Advice of Koha Upgrade – December 2017

Welcome to another update on Koha and your support service from CALYX.

Koha 17.05 upgrade imminent

All hosted clients will be upgraded to Koha version 17.05.06 next Wednesday evening, 13 December 2017 (next week, not this week).  This upgrade will add new features  to Koha which librarians will be able to utilise according to your own preferences and schedule.  No action is required of clients prior to the upgrade however you should be aware that following the upgrade, some reports may need correction. Details are provided later in this newsletter.

Contact CALYX if you have any questions in relation to this upgrade.

We will make a demonstration Koha 17.05.06 instance available by the end of this week so that you can, if you wish, familiarise yourself with the changes before they are applied to your production system.

There is more information about Koha 17.05 later in this newsletter.

It is our standard advice that if you or your readers experience any difficulty following the upgrade, please clear your browser cache, then try again.  If the problem persists, contact us.

A matter to attend to, regarding Koha reports

What follows might seem a little dense. Contact us if you have any questions.

The 17.05 Release includes a change to the way Koha stores bibliographic  metadata (see below). In consequence, some SQL reports need to be adjusted. The upgrade provides assistance for you to identify affected reports and make the required adjustments. If you use reports that include the ‘extract value’ operator, then please read on.

In Koha 16.11 and earlier, the MARC21 metadata is stored in the biblioitems table, in ‘biblioitems.marcmxl’. In Koha 17.05, this is moved to a new table biblio_metadata and stored in ‘biblio_metadata.metadata’. SQL reports that do not draw on the stored metadata will see a performance boost from this change.

Some metadata elements are not stored separately in the Koha database and can only be accessed by extraction from the metadata, for example, Formatted Content Note 505$a. To list biblionumber and contents, the SQL statement is:

SELECT biblionumber,
AS Contents
FROM biblioitems

Following the upgrade, the new syntax will be:

SELECT biblionumber,
AS Contents
FROM biblio_metadata

Sounds hard? The Koha developers thought so and have provided assistance:

After the upgrade, go to your Saved Reports page.

  • For the reports using biblioitems.marcxml you will see a new column warning you that it is obsolete.
  • Click on ‘update link’.
  • That will open a modal with the converted SQL query.
  • Click on the update button.
  • You will be informed that the query has been updated.
  • If all the reports are updated, the new column “Update” will no longer be displayed.

Prior to the upgrade, CALYX staff will examine your reports and alert you if you are impacted by this change.

If you need assistance, contact us. If you test your updated report and it does not run correctly, please lodge a support request.

Advice for Non-Hosted Clients

In addition to the current stable release (stable), the Koha project actively maintains the previous version (old-stable) and generally one other. Latest releases of currently maintained versions are:

  • Koha 17.11.00 (stable)
  • Koha 17.05.06 (old-stable)
  • Koha 16.11.14

Koha 17.11.00 was released last week. We advise waiting several maintenance (monthly) releases before deploying in production.

A final release of Koha 16.05 (16.05.19) was also made last week. There will be no further releases of that version. Moreover, all versions of Koha 3.x are no longer supported.

Unsupported versions, as well as lacking new features, may contain errors and security vulnerabilities. In addition, small, frequent upgrades imply less effort and less risk than large, infrequent upgrades. We recommend upgrading to a current release of a supported version.  If you need assistance or simply wish to discuss your options, contact CALYX.

Highlights of Koha 17.05

This version of Koha adds some interesting new features and contains numerous minor improvements. Highlights include:

  • a new ‘Article Requests’ module (bug 14610);
  • a new ‘Patron Clubs’ feature (bug 12461);
  • a new ‘Patron Notes’ feature in the OPAC (bug 14224);
  • an improvement regarding Reservations (holds) whereby patrons can be prevented from requesting pick up from a branch where the item is available on the shelf (bug 17453);
  • creation of a pathway to metadata schema independence: presently the metadata schema supported by Koha is MARC; in future (with further specific development) it may be possible to ingest and create records using other schemas, for example Dublin Core, METS, MODS, RDF or any new schema. Until now Koha stored metadata in the biblioitems table (biblioitems.marcxml). With bug 17196, it is moved to a new table biblio_metadata;
  • the Hea data collection service (see our previous newsletter) has been added to the Administration page to enable configuration by the librarian (bug 18066).

The full release notes for Version 17.05 are available here.

Release of Koha 17.11

Koha version 17.11.00 was released on schedule on 28 November 2017. You can read the Release Notes here.

This is another feature-packed Koha release. The highlight is the addition of a framework for inter library loans: the full history is here but you might prefer to read the summary in the Release Notes.

CALYX anticipates deploying Koha 17.11 to hosted clients in mid 2018. For more information, contact us.


KohaCon18, ‘Together towards the future’, will be hosted by Bywater Solutions and held at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon USA from September 10th (Monday) to September 12th (Wednesday) 2018 – followed by a local cultural day and a 3 day hackfest over the weekend.

During the Hackfest improvements to Koha are discussed, planned, and implemented.  The Hackfest is like a Developers’ Conference but is practical and for everyone. Librarians make extremely valuable contributions and are needed!  Do consider attending.

For more information contact CALYX.


Best wishes from
CALYX information essentials