What’s Happening with Koha

The path to having Koha as our ILS has moved from the planning stage to the make-it-work stage, beginning with multiple phone calls about details that seem totally overwhelming at this point. Pioneer members, including LCL, have begun talking with our PTFS project manager, Jane Wagner. PTFS is our Koha service provider and Jane is the person who will lead us through the many steps to making Koha an actuality. Jane has sent us a preliminary project schedule, aiming at a planned “go-live” date in April 2011. The first step is for each Pioneer library to extract bibliographic and patron data from their ILS to send to PTFS. Holdredge has accomplished this, but LCL and Grand Island, the 2 Horizon libraries, are having a little more trouble. Peter and Rod may be doing this, or we may hire a consultant. One of the first things the consortium has to figure out is how to have one multi-branch system (Lincoln) plus 4 individual libraries together in one “instance” of Koha. The question is, sort-of, will Eiseley branch be an independent library in the same sense that Holdredge will be an independent location. This decision will affect how we share (or don’t share) patron data, loan policies, fines, patron categories, shelving locations, etc. This may be a point where PTFS will have to develop (or, write new code) what we need. Tammy, Peter, Greg, Pat Sloan and Suzan spoke with the project manager, Vicki Teal Lovely, of the South Central Library System (WI) yesterday. SCLS is in the midst of migrating from Dynix Classic to the same version of Koha the Pioneer consortium will be using, with a “go-live” date in January. SCLS has 52 libraries participating in this migration, but none of them is independent in the same sense as Holdredge is independent from Lincoln. Vicki was a great help and answered questions about Koha structure, acquisitions, serials, remote log-ins to databases and offered her hints on how to have a successful process.

As an example of what Pioneer will have to do, the SCLS libraries cooperatively agreed to have 200 itypes and collection codes between all the libraries, after starting with 4,500.

SCLS has 3 servers running as they prepare to go live: the sand box, which includes all the new developments PTFS is writing for them; training; and, data test loads (they’re on their 5th load). LCL is planning on having our sandbox – the place where we’ll test out how everything works, in a close to real life version – up in January.

So, our next push will begin in December or January, as we (many will be involved in this stage) begin to fill out data sheets for setting up all of our loan policies, cataloging processes, patron types, holds and all the other stuff we do every day. And, we’ll find out how one decision affects another. This is the same process we went through went we first started with Dynix and then with Horizon, in the long, long ago times.

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