Increasing traceability of physical library items through Koha: the case of SELIDA

After a fantastic lunch, next up was Despoina Gkogkou talking about the SELIDA framework which is designed to provide a better audit trail /traceability of the the items.

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The library is based in the University of Patras, which is the 3rd largest in Greece with 35,000 users and eight branches. They have been using Koha early since May 2016, and they have translated the staff interface into Greek. They have had to make many few changes to get it working with Koha.

Kohacon16 Day 2 – Migrating to Koha. University of Macedonia Library Experience

Up next was Filippos Kolovos from the University of Macedona talking about their Koha journey.

They shifted from Horizon 7.3.2, which altho useful it was getting old and obsolete. They needed new features and wanted to follow the Open Source policy of the Library, being able to customise the software as needed.


Reasons to move
  • Funding issues
  • Koha is as good as many other systems.

They had 3 partners involved in the migration, EliDOC, BibLibre and Aristotle University. Migrated 11,105 users, 97,795 biblio records 102,157 authority records.

They bumped into some issues

Data migration
  • Authority values
  • New duplicated authorities
  • Different name titles linked to the wrong biblio
  • Weird renewal issue that I have to investigate after this talk
  • The log grew t0o fast  – Cataloguing logging was on and a massive batch process was run each night
  • Every major migration has different challenges
  • Both for the software and the staff
  • Sometimes you hit unexpected issues also

Kohacon16 Day 2 – How a local Koha users association can promote and support Koha

Following in the same vein we had Sonia Bouis talking about the French users group Kohala.

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She talked about the history of the association, the initial aim was a place where users and developers could talk together. They chose an association so it had a legal standing in France.

Association now
  • 6 Board members
  • 45 institutions / 14 people
  • Paid membership
  • French speaking mailing list – 500 subscriptions and 50 new subscriptions/year
  • A website
  • Symposium : each year since 2010, for new and experienced users.
  • Translate Koha into French
  • Translate the documentation into French
  • 2 Presentation days, demo for non users and information about the new release for current users
  • Training, 2 sessions/year technical and functional training
  • Representation at library conferences
  • Funding, financing journeys for the hackfest
  • Promotion – Not only a user group but they want to promote Koha and support FOSS


Kohacon16 Day 2 – Promoting Koha the Open Source Way: the Koha Gruppo Italiano

Stefano Bargioni was up next talking about the Italian Koha Users group, called the Koha Gruppo Italiano.


It started in 2008, and from 2010 they began doing presentations on a regular basis. In 2011 the library of the Pontificia Universita della Santa Croze moved to Koha. In February 2013 the created the foundation.

Stefano said “This is really important to us, 4 library directors now became friends because of Koha”

The basic idea was to promote Koha in Rome and Italy

  • Ensure it is robust choice
  • Use the power of FOSS
  • Discuss/Share with other libraries

They have done an amazing amount of work promoting and talking and using Koha.

One of the major things they did was get 2 grants from EBSCO for funding more development work in Koha.

Kohacon16 Day 2 – Koha International Fund

Brendan was up next talking about the Koha fundraising efforts.

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Last release
  • 28,058 hours  of effort in 6 months
  • 1643 patches
  • 4550 sign offs
What else can the fund do
  • Plumbing/Architecture
  • Grant money for developers
  • Conference sponsorships
  • Paid positions in the community
The structure
  • The fund raising committee
  • The grants committee
Next steps

We need volunteers to be on the committees (1 – 2 year terms)

Kohacon16 Day 2 – Koha Community Organisation

To start day 2 Paul Poulain and Jonathan Druart talked about the way the Koha community is organised.

Paul talked about that there are two different needs to balance

  • Want to fix a problem a problem
  • Want to do fun things
  • Want stable and usable applications
  • Care less about technical things as long as the software works
Importance of community

When you choose software, you choose its community and its way of doing things.

  1. Look for the features you want
  2. Then how is the community organised
  • Release manager
  • Release maintainers
  • QA Manager
  • QA Team
  • Documentation manager
  • Translation manager
  • Packaging manager
  • Bug wranglers
  • Wiki curators
  • Newsletter manager

We need tools

The ideal life of a bug

New bug -> Assigned -> Needs Signoff -> Signed off -> Passed QA -> Pushed to master -> Pushed to stable -> Resolved

But it might hit Failed QA, or Does not apply

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Workflow difficulties
  • Time – it can take time to get a patch in
  • Inactivity – we might not know it is important to you, or see it
  • Strong QA process
Whats next?
  • New Search engine
  • Clean code
  • Performance optimisation
  • Large libraries
  • Always better coordination
  • Always better long term view

Kohacon16 Day 1 – Let’s Encrypt Koha!

Mirko Tietgen was up next to talk about setting Koha up to use https by default using letsencrypt.

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Mirko had the unenviable task of first explaining encryption and why it was important, he did a great job of this. He then went on to explain Certificate Authorities and TLS. So why not just buy a Certificate? Expensive, do you trust the CA? How about self signed? Browsers throw up a big scary error and users panic, Hence letsencrypt.

Letsencrypt was started by Mozilla, EFF and University of Michigan, this went fully live 12 April 2016. And in the 16.05 release in May 2016 Koha uses letsencrypt.

koha-create –create-db –letsencrypt yourlibary

(It really is that simple)

Kohacon16 Day 1 – Setting up a new ILS using Koha: the case of the National Library of Greece

Next up was Mathios Stratis, talking about how in 2014 the National Library of Greece replaced Horizon with Koha. (It’s always great when you find out another National Library is using Koha).

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Why did they choose Koha?
  • UNIMARC Compliant
  • No license restrictions and cost
  • Less hardware for web based architecture
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Novemeber 2013 Koha proposed
  • March 21 2014 Contract signed
  • April 2014 Export records
  • April – September 2014 : Migration process and hardware build
  • October 6 2014 : Staff training
  • October 27 2014 : Koha live!
Local customisations
  • Checking for unsaved changes in the MARC editor
  • Vailidity checking of ISBN, ISSN, ISMN
  • Spell check as you type
  • Printing a summary of MARC record
  • Linking Bib records through 4xx and 5xx UNIMARC fields

And many more, I missed at least 8

The customisations will soon be submitted upstream for the rest of the community to benefit from.


Delay in updating a bibliographic record when an authority record is updated



Kohacon16 Day 1 – HORIZON to Koha data migration: technical issues and challenges: the Dimitris & Aliki Perrotis Library case

Next up was Iro Sotiriadou talking about another migration story. This time from Horizon to Koha.

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In 2000 the library installed Horizon, they had around 6500 records at that time. Around 2015 they started creating new library branches and expanding their collection. Also the high maintenance fees for Horizon and the financial crisis in Greece put pressure on the system.

So in September 2015 they installed Koha, they used the migration to do a heavy weeding process and data cleansing.

  • Step 1 – MARC fields usage stats in Horizon
  • Step 2 – Decide what fields to transfer to Koha
  • Step 3 – Change encoding to UTF8
  • Step 4 – Export bib and authority records, convert and merge them
  • Step 5 – Check and recheck

After migration, lots more checking and training

  • Bilingual option
  • What is the audience option in advanced search?

Kohacon16 Day 1 – Migrating from WinISIS to Koha – a case study

Rocio Dressler from ByWater Solutions was up next talking about data migrations, specifically one of her hardest ones a WinISIS to Koha one.

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WinISIS exports .iso files, what is that? It turns out that MARCedit can convert .iso to MARC files. Unfortunately for Rocio the converted file was in something .. that looked like MARC .. but was none of the standards she’d seen.  So she had to map the tags to where they should be in MARC21. She ended up with a file that .iso fields on the left and MARC21 fields on the right.

In the migration toolbox there are some scripts to do Tag and Subfield analysis to find inconsistencies. But where now? MARCedit can set up a batched process, called task lists, that you can do a bunch of tasks to automate a process.

Of course once it is loaded into Koha you need the librarians to test the data and find any other inconsistencies.

This was Rocio’s first Kohacon presentation and she did a great job, the first of many I am sure.