha, starting
with their usual stunt - introducing themselves in French and Maori, 
confusing the audience and earning lots of laughter.

I will try to give a short summary on the slides:
- Koha was started in 1999-09, Chris worked at Katipo at the time
- The first version didn't have serials and acqusitions, but went 
live on time for the library to avoid the Y2K problem
- Katipo was a web developing company and not a software vendor, so
they didn't want to sell software, but made it free software so everyone
could use and improve it
- In 2000 there was a website, you could download Koha and also the first
contribution was made from outside Katipo
- In 2001 the first non-English developer contributed to Koha and then
Paul arrived soon after
- 2002 was the second major release and wiki and bugzilla were set up.
- There were a lot of problems with translations, like a lot of hardcoded
English in the code.
- The same year the work on adding MARC support to Koha was started for
a library in the US.
- Nearly 20 developers, libraries using it - time to think some about
a structure for the project. Some roles were introduced that still exist
as of today - Release Manager, Maintainer, QA manager (for a short time),
documentation manager
- 2003-2005 - multi-MARC support was introduced, UNIMARC and MARC21 at the same
- Version 2 also included a serials module, statistics, an improved OPAC and
tools to import data into Koha (bulkmarcimport)
- 2006-2007 had the first KohaCon in Marseille, France and it was decided to move to 
Zebra to speed up the until then MYSQL-based search
- More mailing lists were introduced and the French website for Koha came to life
- 2009-2009 - Koha faced some trouble...
- 2010 - back to hacking. The community moves from koha.org to koha-community.org
proves that open source is stronger than closed source.
- Koha conferences turn into an annual event - starting with Plano, Texas in 2010,
followed by Wellington (NZ), Thane (India), Edinburgh (UK) and ... Córdoba (Argentina).
- Some more positive changes came outof the discussion and move, improving workflows
and communication.
- 2011 - 3.4 is the first time based release.
- Same year Koha switches to a better Templating system and item data are removed
from the MARC record resulting in speed gains.
- 2012 - offline circulation as a Firefox plugin, hourly loans, new design for the staff
interface (3.8)
- Remember: you don't have to upgrade to every release, you can upgrade anytime from
any version to another in one go.
- 3.12 and 3.14 were releases in 2013, changes included the introduction of a new Bootstrap
based responsively designed OPAC, course reserves module, patron self registration and
and HTML5 based offline circulation.
- Chris was forced to spend a lot of time with lawyers, as Liblime tried to register the
trademark Koha in NZ - but the trademark application was rejected and costs were awarded
to The Horowhenua Library Trust (HLT) and Catalyst IT. The trademark is now owned by HLT.
... running outof batter...
- 2014, 3.16. and 3.18 - we are good on features, time to speed things up a bit.
- 2015 - Koha's internals and plumbing needs to be modernized, as new technologies have
become available since Koha was started. 

One question from the audience: What can be done to improve koha-community.org's ranking
in Google? Help by publishing something about Koha and linking back!

Kohacon14 – Day 1 – Keynote and Opening


Tomas welcomed the delegates to the conference, first in Spanish and then in English.


Tomas Cohen Arazi did the keynote this really tested my Spanish, but I caught bits, especially when he translated Māori to spanish. I think he  covered some of Pauls talk, but that is perfect because Paul will be talking in English, so between the 2 of them, the community structure will be well explained. I’m pretty sure the talk also covered a brief bit of the history of Koha. But the main gist seemed to be introducing Koha to people. He covered how releases are made and when they are made.

He also talked about the upcoming 3.18 release for which he is the release manager, so far 200 bugs/enhancements have been dealt with and more than 700 patches integrated. The main highlights are a refactorisation of our UTF8 handling, to be much more robust and consistent. As well as some new features and many fixes of course. He listed some bugs, but my Spanish is nowhere near good enough to catch them all, I will try to get a list from his slides later.