Getting started with Group 2

The second group of libraries is beginning the process of implementing Koha systems through nhaisLOCAL.

We are excited to welcome Chester Public Library, Pease Public Library (Plymouth), and Somersworth Public Library into nhaisLOCAL. These libraries are expected to have their new systems up and running by March 2014.


Quick Project Update

As of this past Monday five out of the six libraries in the first nhaisLOCAL group have live Koha systems up and running. The 6th one had a problem sending their data to ByWater for loading and is now expected to go live in early August. There are always lots of little things to learn, and tweak, and sort out with a new automation system and the Group 1 libraries are in the thick of this process at this point.

Getting the first group of libraries up and running has been a learning experience for NHAIS Services as well as for the individual libraries. Among the many lessons we learned are that we need more structured ways to collect data to move libraries from their current systems (or their current card catalogs) to Koha and that six was too big a group to comfortably shepherd through the process.

Our next group of libraries will be going live by early 2014 and will include a maximum of 3 libraries. Then we will add up to 3 libraries at a time over 6 month periods. Once we have gone through a couple more cycles we will reconsider the pace and quantity of new nhaisLOCAL libraries that can be implemented.


How Data is Structured in nhaisLOCAL Koha Systems

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 is used by all the different nhaisLOCAL catalogs.
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. Each individual library can have 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 may define 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 can 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 their own list of PATRON TYPES which they can 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.

By combining these different data elements sophisticated searches can be constructed, rules can be set for access to things, and reports can be created to tell you what is and what isn’t being used by your community. 


Label Creation in Koha

The configuration of your spine label printing in koha is unique to the individual labels (obviously!) and the individual printer. ByWater Solutions has created a video, "Creating Spine Label Layouts in Koha" that will show you how this is set up.

Additionally, you may want to watch "Creating a Batch of Spine Labels in Koha."


The nhaisLOCAL Migration Timeline

The first group of libraries is nearing the go-live dates for their nhaisLOCAL koha systems and the structure of this process is shaping up to the point where I thought it would be useful to share the general timeline for this process.
It is a 6 month project for a library to implement a new nhaisLOCAL system. There is a lot of stuff you might want to do before that clock starts, but that is a topic for another day.

Month 1
  • you will get a MOU which will need to be signed and returned at the beginning of the month
  • the first invoice, for implementation, training, and support (see pricelist for amounts) will be sent to you
Month 2
  • the payment of the first invoice will be due before the end of this month
  • by the end of this month you will have been contacted by NHSL staff to discuss bibliographic record counts, barcodes, etc.
Month 3
  • you will participate in a migration conference call with ByWater Solutions staff, NHSL staff, and the other libraries in your implementation group
  • a dropbox account and a ByWater ticketing system account will be set up for your library this month
  • if it is needed, a bulk order for barcodes will be placed this month
Month 4
  • your preliminary data load will be sent to ByWater this month
  • the second invoice, based on your preliminary data load counts (see pricelist for amounts) will be sent 
  • this month would be a good time to read through the koha pre-training materials 
Month 5
  • the payment of the first invoice will be due before the end of this month
  • your library staff will attend a three day training session for all the libraries in the implementation group 
  • after your training and before your go-live date your library staff will have access to your test data and will work through the koha testing plan to make sure your system is set up as it should be
Month 6
  •  your final data extraction will be sent to ByWater this month (at the close of business the day before your go live date)
  • your system will be configured and your final data set loaded over a weekend (while you are closed) 
  • your go live date will be this month (on the Monday after your final data set was due)


Migrating the first group of libraries

The first group of nhaisLOCAL libraries is currently in the process of migrating to fabulous new Koha open source library systems with the support of ByWater Solutions and the NHAIS Services staff at NHSL.

I wasn't quite sure how we would figure out which libraries would be the first ones, but it worked out perfectly. The ByWater folks felt that 6 libraries at a time was a good number to bring up in a 6-month timeframe and when we compiled the information from our "readiness" survey there were 6 libraries, and only 6, who said they were ready to go right away.

The first group is currently pulling together test data files and having meetings (virtually) with the ByWater migration team to sort out what needs to happen and how and when.

The scheduled go-live dates for this first group of libraries are in July 2013.

  • Aaron Cutler Memorial Library, Litchfield
  • Colby Memorial Library, Danville
  • Colebrook Public Library
  • J. A. Tarbell Library, Lyndeborough
  • Pillsbury Free Library, Warner
  • Tuftonboro Free Library
During June I plan to be contact the folks who indicated in the "readiness" survey that they would be ready to move forward within the year and put together the second group of nhaisLOCAL libraries.


MOU Unveiling

I mentioned in last week's Activities Update Post that Michael York and I were working on the text of a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) that will be used for libraries to "sign on" for the nhaisLOCAL project. It has been completed and is ready to be personalized and sent to each library as they are queued up. We will be calling the "ready NOW" survey respondents this week before sending any paperwork. If you want to see what the MOU says, check out the Sample Memorandum of Understanding.


Activities Update

We have collected and compiled all the "Readiness" survey data and there are 26 NH libraries who have identified themselves as interested in moving forward with implementing a nhaisLOCAL Koha system in their library within the next 2 years. This group constitutes the "nhaisLOCAL Community" at this point and you can see who they are on the Community tab of this site.

Michael York and I have been working with ByWater on paperwork and details and things are moving along nicely on that front. We have also been working on a "Memorandum of Understanding" so that each library that signs on to nhaisLOCAL knows what to expect. That document should be ready for unveiling soon.

My next step is to talk to each of the libraries that indicated that they were "ready to move forward NOW." There are details from the survey responses to be clarified and schedules to discuss. The plan is to have six of these libraries up and running on Koha by summer.  I expect to make these phone calls over the next week.


FAQ: PC Requirements for Koha

The Friends are buying us new computers for the library. So, looking forward to when we'll be running KOHA on all this shiny new equipment, we want to buy what we will need when nhaisLOCAL is implemented.  Can you please advise on hardware specs for the system?  Anything special in the computer dept., or just the fastest, most memory we can get?  
I sent this query to our rep at ByWater and here is the response:  "This is a very easy question. Because Koha is web based, the requirements for PCs are minimal. We would suggest at least 2GB of RAM on each of the staff computers, but other than that, there is no other requirement. They will need to install Mozilla Firefox: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ for the staff interface, but all of the public computers could use whatever they want (but we suggest Firefox for those as well)."


FAQ: Where do I even start?

I am a trustee at the _____ Library and we are anxious to be a part of the Koha project. However, we (all the trustees and librarian) are novices about this and have no idea if we are ready to begin this process and so are reluctant to add our name to the list. Is there somewhere we can go to read about what work we will need to do to prepare?  The costs and equipment needed? We are so uninformed that we don't even know what questions to ask.
The nhaisLOCAL website includes all the background info on the project. If you look back through the older posts you will find posts on various topics including data conversion, pricing, and open source basics. The koha tab has links to info about what the system is and how it works, there is a link there to ByWater (the vendor we are using) and their site has a lot of info both about the koha system (including a demo site) and about what they do, which gives you an idea of process. More information about the process nhaisLOCAL will be using will be posted on the nhaisLOCAL website as we go along.
As far as equipment, you will need a good reliable internet connection, and computers that you can use to access the internet. How many computers will depend on your staffing and public access levels. You will want to have a barcode reader and if you want to print check-out slips you will need a receipt printer. (We expect to provide information on some of the available options for this equipment a bit later in the process, so don't jump into any new purchases just yet.) The system itself will be hosted on a server managed by ByWater (through our contract), so you don't need a server or any of the infrastructure that goes with that.


Are you ready?

As we move forward with an agreement with ByWater Solutions to implement Koha in New Hampshire libraries though the nhaisLOCAL project our next step is to identify which NH libraries are ready to get started  implementing this local system solution for their patrons. We have developed a survey (20 questions at most, depending on how you answer early questions) to help us set an order in which libraries can most efficiently be brought onto Koha through nhaisLOCAL.

Here is the survey link:


The survey will remain open for one week (until 11:45pm on Jan. 17, 2013).
If you are interested in having your library put in the queue to implement koha through nhaisLOCAL within the next 2 years, you need to complete this survey before it closes.

There will be additional opportunities for NH libraries to join nhaisLOCAL in the future, but it will be after the respondents to this readiness survey have finished implementation. If you want to be in the queue, complete this survey this week.