CALYX Newsletter May 2017

Koha News from CALYX

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


News from CALYX information essentials May 2017

Welcome to another update on Koha and your support service from CALYX. This newsletter contains information about an imminent upgrade of Koha.


Koha 16.11 upgrade imminent

All hosted clients will be upgraded to Koha version 16.11.07 next Thursday evening, 18 May 2017.  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 users of the Acquisitions module should read the item later in this Newsletter.

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

We will make a demonstration Koha 16.11.07 instance available from Monday 15 so that you can, if you wish, familiarise yourself with the changes before they are applied to production systems.

There is more information about Koha 16.11 later in this Newsletter.

It is our standard advice that if users experience any difficulty following the upgrade they should clear their browser cache, then try again.  If the problem persists, contact us.


Advice for Non-Hosted Clients

Recent releases of Koha have included security releases, that is, they contain patches against potential security vulnerabilities.  We recommend that you upgrade to the latest version for your release.  Be sure to point your ‘apt source’ at the correct repository for your version. Current versions for releases of Koha still under active maintenance are as follows:

Koha 16.11.07
Koha 16.05.12
Koha 3.22.20

Users on versions of Koha below 3.22 should upgrade to a supported release.  We recommend 16.11.

Future major feature releases will be 17.05 (due in two weeks), 17.11 (November 2017), 18.05 (May 2018).  The Koha project has a major feature release every six months and a maintenance release every month that there is not a major feature release.  It is recommended that you keep your Koha version up to date, both to take advantage of new features and also to receive software corrections and security patches.


SSL Certificates

Provide us with your SSL certificate so that we can serve your OPAC content over HTTPS.

CALYX always serves Koha staff clients using the HTTPS protocol.  HTTPS provides encryption of data as it moves across the internet, making it safe from prying eyes.  If your OPAC is accessed in our domain ( it will also be served over HTTPS.  However an OPAC accessed in your domain (e.g. will have to use the less secure HTTP protocol, which does not provide data encryption, otherwise the user’s browser will throw a security error.  What is happening here is that the browser is trying to verify that the site is genuine and is finding that the SSL certificate does not match the domain name.  If you provide your SSL certificate to us, we embed it into the Koha configuration so that these errors do not arise.

SSL certificates are most commonly obtained from Trustwave via your domain name registrar.  Certificates from Trustwave are expensive and expire annually.  Free SSL certificates are now available from Let’s EncryptContact us if you wish to discuss this further or need any assistance.


Introducing Mana

Biblibre (France) have started a project to build a global knowledge base for library data.  Read about Mana at this link.


Non Public Notes in Items

Koha items have a ‘non-public note’ field (952$x) where libraries could import information that they do not wish to display in the OPAC.  Until recently, this information was stored in xml format and did not have its own database field.  That made the data hard to access, hard to update and hard to report on.  This has recently changed.

Now in the Koha database there is a field in the Items table called ‘itemnotes_nonpublic’.  You are able to post information to this field in the item editor, amend the information if you wish and extract it to SQL reports.  The information is included in the item display staff side, but not in the OPAC.

However, information that may have been imported to your Koha previously and is still stored in the old xml format will not be moved automatically to the new database field.  Fortunately, a script is available. It is run from the command line, so if your Koha is hosted by us, you’ll need our assistance, which we’ll be happy to provide.

If you performed your data import prior to upgrading to Koha 3.20 (November 2015) and think you may have information stored in the old format, contact us and we can confirm this for you.  We can if you wish then run the script to move your data to the more accessible field.


Koha Tip: Send Alerts and Notices by SMS rather than by Email

If your library circulates any number of items and you are using email circulation alerts and overdue notices in Koha then you’ll know what a great time saver these are.  But did you know that Koha can also issue alerts and notices via SMS?  This can be instead of or to complement email notices.

SMS notices will typically be shorter than your email notices.  Notices are defined from the Tools menu of Koha and for each notice, there are separate tabs for the email and SMS versions.

You’ll need to choose a provider – Telstra and Optus are options but there are others too – and populate the SMS Send Driver system preference.  Then finally set the notice triggers.

For further information or for assistance in initiating or testing SMS notices, contact CALYX.


Features of Koha 16.11

Koha keeps getting better.  The 16.11 release includes new features and many enhancements.

Highlights include:

[14610] Article Requests module
[5670] Housebound Readers’ Module
[3534] Patron Quick Add form
[14695] Allow Patron to Place Multiple Reserves on a Record (e.g. reserve more than one issue of a journal or magazine)

Other enhancements include:

[14629] Add aggressive ISSN matching feature equivalent to the aggressive ISBN matcher
[Various] Fourteen (14) enhancements in Circulation
[8030] Change pickup location of a hold from patron record
[17443] Make possible to renew patron by later of expiry and current date
[14902] Searching: Add qualifier menu to staff side “Search the Catalogue” (OPAC feature now also available in Staff Client)

There are many more.  Read the Release Notes for Koha 16.11.0 or contact CALYX for more information.


Acquisitions Change in Koha 16.11

Users of Koha’s Acquisitions module should be aware there are some changes in Koha 16.11.  These will impact users who update the ‘Replacement Price’ field in items.  There is a good explanation here.

If this affects you please alert us so that we can offer appropriate advice.


Inter Library Loan Module coming to Koha

An inter library loan module is to be added to Koha, perhaps as soon as the 17.11 release. This work has been performed by PTFS Europe (UK) and we understand that the module is already in production in some UK libraries. There is a decent explanation of how this will work in the bugzilla entry for the enhancement: bz 7317.  Congratulations to the librarians who have commissioned and directed this major piece of work and to the PTFS Europe team who are bringing it to realisation.


KohaCon 17

KohaCon17 will be hosted at Ayala Museum, Makati City, Philippines from 19 to 23 June 2017.  There is information here.

CALYX directors are unable to attend this conference however if you are considering attending feel free to contact us for information and introductions.


Koha-Oz Mailing List

It’s been encouraging to see more folks joining the mailing list and more discussion on the list.  This is a forum for Australian librarians who use or are interested in Koha.  It tends to be less technical than the general Koha mailing list and is a good place to get your questions answered.  To join the discussion, receive useful tips or be informed about Koha meet-ups and events, join Koha-oz by visiting:

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

Best wishes,

The CALYX Team

Look for us at NSL8 and The VALA TechCamp


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