Koha How-To

Koha Question of the Week: What Enhancements Can Improve the Patron Experience in Our Koha Opac?

Each Friday, we will bring you a new Koha Question of the Week. We will select real questions that we receive and share the answers with you!

Question: What Enhancements Can Improve the Patron Experience in Our Koha Opac?

The answer from this week's Koha Question of the Week comes from a presentation this week at the 2021 koha-US Conference by Kelly and Jessie of the ByWater Solutions team! We incorporated many (but not all) of the topics they covered. The full presentation is linked at the bottom to get even more ideas on how to improve the patron experience in your Koha OPAC.

Koha is extremely customizable. We often get questions on how to add certain enhancements. Here are instructions on how to incorporate more features into your Koha OPAC to make the patron (and staff) experience even better!

Add Helpful Websites to the OPAC (and Staff Client)

The system preference, IntranetNav, allows libraries to add links/text to the top static bar on the Staff Interface.

A library can add Text or a Link. Koha does need this in HTML structure.

To add a link, enter this into the system preference box:

<li><a href="/cgi-bin/koha/cataloguing/plugin_launcher.pl?plugin_name=cn_browser.pl">Call Number Browse</a></li>


Start with a <li> and always end with a </li>.

The URL is between the quotes. After the URL and > this will be the text you would like displayed on the Staff Client.

Customizing the Menu in the Staff Client

As of 20.05, the system preferences, OPACheader and OPACmainUserBlock, were removed from the Administration (System Preferences area) and moved to the News Feature.

Video Tutorial on Using the News Feature in Koha

More information on how to add or edit information on the News Feature:

More OPAC System Preferences Move to News Feature

Add Search Categories

Designating a search category in the Staff Client will allow patrons to find all formats of "book" regardless of the Item Type. An example of this would be combining item types like "New DVDs", "DVD", and "VHS" into one "Movie" category for easier patron browsing. This is a great exercise in thinking about how your patrons are interacting with your catalog and what you can do to make discovering items easier.

Item Types in Koha

Clean Up Advanced Search in the OPAC

This is another exercise in cleaning up and organizing the Advanced Search features like Item Type, Shelving Location, and Collection Codes. Look at these areas and how they display in the OPAC and see if they can be more clear for patrons while they are searching.


Item Type are material types. Shelving location is where something physically lives in the library. Collection codes describe your collection.

Item Types in Koha

Shelving Location in OPAC

Koha stores Shelving Locations under the Category 'LOC' and Collection Codes under the category 'CCODE'.

Both of these categories have the option to use a description for the Staff Interface and a description for the OPAC. Also, both can be limited by branch, so a multibranch system can use different shelving locations and collection codes and not see the others.

Item Types, Collection Codes, and Shelving Location PDF

More information on searching in the Koha OPAC:

Add YouTube Links

Some libraries have been linking movie trailers, recorded story times, community videos, and how-to videos. This is a great way to bulk up your catalog records and engage patrons with that item.

This tutorial video will show you how to catalog youtube videos and have them stream in Koha. The new enhancement allows you to catalogue a YouTube link in 856$u and have it display in the record in the OPAC and staff client through the ‘Play media’ tab.

Steps to set up YouTube Videos in the Play Media Tab in Koha 16.05 and future releases:

  1. Catalogue a YouTube link in 856$u
  2. Enable the system preference for HTML5MediaEnabled
  3. Enable the system preference for HTML5MediaYouTube
  4. Open the record you catalogued the YouTube link in the 856$u in both the OPAC and staff client
  5. The video will be displayed in the ‘Play media’ tab

Add External Files (PDFs, JPGs, etc.) to Item Records

Similar to the videos, this is another way to enhance item records. You can add external files like PDFs, JPGs, and PNGs to item records. We see libraries adding town resources, library and board meeting notes, instructions, maps, historical ephemera, and other relevant information. This could really assist with special collections, archives, and other delicate materials or materials not easily accessible in person. This really expands access to patrons and also preserves materials virtually.

How to Attach a File to MARC Records in Koha Cataloging

Create Lists

Lists are a great way to virtually promote resources. Lists can be curated to an endless amount of categories such as state awards, holidays, popular genres, staff picks, bestsellers, local authors, trending topics, and more.

Creating a Public List in Koha

Allow Self Registration

Self Registration on the OPAC allows for more flexibility for patrons and helps them easier obtain a library card. If this is something your library is looking to explore, here is the information on how to set this up:

How to Allow for Patrons to Self Register

Add a QR Code

QR Codes have been expanding in popularity as more information (like menus and signage) have gone paperless. This is something you can turn on or off in Koha. This would be great to promote for your in-library catalog computer or for patrons to scan at home and come in and find the item. This makes finding an item in the library easier for the patron.

QR Codes on the OPAC

View the Full Presentation

Additional Resources

Presentation Slides

Resource List from the Presentation

Read more by Kalleen Marquise

Tags opac tutorial, OPAC