Koha Tutorial Videos

Monday Minutes: Privacy

In this week's Monday Minutes, Kelly and Jessie talk about the Privacy options Koha has for libraries and patrons.

System Preferences

We should start with some system preferences for libraries to decide on how they would like to handle patron privacy.

OPACPrivacy – when set to allow, patrons can choose their own privacy settings for their reading history. This requires opacreadinghistory and AnonymousPatron.

opacreadinghistory – when set to allow, patrons will be able to see what books they have checked out in the past.

intranetreadinghistory – when set to allow, staff can access a patron’s checkout history (reading history is still stored, regardless of staff being allowed access or not).

AnonymousPatron – is used for anonymous suggestions and reading history. Meaning when an item is returned, and the patron chose to anonymize checkout history, the items circulation history will reflect the anonymous patron.

StoreLastBorrower – when set to store, staff will be able to view the last patron to return an item, in the item details, if a patron has anonymized their history. This setting is independent of opacreadinghistory/AnonymousPatron.

Patron Categories

Within Patron Categories under Administration. This lets you control the privacy of each patron category. This controls how long a patron’s checkout history is kept for new patrons of this category. (If you change this, it does not alter the privacy of existing patrons).

The options that are available for each patron category to be set to:

“Never” anonymizes patron checkouts on return – this means you will not see the patron name
“Forever” keeps a patron’s checkout history indefinitely
“Default” the amount of history kept, is controlled by the cronjob batch_anonymise.pl . This cron job can be set to anonymize after a certain period of time, like 30, 180, or 365 days.

If a library sets a patron category to Never but does allow Patrons to choose their own privacy, and they choose Forever, the patron's choice will override the setting in patron categories.


We also discussed what the patron will see on the OPAC. When a patron is logged into their account and they have been given the ability to set their own privacy, they will have a Privacy tab. This gives the patron a good look at the options they have in setting their own privacy and also the ability to remove all their checkout history if they so desire.

Note: If a library has set the system preference, StoreLastBorrower, to Store, the patron will also see a note about how this information is being stored in the library.

"Please note, the last person to return an item is tracked for the management of items returned damaged."

If a patron is saving their reading history, they will see a tab "Your Checkout History". This will display all the patron's checkout, from the time that checkout history started to be saved. The patron can search for a keyword within this history, or sort the columns to organize by title, date, item type, call number.

More Resources

Andrew did an amazing blog post on the newest privacy feature in Koha:

Pseudonymization in 21.05: The new feature you'll want to learn to spell and pronounce

Common Questions about Privacy

Here are a few questions we often get concerning patron privacy:

Q: If Library Administration chooses to select “never” for a patron category, will it keep track of a patron’s circulation history (unless they specifically go into the OPAC and change their privacy settings)?

A: If you choose “never” in Administration it will not retain the patron’s circulation history (unless they specifically go into the OPAC and change their privacy settings to forever). If using the anonymous patron, when the item is returned, it will say anonymous patron next to the item.

Q: If a patron chooses to keep track of their reading history does that mean that staff has access to it as well or will it only display in the OPAC for the patron?

A: If the patron says to keep it Forever, staff will be able to see it if the system preference, Intranetreadinghistory, is enabled. If the patron says Never in their privacy selection, the staff will see the following message: This patron has set the privacy rules to never keep a circulation history.