Release of Koha 20.05

by Aleisha Amohia, Catalyst Koha Developer.

The Catalyst Koha team are delighted to celebrate the release of Koha 20.05. This release contains 880 changes including 13 new features, 275 enhancements to existing features, and 592 bug and security fixes.

This major release also adds 26 new system preferences allowing libraries further freedom to customise the behaviour of their Koha site. This blog will cover a few of the new features and enhancements we are particularly excited about:

Circulation feature – Tool to update due dates in bulk

Circulation feature – Tool to update due dates in bulk

The COVID-19 pandemic forcing sudden closures of libraries makes this tool incredibly useful! Easily extend due dates of checked out items by specifying a hard due date or a number of days. You can find the ‘Batch extend due dates’ tool under the ‘Patrons and Circulation’ heading on the Tools landing page.

OPAC feature – Context-sensitive ‘report a problem’ process

OPAC feature – Context-sensitive ‘report a problem’ process

This new feature allows borrowers to report problems to the library, or to the Koha Administrator, when using the OPAC. The feature is enabled by a new system preference: OPACReportProblem. When enabled, a ‘Report a problem’ link will show at the bottom of every page in the OPAC. The link takes the borrower to a form which captures the page they were viewing when they clicked the link, and they can enter extra information about the problem they’re reporting. Staff can access problem reports and mark them as viewed, closed, or new, under ‘Administration’ in the staff interface.

Administration in the staff interface

This new feature allows borrowers to report problems to the library, or to the Koha Administrator, when using the OPAC. The feature is enabled by a new system preference: OPACReportProblem. When enabled, a ‘Report a problem’ link will show at the bottom of every page in the OPAC. The link takes the borrower to a form which captures the page they were viewing when they clicked the link, and they can enter extra information about the problem they’re reporting. Staff can access problem reports and mark them as viewed, closed, or new, under ‘Administration’ in the staff interface.

Administration feature - ‘Point of sale’ screen for anonymous payments

Administration feature - ‘Point of sale’ screen for anonymous payments

Many libraries now sell a small number of goods are part of their offering. The ‘Point of sale’ feature provides a way for library staff to build up a transaction and make a ‘sale’ to a user. Information about the transaction such as the payment type, cash register, and staff user ID are stored for auditing, but the user’s details are not, allowing users to make anonymous payments against goods. To use the ‘Point of sale’ feature, you must enable the UseCashRegisters and EnablePointOfSale system preferences, configure at least one cash register, and configure at least one account debit type that is available for sale. These setup details can all be handled in ‘Administration’.

Logging enhancement – log successful and unsuccessful login attempts

Logging enhancement – log successful and unsuccessful login attempts

Koha can now track all login attempts! This is interesting if you’d like to know how often borrowers are accessing their accounts via the OPAC, but it is especially useful to detect if a borrower’s account is being hacked. Unsuccessful login attempts will be captured with the AuthFailureLog system preference enabled, and successful login attempts will be captured with the AuthSuccessLog system preference enabled.

Cataloguing enhancement – drag and drop subfields to reorder them

Cataloguing enhancement – drag and drop subfields to reorder them

 

This enhancement that allows the cataloguer to reorder fields in the Editor by dragging on the icon (it will turn grey when being dragged, shown in the screenshot), and dropping it in their desired position. Also, any changes to the order are saved when the cataloguer has finished editing and saves the record. The MARC details will be shown in the new saved order.

Accounting enhancement – apply discounts to user charges

Accounting enhancement – apply discounts to user charges

Staff with the ‘discount’ user permission can now specify and apply discounts to a borrower’s existing charges. Charges now have an ‘Apply discount’ button when viewed on a borrower’s Accounting Transactions tab. The staff member can click this button and specify an amount by which to decrease the charge.

Searching enhancement - ‘results per page’ dropdown on search results

Searching enhancement - ‘results per page’ dropdown on search results

Previously, the number of search results shown per page have been controlled by two system preferences – numSearchResults for the staff interface, and OPACnumSearchResults for the OPAC. This meant that the results per page was set by the library and not configurable outside of Administration, so borrowers couldn’t control or change it. This enhancement allows any user to change the number of search results shown on their page, in both the staff client and the OPAC. The new numSearchResultsDropdown system preference must be enabled for the dropdown to show in the staff client, and the new OPACnumSearchResultsDropdown system preference must be enabled for the dropdown to show in the OPAC.

Tools enhancement – apply regular expressions to text fields in the batch item modification tool

Searching enhancement - ‘results per page’ dropdown on search results

 

This enhancement adds a ‘RegEx’ toggle option to text fields on the batch item modification form that allow you to rewrite the content of fields using regular expressions. This is especially useful for adding prefixes or suffixes to callnumbers and barcodes, or for rewriting item URLs.

OPAC enhancement – search if title already exists when making a purchase suggestion

OPAC enhancement – search if title already exists when making a purchase suggestion

 

This enhancement adds a warning to notify the borrower of an existing holding in the library which may satisfy their suggestion, based on the fields they’ve filled in. The borrower can enter a title, author, and any other details they’d like, then hit the ‘Enter’ key on their keyboard to submit the form. If there’s a holding that could satisfy this suggestion, the warning is shown and the borrower is asked to ‘Confirm their suggestion’. If Koha can’t find a record that matches closely enough to the information the borrower has provided, the purchase suggestion is submitted as normal.

Patrons enhancement – collapse sections of the form for adding or editing borrowers by defaults

Patrons enhancement – collapse sections of the form for adding or editing borrowers by defaults

This enhancement was first requested in 2009, and has finally been developed! It goes to show that even if you don’t have the budget to fund Koha enhancements today, it’s absolutely worth opening a ticket in Bugzilla (the system used for managing Koha development) because someone in the Koha Community might like your idea enough to make it happen! The enhancement introduces a new system preference, CollapseFieldsPatronAddForm, which allows the user to select which sections of the member entry form (for adding or editing members) to be collapsed by default. This is great if there are parts of the form that your library does not fill in for the majority of members and library staff find themselves scrolling past it frequently. The headings of each section in the form can also now be expanded or collapsed by clicking on them, so even if the section has been collapsed by default using the system preference, it can still be expanded if it’s needed.

OPAC enhancement – move content sections of the OPAC into news blocks

OPAC enhancement – move content sections of the OPAC into news blocks

OPAC enhancement

This is a huge enhancement that has moved various system preferences, which were used to add custom content to the OPAC, into the News tool. This means that these sections are easier to work with (you do not need to know HTML to add a News item, but it was required for the system preferences!), but the biggest advantage is the content is now translatable! Koha was able to remove the OpacMainUserBlock system preference (the main central area on the OPAC homepage) and the opacheader system preference with this enhancement, and the community is still working on the remaining OPAC content preferences.

The above screenshot shows one Welcome message for New Zealand English, and another Welcome message for Te Reo Māori. Switching languages in the OPAC will change which news item is shown to the user.

Switching languages in the OPAC

New Zealand English

 

Switching languages in the OPAC

Te Reo Māori

Patrons enhancement – choose guarantee fields to be pre-populated by guarantor information

Patrons enhancement – choose guarantee fields to be pre-populated by guarantor information

When adding a guarantee to a guarantor, we can now select which of the guarantor’s details will be carried over to the guarantee, using the new system preference PrefillGuaranteeField. Fields such as the main address and primary contact details are selected by default. When the user clicks the ‘Add guarantee’ button on a patron’s account, the member entry form is handily pre-populated with the selected details. In the screenshot below, the address fields have already been filled using the guarantor’s address. Thanks to Waitaki District Council for sponsoring this enhancement and helping to make Koha a more efficient and powerful open source library software.

adding a guarantee to a guarantor

Read more about the 880 features, enhancements, and security and bug fixes of the 20.05 Release on the Koha Community Website.

 

Catalyst Koha

If you have any questions or comments about this News item, or would like some support with your Koha instance, you are welcome to email us at [email protected] (New Zealand) or [email protected] (Australia).

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