Koha ILS

KohaCon10: Ideas for Koha 4.0

Up next our own Ian Walls to talk about his awesome visions for where we can go with Koha 4.0! Ian warned us that the following could all be ideological and naive and we have to remember that they are all just his ideas and nothing concrete.

First (and Ian rants about this alot) we need to rebuild some of the modules like holds, notices, accounts (a big problem for us) and borrowers. In addition we want some features that we have been talking about forever like hourly loans, electronic resources management, biblio relationships (aka analytics), enhanced circulation preferences. It would also be nice if we have tools for ILL and a way to connect to OCLC connexion so that you can catalog there and push a button to send to Koha. So let’s go into more detail.


Right now the holds table is missing a primary key (Paul chimed in to say that BibLibre has fixed this!). One known bug we should fix is the ability to place multiple holds on a title. Also for holds (and I love this idea), Ian suggests a Netflix-style queue (for the non-US attendees this was somewhat confusing, but for those of us who use Netflix, it means patrons can place unlimited holds, but can only have X out at once).


Notices need to be rebuilt (a loud WOO HOO from Liz Rea on this one). Ian wants to bring printed slips under notices so that they can be customized like notices. It would also be nice if we had a priority order for notification method, so email is priority if no email send it via print. In addition it would be nice to have on-demand messages – meaning the librarian could click and generate a notice or a copy of a notice. Right now patrons can opt-out of advanced notices – Ian thinks we should allow the librarians to control these as well if they want to and say which ones they can change and which they can’t. Finally, better SMS/IM support for notices – maybe using Jabber is a way to go for this – also it means that we’d need some kind of limits on characters that the notices print out.


Ian hates dealing with fines because the accountlines table bothers him. He feels we need two tables, one for accounts and the accountlines table is for atomic transactions (I’m not sure I know what that is…). Each account would be something like fines, lost items, etc and then have a sys pref to group these together by account type or item. We all know that partial payment of fines is a bit missing part in the account management. Finally, Ian mentioned something I asked about a while ago – real time currency exchange rates (the example that Ian used was the ‘food for fines’ program we see in libraries in the US). Paul added to this to say that there should be a family account – a way to allow parents to pay children accounts – I love it!!


No library uses all of the fields available via the add patron form – so we might be able to cut this down to something more like the extended attributes to save space in the big borrowers table. Then we keep only core library data in the borrowers table. It would also be nice to have hierarchical borrower types. A cool idea would be to have borrower preferences – like many social sites out there – let the borrower decide what they want their defaults to be – like I never want to see lost items, even if the librarian chooses to show them. You could also extend this to the staff client to let the staff decide what they want to see and where.

As a side note, wouldn’t it be nice to link borrowers to authorities – if you have an author who lives in your town you could link their patron record to their authority record.

Crossing Borrowers/Acq

Why not put the vendors and vendor contacts into the borrowers table – these tables hold similar data. Along those lines also merging accounts with the acquisition money system. It would be nice to allow patrons to place holds on items that they have suggested and follow the process a bit more from suggestion to cataloging.

Crossing Serials/Acq

We should manage subscriptions/renewals in Acquisition (Paul says this should come in the next month). Also EDI support (which ByWater and Software Coop are working on together).

Crossing Serials/Cataloging

We need support for the MARC Format for Holdings Data! UNIMARC has a format similar, but it’s very new.

Hourly Circ/Course Reserves

We need to update circulation to allow for a base period of one minute because this will allow us to go out from there to days (Hourly loans RFC). We should be able to connect that to the calendar and notices – and of course integration with SMS messages so you get a text message right before it’s due. Course reserves can be used by all libraries if you think of it like a group of items that are pulled from where they usually reside for a different purpose.

Electronic Resources Module

A new concept for Koha. Allow Koha to import holdings from data sources, have a built in link resolves and connect to SUSHI for statistics. This is a big topic that was condensed down to one slide.

Biblio Relationships

This is what Ian called “analytics+” This is beyond analytics because it’s just a way to handle relationships between biblios – so not just analytics, but also FRBR. There is an RFC for this that can be added to.

Arbitrary Metadata Schemas

We want to be able to put in not just MARC, but DC, METS, MODS, etc.

Widgetized Staff Client

Another cheer from Liz next to me! It would be nice to let the staff pull in widgets and drag and drop them on to the page so taht they can cusotmize things. Of course we’d also want this in the OPAC as well – but I personally feel like the staff client has been ignored from a design standpoint in favor of the OPAC – which is necessary – but I’d like the staff to get some prettiness.

Enhanced Circ Preferences

Would be nice if many of the global prefs were pulled out and granular (global due date was an example – allow that for each branch to be different). If we pull this out to a new table it would be easier to integrate these changes.

Mobile Interfaces

We need to get the staff client and the OPAC to look better on our smart phones. Might also be nice if we could connect to the camera and use it as a barcode scanner.

Other Little Ideas

  • Recalls
  • ILL – like suggestions but asking to get from another library
  • More barcode encodings
  • Multiple LDAPs/Shibboleth Support
  • Cron scheduling interface in the staff client
  • OCLC Connexion Gateway

Wow!! My hands are way tired and I’m sure Ian will share his slides with us so we can read them to get all that I missed.


Read more by Nicole C.

Tags kohacon10, ldap tutorial