Add a catalog search & hours to make your website better!

I attended a PLA 2014 session last week on building better library websites. The entire panel said every library needs to have a catalog search on the home/main page of the library website and their regular operating hours prominently displayed and/or easily located. They claimed this is what 90% of their website visitors wanted according to their analytics.

The HTML code to add a search box for a quick keyword search is pretty simple. The problem that needed to be solved for Pioneer members was limiting the search to just their library’s holdings. Randy Rowe with LCL provided the “hidden” solution. Thanks Randy! Here’s the HTML code you need to add it to your webpage:


<form id=”searchform” action=”” method=”get” name=”searchform”><strong>Search the Catalog: </strong><input id=”transl1″ type=”text” name=”q” size=”40″ /> (Type term then Enter.)<input type=”hidden” name=”multibranchlimit” value=”CCPL-OPAC” /></form>


<form id=”searchform” action=”” method=”get” name=”searchform”><strong><span style=”color:#000000; font-family:arial;”>Search the Catalog!</span></strong><select id=”masthead_search” name=”idx” style=”float:left;”>
<option value=””>Keyword</option>
<option value=”title”>Title</option>
<option value=”author”>Author</option>
<option value=”subject”>Subject</option>
<option value=”series-title”>Series</option></select>
<input id=”transl1″ style=”font-size:16px; font-family:arial;” type=”text” name=”q” size=”40″ /><input id=”searchsubmit” type=”submit” value=”Search” /><input type=”hidden” name=”multibranchlimit” value=”CCPL-OPAC” /></form>

The sections in red need to be modified for your library. ccpl is the first part of Central City’s OPAC Search Group URL. You can get if from the URL displayed when you bring up your library’s Koha OPAC. CCPL is Central City’s library code and will limit the search results to just their holdings. You will need to replace the CCPL with your library’s code. This code can be found in Administration/Libraries and Groups in the Code column next to your library’s Name.

Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, IT Coordinator, Sump Memorial Library

Shortcut for counting the number of Holds on an item at your library

Here’s a shortcut for counting the number of Holds on an item at your library when patrons ask you where they’re at in the queue.

  1. Search for the item in the catalog.
  2. Bring up the Bib Record Detail for the item.
  3. “Edit holds” for the item.
  4. Change the “Sort by” (in the upper-left corner of the screen) from “Priority” to “Pickup Library”.

The holds for this item at your library will now be at the top of the Edit Holds list where they can be easily counted.

Why do my patron/item barcodes look like 3.4666e+13 when I download my report to Excel?

When you download Koha’s SQL reports to Excel, the patron/item barcodes are displayed something like 3.4666e+13. This is because Excel’s General cell format automatically displays numbers with more than 12 digits in scientific notation. To fix it (in Excel 2007/2010):

  1. Select the entire column by clicking on the column’s Letter.
  2. Click Format.
  3. Click Format Cells.
  4. Click Number.
  5. Set Decimal Places to zero.
  6. Click Okay.

There is not any way to make it display as a Number by default. You will have to do this whenever a column displays this way in Excel.

Andrew “Sherm” Sherman
IT Coordinator
Sump Memorial Library

The “Location” Search Facet has been activated to fix “Search the Catalog”

You had been advised to use the “Advanced Search” instead of “Search the Catalog” due to the “Available” Search Facet narrowing the search results to only items that are available/on-shelf and not showing items that are checked out. This issue has been corrected by the activation of the “Location” Search Facet which will now appear at the top of the “Refine your search” panel on the left side of the screen when searching. The Locations are listed by Branch Code and sorted by which Location has the largest number of items matching the search request to the least. Select your Branch Code to narrow the search results to the items at your location.

Getting Support When Having an Issue

If you’re having an issue connecting to Koha, try another website to verify your Internet access is working. You may also want to contact another Pioneer library to see if they are having the same problem.

Tip: Instead of writing down patron and item barcode numbers while Koha is down, you can open Notepad and scan barcodes into it. I recommend entering a blank line between each patron so you can see where the checkouts for a patron start and end. Remember to save the file often. Once Koha is back up, you can copy and paste what was scanned from Notepad into Koha. (The Offline Store & Forward backup feature only works if your library is using true 14-digit barcodes for all scanning.)

You can open a support ticket with PTFS/LibLime by:

  1. Sending an email to
  2. Calling 1-888-564-2457 ext.2 and leaving a voice message.
  3. Access the customer support webportal at This is also where you can view the status of your support requests. You should have a login for this that was provided to you during migration.

When reporting an issue to PTFS/LibLime include your contact info, the time of day the issue occurred, and what transaction you were doing (this will direct them to which logs to view to spot the problem).

The most common thing I help other libraries out with in Koha is reports. Feel free to call or email me at if you need help with a report. You are welcome to contact me with any other questions you may have and I will do my best to help you out.

For Koha cataloging questions, Tammy Teasly at Lincoln City Libraries is the best resource. You can email her or call her.

Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, IT Coordinator, Sump Memorial Library