How to Change the Material Type in Koha 2


We’ve been getting a few questions lately about where the material type in Koha comes from, so I wanted to write a short blog post explaining how the material type is created.

In the screenshot above you can see that the material type of this eBook is listed as “Book”, but you may be wondering where exactly does the material type come from. The material type is pulled from the 06 character position in the Leader field of your bib record.

The 06 character field displays the “Type of Record.” As you can see in bib record below, the 06 character field in the leader contains an “a” which represents “language material”. In Koha this displays as “book”. If we were to use c for notated music, the material type would say “score” and if we changed this to e for cartographic materials, the material type would be “map”.


Since the material type is driven by the 06 field in the leader, you are limited to what can display here by MARC . Here’s a link to the list of all the possible options for the 06 character field. You can test them out and see how they each display to determine which is the right one for the material you are cataloging.

Hopefully, this has helped explain where the material type comes from in Koha. If you would like to know more about Koha, check out our YouTube channel bywatersolutions. We’re constantly uploading new videos about great features in Koha.

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2 thoughts on “How to Change the Material Type in Koha

  • Jane Cothron

    The material description of Language Material is actually accurate for both print and e-books. The translation of both to Book in Koha causes some confusion. Would it be better to have the material type labeled as “Language Material” or “Text”? This is one reason I really want to retain the general materials designator (GMD–field 245, subfield h). It tells the searcher that the specific title result requires some sort of technology to access. Without this, we need much better, more specific, icons and better labels.

  • Mark Parsons

    Is this referring to the “am” string, or the string with an “a” at both ends? Also, why does the number 06 not display anywhere in the above screenshot? Slightly more context for those of us not yet fluent in MARC fixed fields might be useful.