Release of Koha 18.11

 

Catalyst IT is delighted to celebrate the release of Koha 18.11. Every 6 months a major release of Koha brings a wide range of new features, enhancements, security and bug fixes to an estimated 15,000 libraries worldwide. 

Koha is supported by over 50 support companies on 6 continents, many of which contribute to each release. Catalyst IT, through the work of the Catalyst Koha team, is one such company. The Koha team's technical lead, Chris Cormack, has a role within the community's Quality Assurance team so has tested many patches marked as ‘Signed off’, ensuring they meet coding guidelines and work correctly. Developers Aleisha Amohia and Alex Buckley contributed user experience and display improvement enhancements, plus tested others patches and completing many bug fixes sponsored by Regen Halland, in Sweden, and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, in New Zealand. Before jetting back to the USA, Liz Rea contributed a patch which now allows Koha to encode bibliographic record URLs containing macrons so they load - we think this fix is very cool as it benefits many languages, such as Te Reo Māori!

There are 683 changes in total, including 16 new features. You can read in detail about all the new swishness in the release notes. Here are a few new features we think stand out:

1. New OPAC CSS (new default OPAC theme) 

Contributed by Claire Gravely of BSZ (Bibliotheksservice-Zentrum) in Konstanz, Southern Germany, and Owen Leonard of Athens County Public Libraries in Ohio, USA, this enhancement introduces a clean, fresh theme as Figure 1 shows.  

Soft pink back ground with light grey feature colours and Koha green pop for button

Figure 1: New Koha OPAC default theme

2. Create charts for SQL reports 

‘A picture tells a thousand words’ is a saying that many people, especially visual learners, can agree with. In 18.11 Koha’s flexible reporting module has gained a new feature in which librarians can generate visual charts (pie, bar, line) from the results of a SQL report in addition to the previously sole option of a tabular report. The charts not only paint a clear picture of chosen data but are interactive, so when library staff hover over different areas of the chart, additional information is dynamically displayed.

​​​​​​Pie Chart showing sections with different colours and proportions

Figure 2: Pie chart generated from SQL report

bar chart with orange bars with various heights showing how many books in different branches

Figure 3: Bar chart generated from SQL report

Line chart with organge line going up and down to show the book count at various branch points

Figure 4: Line chart generated from SQL report

3. Block renewals by arbitrary item values 

In 18.11 Koha now allows librarians more control over item renewal. An enhancement has been introduced via new system preference ‘ItemsDeniedRenewal’ in which you can set renewal restrictions by group.

New ItemsDeniedRenewal system preference enabling librarians to define fine grained rules for preventing specific items from being renewed.

Figure 5: New 18.11 enhancement 'ItemsDeniedRenewal'

'ItemsDeniedRenewal' works as follows:

1) Librarian inputs a fieldname, followed by a colon, then a value. The fieldname can be any of the 45 column names from the items database table (here's a list of columns from Koha 18.05).

2) If the item field values defined in this system preference match an item, then the item cannot be renewed.

E.g. If a library does not want any items with a collection code of ‘DVD’ to be renewable they would input: ccode: DVD

4. Hiding personal patron information on circulation page

As it is used to check out items, it’s no surprise that the most frequently visited interface of the Koha staff client is the circulation page. In previous versions of Koha a patron’s phone number, email and physical address were displayed on this page for no real benefit to the librarian and a privacy concern for some patrons.18.11 introduces a new system preference ‘HidePersonalPatronDetailOnCirculation’ (see Figure 8.), which when enabled will hide personal information, giving individual library institutions discretion to control the display of patron information.

This enhancement was developed by Catalyst’s Alex Buckley and sponsored by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

setting option showing button to choose to 'hide' 'patrons phone number, email address and physical address on the staff client circulation interface.'

Figure 6: New 'HidePersonalPatronDetailOnCirculation' system preference

5. OPAC cart access in one click 

Thanks to Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology sponsoring this enhancement, the 18.11 Koha OPAC interface has been significantly improved by removing unnecessary clicks to load the cart window. Now it is just one click to load the cart and Koha in line with cart loading behaviour of most other websites and web applications.  

 

Read more about the full 683 features, enhancements, security and bug fixes on the Koha community website.  

 

Learn more about Koha at Catalyst.

For Koha enquiries please contact us at koha@catalyst.net.nz or +64 4 803 2259