Koha News from CALYX
Welcome to another update on Koha and your support service from CALYX.
Imminent upgrade of Koha to Version 3.22 for hosted clients
CALYX is planning to upgrade all hosted clients to Koha Version 3.22.7 on the evening of Thursday 23 June 2016. As usual, no existing functionality will be lost in this upgrade. New features will be added to Koha which librarians will be able to utilize according to your own preferences and schedule. No action is required of clients prior to the upgrade. Your Koha system will be unavailable for a brief period during Thursday evening.
As is our practice, we will make a demonstration Koha 3.22 instance available from Monday 20 June to give you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the changes before they are applied to production systems.
Contact CALYX if you have any questions about the forthcoming Koha upgrade.
New Features in Koha 3.22
Koha 3.22 was first released in November 2015. Since then there have been a number of maintenance and security releases; we will be upgrading systems to the current release Koha 3.22.7.
This release includes exciting new features and numerous minor improvements. Key new features include:
- A professional cataloguers’ interface which allows experienced cataloguers the option to enter the desired fields and subfields themselves for each record without relying on the frameworks in Koha. This is not for everyone. If you perform a lot of original cataloguing, are completely across the MARC standard and know the fields you need to populate, then this feature might save you substantial time;
- Batch checkout, significantly speeding up the borrowing process when patrons have large numbers of items to borrow;
- Dynamic custom field creation for serials;
- More control for branches and serials;
- Ability to duplicate existing items.
Also, the bug that prevented lists from being deleted and the bug that allowed some holds to have the same priority in the queue have been fixed.
You may read the Release Notes at https://koha-community.org/koha-3-22-released/ or contact CALYX for more information about the new features.
Your Koha Current Version
The Koha project has two major feature releases each year, in May and November. Every other month there is a maintenance release.
CALYX policy is to upgrade our hosted clients twice per year on average. In this way, we ensure that our clients receive only stable, robust software, whilst also having access to the latest features and improvements. For a long time we have been the only Australian Koha support company providing this service as part of your hosting package.
All clients using CALYX’s hosting service are running Koha version 3.20.7. The upgrade to this version took place on Wednesday 9 December 2015.
Koha Version Numbering Change
Koha 3.22 will be the last Koha 3 release as what would have been Koha 3.24 has been released as Koha 16.05. This change will make clear when each major feature release occurred, this one being in May 2016 (16.05). Maintenance and security releases will still use a further dot followed by the maintenance release number, for example Koha 16.05.02 will be the second maintenance release in the Koha 16.05 series.
Future major feature releases will be numbered 16.11 (November 2016), 17.05 (May 2017), 17.11 (November 2017) and so on.
Koha 16.05 Released
We keep saying it: Koha keeps getting better and better. Koha 16.05 was released on 26 May 2016. Read the Release Notes here: https://koha-community.org/koha-16-05-released/
Major new features in Koha 16.05 are the introduction of EDIFACT functionality in the Acquisitions module, addition of a Forgotten Password facility to the OPAC and the ability to pay fines via PayPal. Google OAuth2 authentication also becomes official: CALYX congratulates Nic van Oudtshoorn of Perth Bible College for his work on bug 10988.
Version Advice for Non Hosted Clients
We recommend you keep your Koha up to date. Later releases of Koha contain useful new features, security patches and solutions to issues in earlier versions. However we do not yet recommend moving to the new 16.05 release. In our opinion, its prudent to give each release a little time to mature and this is the reason we tend to track the ‘old-stable’ branch (currently 3.22).
Assuming you are using packages as your mode of installation, you made need to change your Apt sources to avoid an unexpected upgrade to Koha 16.05. This post from Koha Packaging Manager Galen Charlton explains.
Koha Tip: Assigning Permissions
User’s of the staff client must be assigned permission to use the various features available there. The user must be a ‘Staff’ type patron. To assign permissions to a new user, display the Patron Details page for that user, click on the ‘More’ button and select ‘Set Permissions’ from the dropdown menu.
Koha permissions are very granular so that large libraries may achieve a high degree of role delineation. In general, users who do not have a specific permission will not have access to the menu option for the associated functionality.
The ‘superlibrarian’ permission includes all others. This is the most powerful level of user, being able to perform all the functions presented through the staff client interface. Significantly, only this level of permissions grants authority to create additional ‘superlibrarians’. In most situations, CALYX recommends there be only one ‘superlibrarian’ per library. You can provide equivalent access to functionality without the ability to create new superlibrarians, by checking every other box.
Note that the ‘catalogue’ permission enables viewing of the catalogue in the staff client and is the minimum permission required for staff login.
As always, remember to ‘Save’ your changes.
A brief description of each ‘permission’ is provided in the manual.
What browser are you using now?
Just a reminder that Microsoft has officially ended support of Internet Explorer versions 8,9 and 10. This article provides details.
Naturally, if Microsoft won’t support IE, neither can we. We urge organisations to upgrade to a standards compliant browser today.
The Koha project continues to recommend Firefox, though our experience is that Chrome and Safari also generally work well. Whichever you use, be sure that you receive security updates automatically. Contact us if you need advice.
Linked Data and BIBFRAME
The Koha community has already started thinking about the future world of linked data and how this exciting goal might be realised through the development of BIBFRAME.
BIBFRAME is a new data model for bibliographic description initiated by the Library of Congress. It’s intended as a replacement for MARC as a model for expressing and connecting bibliographic data. Because of this BIBFRAME will better utilise the RDF system of linked data than will MARC.
The main positive of BIBFRAME is that unlike other linked data vocabulary sets, librarians are creating and owning the ontology. Rather than using the vocabulary controlled by another industry, which may change or remove useful terms for bibliographic resources, BIBFRAME is intended to match the needs of cataloguers while remaining flexible so it can meet the future needs of libraries.
While BIBFRAME is designed to be specially suited to libraries, it also makes the data more accessible to other search engines and browsers.This in turn has the benefit of helping to ensure there’s little or no data siloing within collections.
Joy Nelson of Bywater Solutions makes the case for adoption of Bibrame in a recent web post:
Joy and Jessie Weaver gave a very good presentation about BIBFRAME and Koha at the recent KohaCon16 in Greece:
Koha Tip: Link to a live search on a topic
Every so often a question is asked on one of the many Koha help lists that we think is worth sharing with all our clients:
On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 12:34 PM, Delawska-Elliott, Basia wrote:
Is it possible to create a link to a live search on a specific topic in Koha that could be posted on a library website and that would automatically execute when a user clicks on it?
In a word… yes. It can be as simple as setting up a search the way you like, then grabbing the URL from the web browser’s address bar.
That is, whereas a List will provide access to a defined set of resources, an embedded search will update the resource list dynamically.
An example of how this can be applied is provided by the Melbourne Athenaeum Library for their Project Gutenberg eBook collection. You can access the search directly from the Project Gutenberg icon link on the right of their homepage. If you’re interested in setting up something similar yourself, please contact CALYX for assistance or more information.
KohaCon16: Thessaloniki, Greece
This year’s KohaCon was held from May 30 to June 1 at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. This was the largest KohaCon ever with attendees from about 35 countries. Alvet Miranda from EBSCO represented Australia and Chris Cormack of Catlyst IT was there from New Zealand.
CALYX offers a really big ‘thank you’ to the organisers for the quality of the live stream, which enabled the conference proceedings to be followed in real time on the other side of the world.
For those who missed it (most of us) a video of each session is available from: http://www.livemedia.com/kohacon16 or you can find details of each session with individual links on the CALYX website: https://calyx.net.au/kohacon16/
Koha-oz Mailing List
Librarians sometimes find that the general Koha mailing list is informative but contains a lot of technical material not relevant to their needs. An alternative is Koha-oz, a list for Australian librarians using Koha. To join the discussion, receive useful tips or be informed about Koha meetups and events, join Koha-oz by visiting:
At the same time, if you know someone who might like to receive the CALYX Newsletter, you could invite them to subscribe by following this link.
Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.
Best wishes from
CALYX information essentials