Cataloging Roundtable

Conversation is being recorded…. Here’s the few snippets I was able to catch:

Suppressing items — at bib and item level. Bib, in 942 field; item level, through sys pref OpacHiddenItems.

Development in progress to add a primary status field to the item record, to simplify all the statuses.

Lots of people using MarcEdit to massage records.

Conversation around using MarcEdit’s integration with Koha. See this video from Nick Clemens for how to use this tool in a number of ways to download and push changes to Koha.

Empty records cause? Orphaned records; overlay issues; people bringing in records multiple times because it can’t be found until reindex.

Nick Clemens had Joy at ByWater create a new dedup script that you give it a list (hand-check); a plugin will at some point be developed for that.

Merging option in cataloging search will be in 3.22 — Bug 13886

Changing cataloging search — adding checkin and standard search; will be in 3.22 — Bug 13885


How, Why, Gotchas & Lessons Learned

Chris Rohde/Rendi Hodge, Roseville Public Library, &, 916-774-5221

Technical issues during this presentation — lost the remote presenter, Chris Rohde.

Why talk about Koha, SIP and RFID/AMH? 

  • lighten load on circulation — 95% goes thru self check
  • lighten load on Koha soft spot

What is SIP? 

  • 3M vendor creation, 1993
  • Allows ILS to communicate with their products
  • ILS to Self-Service communication for transactions
  • Donated to NISO, National Information Standards Organization, 2012
  • SIP3 forthcoming
  • Other protocols available, NCIP
  • Helpful to have a SIP testing tool, like SIP testing tool

RFID tags

  • Roseville uses passive version
  • Antennae/Radio
  • Chip – Data/Security
  • Adhesive
  • 2×2 in. tags on books and media cases; overlays on discs
  • Used for: Self-check; automated returns; security gates


  • AMH — Automated Materials Handling
  • Leverages RFIP & SIP
  • Includes “Induction” bookdrop
  • Brings you closer to customers — staff in front of the desk vs. behind the desk
  • Bin-sorting for reshelving purposes

AMH Video of this in-progress

Concerns/Lessons Learned

  • SIP Concerns: load, resources, compatibility ports
  • Split server setup
  • Koha Database concerns — didn’t appear to be an issue
  • SIP Servers, Accounts & Ports — separate SIP user for each and every machine
  • SIP Settings & Timeouts — 6 minutes timeout setting; monitored load during go-live; scripts in place to kill active SIP services not in use, to keep the server load at a minimum
  • Local Networking/Infrastructure: Firewall conflicts
  • RFID Vendors Role — ILS partnerships
  • Contingency — for developments or sever split
  • RFP Process
  • Project Management — follow PM guidelines; have a staffer in charge of project
  • Staffing Model, Koha, & RFID — impacts way you help customers & use Koha. Koha Circ module used less, but account management is used more.
  • OPAC & Staff search interface more important; staff no longer behind counters; mobile view more important now for both customers and staff.

Did this model increase or decrease circ? Not sure on stats, but it definitely sped up circulation; customers speed right through, especially after storytime.

Why split the SIP Server off? Library already having performance issues before RFID/AMH/Self-check put into place; decided to split the server off, due to the increase of hardware (11 self-check machines).

Biggest challenge has been internal networking structure, not SIP.

Installing Koha

{I live-blogged this and have not yet checked for typos for all the commands below — will check later today; apologies in advance, until then}

Aaron Williams, Mercyhurst University, {}

Link to slides coming soon

Works as a web developer at Mercyhurst

  • responsible for main website at the university
  • Full stack developer
  • Linux experience; installing and maintaining various software stacks (Apache MySQL PERL PHP)
  • Polygot (know multiple languages)

Installing Koha — overview

  • Minimum hardware requirements
    • it works on a raspberry pi (runs slow):
      • 700mhz ARM processor
      • 512 MB of memory
      • 3.5 watts of power
      • SD card storage
    • Better hardware recommended for speed

Koha minimum software requirements

  • Linux — usually Debian or Ubuntu but other Linux distros are supported
  • Apache web server
  • MySQL
  • PERL Programming language: lots of Perl dependencies

Installation methods

  • From source/git
  • apt-get and pre-built packages [make everything easy]

Installing Koha [can use VirtualBox on your own computer to set up a virtual host]

Ubuntu/Debian package commands:

  • Add community repository
    • echo deb stable main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/koha.list
  • Add trusted repository key
    • wget -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Update Ubuntu or Debian using apt-get
    • sudo apt-get update
    • sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Clear the apt-get packager manager cache
    • sudo apt-get clean
  • Install Koha and dependencies
    • sudo apt-get install koha-common
    • [takes 5 mins on a reasonably fast internet connection]
  • Problem with Apache itk (errors on install; usually happens)
    • sudo a2dismod mpm_event
    • sudo a2enmond mpm_prefork
    • sudo service apache2 restart
    • sudo apt-get install -f
  • Edit initial config file
    • sudo nano /etc/koha/koha-sites.conf
    • Edit intraport, opacport, domain, and memcache [for database, makes Koha faster] settings depending on install
  • Install mysql-server dependence
    • sudo apt-get install mysql-server
  • Ensure rewrite and cgi are enabled
    • sudo a2enmod rewrite && sudo a2enmod cgi && sudo service apache2 restart
  • Setup the database for Koha
    • sudo koha-create --create-db library
  • Secure mysql installation (follow onscreen wizard)
    • sudo mysql_secure_installation
  • Add new 8080 port (for IP based install) to Apache
    • sudo nano /etc/apache2/ports.conf
    • need to add listen on 8080 (missed the details)
  • Enable vhost on Apache
    • sudo a2enmod deflate && sudo a2ensite library && sudo service apache2 restart
  • Test to ensure everything is working
    • In web browser, visit localhost or {Koha maintenance message}
    • In web browser, visit localhost:8080 or
  • Visiting localhost:8080 or
    • should prompt for username or password
    • username –> koha_library
    • password –>
      • sudo xmlstarlet sel -t -v 'yazgfs/config/pass' /etc/koha/sites/library/koha-conf.xml
    • Follow onscreen instructions/wizard

Resources: Ubuntu: Debian:

Open Source at Meadville Public Library

John Brice, Meadville Public Library Director
–33 separate FOSS (free and open source software) packages being used
–1000 sq miles
–175 plus clients
–3.5 FTE IT dept

Instead of spending money in packaged software license, we use FOSS and invest the savings in staff training and higher quality equipment.

Participation Strategy: we want to be a big fish in a small pond

  • we have limited resources
  • Every FOSS project deserves support
  • Active involvement is in two projects: Koha & LibKi

Development of MPL FOSS guidelines

  • We have small budgets: select FOSS if available (it’s cheap); host the software ourselves (reduces costs)
  • Test drive everything first through a proof concept (old hardware first)
  • DIY Library (we like to tinker) — build own furniture, lay own carpet, renovate building themselves
  • Leverage our knowledge of FOSS

Selection of OSS criteria

  • Technical details: programming language; packages used; what license does it use?
  • What is the community like? Single developer in mom’s basement vs Multiple developers for the Fortune 500

Passive Participation in FOSS

  • Do nothing (or small, donations)
  • Contribute to the project along prescribed guidelines

Active participation

  • develop documentation
  • answer support questions
  • sign off on quality assurance
  • submit bug fixes
  • finding bugs and reporting them
  • participate in development
  • participate in community discussions
  • submit new features

Active Participation — Financial

  • Attend community meetings/hackfests (travel around the world!)
  • Hire a developer/company to add a feature

FOSS Community members

  • lead programmer
  • independent developers
  • library developers
  • hosting companies
  • library management types
  • librarians

Community influence

  • influence in FOSS community is based on participation and supported development
  • You do not have to do both
  • The more you work with a FOSS community the more the community will listen to your needs

Active participation staff requirements

  • a good communicator
  • or good writer
  • or good administrator
  • or good IT support person
  • or good programmer

All can contribute to a FOSS community — all types are needed. You don’t have to be technical and know code to participate in the community.

Where to implement FOSS in a library?

  • Hire a host company
  • Support the software yourself <– Meadville’s approach
  • Self support and hire a company

MPL FOSS Development routine

  • Proof of concept — IT Plays
  • Alpha version — IT modifies/demos/approvals
  • Purchase hardware — best available and overspec, because not also paying for licenses and software. Investment goes into redundancy and specs. Pays off in liability down the road
  • Beta version — installed software/staff tests
  • production — go live with use
  • Debugging

Own FOSS customized version of Koha (starting 2007)

  • needed features: fines; clubs and services; rotating collection; different page layouts

Custom software disadvantages

Difficult to upgrade (missed the rest of his points)

Now, community Koha version for last three years, easier to manage

Expect the unexpected

  • no matter how much you test production setting can produce unexpected results
  • Need feedback system for staff (Mantis)
  • Need support of management when things go wrong

Support issues

Many channels of support available

  • Start with the idea: you’re probably not first one with the problem; search available FAQs/past questions
  • Community channels — usually responsive for help

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway. –John Wayne — Meadville’s mantra

Library isn’t using the proven method that is taught in library school. But from John’s experience it is possible to do it, possible to succeed, and is possible to do it yourself, and have the courage to do it yourself.

Your mileage may vary

  • No hard and fast rules
  • Be flexible
  • Being stubborn also helps 🙂