Koha is an increasingly popular open source Library Management System (or Integrated Library System if you prefer) and KohaCon 12 was held at the University of Edinburgh from the 05 – 07 June, with an additional 2 day hackfest immediately following. This was a great event, jam-packed with information for both seasoned Koha users and those just testing the open source waters and with delegates from all over the world.
The event opened with Paul Poulain (release manager for Koha 3.8.) talking us through all the new features available in the latest version. This is a major release and includes such shiny new functionality as a new staff interface, improved acquisitions and faster processing.
Nason Bimbe from the British Library for Development Studies talked about their experience in moving a specialist library to Koha from a bespoke system.
Next up (after Elevenses, of course) was Chris Cormack, one of the original Koha developers and most active contributors. Chris talked about the various support mechanisms in place within the Koha community to cultivate an active and diverse community with a low barrier to entry for participation. This is a very newbie-friendly community and help is always available for those interested in getting involved.
Fittingly, next up Paul Poulain gave a demonstration of sandboxes. Sandboxes provide a way for users to get involved in the development process by removing some of the cumbersome technical barriers. There’s more information about the sandboxes on the Koha wiki.
Robin Sheat, who has managed quite a few migrations as a developer at Catalyst IT, lead a discussion on best practices for migrating an existing LMS to Koha and some of the gotchas to watch out for.
Nicole Engard talked gave a big-picture overview of the benefits and barriers to open source, drawn from her experience running training sessions on Koha and FOSS. This gave a nice segue into the panel discussion which covered some of the various ways migration is handled and how the Koha community addresses the barriers to both open source adoption and community participation.
Day two of the conference kicked off with Dianna Roberts from Opus International talking about how they use Koha in a multi-national special library context. Joy Nelson then gave another perspective on migrating a library to Koha from a proprietary LMS. Rafael Antonio followed this by talking about Koha in Portugal and how this fits with the a broader shift towards shared library resources.
Paul Poulain spoke about BibLibre’s experiences of using Mirabel, France’s shared database of journals, reviews and serials, with Koha. Afterwards, Joy Nelson gave another perspective on Koha migrations, focusing on specific migration heuristics
Next it was Marijana Glavica and Dobrica Pavlinušić from Croatia who have developed a way to import approximately 6000 scans of book covers (and the associated metadata) into Koha using their own ‘scrape-cataloguing’ technique.
Jane Wagner (Liblime/PTFS), presenting remotely, talking about how to troubleshoot Koha user support and Bob Birchall from Calyx in Australia discussed the importance of governance in ensuring the long-term survival of an open source project. This includes ensuring the software is shared under a suitable licence and that the intellectual property is protected in a sustainable way.
The final presentation of the second day was Adrien Saurat (BibLibre) talking about styling the Koha OPAC, using the SciencesPo Grenoble catalogue as an example.
I wasn’t able to say for the final day of the main conference and so missed some great presentations, including MJ Ray (software.coop and one of the organisers of the conference) talking about the future of Koha and demoes of various new developments, such as SRU, Solr, using a Drupal front-end and the off-line circulation module.
Marshall Breeding is the Director for Innovative Technology and Research @ Vanderbilt University and Editor of Library Technology Guides.
Abstract: The operations of libraries focus on ever increasing proportions of electronic and digital content relative to print materials. The structure of the legacy library management systems that dominated the last three or more decades of library automation was rooted in print, though some products have evolved better than others to accommodate modern content formats. The established worldview that libraries can rely on one set of automation tools for print and another set for managing digital collections and electronic subscriptions is in danger of collapse in favour of library services platforms that aim toward a more unified approach to resource management. The economic realities that libraries face today demand that they operate in the most efficient ways possible, with workflows that accommodate current needs and not built around assumptions of a past print-centric age. Breeding will provide an overview of the new library automation products now emerging and how they differ amongst themselves and from traditional library management systems. He will also provide information on the development progress of each of these new products and trends relative to their adoption in libraries and forecast their longer term impact on the library automation industry.
A new major release of the Koha open source library management system is now available. Koha 3.4.0 includes some pretty major changes to the underlying architecture with a shift to Template::Toolkit for templating and a range of new features — including some pretty exciting updates for the OPAC. You can read more about this version on the release page and in the latest issue of the Koha newsletter.
A new version of the VuFind library resource portal, is now available. This latest release comes with improved support for non-MARC metadata, autosuggesters, snippets, keyword highlighting, expanded OAI-PMH and RSS output, book previews through Google Books/OpenLibrary/Hathi Trust, more powerful favorite list management and a bunch of other new features and improvements.
For more information about this latest release and future development plans, check out the VuFind roadmap.
The latest issue of Library Technology Reports looks at Web Scale Discovery services and there’s an interview with the author, Jason Vaughan, on the ALAtechsource.org blog. Together these provide a pretty decent overview of the current status of web scale delivery systems and why these might just be the library systems of the future.
KohaCon10, marking the 10th anniversary of the Koha Library Management System, kicked off today in Wellington (give or take a pretty big time difference). There will be 3 days of conference followed by a three-day developer hackfest. They’ve also planned a trip to Levin in the Horowhenua, birthplace of Koha. All in all, it runs from 25 October to 1 November.