What Koha Offers

Koha has the flexibility to support various kinds of library structures and organisations.

  • define your own main library/branch structure and associated rules
  • exercise broad or granular control over staff client access levels
  • define your own patron categories and their lending rules
  • define your own collections and their lending rules
  • define your own items types and their circulation rules
  • keep track of item locations if required
  • define currencies as part of acquisitions

Koha is built using library standards and protocols that ensure interoperability with other systems and technologies.

  • Compliance with MARC21 standards makes it easy to migrate, import or export catalogue records from, or to, other library systems. MARC21 records provided by publishers can be imported into a staging area in Koha and used for ordering and cataloguing purposes. This same framework will support RDA functions as they become prevelant.
  • Koha has excellent tools for importing (or exporting) authorities and patron data.  Large numbers of records can be migrated using command line tools while incremental updates can be performed using a GUI interface.
  • Koha’s support for Z39.50 allows it to act as a Z39.50 client and/or server as required.  This can be useful for libraries that do not have a lot of trained cataloguers.  New items can be copy-catalogued by importing a MARC record from any number of Z39.50 servers worldwide, including Libraries Australia and the Library of Congress.  As a Z39.50 server other libraries can search and information from your catalogue.  This can be used by Libraries Australia, for example, to provide researchers with details of which libraries hold particular items of interest.
  • Koha also supports the SIP/NCIP library automation protocols which makes it simple to integrate third party applications and hardware products such as RFID.
  • A considerable amount of functionality is available to Koha through its ability to consume Web Services.  For example, a catalogue may be supplemented with “enhanced content” from online services such as Amazon.  Enhanced content includes such things as book cover images, reviews or details of editions. Some is freely available and some is by subscription. 
  • SOAP services for web service integration with other systems.

Koha’s search engine, Zebra, can index and retrieve millions of records very quickly and return results that are superior to many alternatives.

  • it is possible to search any field in the catalogue or search all fields at once
  • Zebra provides faceted search, drill down and multiple options for ordering result lists
  • complex search queries using logical operators can be constructed on the advanced search page or by entering CCL (Command Command Language) queries into a search box.
  • Zebra can be configured to perform implicit stemming or “fuzzy” searches, if desired, to compensate for misspelled words
  • Zebra is UTF-8 compliant, allowing it to handle catalogue records in any language character set

Koha has a flexible and powerful reporting module.

  • a number of pre-defined reports to generate commonly required information
  • easy-to-use Statistics Wizards for the Acquisitions, Patrons, Catalogue, Circulation and Serials modules
  • a more general Guided Reports Wizard which allows you to choose the report format, the data to be displayed in row or columns and any selection criteria
  • the ability to build your own SQL queries, save and edit them and run them directly from the user interface
  • access to a Koha community library of hundreds of reports that others have found useful which you can copy and run
  • the ability to save report output data to text files for later opening in a spreadsheets or other application 
  • the ability to schedule the reports to be run at pre-defined times or intervals
  • for stocktaking, a file of items physically available (from barcode or RFID scans) is easily combined with a list of circulating, withdrawn. damaged or lost records to generate a report of missing items

Library staff can choose from a number of ways to communicate and engage with their patrons.

  • easily updatable news items on the OPAC
  • leave messages for patrons
  • leave messages for other staff against patron records
  • display notice of new library additions in the OPAC
  • customise templates and trigger rules for patron reminder or advisory notices
  • compile publicly available reading lists or finding guides
  • moderate comments posted by patrons if required

Personalisation and Social Networking

Koha has introduced a number of features that enhance the patron’s library experience.  The policies of the library will determine whether some or all of these features are made available but, if they are enabled, patrons may:

  • maintain personal details
  • reserve items
  • receive automated reminders
  • renew items
  • review or comment on items in the catalogue
  • make purchase recommendations
  • tag items with their own keywords
  • save a search as an RSS feed so that they are notified of new search results as items are added to the catalogue
  • see their own reading history
  • see their own search history
  • maintain private or public reading lists
  • generate a list of citations from a reading list
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