KohaCon 2011

By Noufal

Anand and I attended the Koha Conference in Thane, Mumbai earlier in November and spoke about Open Library. The conference took place from Oct 31 till 2 November. There was a hackfest following the event from 4th to 6th.

We missed the first day and presented our talk on the second day of the event. The first day had a number of interesting talks mainly about libraries shifting to Koha and about deployment issues. We spent our free time speaking to Robin Sheat, Dobrica Pavlinu i and Ian Walls among others about ways to tie up the Open Library data along with Koha installations. While the audience was somewhat small, it was truly international. There were folks from Kenya, Nigeria, France, the States, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia and of course various parts of India. We also met Savitra who apart from being a Koha developer, runs a Bangalore based company called OSS labs that provides hosted Koha instances for libraries.

We presented on the last day. Our slides are available at http://internetarchive.github.com/kohacon2011-presentation/. It was an introduction to Open Library, the data we have and some discussions on the API. There were a few questions mainly about copyright issues and about the classification system we use on the website. The conference was attended by many librarians and two of them (The Institute of Management Studies Library at VPM Thane and the University of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Croatia) have applied to join the Open Library Lending Library program.

After the presentations, November 3rd was a day off and we spent it wandering around the older parts of Mumbai. On November 4th, we went back and spent the morning brainstorming about ideas to implement. We came up with a few

The first is a simple database update that presents OL as a search option when a book is not found while searching in a Koha installation. It’s been done and signed off.

The second was a simple Javascript change that fetches covers and borrow information from Open Library and then presents it when searches are done on Koha. This has been implemented as well.

The third is the most involved part and we have started work on an API to upload covers to OL which can be used by any external program. We have also started work on an API for Koha to search our records to see if the book being added is already in our database (in which case, it can auto complete the details for them). The search will also return the cover if it exists. On our end, if the koha side agrees, we can populate our database with the catalogue record being searched for and if a cover is uploaded, we can get a copy of that as well. This means that if a Koha instance in one library has uploaded a cover, other libraries will be able to use it. On the Koha side, Robin has a private branch that contains the work in progress. Details are in the bugzilla entry.

We’re following up on the bugs and the lending library requests to join. On the overall, it was a wonderful event and one that benefited Open Library as well as Koha.

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2 Responses to “KohaCon 2011”

  1. […] A few of us got together to work on improving Koha’s Open Library integration. On the OL side there was Noufal Ibrahim and Anand Chitipothu. From the Koha side, Dobrica Pavlinušić, Ian Walls, Savitra Sirohi, and I spent time discussing how to make things work. I then spent much of the hackfest adding features to Koha that would allow Open Library to become something of a central cover repository with streamlined uploading to it. At the same time, Anand was working on the APIs on the OL side that Koha would talk to to make this easy. This project is still a work in progress, but the current state can be seen at http://bugs.koha-community.org/bugzilla3/show_bug.cgi?id=7152. For more stuff about the Open Library + Koha integration that went on, have a look at Noufal’s blog post at http://blog.openlibrary.org/?p=954. […]

  2. Sonya Lenzo says:

    This is fascinating information for those of us who search the web doing research.
    Sonya Lenzo