We are experts at hosting and managing Koha library systems
Koha is a rich, scalable system for both single and networked libraries of all sizes
It can be complemented with our document delivery services
Koha’s Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) and its Staff Client are both completely web-based, requiring simply a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari
Koha can be used from Windows, Macintosh and Linux desktops, tablets and smart phone devices
Koha is very easy to install and support
The user interface is very configurable and the OPAC can be customised to provide a simple portal to an information centre on the intranet
We can also provide technical training tailored for systems librarians
Worrying about easiness of use?
Do not! There are lots of online tutorials and other documentation available from the Koha community
We have plenty of experience implementing both small and large Koha sites
Want to get a hands on feel for Koha?
Contact us and we'll set you up a Test Drive on our Koha Demonstration System
The name Koha comes from a New Zealand Maori term for a gift or donation
It is a richly featured and web-based, written in Perl with a SQL database backend
Year of original implementation
Support for standards
Structure and organisation
Personalisation and social networking
Powerful catalogue search
Prosentient has considerable experience implementing Koha sites, large and small. Larger projects may start with a set of formal requirements in a contract and kick off with a project initiation meeting. With smaller sites the preliminaries are usually conducted over the phone.
The simplest project of all is setting up a new library because there is no data to migrate -- but in most of our projects data must be migrated from an existing system. Whatever the size of an existing library, implementation will involve the following steps:
Establish requirements: every library is slightly different in how it operates and Koha is highly configurable to allow for just about every feature a librarian might require. Out of the box Koha comes with the settings that are most commonly used, so the task can be narrowed to identify those areas in which the new library is exceptional. We provide a migration checklist to get librarians thinking about how their library works and what they want to achieve from the data migration. This may lead to a further discussion about local requirements and how they can be implemented.
Customisation: complex customisation is rarely required, but sometimes arises in the context of integrating with other systems. If this is required, we are happy to estimate and quote the work involved based on our standard rate.
Obtain legacy data: we ask the library to export and send us files containing the records they wish to migrate to the new system. Most libraries want to export their catalogue and borrower records and these are usually straightforward because they are typically held in a standard form. We have considerable experience with different kinds of library management systems and may be able to provide advice about getting the data out, if that is needed.
Our clients are also invited to nominate any data cleaning or mapping they wish to undertake as part of the migration -- merging items types, for example, or deleting bib records without items. Other types of records, for example acquisitions or serial management, can be complicated because there are no standards for these across the different systems. Depending on the quality of the exported data and the complexity of the conversion task, it has occasionally been necessary to quote for significant additional work involved in a complex data migration -- but this is rare.
Collateral content: we ask the library to provide any graphics, links to other pages, background text and so on that they would like us to use in setting up the appearance of the OPAC. If the library has no special requirements in this department we are usually able to borrow suitable logos and colour schemes from its corporate website.
Establish development site: the OPAC and Staff Client sites are set up on Prosentient’s hosting service and made available to the library, together with initial log-in accounts.
Data conversion, migration and cleaning: Prosentient has developed software tools for cleaning and migrating data from the legacy library systems it has encountered. The data is migrated based on the library’s requirements and the library is asked to check and confirm the results. We have found that most implementations require two or three cycles of conversion, import and checking in order to achieve the accuracy required. For this reason all our data conversions are “scripted” and can be run through a series of iterations to refine the conversion mapping and data cleaning required to yield an effective result for the client. The final export of the old data needs to take place as close as possible to implementation of the new system and ideally the old system is not used further once this has occurred. For this reason, final export often takes place on a Friday afternoon and cutover to the new system occurs first thing on Monday morning. If use of the old system after final export is unavoidable, subsequent transactions will need to be noted and adjustments made when the new system goes live.
Configuration workshop: in parallel with data cleaning and migration we conduct a Koha Configuration Workshop with, depending on the size of the library, at least the chief and deputy librarian attending. In this workshop we canvas those aspects of Koha configuration that most often differ between sites and show the librarians how we make the configuration changes on their new site. Based on the library’s requirements, previously gathered, we tend to focus on particular features of interest to the library. The configuration workshop will cover:
Final configuration: any residual setup issues identified as part of the configuration workshop are best resolved before the user training takes place.
Train library staff: as described in our page on training we offer two Koha user training courses for the library staff: basic and advanced. In a small library all staff would normally attend both courses. In a large library, with a degree of specialisation in roles, all staff attend the basic course but some may not need the advance course which covers Cataloguing, Serials, Acquisitions and Reports. The training (ideally) takes place on the library's own development site, loaded with the library's own catalogue and configured as close as possible to the way it will look when implemented. In addition to the formal training courses, library staff are pointed to the extensive collection of freely available Koha video tutorials on the internet.
Implementation: planning for switching the site from development to production requires the client to organise publicity for changes that affect their patrons. Borrowers do not require formal training in how to use the OPAC but it is good to let them know in advance of the change and point them to online tutorials about how to use some of the new features. The library will also need to perform a final data export from the old system and make transitional arrangements for the interval between data freeze and the new site going live. Prosentient will then perform the final data import to the new system and check that everything is present and correct and ready to go into production.
Monitor operations: Prosentient’s staff are ready when the production site goes live to deal with any questions or issues arising -- but the phone hardly ever rings!
Your hosted Koha LMS resides on a Prosentient server which sits outside your corporate network.
The URL of your library's hosted OPAC is in the form http://MyOrg.intersearch.com.au while the form of the URL of the Staff Client is http://MyOrgadmin.intersearch.com.au.
Although your LMS is now hosted outside of your corporate network, your patrons will not notice any appearance or performance issues, provided some minor networking adjustments are made. For optimum performance Prosentient's hosting servers need to be recognised by your network as belonging to a trusted site as follows:
Email server trusts
Koha generates a range of client emails on behalf of your organisation. If the from address of the emails sent from the hosted server is the same as an address belonging to your corporate domain, it is possible that your mail server will reject these emails as “spoofed” emails. In this case it will be necessary for your IT Department to register Prosentient's mail server as a trusted email source for your corporate internal emails. Ask your IT department to make the Koha server (primary IP address 220.127.116.11 and secondary IP address 18.104.22.168 and domain name mail.prosentient.com.au) a trusted mail source.
Internet Explorer has anti-phishing settings which provide useful protection when browsing the wider web, but can also considerably slow down access to a heavily used intranet application like Koha when it is hosted off-site. These measures are called the Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer 7 and the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 8 and 9.
It is possible, but perhaps not advisable, to turn Phishing functions off, as this Microsoft support article on the Internet Explorer phishing filter explains.
A safer approach is to add the Koha website address to the list of “trusted sites” in your web browser to avoid the unnecessary and time consuming security check each time you visit a Koha web page, as this Microsoft support article on Internet Explorer trusted sites explains.
In some cases you may find that your browser settings are “locked down” to enforce corporate web browser policies and you are not able to change your browser settings yourself. In this case you will need to request your IT department to add the two Koha websites (the URLs of the OPAC and the Staff Client) - to the “trusted website list” of those browsers that require access to these sites.
Corporate subdomain for library web pages
While your LMS can always be reached by the default URLs at intersearch.com.au it is straightforward, if required, to set up your own virtual URLs for your patrons. For example, you may prefer to have your patrons visit the:
This requires your IT department to put the CNAME entries for your corporate virtual URLs in their Domain Name Server pointing to the names of the corresponding Prosentient servers:
Corporate CSS hosting for library web pages
The look and feel (as opposed to the content) of your LMS HTML pages are controlled by a CSS file. By default, the CSS file lives on Prosentient's hosting server and is configured as part of site establishment with your corporate logo and colour scheme.
Some organisations may have their own web designers and prefer to finess the appearance of their LMS pages themselves. It is an easy matter to arrange for your organisation to take over responsibility for hosting and maintaining your CSS file on a corporate server where your web designer will have ready access.
If you have the necessary resources and a desire to maintain your own CSS file, we can send you a copy and change the code on the library site to point to its new location in your corporate network.
Access to Z39.50 servers
One of Koha's most powerful features is the ability to Copy Catalogue acquisitions by looking up existing biblio entries from a library Z39.50 provider. There are many Z39.50 providers that are public and freely available including Library of Congress, Australian National University, the Smithsonian Institution and Oxford Library.
If your library has membership of Libraries Australia you will be able to use their Z39.50 server. To enable Z39.50 through Libraries Australia, first contact their Helpdesk on 1800 026 155, and ask them to enable a Z39.50 connection for your site. As a matter of course they will ask you to perform a Z39.50 connection test with your software, to which you should respond that “the test has already been conducted by our IT service provider”.
The Northern Territory’s Health Library Network signed up for Prosentient System’s document delivery system and were impressed with the after sales service. “We found Edmund to be very good to work with” explained Resources Management Librarian, Ruby Lindberg. “No matter how many times we rang he was always patient and helpful. After sales service and support is very important to us because we don’t have the technical in-house knowledge of the applications to do it ourselves”. Their good experience with Interdocs soon led the library to join GratisNet, and then to take up the hosted Koha Library Management System.
In this case study published by the Australian Open Access Support Group, Gemma Siemensma, Library Manager at Ballarat Health Services, describes the thinking and processes behind the introduction of their DSpace repository
When the Parliamentary Library of New South Wales began using Koha as its Library Management system and DSpace as its digital repository, the staff didn't do so to make a political statement about the viability of open source software. “This was just the software that fulfilled our requirements,” said Deborah Brown, Parliament’s chief librarian.
While having a physical collection, NSW Parliament library's lifeblood is digitized news media. Through their parliamentary copyright exemption they reproduce and store dozens of articles each day for the use of the Members of Parliament (and their staff) who make up their user base.