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Commerce Commission saves time & money with Koha

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Catalyst and the Commerce Commission collaborate with the power of Koha.


Catalyst collaborated with the Commerce Commission Library to develop their new Koha website.


Three challenges presented themselves:

  • Commerce Commission staff use ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) to log in to different systems using a single set of login credentials. The Commission wanted to keep using ADFS to log in to any new library system.
  • Due to the small size of the library team and the physical set-up of the library itself, tracking items being checked out of the library was not always easy. What was required was a means of allowing library users to record it themselves when they took out items.
  • How to ensure Koha reflected the identity of the Commission. Its appearance had to blend in with the look and feel of their other systems, as well as highlight the library's services and collections.


Single Sign On (SSO)

The Catalyst Koha team implemented SSO between Koha and the Commerce Commission authentication provider. This meant that Commerce Commission staff, once logged into at the start of the day, would be automatically logged in to Koha, too. This time-saving approach to authentication also kept Koha use in-line with other Commerce Commission systems.

Self checkout module

Out-of-the-box Koha offers a means for end-users to be able to check out books themselves from the Koha OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) interface, using the self checkout module. This sounded like the ideal solution for the Commerce Commission as staff members could come into the library, pick up an item, take it back to their desk, and check it out from there.

There was a roadblock though: Koha did not pass the details of the currently logged in user to the self checkout module. So upon clicking the self checkout button, users were then prompted to input their card number. This was not ideal when the rest of Koha was set up so end-users didn't have to authenticate manually. The solution provided by Catalyst developer Alex Buckley was to pass the identity of the currently logged in user to the self checkout module. Commerce Commission staff were then able to check out items themselves without having to manually input their identity.

Attractive theme and design

Nikita Sharpe, a Catalyst front-end developer, implemented the Commerce Commission branding including the Commerce Commission's colours, imagery, and logos. The branding lent itself to creating a beautiful display, while keeping within the low-maintenance standard Koha layout.

The Commerce Commission opted to include a new books slideshow on the OPAC homepage. This highly visual feature can refresh images daily, which allows staff to easily showcase newly received titles and make them immediately visible to library users. Working together, Catalyst and the Commerce Commission Library brought a fantastic custom design to fruition.