Our contributions to the Perl and Koha conference 2023

25th August 2023 | Andrew Auld

This year, KohaCon – the main conference bringing together Koha developers, library teams and support organisations – took place in Helsinki 14-18 August. It was paired with the Perl developers conference and therefore known as PerlKohaCon23.

Several of our team presented or coordinated workshops – here’s a little summary of our humble contributions!

Dishing up some SUSHI

Jonathan demonstrated the work that PTFS Europe have been doing over the last 3 months to incorporate Usage Statistics and Usage reporting into the new Koha ERM module which was introduced at version 22.11. It allows for the harvesting of COUNTER files via the SUSHI protocol and adds the ability to report on these. The eRM Usage Statistics module is now ready for community testing as Bug #34587. If you would like to get involved in the testing of this module, please get in touch with us.

Jonathan Field presents at Kohacon23

If you want a taste of how it works you can catch up with the presentation: 


A new developer’s guide to Koha and Perl

Matt gave an overview of his journey from a completely different career path to becoming a Koha / Perl developer, giving an insight on what it’s like to get started with Koha development. He discusses some of the challenges he faced in the early stages and also gives some ideas on where both the Koha and Perl communities could improve and remove some of the entry barriers for new developers.

Matt Blenkinsop presents at Kohacon23

Definitely worth a watch if you’re interested in trying to learn some coding or wanting to increase your contribution to the Koha community!

Building a culture of sharing

Aude joined Mark Noble from ByWater Solutions to talk about sharing through the Aspen platform. Aspen is an open source discovery tool focused on bringing library content in one place and on both making it easy for citizens to navigate and for library staff to customise.

Aude Charillon and Mark Noble present at Kohacon23

Aspen now includes options to share elements (translations, themes) from a library’s site with the wider Aspen community. The idea being that if one library team has created it, it could benefit others!

But the culture of sharing in Aspen is created by people: Mark and Aude also cover building a community around the software, from library staff to developers and support organisations.


Making the most of Koha features to protect citizens’ privacy

Koha now has so many privacy and security options that Aude had trouble fitting them all in a 25-minutes talk!

Aude Charillon presents at Kohacon23

Aude started with some background on data protection laws and ethical standards. She then gave tips on what you can do in Koha regarding the following:

  • enhancing citizens’ privacy: informing, giving choices;
  • data retention (or rather its opposite! How not to keep data that you don’t need);
  • security options around who has access to the personal data on your Koha system.


Accessibility workshop

Ensuring the accessibility of the Koha online catalogues for users is not only important but a legislative requirement in most geographies globally. Our workshop session, led by Martin (remotely) and Matt in the room, was an opportunity for us to present work we have recently been undertaking with the British Museum following an external accessibility audit on their Koha catalogue by the Shaw Trust.

We then worked in a developer group and a librarian group on both fixing some of the accessibility related bugs already registered in the community bug tracker, agreeing some principles around ensuring feature developments consider accessibility consistently, and also drafting a template Accessibility Statement, published on the Koha Wiki, for Koha libraries to download and adapt to their particular Koha catalogue websites.

If you would like to be part of the working group looking at accessibility in Koha from a library and user perspective, please contact the Koha Accessibility Advocate, Matt.


Documentation workshop

Contributing to the Koha manual is an easy way for library workers to get involved in the Koha community. With the manual, there are always things to improve, gaps to fill or screenshots to update.

Aude led this workshop with Caroline Cyr-La-Rose from inLibro – as the Documentation managers for the current and previous Koha development cycles. They explained how library staff can use their knowledge and experience of Koha to help others by improving the documentation. They also got everyone in the room to make their first contribution to the manual by updating some screenshots!

PTFS Europe Roundup

Useful PerlKohaCon23 links


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