Books stacked tidily on library shelves

How to use Australian Indigenous languages in your Koha

The plugin was developed with sponsorship by the Education Services Australia Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) team.

Rōpū kohinga at Catalyst has launched a helpful plugin to load Australian Indigenous languages into Koha library systems. This plugin was developed with sponsorship by the Education Services Australia Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)(external link) team.

Why language matters

In the Māori worldview, information cannot be processed in isolation. Without context, data loses meaning, and stories are incomplete. This is also true for many other Indigenous worldviews.

Additionally, Indigenous peoples are not all the same. The 2022 Australian census(external link) recorded 167 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages used at home by nearly 80,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Many Australian-based libraries will store and provide Australian Indigenous collections. Libraries can now catalogue an accurate language code to these records with the plugin. Enabling libraries to honour these collections by recognising their language and making them more accessible and available to the communities the information belongs to.

The AustLang plugin

The koha-plugin-austlang plugin installs a new automated job that can be scheduled to:

  • regularly load Australian Indigenous languages (AustLang) data from an external source,
  • process the received data into language values,
  • create or update authorised values of these languages.

The plugin also adds an AustLang authorised value category for the new language authorised values to use.

Install, configure and use

The plugin can be downloaded from Gitlab(external link). Once your Koha system administrator has switched some things on, you can upload the KPZ file in the staff interface.

There are a few plugin settings that you can change, including the source of the data. By default, the plugin uses the dataset provided by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)(external link).

Your Koha system administrator will then need to run the automated job to generate the AustLang authorised values. They can also schedule this job to run daily, so updates to the data set are captured and loaded into Koha automatically.

Once the languages are loaded as authorised values, it’s time to make them available to your records. Update your MARC bibliographic frameworks to use the AustLang authorised value category in the Koha Administration module. You’ll then be able to choose one of the 1,200+ Australian Indigenous languages when cataloguing records for your Koha library.

Where can I get Koha support?

Rōpū kohinga at Catalyst cares for collections through technology. The dedicated team has hosted and maintained Koha for organisations globally for more than a decade. Additionally, they also provide support for DSpace, VuFind, and other collections technologies.

If you need expert support to improve, manage, or secure your Koha, contact our team today at [email protected].

Keep up to date with the latest events, releases, and other helpful resources from Rōpū kohinga at Catalyst by subscribing to our newsletter(external link).