Release of Koha 19.05

The Catalyst Koha team are delighted to celebrate the release of Koha 19.05. This release contains 698 changes including 15 new features, 246 enhancements to existing features and 437 bug and security fixes. This new release also adds 32 new system preferences allowing libraries further 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 enhancement - When an item is marked as lost during transit, cancel all transfers on the item

This enhancement was sponsored by Brimbank Library in Australia and developed by the Catalyst Koha team. When a librarian marks an item as lost all of the transfers on that item are automatically cancelled, saving the librarian time to do more valuable work such as helping patrons. In order to develop functionality that is useful to multiple libraries, we went to the Koha mailing lists and sought opinions from the wide range of librarians, developers, and support vendors.

Circulation enhancement – Rental fees based on a chosen time period 

Libraries can now define a rental fee to be applied per day or per hour that the item is checked out. This enhances the existing functionality in Koha which allows librarians to define a one-off fee to patrons for renting an item. The new per hour/per day rental fee is set by item types in the Koha Administration > Item types interface (as highlighted in the image below) e.g. if an item of itemtype DVD is checked out and the hourly rental charge for the DVD itemtype is $1, then for every hour the item is checked out the patron is being charged $1. An advantage of this enhancement is that it works with the existing functionality of a one-off fee; librarians can set a one-off fee for renting an item of a particular itemtype in addition to an hourly fee for the time it is checked out.

Item type modification page in Koha staff client Tools module with a yellow highlight box around the new Daily rental charge and Hourly rental charge settings

New system preference - Quick navigation back to last searched patron in staff client

Koha 19.05 introduced a new system preference called showLastPatron. This handy time-saving syspref allows you to navigate back to the last viewed patron page from anywhere in the staff client. All you have to do is enable this system preference and then the ‘Last patron’ button is displayed at the top right of every page in the staff client.

 Yellow arrow indicating the Last patron link at the top right of the Koha staff client home page

Something to keep in mind with this syspref is it will load the last viewed patron detail page and not the last viewed patron search result page.

Enhancement - Run batch record modification/deletion tools against lists

Our own wonderful developer Aleisha Amohia wrote this enhancement. You can now use lists to populate the: Batch record deletion and Batch record modification tools in the Koha Tools module.

arrow indicating a yellow highlighted box containing the Batch record deletion and Batch record modification tool links in the Tools module of the Koha staff client

Previously if you had a list of biblio records you wanted to modify or delete using these two tools, you would have to write a report to return the biblionumbers of the items in your list, then paste those biblionumbers either into a file and upload that file or paste the values directly into the tool interface. Now when you go the batch record modification/deletion tools if you have at least one public list or one private list owned by your Koha patron, a new tab will be displayed called ‘Select a list of records’.

Yellow arrow indicates the new select a list of records tab in the Batch record deletion tool to the right of the upload a file tabThis contains a dropdown of lists, only public lists or private lists owned by your patron. Select a list and then click ‘Continue’ and then the items in the list will be populated.

Table of biblio records loaded from a list in the Batch record deletion tool.  Each record has a selected checkbox beside itAleisha is working on another enhancement at the moment which lets librarians add batch modified records to a list, after they have been modified.

Cataloguing enhancement - Delete bibliographic record after moving last item to another record(s)

This time-saving enhancement allows library staff to delete a biblio record when moving the last item off that bibliographic record to another bibliographic record. A yellow box appears asking you if you want to delete the source bibliographic record, as the below image shows.

A yellow confirmation box asking the patron to delete a bibliographic record upon moving the last item record to another bibliographic recordIf you're not sure how to move an item from one bibliographic record to another record in Koha, don't worry - it’s easy! In the Koha staff client simply:

  1. Visit the bibliographic record you want to move the item to
  2. Select ‘Edit’ button
  3. Select ‘Attach item’
  4. Type in the barcode of the item you want to move
  5. You will be redirected to a page informing you if moving the item was successful (and the yellow box asking you if you want to delete the source bibliographic record if it was the last item on that bibliographic record)

Enhancement - Easier OPAC translatability

Don’t you hate it when you see a web page which is supposed to be translated into a non-English language, for example, te reo Māori, and there are stray sections of English text in there as well? Well, this enhancement helps to avoid that in the Koha OPAC. Essentially what it does is move the OpacNavRight from being a system preference to being editable in the News feature in the Tools module. You can access the News feature in the staff client by going to Tools > News

The OpacNavRight section of the OPAC is denoted in the arrow in the image below:

OPAC home page with coloured boxes denoting the regions of the OPAC home page editable by the OpacNav syspref (top left of page), OPACNavBottom (below OPACNav), opaccredits (bottom of the page), OPACMainUserBlock (middle of page), OPACNavRight (bottom right of the page)When OpacNavRight was editable in a syspref you wrote one set of content which was displayed the no matter what language the OPAC was viewed in. If you wanted to display different OPACNavRight content depending on what language the OPAC was being viewed in then custom code was required. However, no coding knowledge is required to do that now that you can edit the OpacNavRight in the News feature. You can now:

  • Create multiple sets of content to be displayed in the OpacNavRight position of the OPAC home page
  • Define the language when a set of content is to be displayed – this is set in the ‘Display location’ (indicated by the arrow in the image below). In that example, the content created will be displayed when the OPAC is being viewed in mi-NZ which is te reo Māori.

Yellow arrow denoting a yellow highlighted box containing the display location dropdown button and label.

This enhancement is continually being improved as other OPAC content system preferences are being moved into the News feature, so soon you will be able to make your whole customized OPAC fully translated very easily. The next system preference in the process of being moved into the News feature is opacheader.

Read more about the 698 features, enhancements and security/bug fixes of 19.05 on the Koha community website.

Written by Koha developer, Alex Buckley, of the Catalyst Koha team.


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