Koha FAQ

About this FAQ

I have a question not listed here. What should I do? :Add your question to the “Unanswered Questions” section below, and hopefully someone will give you an answer. :Alternately, join one of the mailing lists, the Koha IRC channel, search the web for more information, or experiment with Koha to see if you can figure out the answer. If you find an answer this way, please come back and add the info you found to this FAQ.

Contacting Koha People

Mailing Lists



How do I install as a normal user in some strange dir? :You still need the mysql root to create the databases, but then when you run perl Makefile.PL you can choose the directory to install it in.

Installation of Complete System including LINUX, Apache, MySQL, etc.

I have just downloaded and tried the Live CD (2.2.3 I think). I am VERY impressed with its performance, and would recommend it to anyone wanting to try LINUX, even if he/she has no interest in Koha. It is the best LINUX Live CD I have ever tried. It is fast and very reliable (so far).

Now my question: Is there something that I could download and just install on an older computer that would be complete (or at least have everything that the Live CD has), which would do all the partitioning, reformating, etc.? I have an old Pentium II that I would like to try, but I would rather not go through all the hassle of finding a distribution that would work, plus installing all the packages separately. I am quite happy to dump the old Windows system on it. I suppose an alternative would be to try to install the Windows version – but I really like the LINUX that comes with the Live CD.

Answer: Yes you can use the vmware image at http://contribs.koha.org/extensions.php?category=9

Reports, Total Issue

One of the items listed by moredetail.pl is 'Total Issues:' It's an active link, but it doesn't list a number there on moredetail.pl. Should it? Or is it just a way to link to bookcount.pl? :It's just a link to bookcount.pl. The moredetail.pl script only works with data on the biblioitem level – which sounds odd, since it displays lots of item information. But all of that information is retrieved using the biblioitemnumber. The bookcount.pl script goes a layer deeper and retrieves data by itemnumber. :Maybe it would be less confusing if the link said “See issue history” or something like that instead of “Total issues.” :[Owen Leonard, Steve Hedges, posted by Nick]


Does Koha support MARC? :Yes. MARC21 in english and UNIMARC in french supported in 2.0.0 release by Paul. To add a new flavor, edit manually MARC parameters setup or fill the marc_*_structure tables with a script.

Does Koha support repeated subfields? :In fact, there's an undocumented feature : to repeat just a subfield, enter the values separated by “|” like this : xxx|yyy - xxx & yyy will be stored in 2 differents subfields. [From : Paul] http://bugs.koha.org/cgi-bin/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=731

Behind the Scenes: modules, config and so on

Does admin (or whoever performs cataloging) need to manually export PERL5LIB and KOHA_CONF env variables as root?

  • No. But your KOHA_CONF must be readable by the user launching a script in console. [Benedykt P. Barszcz. MJ Ray. Nick]

What does C4 mean?

  • Horowhenua library trust's old system was called C2, so the working name for Koha (before we named it Koha) was C4 … either twice as good, or liable to explode. It was called kumara for a brief period of time too, before Koha was settled on. We had to amuse ourselves somehow. [Chris Cormack]


What languages are available for Koha?

Koha 3.0

Koha 2.0

  • English
  • French
  • Polish
  • Chinese (?)

Koha 1.3

  • English
  • more?

Can I add my language….? :Yes it's possible. We use tools like kbabel or another .po file editor. If you don't have access to this, we have to think about how. Help (in english) is available at the koha-translate mailing list.


MJR has intro-to-barcode notes that he will make available if asked, but the info is online already. [where is it?]

Barcode Size

It seems that a lot of library cards use 14 digit numbers. I suspect this is because some bar code scanners only support 16. At the moment, koha supports 9-character card numbers. Can we make it support 14? Do I just need to update the database? :You will just need to change the database.

Reports, Accounts

On the Intranet front page, the link to the “Reports” menu is called “Accounts and Reports”. What does “Accounts” mean here? :Two of the reports are accounting reports, listing the names, amounts, and types of payments people have made against their outstanding account balances. (One report for the current day, one report for the previous day.) :[Ambrose, Steve, Nick]

How can one create a report to see which items are the most heavily circulated?

Character Sets

Why is there a call number prefix while cataloging a book but there's no Call Number feature in Koha tables (this is my guess)? :There are three columns in the biblioitems table that can be used to handle the call number: classification, dewey, and subclass. For example, a book might have a call number of “JNF 641.5 He,” meaning “Juvenile Non-Fiction, Dewey number 641.5, author's last name starts with 'He'.” In this case the “JNF” would be the classification, the “641.5” would be the dewey, and the “He” would be the subclass. :[Bened., Steve, Nick]



To uninstall:

  1. Drop the Koha database
  2. remove the web sites (rm -rf /usr/local/koha if you installed in the standard location)
  3. rm /etc/koha.conf
  4. rm /etc/koha-httpd.conf
  5. delete the koha related entries in the mysql users table

Then your system should be comletely koha free.

Additionally, some have found that it was best first to open koha.conf (since it contained the paths to the other files) then to delete it and those other files, and then to drop the database.

Here are the 2 steps:

[kb2qzv@localhost kb2qzv]$ mysql -uroot -p mysql
Enter password:xxxxx

Reading table information for completion of table and column names
You can turn off this feature to get a quicker startup with -A
Welcome to the MySQL monitor. Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 208 to server version: 3.23.58
Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.

mysql> delete from user where user='kohaadmin';
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.03 sec)

mysql> delete from db where user='kohaadmin';
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> drop database Koha;
Query OK, 180 rows affected (0.05 sec)
mysql> \q


Now you should restart your mysql daemon.

Step number 2

[kb2qzv@localhost kb2qzv]$ su - root
[root@localhost root]# rm -rf /usr/local/koha/
[root@localhost root]# rm /etc/koha.conf
rm: remove regular file `/etc/koha.conf'? y
[root@localhost root]#

Item Types

Why would item types have anything to do with the MARC mixing up like that? [like what?] :Koha does many crazy things if item types aren't handled carefully. It cannot be emphasized too much that the _first_ thing folks need to do on the admin page is set up their item types!


TODO: Add note on javascript breaking local disability laws.

Does the usage of GIF images in Koha cause legal problems? Why not use PNG? :All GIF patents have expired, as of mid-2004. These did not cause legal problems for Koha, but now it is not an issue for others, either. See http://burnallgifs.org for more details. :[Scott]

:IE still doesnt handle png transparency in 32bits correctly as of <DATE>, so we haven't switched. PNG in 8bits are OK. :[Bend., Chris, Nick, Paul]

:IE 7 (finally) correctly support alpha-transparency in PNGs, FYI [JonCamfield]

Unanswered Questions

(please answer, then move the question to an appropriate section above)

How can you create new reports?

How can you set up your business days/hours in KOHA so that materials are not due on days that you are closed?

Related to new installation of v1.2.3, July 2005

We have just installed v1.2.3 and as it is on a Pentium 2, and just for a small club, we may stay with this. But I would like to know if the following is possible? a. How can I find out who currently has an item on loan without waiting for overdue report.

b. I busily entered lots of good 'stuff' into notes and then discover thay can't be seen on the OPAC. How can I change that?

c. Where is the data held to move info from one hard drive to another, ie, if I want to work on info at home and them move it onto the club's computer. I think that is the same as the backup specific info sql report, but just want to be sure.

d. Dumb question, probably, but if I want to work on one computer and then move the info to another via CD etc, do I have to be running the same version on each machine?

e. Just to let you know I am impressed with the intranet part of Koha even though I am using 1.2.3, well done.

Barcode Check

Could someone point me to what would need to be done to include “Katipo” checksum validation of the barcode field on the /cgi-bin/koha/acqui.simple/additem.pl page? [tomasz kotula. unanswered. Nick]

Rank Modification

I'm looking at the table of requests displayed by request.pl and wondering how the 'rank' modification works. It seems happy enough for me to specify '1' for all the requests on a single book. Is it up to me to alter the rank of all the requests at once? If so, shouldn't there be a mechanism for doing this automatically? For example, our waiting list for the upcoming Harry Potter book is 60 names long. It would be infeasible to renumber all 60 by hand.


Hi I´m testing the Koha2.0.0-pre5-W32-R2 and in the release notes said that in this version i can manage fines when the book is returned too late, but i can´t make these… somebody helpme to configure the system that they say me the user has a fines and the system show the bill in the FINES & CHARGES seccion.


On Koha 2.0.0 pre 5 Win32-R2 and is when you add a memmber to the example batabase the memember is added but you can´t called these memmeber for issues. And when you try add a other user the process is complete but the user is not added to the database.


I'd like to install Koha 2.2.4 on a server where it will be integrated into an existing website. For various reasons I need to limit web activity to the default port 80. This means I need to have both the opac and the inranet sites run on port 80. My intention is to differentiate them using just directories under a single virtualserver instance. It looks like this should be possible based on what is being done in the httpd.conf. Just move the appropriate lines into directory .htaccess files under the already existing web path. My question is will this cause any problems with the backend/scripts/utilities/etc.

— Credits additions: Roger Horne L. Mark Bruffey Scott Scriven (ToyKeeper)

FAQ from koha.org

What is Koha*?/What can Koha do?

:Koha is intended to be:

  • a library catalogue front end/OPAC
  • a library system intranet
  • a circulation tracking system
  • an acquisitions/budgeting system

Where did Koha come from?

:The name comes from the Maori word for a gift or donation. The programme was written by Katipo Communications for the Horowhenua Library Trust, in response to a need for a library programme that would run at branch libraries connected to the central library by ordinary phone lines. See http://www.library.org.nz/koha.htm (Or Appendix 2) for the full story.

Who is this Kaitiaki person?

:Kaitiaki is the Maori word for Guardian. When the Koha user and developer community realized some sort of combination Benevolent Dictator/Juggler might be a good idea, they chose a name that would reflect what they felt his/her role would be. The Kaitiaki is currently elected from among the membership of the developers' list – this includes the Katipo staff as well as representatives of several of the libraries and the far flung contributors of code, documentation, and kibitzing. This person is also responsible, with the advice and consent of the community, for trying to decide target dates for things like releases and features scheduling… and trying to help bring some order from the chaos ;). He also helps coordinate efforts and agendas, particularly through the mechanism of the every-few-weeks IRC meetings. Traditionally, the Kaitiaki also handles things like release announcements to sites like OSS4lib.

Who or what is Katipo?

:Katipo is a company. See http://www.katipo.co.nz/ for more information. It is named after a small native spider. The Katipo spider is a dune-dweller and New Zealand's only poisonous native creature.

What language are the words Koha, Horowhenua and Katipo in?

:They are in the Maori language, the language of the people native to New Zealand.

Where is Horowhenua?

:It's a small district on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, wedged between the Tararua mountains and the Tasman Sea. It's about an hour's drive north of the city of Wellington, and has population of 30,000. The name means erosion or landslide in Maori.

How are the words Koha*, Horowhenua and Katipo pronounced?

:For vowel sounds, think French: a as in far; e as in egg; i as the e in me; o as the a in paw; u as the oo in moon, dipthong ai as y in sky For consonants, wh is pronounced variously as h, w and f; we use the f pronunciation in Horowhenua. Other consonants as you would expect, with the p a little softer and less explosive than in English. The stress is always on the first syllable, with a secondary stress on the third syllable in Horowhenua. So:

  • koha (kaw_ha)
  • horowhenua (haw_raw_fen_oo_a)
  • katipo (kah_tee_paw)
  • kaitiaki (ky tee a kee)
    • If you are serving a community where Spanish is spoken, you may want to use a different name to refer to the software. The reason for this is that the Maori word “Koha” (gift) sounds like the Spanish word “coja” (cripple).

How scalable is Koha?/(as in) How big a library system can it support?

:Good question. :) The Koha developers think this is most likely be a database (ie MySql) issue, primarily. Big server, lots of RAM is better for heavier use. It comes down to what is an acceptable number of seconds for any given lookup to complete. Our guess is that it would be most important for circulation. Librarians generally don't want to wait for more than a second to complete a return, for example. This would require some benchmarking with real data. The biggest library using Koha so far is Nelsonville Public Library, Ohio, USA, with 250,000 items, and 600,000 circulation per annum.

Who is using Koha? On what hardware/operating system?

:As far as hardware and operating system:

:Horowhenua Library Trust, New Zealand (3 branches, 80,000 books, 25,000 patrons) ::Dual Intel Pentium III 1 Gigahertz processor ::1Gb of RAM mirrored ::Maxtor 20Gb 7200rpm disks ::Debian Linux “woody” (the testing distribution) ::Administrator comment: “The above appears to be somewhat overpowered.”

:Coast Mountain School District, British Columbia, Canada (8 branches, 2,000 to 8,000 books per site, 1,000 patrons) ::Pentium 200 MHz to 300 MHz machines (1 per site) ::64 MB of ram

:Nelsonville (8 branches, including a bookmobile, 250,000 items, ??patrons) ::?? ::Respectively: ::HLT - ::CMSC -

Do you have any recommendations about servers and configuration?

:[The following is a comment from Simon Blake on the subject]

:Were I specifying a new box for Koha, given current prices I'd put as much RAM as I could into the machine - 1.5Gb of RAM costs (I assume) around US$100-150 at the moment, and with that much RAM in the box, most of the Koha database will be in memory rather than on disk, and this does brilliant things for the performance of MySQL. So, lots of RAM is crucial, and then as much CPU and disk performance as you can afford. Bear in mind that Koha will work fine on a low spec machine (say, a Pentium 150 with 32Mb RAM). It'll just be slow, and the slowness will increase as usage increases. So you can run it up on any machine that can run MySQL and Apache, and see how it goes, and if it's too slow then you can throw money at the problem until you get the performance you want. You'll need to tune MySQL to use all that RAM, here's what Chris has in the MySQL config at the moment:

:set-variable_key_buffer_256m :set-variable_max_allowed_packet_1m :set-variable_table_cache_256_s :set-variable_sort_buffer_1m :set-variable_record_buffer_1m :set-variable_myisam_sort_buffer_size_64m :set-variable_thread_cache_8

:Make sure, also, that your disks are setup correctly, with the highest possible DMA support - hdparm is your friend. I'd observe, also, that long term Koha should get faster, and thus need less in the way of resources to run it - there are some fairly inefficient table structures in Koha, a hangover from the previous system HLT ran, and as these get ironed out and removed, I'd expect Koha to get quicker.

What are valid library card numbers? I keep trying… We've worked out a spreadsheet that does the checkdigit subroutine inside C4::Input.pm and got the last digit to match the result.. and its still not valid.

:Library cards employ check digits. Check digits are numbers that are based on a mathematical formula devised to help detect typical data entry errors. Koha uses a 9 character barcode standard. There is an excel spreadsheet to generate compatible card numbers at http://developer.koha.org/HLT2.xls .

:Brief history of cardnumbers and Koha: :Because Horowhenua Libraries get their cards and labels pre-printed, Koha didn't need to generate numbers. It just needed to check that the number entered conformed to the checkdigit routine.

:There is a project waiting for a sponsor on the [http://koha.org/contribute/ how can I contribute list] to get Koha generating numbers.

What is the easiest way to allocate new Koha library card numbers?

:Go to your admin page, and set AutoMemberNum? to 1 - that will get koha making its own card numbers. Otherwise, make a little routine that generates numbers that fits that checkdigit. But what is more pertinent I guess is how to change the checkdigit routine so it fits your existing numbering scheme. At the moment the there is no easy way, apart from hacking at the perl.

How can I prevent users from accidentally deleting items and borrowers from the database?

:The undelete biblio option at the bottom of this page: http://hlt.katipo.co.nz/cgi-bin/koha/maint/catmaintain.pl . It provides a quick way to undo a mistake - and it is tucked away in an admistration 'bit' of Koha. It would be pretty cool (and might eventually happen) to have an undelete borrowers option on a page somewhere which retrieves from the deleted borrowers table (as opposed to the borrowers table).

What record formats does Koha support?

:Currently, Koha has a custom backend database for storing bibliographic information.

Can I import/export MARC?

:It is currently possible to import MARC records, one at a time. Full MARC support is coming for both the database and the front end.

I know US librarians are always saying that if it doesn't use MARC, then they can't use it. So, is that yet another part that has to be added to Koha?

:You can import information from MARC format (see above). However there is work very near completion on a more comprehensive support for MARC - so that you can get the information in more automatically, and also store and potentially export it back out again in MARC.

Where can I find information about MAchine Readable Cataloging (MARC)

:Information about MAchine Readable Cataloging (MARC) http://www.oasis-open.org/cover/marc.html :Also try the US Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/marc/

Do I have to pay to use Koha?


What is the license?

:Koha is distributed under the General Public License (GPL). More information on the GPL can be found at: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html#GPL The gist of the license is that you are free to use, modify and distribute the program at no cost to yourself, provided that modifications you distribute are also released under the GPL. Obviously, we'd appreciate an email about it… and the chance to add anything we find useful to the primary Koha package.

Why is Koha given away?

:Koha is open source software. In open source software, software developers give away the fruits of their labour in the hopes that others will help them develop the software.

How do I install Koha?

:See the INSTALL file included in the distribution, or the manual's 'Step by Step' section.

Where can I get Koha?

:If you're in New Zealand, a mirror is at http://www.koha.org/download/ Otherwise, try http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=16466

How do I set up printer options?

:Insert into the printer table something like: insert into printer (printername,printqueue) values ('No Printer','nullip'); And in the branch table try: insert into branches (branchcode,branchname) values ('T','Test');

What is the “user” table used for… and where is it used?

:We use the users table for doing authentication with Apache::AuthDBI, so it contains the users and passwords for valid users to connect to the librarian part of koha.

Is there a config guide or menu for what to put into the SQL tables for preferences, etc for a new blank installation?

:Nope we are sorely lacking that. What you need in the systempreferences table is to use the simple acquisitions module. That is:

:Insert into systempreferences (variable,value) the values ('acquisitions','simple'); Then, from the index page of the intranet page (eg your equivalent of http://hlt.katipo.co.nz/ ) clicking on acquisitions will take you to the simple acqui screen and you should be able to start loading in data from there.

What other software do I need to run Koha?

:See the [http://koha.org/installation/index.html Install] section. The -very- short answer is, you can get by with most free versions of Unix(GNU/Linux, etc), Apache, Perl (and some additional modules).

Where can I get help with Koha?/Where can I get support?

:Katipo, the company that built the original Koha, makes a mailing list available to Koha users, who (as is customary with Open Source software) help each other out with questions. Usually most of the development team monitors and comments on this list as well. See: http://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha

Where can I get help with databases?

:Best bet at the moment is to ask the list (above).

Who maintains Koha?

:Koha is currently maintained by a team of volunteer developers spread across New Zealand, France, Canada, and the United States. There is a sourceforge mailing list for the development team. If you're interested in joining please email info AT koha.org. Additionally, we have had assistance and contributions from Pawel in Poland, who gave us a neat translation script and has helped with installs in Poland.

Can I pay for support? (If so, who?)

:Please see the [http://koha.org/installation/support.html SUPPORT] page of the Koha website to get in touch with Koha contributors willing to do contracting work.

Can I get Koha in my own language?

:A French package exists at the Sourceforge site (see under “Where can I get Koha?”). Support in French is available from Paul Poulain [paul DOT poulain AT free DOT fr]. Polish and Chinese versions are also available. We're very open to new languages being added. We currently have additional language development in the discussion stage.

I see people are working on feature X. Can you tell me when a release with feature X will ship?

:The Kaitiaki's irregular messages to the Koha user list are your best bet for information on features intended for the upcoming release, as well as target dates. The Koha Roadmap is a working outline of where development is headed, longer term. Please contact info AT koha DOT org for a pointer to the current version of the Roadmap.

Can I pay for feature additions? (If so, who?)

:You certainly can. Try the Support page on the koha.org site – Koha contributors willing to do contracting work are listed there. Please contact the development team (info AT koha.org) if you wish to become a contractor-contributor.

How can I contribute to Koha?

:Check with a member of the development team: info AT Koha.org for information about our current assistance needs, etc.

I heard about you through OpenBook/LearningAccess ILS – what exactly is your relationship to that project?

:OpenBook was inspired by Koha, and is now called the LearningAccess ILS. Originally they were associated Waitt Family Foundation funded Technology Resource Foundation (formerly at http://www.trfoundation.org/). Under the terms of the Open Source license, “forks” such as this are entirely acceptable. OpenBook, like Koha, is released under the GPL. Currently it is installed at some Washington state (US) local libraries.

:OpenBook is now available as a Beta download: http://resources.centralmanclc.com/openbook/

:Information is available at: http://www.learningaccess.org/

Who has been involved with Koha's creation and development?/The Credits

:Koha Credits

  • Horowhenua Library Trust
  • Rosalie Blake, Head of Libraries
  • Jo Ransom
  • Katipo Communications
  • Rachel Hamilton-Williams, General Manager (Webmistress)
  • Simon Blake, Technical Manager, Server Administrator Amanda Atkins, Operations Manager
  • Chris Cormack, 1.2 release guru
  • Olwen Williams
  • Finlay Thompson
  • Gynn Lomax
  • Richard Anderson
  • Jeremy Blake, Katipo Koha Project Manager
  • Rebecca Holden, New Koha.org page
  • Steve Tonnesen, MARC import/export guru
  • Pawel Skuza, Polish Language porter
  • Glen Stewart
  • Paul Poulain, 1.4 release manager
  • Pat Eyler, Kaitiaki
  • Roger Buck
  • Adam Thick
  • Florian Bischof
  • Sebastiaan Durand
  • Andrew Hooper
  • Mike Mylonas
  • Mike Johnson
  • Mike Hansen
  • Nicholas Rosasco, Documentation Editor/Compiler


Much of the QuestionsPosed document is below:

I added a new set of questions to the end -pate

[Rachel] Just a note, that if *I* was responding as Katipo I would have “commercial” information where that was clearly being asked for - ie in support etc, so respond as a Koha vender, providing service - so have put in my comments from that “position”. If you were doing a more general FAQ you might not have that info.

(eli) Just to establish the level of 'wishlistiness' of these questions, many of these are asked of prospective vendors to get a handle on what the users are able to change after installation, not due to the user's level of development expertise or comfort, but due to the vendor not letting the user technically or legally touch parts of the system.(/eli)

Unsorted Questions

(please sort these)

Which operating system, or choice of systems, does the proposed library automation system run on?

: Primarily developed on Linux, but should be capable of running on any system that supports MySQL, Perl, and Apache.

: (Rach) Koha has been got running on Windows 2000, Windows NT, Solaris, Debian Linux, Redhat Linux, Mandrake and MacOSX.

: We Katipo [insert name of your business :-] would recommend Debian Linux, because it's the operating system we support, and the system Koha was originally developed for.

: Debian Linux is a free Open Source operating system, which we've found very stable and blah blah (something about your choice of operating system).

: However if you are a “NT or Sun house”, we are happy to install Koha on it's own box with your operating system of choice, and work with your existing support staff to ensure it co-exists happily with your other servers.

: Depending on the size of your library, we would recommend that you have a server cluster for Koha, with different machines running the OPAC and librarian modules.

: (/rach)

Is system administration done with command lines or a graphical module? We should see it.

: Primarily web-based.

: (rach) : System administration of Koha is done via a web interface, although you can have direct (command line) access to the database and underlying systems at your own discretion. There is online help and tutoring available for your staff to help them gain any additional skills they may require for “deep” database administration.

: We have included a cost for us to provide ongoing database administration and help desk support so that you can evaluate the benefits of training your own staff.(/rach)

What is the backup utility? Does it use tapes?

: No backup utility is bundled with Koha, although any backup utility that works with Linux will work fine (BRU, tar, rsync, MySQL replicating servers, etc.)

: (Rach) : Our backup soloutions are usually tailored to your own level of need, budget and any existing infrastructure. Soloutions vary from the simple mirroring of disks within the one machine, to a complete redundent system, or utilising existing tape based infrastructure.

: We have quoted below based on having a mirror disk (or Raid system) within the server, and have some time allocated to connect to an existing backup (tape) system. (/rach)

Does the system have its own file and disk maintenance procedures? If so, how are they performed?

: (Rach)The Koha system sits lightly on the OS and hardware, so it leaves disk maintenance up to the programme best able to handle it (the OS). We tend to se the databases up to log all changes, so that they can be “rolled back”, and with a nightly mirror or raid system we haven't had any issues with corrupt files that couldn't be solved in that way. (/rach)

What administrative functions or upgrades require the system to be off-line, and for how long?

: (Rach)There aren't any administrative functions that require the system to be off line, although some reports can slow things down so we'd recommend that they not be run during your busy times.

: Upgrades usually require the system to be unavailable for a few minutes, and are scheduled accordingly. If this is an issue the OPAC (Public website) can be run on a seperate machine, or have a redundent machine. It is up to you as to how much down time is acceptable.(/rach)

Is there a backup module for circulation in case the system is down?

: This could range from simple to complex

: * Could add a circulation interface that accepts a list of member card numbers and barcode numbers in a text area box and processes them en masse. Then the backup module could be a word processor where the member card number and barcode numbers are scanned into. Later, when the system is back online, just copy and paste the data into the text box and circulation information would be updated. This interface would have to ignore any circulation errors, as the patron and item could be long gone by the time the system is back online and things like fines, reserves etc are checked. : * If the main system goes down, switch to the backup system and carry on. (Note that this would require the backup system to stop replicating changes from the main server when the main server comes back online, and for the main server to refuse to accept further changes until it has taken over from the backup server again).

: (rach)The system doesn't need to go down, so the only outages that are likely to result in this are power failure, hardware failure etc in which case having a manual system could be useful(/rach)

Describe the way customer support works, what it covers, and hours of service.

: //koha.org/installation/support.html

: (rach)You are not obliged to pay for customer support. Free support is available through the Koha mailing lists and the koha IRC chat channels on a voluntary basis.

: We offer commercial support in addition to the free support which you're welcome to pick and choose from. These are our “packages”

: Helping Hand: If you have a good DBA internally, and are confident you can deal with most librarian issues, but would like a backup for that person, or the sureity of some extra skills this may suit you.

: You get a Helpdesk: e-mail, private chat channel and phone number to call in business hours. It's expected that we will mostly be helping your person “on the ground” to solve problems themselves.

: Cost $xxx/month, max 20 hours per year. If you require more significant assistance that will take us over this allowance we will let you know, and if you're happy for the work to proceed charge $xx/hr for additional hours, and hours outside of 8am-6pm Monday - Friday. We can negotiate this rate to include the actaul hours the library operates if they are significantly different to a “normal” work day.

: Open When You Are: This package will suit libraries who have either had some experience with Koha already and so have learnt some system adminstration and database admin, or who have some local consultants. You get the above help desk services extended to match your actual opening hours, including weekends and late nights. We also monitor your system, and perform upgrades for you when you need them done.

: Cos $xxx/month, max 100 hours per year…

: Total Care: If you have very few technical resources, then we are happy to become part of your team, overseeing the servers, a 24 x 7 phone number, and if possible then actual vists to your site to add new machines, reconfigure servers and so on.

: We tend to do this on a $/hr basis as your needs can vary, but would expect it to average at $xxx/month. : (/rach)

What is the indexing capability for the catalog? How many indexes can we have? Can they be customized?

: Customization is our strong point!

Describe the capacity for integrating selfcheck machines with the system. Is it SIP1/SIP2/NCIP compliant?

: No. This functionality has been requested by another library and, I believe, will be at least partially funded by them.

: (rach) : 3M Asia/Pacific have in the past offered to write the code required to go with their particular machines.(/rach)

What report writing capability does the system have? : HLT uses a client (UrbanSQL I think?) that connects to the MySQL database for generating reports.

: It is also possible to create cgi scripts that access the MySQL data for generating reports. This is the method that I use.

: A decent CGI based reportwriter would be a boon for evrybody, I think - Si

What “canned” reports are available? : 'Very limited at the moment. I'd like to see this improve. (rach) There is a till reconciliation report and an overdues report that run nightly - if I remember correctly(/rach) Is there an API available? Can we develop applications that can directly access the database? (Rach) You are welcome to develop applications yourself, we would love for your staff to join the Koha development team and partcipate fully in the project. If you do develop applications, it would be expected (although not compulsary) that you would gift them back to the Koha project.(/rach) Is there a function for electronic ordering, such as from Baker and Taylor? Does B&T support your ordering module? (Rach) Not at the moment, although if B&T have code we can use it would be a useful enhancement. We can quote you for it if you like(Rach) What flexibility is there for customizing the catalog? Can the catalog engine search external databases? (Rach) You can customise the catalogue within existing fields through the template system, additional fields and customisation is certainly possible, and we would be happy to quote you for it as a seperate "job". (rach) Is the system client-server or web based? Web-basedWhat is the capacity for e-mail functions, including e-mail notices? This functionality is being added now, and should be available when 1.2.3 is released.'

Can the system integrate library fines with external payment interfaces (library cards, etc.)?

: (Rach) Not sure I understand the question - is that like paying with your credit card? Koha understands about fines, and that if you have some you can't necessarily get out books. When someone pays a fine it is “checked off”. (/rach)

: [kip] One example would be a stored cash card. A library card that has a magnetic stripe on it recording an amount of laser-printing/photocopy money available to the patron. Being able to take fines from that stored value is a plus. [/kip]

Which RFID vendors have successfully integrated with your system?

: (rach) whats an RFID vendor?(/rach)

: [kip] Radio Frequency Identification, a tag that can replace a scanned barcode. Instead, you paste an RFID tag on the book or material and pass it over a reader which contains an antenna and transceiver which excites the tag and causes it to transmit a 64 bit ID back to the reader. Though some of the newer RFID systems include an actual data container on the tag which can be rewritten. A little news bit can be found at http://www.ala.org/alonline/ts/ts902.html [/kip]

Can receipt printers work with the system? : (Rach) Yes (/rach)

Have you converted DRA Classic sites in the past? Describe your conversion process. What data can you *not* convert?

: (Rach) No but we have converted other Intergrated Library Systems and have manged to get Catalogue, itemtypes, location, borrowers (patrons), reserves, issues, fines - ie a very complete data set out of the system. It will depend on how easy the DRA system is to extract data from, but if it holds the data we require it should be possible to get that information out of it.

: The information that we decided was the matrix of usertype and their corresponding loan length, fee level for different sorts of books etc as the library took the opportunity to reveiw thier policies at this time anyway. (/rach)

Can your system work with Epixtech's URSA module for inter-library loan?

: (Rach) It hasn't had to yet, but we would not envisage any problems with it. We have included the quote for it below (/Rach)

Do you provide an integrated point of sale module?

: (Rach) Do you mean a demo? Yes you can have a CD, or check out the fully functional version on www.koha.org (/rach)

: (eli) This means a cash register application, that can keep track of a till and pay off fines on a user's account in one step. Many libraries have to enter the transaction twice (at least)… once for the user account, and again for the register. Based on your mention of a till report above, it sounds like this exists.(/eli)

What functions can our public do from home via our catalog –pay fines? renew items? place requests? renew cards?

: (Rach) They can't pay fines unless your library has credit card /merchant account facilities, or perhaps uses pay pal, although that wouldn't be difficult to add. They can do activities where the risk of them not being “really them” are low. So Renewing a card, changing address etc which may require ID they can't do, however renewing items, updating some personal information, placing requests, saving lists and saving their reading record are all great services for your patrons (/rach)

: Renew items, place requests

Does the catalog have multi-lingual support?

: In development

What are the options, or lack of, regarding database privacy (reading records of the public, retrospective history, etc.)?

: 'Koha can store the full reading record of all patrons, no reading records, or optionally store reading records (ie at patron's request'

Is there support for access via hand-helds?

: (Rach) If that's required then a new template could easily be developed for them (/rach)

What is the database platform? Proprietary? Oracle? Informix? SQL? Something else?

: The database used is MySQL

: (Rach) We use MySQL, others use PostgreSQL and it has been run up on Oracle and I think even MS-SQL. If you have a corporate policy supporting a particular database then we are likely to be able to accomodate it (/Rach)

Can customized fields be added to either item or patron records?

: Yes.

: (Rach) Yes for a price - unless you have the skills yourself. (/rach)

What flexibility is there for searching item and patron records? Can additional item and patron fields be made searchable?

: (Rach) Yes for a price - unless you have the skills yourself. (/rach)

Can the system store content (not just indexing) for digital materials, photographs, e-books, digital audio?

: (Rach) It doesn't currently but Yes for a price - unless you have the skills yourself. (/rach)

Can staff get real-time statistics on demand? : (Rach) It doesn't currently but Yes for a price - unless you have the skills yourself. (/rach)

Is there any way for users to get automatic bibliographies on request? : (Rach) Not sure I understand the question…. It doesn't currently but Yes for a price - unless you have the skills yourself. (/rach) : (eli) This basically refers to having the patron's interface do a bit of secondary processing to determine things that may not explicitly be in item or title records, i.e. a list of all new DVDs, or a hard link that returns the entire large print collection, or maybe a list of everything on the second floor.(/eli) : (Rach) IF the searches can be constructed then I don't see why not. Would need some interface changes to the patron pages to give them access to them(/rach)

Is there any capacity for debit interfaces with functions such as printing?

: (Rach) Automatic payment type things? Not sure, the printing bit sounds easy but dunno about the rest(/rach) : (eli) No system currently does this that we know of, but it would be great to merge that functionality into the automation system and into the desktop, so that the logged-on user's account is automatically charged for pages printed.(/eli)

: (Rach) Ah yes - we have a plan for this. We (Katipo) have been working on systems that mediate access for users to the internet. We have one installed at a school (called schoolnet) and one with an ISP (ish) called CafeNet. Both have a system of quota or prepaid amounts on an account, and we think it would be very cool to get that integrated with Koha so that the members account is debited. Issues we have to resolve - should it be only “prepaid” like our courrent installations are, or can they run up a “tab”. IF they can run up a tab, is it to the same total amount as they are allowed for fines ($5 for Horowhenua and then they aren't allowed more books out), how customisable does that need to be etc etc. So while this isn't available right now, with the right sponsor it could be :-) (/rach)

What kind of hardware do you recommend? Does your configuration include RAID?

: (Rach) The hardware configuration will depend on the size of your library and the amount of reliability you wish to pay for.

: Koha will run a small library on a fairly standard PC - we have given demos of it running on our 3 year old laptop quite happily.

: This is what it's running in production on right now (Oct 2002) : HLT (3 branches, 80,000 books, 25,000 patrons) : Dual Intel Pentium III 1 Gigahertz processor : 1Gb of RAM mirrored : Maxtor 20Gb 7200rpm disks : Debian Linux “woody” (the testing distribution) : Administrator comment: “The above appears to be somewhat overpowered.”

: CMSD (8 branches, 2,000 to 8,000 books per site, 1,000 patrons) : Pentium 200 MHz to 300 MHz machines (1 per site) : 64 MB of ram : Respectively: : HLT - Horowhenua Library Trust, New Zealand : CMSC - Coast Mountain School District, British Columbia, Canada

: The bigger the library the bigger the box, and we would recommend either a mirrored disk or a Raid system.

What database redundancy is built into the system, in case a disk is lost or corrupted?

What kind of support do you have for bookmobile operation, eg.a cache of the whole database changed every day?

: (rach) : Koha was originally designed to run over very slow rural connections, and there is a curses (text) interface for issues and returns that mean it should be able to be run on a laptop using a cellphone for real time issues and returns. It is envisaged that as long as you can get a net connection, you should be able to use the system out in the “field”.(/rach)

Is there support for cover pages, excerpts, etc., such as we can purchase from Syndetic?

: (rach) : There is support for abstracts which could be used for excerpts, or new fields could be added, support for cover pages could be added(/rach)

Can the public place requests for titles which are on order?

: (rach) When the new Opac is released (in a week or two) yes(/rach)

Is there integrated selector management – that is, when you : select a title from a database such as OCLC, can it be loaded into the system and ordered?

: (rach) I don't know what OCLC is, library of congress? No I suspect is the answer. The system hasn't been “americanised” we'd love you to be the americans to do it :-)(/rach)

How is access managed to OCLC? : (rach)ummm…. (/rach)

How are long overdue items managed – patron notices, credit bureau reports, masking from the database, etc.? Does the capacity exist to transfer these items into an auxiliary database?

: (rach) Patrons are given notices and a hold is put on their account so that if they come in in the meantime it flags. A report is run and the statement can be sent to a credit bureau. Items show up in the OPAC if they are not “given up on” with a last seen date, or they are marked Lost (I'm sorry I'm not sure how automated that process is). If they are lost they don't show up in the OPAC, but do show up in the Librarians intranet. I think that they are “purged” from time to time at library request, and they get shifted to a “deleted” table, in case they need to be recovered later. : (/rach)

Explain the hierarchical nature of database locations (system, agencies, departments, or whatever).

How are item statuses used? Can they be converted from DRA Classic to the new system?

: (rach) No idea about conversion, but would think so - we certainly got them from the system we converted. By Item status do you mean lost/on loan/available/reserved etc? Or what we call item types - fiction, junior, senior, non fiction etc? (rach)

What is the procedure for processing lost items? : (rach) Described above I think - person is billed, sent to debt collector if necessar, item marked lost, and may be removed from the system if it isn't going to be replaced. (/rach)

What kind of transaction statistics are kept for items? For patrons?

: (rach) : Here I think we keep all of them, however I believe you may want to restrict or “de-personalise” them because you have quite different privacy regs, and are a lot more litigeous than we are.

: So we keep full reading record, records of all fines and other finacial transactions, the ability to “mark” which fine has been paid, so that if one is in dispute it stays there. : (/rach)

How does licensing work? How are fees determined?

: There are no licensing fees.

Can the system handle consortia? How does this affect licensing fees?

: There are no licensing fees. There is no effect.

What can be controlled by the systems calendar (eg. days when items are not due, fines not charged, etc.)?

: (rach) : At the moment I think that we manually set the due date if it should be “special” for a day- so that things don't fall due on christmas day etc. (/rach)

What kind of patron delinquency statuses are available? Can patron statuses be converted from DRA Classic?

: (rach)I would think so on the conversion. We have a temporary bar on borrowing if people owe more than a pre determined amount in fines ($5), and we have people who are permenently disqualified. There are also Child and gurantor relationships (children must “belong” to an adult), and other categories of user who have different fine privliges etc.(/rach)

Does the catalog allow searching by item (not bibliographic) call numbers?

: (rach) as in barcode? the unique number on the book that identifies it within the library- then yes, not by the system number (ie the number the database give is), but if you wanted that I guess it could be done.(/rach)

What is the hierarchy of the bibliographic database (bibliographic records, call number records, item records)?

What is the system of classifications for materials (material codes)? Can selfcheck checkouts be limited to specified item classifications?

: (rach)Classifications are set up for each library, yes differnt classes of books have restricitons on them so that they can't be issued, there seems no reason not to extend this to self check machines.(/rach)

Can the system allow automatic charges to patron records as certain classes of items are checked out? Can this feature be used with the selfcheck?

: (rach)Yes it does automatic charges - for best sellers and videos for example, and yes if you get self checking going, it could work on that.(/rach)

Is it possible to set up multiple databases within the system?

: (Rach) Not really sure what you're asking, you can have as many “koha's” as you want - if you're wanting to group collectiosn together we'd recommend virtual bookshelves rather than seperate databases.(/rach)

Is there a text catalog that can be used for modem access (for people who are not yet on the Internet)?

: (rach) No - if they have a modem surely they can be on the internet? The horowhenua do have modems for their other branches to use, but it works like the internet - not telnet. - Sorry that s a bit garbagy, but hope you know what I meant(/rach)

Does the system allow tracking between patron categories and item categories for circulation statistics?

: (rach) I'm going with Yes, we keep all the transactions, so if you can conceive of the report I'm sure it can be constructed for you (/rach)

Can fine records for patrons be converted to your system from DRA Classic?

: (rach) Yes - well we did with the other conversion (/rach)

: Our goal for the big conversion we did was “no re-typing”. It didn't quite work out as absoloutely *no* typing, because things that were a bit duff in the old system, or inconsistent had to be manually massaged into Koha, but if your system is fairly “clean” it shouldn't be too hard.

Is there a routine that runs at night and looks for available items on the shelf to fill requests? Or are requests only filled when items are checked in?

Your Acquisitions module adds titles and items. Do you have a module which creates purchase orders and does fund accounting based on items which are purchased and added?

Is there a serials module of any kind?

Is there authority control for author/title/subject searches in your catalog? If so, then is there any flag to the cataloguers when a subject heading does *not* have an authority record? When an authority record is added or altered, can the system do a global search and replace?

: This should be done in next major version. Released expected in 2003, january

Can items with a particular status, or titles if designated, be masked from appearance in the catalog?

Can catalog searches be limited by branch location, or type of material, or date published, or language? : in next major version, any MARC field could be useable for searches. Thus, it should be possible to limit searches by branches, type of material, publishing date, language…

In catalog searches, can items at a specified location be highlighted in the display? : in next major version, items at user branch will be shown first, the items at other branches.

Is it possible to change the current date of the system on a temporary basis, by individual PC? We do this each morning to backdate, by one day, items that got dropped off for return the previous evening, so people can avoid paying fines for those items.

Is there a system of patron passwords, for security, when renewing items from home?

What information, if any, is available to a patron dialing in from home and looking at the catalogue, about his or her current items checked out, fine records, and so forth?

Questions on circulation limits: can we limit the number of overdue items permitted? The amount of fines you can have? By limiting I mean setting the patron delinquent automatically. I know it can be done manually.

Is it possible to merge the items attached to two bibliographic records so that the item records are all attached to one of the two bibliographic records?

A circulation question. An item has a damaged barcode, so the barcode needs to be replaced. Can this item be copied to another item number, while keeping all the information that has been previously entered into the item originally?

Our current system has a “policy file” for circulation which sets up matrices for item “material codes”, each of which has its own loan period, renewal limit, daily fine, maximum fine, and maximum number of items checked out. Is there anything like this in KOHA?

When items are “trapped” for requests, either by being checked in or by a program that looks for available items, does the system take into account which location owns the item relative to where the pickup point of the item is? (This may surprise you, but we don't want it to do that, and our last two systems have both done it.)

Are there any plans to develop a telephone notification module, for notifying patrons about requests and overdues? : It doesn't currently but Yes for a price - unless you have the skills yourself.

How do you use a receipt printer?

faq.txt · Last modified: 2010/01/05 01:23 by magnusenger
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