Release of Koha 18.05

Catalyst is delighted to celebrate the release of Koha 18.05. This release as with all major Koha releases, contains a wide range of new features, bug fixes and security fixes.

These enhancements and fixes are targeted at all Koha users: library patrons, library staff, system librarians and developers and continue to build on the usability, wide range of features and scalability that Koha LMS (Library Management System) is known for.

There are 629 changes in total which you can read about in the release notes. Here a few highlights grouped by user type:

Librarians:

- Circulation interface Usability improvements:

The User Experience (U.X.) of the circulation interface in the Koha staff client has been dramatically improved to make it easier to use on mobile devices. Links have been replaced with buttons, the positioning of the buttons have been moved around so the most important and most frequently used buttons are at the top of the page when viewed on a mobile device making it easy to find them in a hurry.

This U.X. improvement was led by our own Koha Senior Developer Liz Rea.

The Koha team isn’t finished improving the Koha interfaces and plan to continue working through other interfaces refreshing them to work effectively on mobile devices.

- Ability to merge patron records:

Koha has provided the ability to merge bibliographic records together, for some time, in this release librarians can merge patron accounts together. Several libraries active in the Koha community identified that due to human error they had multiple examples of duplicate accounts and the ability to merge patron accounts together would be very useful to them.

- Ability to search for reports using keywords:

This enhancement restyles the Reports interface and implements a time-saving feature - a Report search form.

Koha already had the ability in the Administration interface to search for system preferences (settings) and now this same functionality is implemented for Reports so that librarians can quickly find a saved report by searching by keyword.

Library patrons:

- Add routing list tab to the OPAC:

This enhancement gives patrons access to see the routing lists they are currently listed in on the OPAC interface, previously patrons would have had to ask a librarian to see the routing lists as they used to only be accessible from the staff client.

System librarians:

- Add a system preference to define the number of days used in purge_suggestions.pl:

Purge_suggestions.pl is a cronjob (a script which can be setup to run automatically on a regular basis) to remove patron item suggestions older than a given number of days.

This enhancement creates a system preference (a setting which controls how Koha works) called PurgeSuggestionsOlderThan which libraries can input and edit the value of and this is used by the aforementioned cronjob to control which suggestions are removed.

Previously if a library running the cronjob wanted to change the number of days old at which a suggestion was removed they would have needed to ask their support vendor to change it for them. Now the control has been given back to libraries saving them time and money.

Developers:

- REST API additions:

A REST API is a function (block of code logic) which third party, external systems can call to execute logic on a system, generally a value is returned to the third party system to use.

For example if you wanted a user of the Moodle Learning Management System to be able to create a Koha borrower without leaving Moodle, you could do this by implementing the following HTTP request call in Moodle:

POST /api/v1/patrons

This would then execute the patron creation function in Koha. So in short REST APIs implement a means of integrating different systems.

In this release Koha has extended the range of REST API functions it has, now including the ability to be add, retrieve update and delete patrons. All that needs to happen is a request to one of the Koha REST API providing a data value such as borrower number (if required) and the REST API function will be executed.

This feature allows developers to write functions in third party systems to call Koha REST APIs to interact with Koha patron accounts.

Lastly, Catalyst is proud to see code - contributions from the following Catalyst staff for the first time - most of whom are not software developers! Congratulations to Bonnie Crawford, Jessica Freeman, Sherryn Mak, Chris Weeks, Priya Patel who now have their changes released to the global Koha Community.

You can read more about the 629 additions, enhancements and bug fixes on the Koha Community website.

For more on Koha, please contact Kathryn Tyree - Project and Account Manager at kathryn@catalyst.net.nz

Learn more about Koha at Catalyst.