Koha, a community


What is Koha? Well, it’s a community and it’s also a software. It’s the world’s first Open Source integrated library system. so it provides for librarians the functionality that they require… to conduct their library operations to be able to register patrons, to circulate materials to patrons, to be able to describe their collections, But it was the first, and to me it’s the biggest and I still think it’s the best Open Source option. So, in this sense, like all Open Source products, they cover a requirement, and they are good for society as a whole. Who works in Koha? I think it’s everyone, it’s everyone that shelves a book… even all the way down to people that actually write the code. The benefit of working with this product is that… there is a community of developers throughout the world. A lot of people participate in it, it’s a very rich community… We have many librarians who participate in different ways: some of them doing quality assurance for the developers, others helping their colleagues on the email list, or in the chat channels, we work across all the world’s time zones, so it’s important coordinate the work and there are regular meetings… just to get people involved and share what they are doing, and in certain way to coordinate the work. Koha is an Open Source integrated library system, so an integrated library system normally consists of modules like… check out, patron management, acquisitions, serials, reporting, things like that… we all have that in Koha. write edit report help translate Koha It started as a project for a small library in New Zealand, that had a “Year 2000 Problem”, so they had a system that wasn’t gonna work they needed a new system, and so I worked for a small company, that decided to write a system for them. it was a period when old systems would fail in the year 2000, and they got the idea to build a software from zero, based on it has to be free. We decided to make it Open Source because we were a software development company, we didn’t want to be sellers, so we wanted to keep writing code, we decided to make it Open Source, and hopefully other people in the world would start using it as well, and we had only three months so we had to do it fast. After the first version of Koha in the year 2000, there was a international community which started to… join the project in which I was one of the first non New Zealander. At the beginning it was software to lend books, and then they were adding features. before we used systems so closed, we uploaded with one system and we provided with other, now it is all together and easier The Project was gradually expanded and it became… an international project with many programmers… and librarians who participate in its development The principals of Koha, I think are to be… a free and open community, to really let the actual users, you know, the patrons and the librarians of the project really have a voice. Openness, sharing, flexibility, it gives freedom to the librarians to mold the software… to their wants and needs rather than just using what someone sells them. generally every type of library can use it, like it’s not limited to one size or one type of library. If you look at it, and it meets your needs, it has the features you need you can use it. librarians are able to contribute ideas, they are able to report any problems that they have, they are able to request enhancements. The librarian role… well, our fundamental role is customer service, we do all things to provide information to the users. Koha helps build that bridge, to ensure that anybody, at any time, any where can read what they want, can research what they want, can find the information that is valuable to them, so that they actualize as a person. Now, the Project belongs to everyone, it’s so community because there isn’t an official structure, it is all the people around the world who are volunteers, and they contribute to make it evolve and spread it throughout the world. The importance of KohaCon, or any Koha event, is that we get to talk to each other face to face, I know we only have chat, and we have mailing lists, of course it lacks the emotion, I mean, you can use smilies but… there are things you can’t express, and once you have met someone… you have another picture of them in your mind, you know what they are like, and you see them when you… talk or chat them, you see their faces, and it’s different KohaCon is essential, without face to face contact, there is a part of the human spirit that lets you relate over distance I think it’s a great opportunity to get to meet the people you interact with virtually every day, It has an amazing breadth of diversity, people from all over which, I think, is really interesting, I find it very vibrant and exciting, I like to talk to people from other countries that are using the software and finding out how they use it. It’s a different thing each one but it’s always, always it’s reaffirming the friendships, often sometimes… like at the Hack Fest here, put us all in a room and… someone will come up with an idea, and someone else says “that is a good idea” and things happen really fast. to have that opportunity every year to come together and to work side by side… it’s just marvellous, it’s very valued, very treasured, I think, by everybody who participates in it. Koha gives to me, in one hand, a way to live, it’s my job, I am lucky to can work on something which fascinates me. And in the other hand, I’m full of friends, it’s the most important to me, I have friends all over the world. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my involvement in the community, it’s such a wonderful community of people, it really is the spirit of Koha that keep us all coming back and keeps us excited about it I think it’s a software with a promising future because the people are… very interested in this product which is constantly evolving and rapidly progressing. Satisfaction more than anything, it’s wonderful to do something which helps others, and also be appreciated and recognized for what we do. I’m grateful everyday that I get to work with this community, with this group of people, and definitely the software, I think the software is great. I can work with what I love and I can bring together being a librarian and also being interested in technology, and being a little geeky, so it’s a good mix for me, personally. For me it was actually having control over what I could do and with Koha I had complete access to everything and I was actually able to… look at the code and understand what the business logic was behind it. I think that it gives us all freedom, we’re not stuck behind doors with a proprietary system or with something that’s not very public freedom. Freedom to access your own information Koha is, in a certain way, the gateway of what libraries are, and hence, the access to the knowledge I think it’s a really, a really good tool for social change. In this system everyone wins if everyone plays. I choose to be part of Koha I am Koha And we are Koha Community we are Koha Community




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