Olugbenga Adara with Projektlink Konsult Limited a Koha support company in Nigeria discussed how to manage Koha installs in a developing country. Developing countries face unique challenges due to lower level of industrialization and a generally low standard of living. Internet access and speed is much slower than what we see. Libraries also have limited infrastructure, no automation in their systems which require data entry from the analogue system to a digital system. Combined with limited human resources and availability of trained librarians with technical skills add complexity to the migration process.
With no reliable internet access Olugbenga has relied on using a virtual machines for offsite installations. Using Clonezilla to clone the virtual machine and restore on physical machines facilitates installing Koha in areas with unreliable online access. However, this means that upgrades to new versions can only be done manually.
Training on Koha is simplified. Since most libraries come from un-automated systems, some modules are not relevant to them. The focus for training is patron management, cataloguing and circulation. Utilizing a basic and simple framework assists library speed up the data entry of their catalog into Koha. The Go Live date for Koha installs cannot rely on the data being in the catalog. Libraries go live and catalog their collections going forward. With the simple framework to catalog, patrons only have to wait a short time for a book to be entered into the catalog and be ready for circulation.
Despite the logistical challenges faced by Nigerian libraries Koha has allowed these libraries to utilize modern library technology.