4/08/2016

Integrating Overdrive into your Koha system

The NH Downloadable Books Consortium brings audio and e-books to NH readers through their public libraries.  When nhaisLOCAL began the only way to get individual downloadable titles into a library's OPAC was to load marc records, with links to the title on the NH Downloadable site for each title into your local catalog. This is still an option (see NHAIS Copy Cataloging Services), but requires regular loading of records as new titles are added to the collection and removal of records if any are deacessioned from the downloadables collection.

There is now an option for libraries to integrate the downloadables titles into their nhaisLOCAL catalog without the ongoing loading of records. The new approach will let patrons search your OPAC for a title and will display what you hold and what is in the NH Downloadables Collection in real time.
Integrated Search results (double click on an image to enlarge it)


The Somersworth Public Library served as a test case for this nhaisLOCAL configuration and Michelle Baker, Library Assistant at Somersworth Public Library, has put together detailed directions to guide other nhaisLOCAL libraries in this integration process. The setup in Koha is easy, but you have to obtain some credentials from Overdrive which takes a bit of time. Michelle's directions walk you through the whole thing.

Once you have set everything up and it is working as you want it to, you will want to have all the old Overdrive records removed from your system. When you are ready to to have these removed please send a support request to nhu-pac@dcr.nh.gov and we will get it taken care of for you.

2/12/2016

How data is structured in nhaisLOCAL Koha systems



The relationships between various kinds of data in a library system can be confusing the first time you have to map data or try to untangle data sets that have gone off track somehow. This overview of how the basic data types interrelate in a nhaisLOCAL Koha system may help sort this out.

Your library owns things: books, magazines, puzzles, cake pans, snow shoes, movies, recorded music, etc.  In some cases you probably own multiples of exactly the same thing (several copies of Strega Nona, for example). Each of the different things you own is represented in your Koha system by a bibliographic record (generally referred to as a bib record).  Every individual copy of each thing you own is represented by an item record which is attached to the bib record it is one of.  For example, you may have 3 copies of Peyton Place (published in 1956 by Messner, 372 pages long). You will have 1 bib record in your system for this (oclc record #00289487) which includes information about the thing – who wrote it, how many pages it has, where and when it was published, subject headings that describe what it is about, etc.

Attached to this example bib record there will be 3 item records (because you have 3 of the exact same book). Each item record will include a call number (they might or might not all have the same call number, depending on where you keep the different copies), and a barcode that uniquely identifies each physical item. The item record might also have notes that describe something about the specific copy—that it is water damaged, or that it was signed by the author, or that it was donated to your library by someone, etc.

The bibliographic record will have an ITEM TYPE assigned to it (and included as part of the bib record) that tells you the kind of thing it is: a book, a movie, a museum pass, etc. These are broad categories of things – Video games, for example. More detailed information (it is a wii game, or an Xbox game, for example) is included in the bibliographic record and is not given a separate ITEM TYPE. You can think of this like the chapters in a cookbook. In The Joy of Cooking you will find recipes (think of them as bib records) for blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc.  These recipes will be in a chapter (think of it like an item type) called Pies. This same ITEM TYPE will be included in all the items that are attached to the bib record. There is a defined list of ITEM TYPES in the nhaisLOCAL system that may be used.
 
Groups of ITEMS may be organized conceptually (as opposed to physically) into defined COLLECTIONS. These might include adult fiction, juvenile non-fiction, reference, local history,  music, etc. There is a defined list of COLLECTIONS in the nhaisLOCAL system that may be used to group items. The item record will include information about what COLLECTION the item is part of.  This is optional, an item need not be part of a COLLECTION, but using COLLECTIONS will allow you to create reports about these groups of stuff and may help patrons find similar materials.

Groups of ITEMS will be organized physically in your library. Each nhaisLOCAL library defines a list of LOCATIONS that they can then use to explain where in the building items can be found. This list includes things like Stacks, Reference Room, In Processing, Children’s Room, Librarian’s Office, Bat Cave, Teen Area, etc. This is optional, an item need not have a LOCATION attached to it, but using LOCATIONS will help both staff and patrons find things. The item record includes a field that indicates what LOCATION the item belongs in. Frequently this information is also, in an abbreviated form, part of the call number for the item.

Your library has all this stuff so that people can use it. Those people are called patrons in the nhaisLOCAL systems.  There are different groups of patrons (children, adults, out-of-town borrowers) who can do different things (renew materials, borrow DVDs, etc.). What specific things an individual person can or cannot do in your library is defined by the PATRON TYPE they are assigned. Each nhaisLOCAL library defines a list of PATRON TYPES that they can then use to group their patrons. The privileges your patrons have are defined in the configuration of each PATRON TYPE and may vary for different ITEM TYPES. For example, you can specify that a patron with the PATRON TYPE “adult” can borrow items of the ITEM TYPE “movies” for 2 weeks, with no renewals allowed. Or 1 week with 8 renewals, or whatever you want. The rules for the ITEM TYPE ‘in-library equipment” can be totally different.

11/20/2014

ByWater on Upgrade Issues



The nhaisLOCAL group, which is using an independent branch Koha development, has not yet upgraded to the latest version of Koha. NHAIS Services staff has been working with ByWater Solutions about this issue since the initial upgrade announcements. Here is a letter from ByWater explaining where we are with this. Ultimately it sounds to me like a bit more patience on our part will put us in a better position with the functionality of Koha independent branches.


November 19, 2014

We at ByWater apologize for the delay in the inclusion of the Independent Branch Development into the most recent release of Koha. Upon looking at the structure of this development, we (along with the Koha Community) have decided that a rework of the code, taking into account the current direction of Koha, is in order.  That said, ByWater will be improving and expanding on this development from the ground up so that it better integrates with the system and other aspects of the staff and user interfaces. All of the functionality originally promised to the nhaisLOCAL catalog will still be included in this new and improved iteration of Independent Branches; in fact we intend on expanding on this functionality while working closely with the nahisLOCAL team and its member libraries.

During the re-development phase the nhaisLOCAL libraries will still be utilizing the current iteration of Independent Branches so as not to disrupt your day to day processes. Because this code is an addition to the standard Koha install, ByWater will need extra time to rebase and rework this development for each new upgrade. This will result in a delay in upgrading nhaisLOCAL libraries to account for the rebasing time necessary for each new release of Koha. Please be patient with us as we work to improve this large new development while still keeping your current workflows intact. Thank you very much for choosing Koha and ByWater as we greatly appreciate your partnership. 

Nathan A. Curulla
Owner, CRO
ByWater Solutions
Support and Consulting for Open Source Software
Headquarters: Santa Barbara, CA.
Office: Redding, CT.
Phone/Fax # (888) 900-8944 xt 2
Cell # (203) 685-7207