Koha How-To

A month of Travel

The month of September was an exciting one for me as I was able to attend three different events with different parts of the Koha community and was reminded yet again of how exciting it is to work on this project.

ByWater Solutions Staff Retreat

First up was the ByWater Solutions staff retreat in Portland, Maine. Working remotely is wonderful, the quiet solitude of one's workspace means you can listen to any music you want, slurp your coffee loudly, and sing (or burp) along. We spend much time in video conferencing sessions on Zoom, or chat in Slack, so there is always a sense of connection, but the yearly gathering means a chance to spend time in the same physicial space and gives a chance to broaden our conversations beyond the problems of the moment. So much brainstorming happens at the retreat, and we always come back with a list of projects we are excited to tackle in the upcoming year, and a renewed sense of purpose for how we can do the best for our partners, our project, and ourselves. We have already begun implementing many of our ideas and I am excited for upcoming projects and tackling my new to-do list.

koha-US Annual Conference

Next up was the 2019 koha-US Annual Conference in Pueblo, CO. This gathering of librarians and users is wonderful for the presentations that give light on how people are using the software, ways they have customized and improved their experience, and ideas for the future of the project. I had a chance to present with Myka Kennedy-Stephens and Andrew, one of our educators about the current state of the Elasticsearch engine within Koha and how our first use in production went. It was great to connect with our partners, talk about devs, and see what everyone was working on. A particularly nice moment was when Christopher Brannon brought up an idea for promoting electronic resources and I mentioned it could be done via javascript. The next day he had a working prototype that he could take back to his library and plan to roll out for users. As every time I attend, I take notes on interesting developments that could be done to improve the user experience, and I brought back quite a list this year.

Koha Hackfest

The last group was the annual Koha Hackfest at the offices of BibLibre in Marseille, France. This is always one of my favorite events of the year, not just for the famous cheese day, but because it is a chance to connect with other Koha developers, support companies, and librarians/users from European libraries. Getting a fresh perspective on the project, seeing how proposed workflows affect different users, and being able to quickly bounce ideas around with developers is an invaluable experience. Being in the same time zone also means all of our minds are fresh at the same time, it is sometimes hard when you catch someone as they are leaving for the day. Of course, the hackfest is only one week, and it generates more ideas than we can finish, so I added to my list again.

The best part of travel for me is always coming home, and it is nice to arrive back in Vermont as the leaves peak and there are bright colors all around the valley. Refreshed, renewed, and reinvigorated I am laying out my lists, cross referencing them, and lining up tasks. I love working with this community and relish the opportunity to get something, and give something back each day in the spirit of koha.

Read more by Nick Clemens

Tags elastic, elastic search