Koha ILS

New Items Pull Down in Koha

One thing that we get a lot of requests for in Koha is a list of links to new materials. I thought I might share with you all a little trick I just used to create such a list today.

In this case someone asked for a pull down menu of the newest items by item type. These tips will work (with a couple changes) for collection codes or shelving locations as well.

First, I want to make sure you’re aware that every link in Koha is a permanent link. This means if I do a search for everything of a specific item type sorted by the acquisitions date and bookmark that URL, whenever I click it I’ll see the newest items of that type on the first few pages of the results.

I took this knowledge and wrote a form takes this functionality in to consideration. It basically just does a search of your Koha catalog for a specific item type and sorts the results by acquisitions date.

So, the first thing I did was write a MySQL statement to generate a list of item types for me – why copy and paste when you can use the power of MySQL?

select concat('<option value=\"mc-itype:', itemtype, '\">',description,'</option>') from itemtypes

The above looks at the itemtypes table and slaps the necessary HTML around each item type for me. I then exported that to CSV and opened it in my text editor and added the other parts of the form.

<p><strong>New Items</strong></p>
<p><form name="searchform" method="get" action="/cgi-bin/koha/opac-search.pl">
<input name="idx" value="kw" type="hidden">
<input name="sort_by" value="acqdate_dsc" type="hidden">
<input name="do" value="OK" type="hidden">
<select name="limit" onchange="this.form.submit()">
<option>-- Please choose --</option>
<option value="mc-itype:BOOK">Book</option>
<option value="mc-itype:BOOKCD">Book on CD</option>
<option value="mc-itype:DVD">DVD</option>
<option value="mc-itype:LRG_PRINT">Large print book</option>
<option value="mc-itype:MAGAZINE">Magazine</option>
<option value="mc-itype:NEWSPAPER">Newspaper</option>
<option value="mc-itype:VIDEO">Videocassette</option>

Now, what does all of that mean?

The important bits are these:

First the starting of the form.

<p><form name="searchform" method="get" action="/cgi-bin/koha/opac-search.pl">

This tells the browser to take any value selected and put it at the end of this http://YOURSITE/cgi-bin/koha/opac-search.pl

Next, there is a hidden value that is telling the search to sort by acquisitions date descending (newest items at the top):

<input name="sort_by" value="acqdate_dsc" type="hidden">

And finally you have an option for each item type you want people to search.

<option value=”mc-itype:BOOK”>Book</option>

These options each include the string “mc-itype:” which tells Koha to do an item type search.

Once you have all of that in place you can copy and paste the form to somewhere on your OPAC. The Farmington Libraries have a great example of this on the left hand side of their OPAC if you’d like to see it in action.