Koha: a Gift to Libraries from New Zealand
A lot of opportunities are on the horizon for Koha. As the 1.4 release series stabilizes, the developers' eyes have already targeted a number of new projects. One of the areas starting to get more attention is translations. French and German teams are already in place, and interest in Italian, South African and Spanish groups has started to build. (A nice side effect of this work is, we're gaining experience here that can help other free software projects.)
Right now, Koha is installed in libraries with collections of up to about 300,000 items. This is still on the small end of medium-sized libraries. Work to enable Koha to scale well past that is already on the drawing boards. The search tools are being rewritten to improve their efficiency and allow new searching options.
Work is also underway to build a reporting API and a number of bundled reports for Koha. These reports range from inventory checking, to financial reports and into more esoteric realms like “weeding”, or removing infrequently used items.
A bundled Z39.50 server and support for NCIP, a library protocol for handling interlibrary requests, are both in development and are being sponsored by libraries interested in using Koha. These new features will allow a Koha-based library to participate in larger library communities, including interlibrary loan programs, and to function as a solution for “union” catalogs, catalogs that integrate all of the libraries in a region.
Members of the Koha community have started a strategic discussion of what Koha needs to provide to continue to thrive. This project is hosted at www.kohalabs.com/projects/koha2010 and welcomes new participants.
Pat Eyler is a Ruby, Perl and Linux geek. Currently he is the Kaitiaki (manager) of the Koha Project. When he's not playing with computers, he likes to read, cook and spend time with his kids.
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