Koha How-To

Setting up Self Registration with Koha and Aspen Discovery

Libraries using both Koha and Aspen Discovery will need to complete setup in both places in order to successfully enable and configure self registration. These instructions will help you streamline the process, configuring only the settings you need.

Part 1: Configuring Self Registration in Koha

There are several system preferences in Koha that are tied to setting up Self Registration for your Aspen Discovery OPAC.

System Preferences:

  • PatronSelfRegistration
  • PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerMandatoryField
  • PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerUnwantedField
  • PatronSelfRegistrationDefaultCategory
  • PatronSelfRegistrationEmailMustBeUnique
  • PatronSelfRegistrationLibraryList
  • PatronSelfRegistrationPrefillForm

1. Set the system preference PatronSelfRegistration to Allow. This will enable self registration in Koha.

2. Determine which fields should be required on the self registration form, such as First Name, Last Name, etc. Fields marked as required must be filled out by the user in order to submit the form, and these fields will be marked with a "Required" label. Use the system preference PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerMandatoryField to select which fields should be required. Here is a link to the borrower table in the schema.

***NOTE: If you do not mark the 'password' field as required, Koha will autogenerate a password. Since the autogenerated password will not display in Aspen, if you want users to be able to access their account and online resources right away, you must make 'password' a required field (so users will create a password themselves) AND enable the system preference autoMemberNum, since you can't have a password without a barcode being created.

3. Determine which fields should not appear appear on the Self Registration Form. Use the system preference PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerUnwantedField to select fields to exclude. (See the Notes section below for more details about fields you may want to exclude.)

4. Determine the default Patron Category code self registered users will be assigned to with the system preference PatronSelfRegistrationDefaultCategory. Most libraries use "Self registered" (SELF). If you wish to use a new patron category, you will first need to create one. Self registration won’t work unless this system preference has been selected. If you'd like to track your self registered users versus users who sign up for a card in person, creating a unique category can be helpful.

5. If your library has multiple branches and self registration is only available for some branches, add the branches that will allow self registration (by their code) into the system preference: PatronSelfRegistrationLibraryList. There are additional settings within Aspen for limiting branch options for self registration.

6. The system preference PatronSelfRegistrationPrefillForm determines whether or not the username and password are presented on the self registration confirmation screen. With the "Display and prefill" option selected, users will see this on the screen upon completing their registration:

7. Note that the library card number also appears in the above screenshot. The card number will only appear if your library has the system preference autoMemberNum turned on, which automatically assigns the next available card number to the new patron. You must enable this if you'd like users to access online resources before receiving a physical library card with their "permanent" card number in person. To keep the auto-assigned numbers from interfering with your physical card numbers, create a user with a card number that is much higher than your physical card numbers, and autoMemberNum will begin creating numbers from there.

Click here to read our blog post and watch the accompanying video about setting up online access only for self registration.

8. Setting the system preference PatronSelfRegistrationEmailMustBeUnique to "Consider" will check the user's email address when self registering to see if an account with this email address already exists. If a user tries to register with a duplicate email address, they will receive an error. If you don't want to require unique email addresses, select "Don't Consider."

The following system preferences are not applicable for setup with Aspen Discovery:

  • PatronSelfRegistrationAdditionalInstructions - In Aspen, you will be able to configure additional instructions on both the self registration form and on the self registration confirmation page. Any text entered in this system preference will not display in Aspen.
  • PatronSelfRegistrationVerifyByEmail - Email verification for self registered accounts is not available with Aspen Discovery.
  • PatronSelfRegistrationExpireTemporaryAccountsDelay - Not applicable due to the above.


A few fields that a library may want to exclude (via the System Preference: PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerUnwantedField) are categorycode, homelibrary, dateofbirth (unless you collect this info), and expirydate.

Expirydate is not a field that the patron can fill out during the self registration phase, but it will appear in the form unless added to the PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerUnwantedField system preference.

Categorycode will appear as a drop down menu for the patron to select a category code. Since PatronSelfRegistrationDefaultCategory requires the library to select a default patron category for self-registered patrons, we recommend adding categorycode to the PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerUnwantedField system preference.

Part 2: Configuring Self Registration in Aspen Discovery

Now that you have your settings in place in the Koha staff client, you're ready to enable and configure self registration in Aspen!

1. From Aspen Administration, head to Primary Configuration > Library Systems > ILS/Account Integration > Self Registration. Enable self registration by selecting ILS Based Self Registration and click Save.

Once enabled, the self registration link will appear on the login screen.

You can also directly access the self registration form by appending /MyAccount/SelfReg to the end of your main catalog URL.

Example: {yourlibrary.org}/MyAccount/SelfReg

2. There are several more options for configuring self registration in this section of Library System settings.

Valid Self Registration Locations: By default, this will be "No Restrictions" and will defer to what is allowed in the system preference PatronSelfRegistrationLibraryList. If you'd like to restrict this further, you can select from these options:

  • All Library Locations - All locations associated with this library system setting.
  • All Self Registration Locations - All locations that are marked as valid self registration options, whether they are associated with this library system setting or others.
  • Self Registration Locations for the Library - Only locations associated with this library system setting that are marked as valid options for self registration.

Self Registration Password Notes: Use this field to specify any instructions for users if you're allowing them to create their own PIN/password. (Example: "PIN must be a minimum of 6 digits")

Use All Caps When Submitting Self Registration
: Will convert self registration submissions into all-caps.

Valid States and Valid Zip/Postal Codes for Self Registration: Use these fields to specify the valid states and/or zip codes for self registrations. If listing multiple, separate each state/zip code with a vertical pipe | and no spaces.

Self Registration Form Message: Enter in any information or instructions you'd like to display above the self registration form fields.

Self Registration Success Message: Enter in any information or instructions you'd like to display on the confirmation page after a user successfully submits the self registration form.

3. Now it's time to configure your location settings. From Aspen Administration, head to Primary Configuration > Locations, edit a location, then click ILS/Account Integration.

Under "Valid Self Registration Branch?" you have three options:

  • Valid for All Libraries: This is the default setting for each location. This will be a valid self registration location for all libraries, unless restricted by that library's system settings.
  • Valid for This Library Only: This will be a valid self registration location for this library only (tied to the library system settings).
  • Not Valid: This will not be a valid self registration location for any library. You may want to select this for locations such as bookmobiles, headquarters, and any non-physical locations you might have such as "outreach" or "online."

Tip: you can update location settings in bulk with the Batch Update Selected or Batch Update All buttons below the list of locations!

4. View your self registration form to make sure everything is set up for your library's needs. If certain fields are showing up that you'd like to be hidden, make sure they're selected in Koha in PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerUnwantedField. And if a field you do want is missing, make sure they're not selected there.

You can also change the labels for these fields using Aspen's translation mode. However, keep in mind that any changes made to the form in this way will not push those changes to the Koha interface. Likewise, any customizations to these field names in the Koha interface will not transfer to the self registration form in Aspen.

5. Finally, if you would like users to be able to access their account and online resources immediately after self registration, please revisit steps #2 and #7 in Part 1 of this post to learn about the required system preferences.

Other Helpful Links


How to set up an online resources only self registration

Monday Minutes: Digital Library Card

Aspen Discovery

Aspen Weekly: Self Registration

Aspen Discovery Help Center

Read more by Morgan Daigneault