Kohacon16 Day 1 – EBSCO Discovery Service Koha Plugin: New Features and Apps

Alvet Miranda was up next after lunch to talk about the EBSCO plugin for Koha.

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Intro to discovery with Koha

Alvet did a really nice introduction into what Discovery is, and showed the EDS results both in the EDS interface and in Koha

New features and updates
  • Enhanced subject precision – Allows you expand and narrow your search in a more precise way.
  • Did you mean spelling suggestions
  • Date slider and min/max date range
  • Multiple facet selection
  • Holdings management
  • Exact publication search
  • Research starters
  • Admin updates – Editor for the js
Extendibility using Apps
  • Google analytics integration for event tracking
  • Many more available, but I lost track, they are in Alvets slides.

Kohacon16 Day 1 – New users, old problems? : Aristotle University Library staff’s satisfaction of Koha

Ionna Milotsi spoke to us about the satisfaction with Koha by the librarians at AUTh library.

Why Open Source?
  • Dissatisfaction with old systems
  • More control over development
  • Cost savings
  • Less dependence on vendors
  • More flexible
  • Ideology of the open movement – common values with libraries
Satisfaction with Koha

Serials and Acquisitions perform the worst in satisfaction with circulation and cataloguing performing the best. Overall it rates as good, or very good by the majority of users.

She presented a really great list of comments, which I will link to when they are placed online.

Desired improvements
  • Search result improvements
  • Speed
  • Search multiple locations
  • MARC Editor
  • Koha  offers enough functionality for them
  • Problems related to config
  • Difficulties from limited knowledge
  • Need more training
  • Need to repeat study, too soon to reach solid conclusions


Kohacon16 day 1 – Opting for an open source ILS : AUTh Library’s transition to Koha

Theodoros Theodoropoulos gave us a quick run down on first on the history of the University

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  • Founded in 1925
  • 11 faculties / 41 schools
  • 334km
  • 60K+ students
  • 2k+ staff
  • 4019 employees
  • Founded in 1927
  • Largest academic library, and 2nd largest library in greece
  • 50 branches
  • 1.3 phyiscal itmes in 90 collections
  • 300k ebooks
  • 28k active users
  • 120 employess
  • 200k transactions per year

The library has moved everyting to FOSS, the last 2 to move were Blackboard -> Moodle and Horizon to Koha.

He then gave us a history of the ILS at AUTh

  • 1927-90 – card catalogues mostly
  • 1990 – PTOLEMAEUS I
  • 1994 – PTOLEMAEUS II
  • 2000-2015 – Horizon (lots of problems in the first few years, 2004 they finally got to a stable version and stuck with it since then)
Why they had to change
  • Horizon product line is killed by SirsiDynix
  • EOL, no updates and no support
  • Java requirements meant horrible security situation
  • Client was made for XP, and crashes in windows 7
Closed or Open Source
  • Planning since 2009
  • Greek library consortium not specifically
  • seeking an open source ILS – most likely will end up proprietary. Would be client-server, would cost up to 150k Euro a year and they were worried about support. In 2014 Sierra won the tender
  • AUTh Univeristy had a strong tendency with F/OSS
Ok, But which Open Source ILS
  • About a dozen candidates
  • Only a few fully featured
  • Most have simplistic interfaces
  • Evergreen and Koha shortlisted
  • Supports marc21
  • excellent compatibility with test export files
  • supported all main modules
  • Greek/Unicode support
  • Worldwide
  • Web based
  • Source code, docs, wiki open
  • LTS and regular releases
  • Plugins etc

Tenders in Dec 2013, go live Sepetmber 2015

Challenges they faced

Mostly to do with data coming out of Horizon in hard to use formats. Biblibre wrote scripts to tidy the data before loading it into Koha. The hardest was Borrowers/Patron.  More than 50% of the borrowers didn’t have an email address. Performance was an issue, the catalogue search was the worst issue.


Everyworked pretty much, no major or blocking issues. Some issues were reported and most are fixed. Still some pending issues, mostly optimisations and enhancments. But they are happy with their choice.


Kohacon16 Day 1 – The application of FOSS in Libraries: a hope through the crisis

Prodromos Tsiavos – UCL the Media Institute, UK

After Paul and I talked, and some great coffee, we have Prodromos Tsiavos (@prodromos) from University College London talking about FOSS in libraries in the very challenging environment libraries are in.

He started by talking about Software (Free Software in particular) and noting that Software is not about code, it is about people and organisations. So we should be paying attention to the ecosystem, and the things that allow people and organistaions to flourish.

Software and Humans.

Software is

  • Built collectively
  • Knowledge intensive
  • A Learning Experience
  • Infrastructure dependent
  • Institution building
FOSS encompasses tremendous amount of value

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He also made the point that to do it properly, your code needs to be open from the beginning, Release Early, Release Often.


Licensing was talked about briefly, and he touched on the Trademark issues also. He said, choose a license that represents the values of your community, and when you have a name Trademark it. He talked for a bit about things that look like open source, or are marketed as, but that have a license that isn’t open.

So when you look at all this, you can see that FOSS is Collective Activity, that is Human Centric, it brings Sustainability and should be a part of a broader strategy.

Developing a FOSS Strategy
  • People and roles
  • Find other communities
  • Procurement – Buy hours not products : Buying locally, local labour, is so important especially in times of financial crisis.
  • Releases
  • Link to as many people/organisations as possible
  • Develop polices, PR policies, standards, events, ecosystem around the software
FOSS in libraries
  • Part of a broader FOSS strategy
  • Not just cost reduction
  • Develop sustainable experties
  • Link to R & D
  • Relate to open science and open data
  • It’s a knowledge instrument

Kohacon16 – Day 1 – Welcome

After a walk from the hotel (30 mins is a bit too far in this heat) we got to Aristotle University and completed registration for the conference.

The first session for the day was a welcome to the conference, followed by Paul and I talking about the history of Koha.

Giannis welcomed us all, more than 270 people registered from more than 30 countries. He made a point of thanking the University for their help. Then the Vice Rector of the University spoke about the university, and how it was 90 years old. As the biggest university in Greece, it is important to connect to the outside world, and that they were proud to host the conference. The head of the Libraries then spoke, unfortunately my Greek is non existent so I didn’t catch most of what she said.

Giannis then thanked the sponsors, without whom this conference couldn’t have taken place.