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is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

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is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Rebecca Shtasel
Hello

We are a small group of volunteers (one of whom is a retired school
librarian) who run our synagogue's library in the UK.  We would like to
produce an online catalogue and are interesting in using Koha for this
purpose as we haven't much money.  The library has about 4000 books
covering a variety of classifications (fiction, history etc) all related to
Judaism.  The original accessions book was lost when the library had to be
moved a year ago and we have a notebook with handwritten entries for the
accessions we have received since the library moved to its new home.
Looking at the information to do with koha it appears very technical and we
are wondering if we will be able to use it for our catalogue.  We would
literally be taking books off the shelves to input their information, not
importing the data from elsewhere and  none of us has anything more than
basic computing knowledge.

Given this, do you think koha is too complicated for us to use or amongst
all the information related to using koha is there a very basic guide that
would suit beginners like us?
If you think we would struggle using koha, could you advise us on software
that you think would be more user-friendly and is not too expensive?

Thanking you all very much in advance for any advice you can give.

Rebecca (on behalf of the group)
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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

vikram zadgaonkar-2
Hello Rebecca,
koha is very simple to use and maintain. Being a community software you get
support from all community members.

I strongly suggest koha.

On 7 Mar 2017 8:00 p.m., "Rebecca Shtasel" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello
>
> We are a small group of volunteers (one of whom is a retired school
> librarian) who run our synagogue's library in the UK.  We would like to
> produce an online catalogue and are interesting in using Koha for this
> purpose as we haven't much money.  The library has about 4000 books
> covering a variety of classifications (fiction, history etc) all related to
> Judaism.  The original accessions book was lost when the library had to be
> moved a year ago and we have a notebook with handwritten entries for the
> accessions we have received since the library moved to its new home.
> Looking at the information to do with koha it appears very technical and we
> are wondering if we will be able to use it for our catalogue.  We would
> literally be taking books off the shelves to input their information, not
> importing the data from elsewhere and  none of us has anything more than
> basic computing knowledge.
>
> Given this, do you think koha is too complicated for us to use or amongst
> all the information related to using koha is there a very basic guide that
> would suit beginners like us?
> If you think we would struggle using koha, could you advise us on software
> that you think would be more user-friendly and is not too expensive?
>
> Thanking you all very much in advance for any advice you can give.
>
> Rebecca (on behalf of the group)
> _______________________________________________
> Koha mailing list  http://koha-community.org
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha
>
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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Mark Tompsett
In reply to this post by Rebecca Shtasel
Greetings,

I would say yes!


My 7 year old son was able to understand how to catalog some of his books
using Z39.50 (https://tml.tulongaklatan.ph/). Though, he has some books
through Scholastic which issue their own ISBN numbers for existing books, so
you have to get a little creative in finding it by the Title, and then
adding the extra ISBN number, but that really is about the most complex
we've had to do. Generally, the ISBN search has worked well, though
sometimes we had to search both the ISBN-13 and ISBN-10 numbers before
finding something.

The Z39.50 functionality of Koha makes entry easy, by importing the entries
from an external source which already has the entered data. I would
recommend trying that. You will need to go item by item, but given that you
have to manually catalog the whole library, I don't think that is going to
be a big problem.

GPML,
Mark Tompsett

-----Original Message-----
From: Rebecca Shtasel
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2017 9:29 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [Koha] is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Hello

We are a small group of volunteers (one of whom is a retired school
librarian) who run our synagogue's library in the UK.  We would like to
produce an online catalogue and are interesting in using Koha for this
purpose as we haven't much money.  The library has about 4000 books
covering a variety of classifications (fiction, history etc) all related to
Judaism.  The original accessions book was lost when the library had to be
moved a year ago and we have a notebook with handwritten entries for the
accessions we have received since the library moved to its new home.
Looking at the information to do with koha it appears very technical and we
are wondering if we will be able to use it for our catalogue.  We would
literally be taking books off the shelves to input their information, not
importing the data from elsewhere and  none of us has anything more than
basic computing knowledge.

Given this, do you think koha is too complicated for us to use or amongst
all the information related to using koha is there a very basic guide that
would suit beginners like us?
If you think we would struggle using koha, could you advise us on software
that you think would be more user-friendly and is not too expensive?

Thanking you all very much in advance for any advice you can give.

Rebecca (on behalf of the group)
_______________________________________________
Koha mailing list  http://koha-community.org
[hidden email]
https://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha 

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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

King, Fred
In reply to this post by Rebecca Shtasel
Hello Rebecca!

First of all, I should say that like everybody else on this list I'm biased--I think Koha is wonderful, user-friendly, and a great product. That it's free and open-source is icing on the cake. It's also supported by a great bunch of people.

Still, as much as I love it, I wouldn't recommend Koha unreservedly for everyone for all purposes. It's a fully-functional ILS, and it does take a little time and effort to learn. A few considerations:

What do you want to use it for? Do you want an online catalog for in-house use, or will it be available to the public? If the latter, you'll need a server connected to the outside Internet. I don't know what services are available in the UK; for some of my Koha projects I use Digital Ocean (U.S. based but with servers in Europe as well)--they charge as little as USD$5 per month for their most basic service. For that you get a server and operating system (Linux), you install and set up Koha yourself. If you want to run it on your synagogue's Intranet, it's a bit easier.

What kind of computer experience do the people in your group have? Once Koha is set up, it pretty much runs itself, but it does need some occasional tending. You need to do upgrades every now and then, log files fill up--things like that. Nothing horribly complicated, but it helps to know very basic Linux commands. There's probably someone in your synagogue who could help you.

Cataloging the books: as a couple of people have said, you can use Z39.50 to get a lot of catalog records so you don't have to do original cataloging on each one of your 4000 books. But the more obscure* your books are, the less likely it is that you'll be able to find records--you'll probably have to do some cataloging as well as edit the records you download. But then, you'd have to do something similar with any system you choose.

Back in 2013 I was able to set up Koha and migrate our data from our old system by myself. (We have approximately the same ILS budget that you do.) I had minimal experience with Linux (we're using Ubuntu) and it was the first time I had set up an ILS. But then, I'm a geek.** I've been using computers since the late 1970s and I seem to have a knack for it. I also think this kind of thing is fun.****

As I said, once you have Koha up and running, it doesn't require a lot of tending and it's easy to use. You don't have to learn everything at once, or at all--if you need to refresh your mind as to how something works, the information is usually available.

But let me go back to my second paragraph--Koha isn't for everyone and it may be more than you need. I'm on another listserv where people occasionally ask about affordable software for a small library. Though I always recommend Koha, a lot of people there decide to go with LibraryThing, mainly because they find it easier to use and they don't need all the (wonderful!) features that Koha provides.

Rebecca, feel free to contact me off-list if you'd like more information. Everyone else, comments welcome, on- or off-list.

Fred King
Medical Librarian, MedStar Washington Hospital Center
[hidden email]
202-877-6670
ORCID 0000-0001-5266-0279

If Teresa May put out a cigarette on her tongue it would make me feel a a lot better about her being Prime Minister.
--Susan Calman (News Quiz, BBC Radio 4)

*For example, I have a collection of 1000+ cartoon books--New Yorker, Lawrence Lariar's yearly collections, etc. If I ever get around to putting them in Koha, I don't think I'll find a whole lot of them via Z39.50. I could be wrong. Right now they're in storage, so it's going to be a while before I find out.
**My front teeth are chipped from biting the read-write heads off hard drives.***
***That joke might not travel well. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek_show
***Told you I was a geek. :-)


-----Original Message-----
From: Koha [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Rebecca Shtasel
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2017 9:30 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [Koha] is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Hello

We are a small group of volunteers (one of whom is a retired school
librarian) who run our synagogue's library in the UK.  We would like to produce an online catalogue and are interesting in using Koha for this purpose as we haven't much money.  The library has about 4000 books covering a variety of classifications (fiction, history etc) all related to Judaism.  The original accessions book was lost when the library had to be moved a year ago and we have a notebook with handwritten entries for the accessions we have received since the library moved to its new home.
Looking at the information to do with koha it appears very technical and we are wondering if we will be able to use it for our catalogue.  We would literally be taking books off the shelves to input their information, not importing the data from elsewhere and  none of us has anything more than basic computing knowledge.

Given this, do you think koha is too complicated for us to use or amongst all the information related to using koha is there a very basic guide that would suit beginners like us?
If you think we would struggle using koha, could you advise us on software that you think would be more user-friendly and is not too expensive?

Thanking you all very much in advance for any advice you can give.

Rebecca (on behalf of the group)
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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

vanda koha
In reply to this post by Rebecca Shtasel
Hello Rebecca,

I work in a small library in a govermental institution, and we have adopted
just  now Koha. I must say that once it is implemented it is very easy to
work with.
The most difficult part is that you really need to have someone with very
good knowledge of Linux language, otherwise you won't be able to make it
work. My computer collegues installed the program, but it wasn't  very easy
for them to do so. We had some problems with the advanced search and
authorities. They had to reinstall the program to make it function, and
even now I am not able to send emails to users through koha. They haven't
figured that out yet, and they have computer experience.

You must also keep in mind that in Koha everything must be set by you,
from MARC
bibliographic framework to Patron categories, Item types, and so on. It is
a huge project, believe me, I know, I have done all that.

That being said, I think it is a good choice because it is user friendly.

Wishing you all the best

Vanda

2017-03-07 14:29 GMT+00:00 Rebecca Shtasel <[hidden email]>:

> Hello
>
> We are a small group of volunteers (one of whom is a retired school
> librarian) who run our synagogue's library in the UK.  We would like to
> produce an online catalogue and are interesting in using Koha for this
> purpose as we haven't much money.  The library has about 4000 books
> covering a variety of classifications (fiction, history etc) all related to
> Judaism.  The original accessions book was lost when the library had to be
> moved a year ago and we have a notebook with handwritten entries for the
> accessions we have received since the library moved to its new home.
> Looking at the information to do with koha it appears very technical and we
> are wondering if we will be able to use it for our catalogue.  We would
> literally be taking books off the shelves to input their information, not
> importing the data from elsewhere and  none of us has anything more than
> basic computing knowledge.
>
> Given this, do you think koha is too complicated for us to use or amongst
> all the information related to using koha is there a very basic guide that
> would suit beginners like us?
> If you think we would struggle using koha, could you advise us on software
> that you think would be more user-friendly and is not too expensive?
>
> Thanking you all very much in advance for any advice you can give.
>
> Rebecca (on behalf of the group)
> _______________________________________________
> Koha mailing list  http://koha-community.org
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha
>
_______________________________________________
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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Bob Birchall @ Calyx
In reply to this post by Rebecca Shtasel
On 08/03/17 01:29, Rebecca Shtasel wrote:
> Hello
>
> We are a small group of volunteers (one of whom is a retired school
> librarian) who run our synagogue's library in the UK.  We would like to
> produce an online catalogue and are interesting in using Koha for this
> purpose as we haven't much money.
Not having much money is not a good reason to choose Koha.  Wanting
great software that meets your needs and is easy to use is a much better
reason.
>   The library has about 4000 books
> covering a variety of classifications (fiction, history etc) all related to
> Judaism.
Koha is suitable for libraries of this size.
> The original accessions book was lost when the library had to be
> moved a year ago and we have a notebook with handwritten entries for the
> accessions we have received since the library moved to its new home.
> Looking at the information to do with koha it appears very technical and we
> are wondering if we will be able to use it for our catalogue.  We would
> literally be taking books off the shelves to input their information,
Koha has the ability to import catalogue records from other libraries.  
I would be surprised if you cannot find existing records for the
majority of items in your collection. Google 'copy cataloguing' and
'z39.50' to learn more about this.
>   not
> importing the data from elsewhere and  none of us has anything more than
> basic computing knowledge.
This is the key.  In light of that, you should only use Koha if you can
arrange to have it externally hosted by an experienced Koha support
provider.  Find providers here:
https://koha-community.org/support/paid-support/
You may need to do some fundraising or apply for a grant.  But
unfortunately, running Koha in-house will be very challenging for you
from a computing perspective.

Once you have a hosted instance of Koha available, your retired school
librarian will have sufficient knowledge to lead you forward.  She/he
can get more support on this list.

>
> Given this, do you think koha is too complicated for us to use or amongst
> all the information related to using koha is there a very basic guide that
> would suit beginners like us?
> If you think we would struggle using koha, could you advise us on software
> that you think would be more user-friendly and is not too expensive?
>
> Thanking you all very much in advance for any advice you can give.
>
> Rebecca (on behalf of the group)

Best wishes,
Bob Birchall
Calyx

> _______________________________________________
> Koha mailing list  http://koha-community.org
> [hidden email]
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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Librarian Bruce A. Metcalf
In reply to this post by King, Fred
On 03/08/2017 03:59 AM, King, Fred wrote:

> First of all, I should say that like everybody else on this list I'm > biased--I think Koha is wonderful, user-friendly, and a great >
product. That it's free and open-source is icing on the cake. It's >
also supported by a great bunch of people. > > Still, as much as I love
it, I wouldn't recommend Koha unreservedly > for everyone for all
purposes. It's a fully-functional ILS, and it > does take a little time
and effort to learn. > Though I always recommend Koha, a lot of people
there decide to go > with LibraryThing, mainly because they find it
easier to use and they > don't need all the (wonderful!) features that
Koha provides.

I have to agree on both points. Koha will do nearly everything a library
might need, and it gives you more flexibility than you might imagine how
to use (I've been quietly ignoring whole sections of its powers for now).

But you do need a server, someone to run it, and someone with a little
library experience to help you set it up (and explain the technical
terms). It won't be a zero cost project even if the software is free.

While I use Koha at work, my personal collection is online with
LibraryThing because all I want to do is to create a public bibliography
and perhaps a few trades with others in the very narrow field. For this,
Koha is overkill; perhaps so for your situation.

However, if you want to manage circulation or do anything else
"library-like", it's likely that you'd benefit from Koha. Just ask us
for help in turning off the parts you don't need. Check out both and see
which is the better match.

Regards,
/ Bruce /
Bruce A. Metcalf, FAS
Librarian
The Augustan Society, Inc.

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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Hernandez, Heather
Hi, all--

Like Bruce, I use Koha at work, and LIbraryThing for my personal library
and reading--I even turned on the circulation function of LibraryThing (I
felt like *such* a library nerd doing this, by the way!) because it's
proven so handy for when I lend people my books--I tend to forget to whom I
lent a book, or even that I've lent out a book--and if I don't care if they
return it or not, it lets me know that I might want to pick up another copy
when I'm in a used bookstore!

If people are interested, there's information on turning on the
LibraryThing circulation feature here:
http://blog.librarything.com/main/2015/02/new-feature-lending-a-k-a-circulation/

I've also met a lot of staff of small libraries using LibraryThing (or
LibraryThing's TinyCat) that really like it and find that it has met their
needs.  Another thing I like about LIbraryThing is that the data exports
easily, should a library (or personal user) find that they want more of an
ILS, like Koha.  Or if they just like playing with bib data!:)

And both have wonderfully friendly and helpful communities!

Cheerio!
--h2
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Heather Hernandez
Technical Services Librarian
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Research Center
2 Marina Blvd., Bldg. E, 3rd floor, San Francisco, CA  94123-1284
415-561-7032, [hidden email]
https://www.nps.gov/safr/learn/historyculture/research-center.htm

"The sailor does not pray for wind, he learns to sail."--Gustaf Lindborg
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Re: is koha right for our project run by volunteers?

Paul A-2
In reply to this post by Librarian Bruce A. Metcalf
Wholehearted endorsement of the comments below -- the Koha "project",
software and community are remarkable -- just adding a few hands-on
comments from seven years of Koha use...

On 2017-03-13 07:08 AM, Librarian Bruce A. Metcalf wrote:
[snip]
> But you do need a server, someone to run it, and someone with a little
> library experience to help you set it up (and explain the technical
> terms). It won't be a zero cost project even if the software is free.

The server is probably not an obstacle; in today's world you can find a
64-bit machine at your local thriftshop, and minimal investment will get
you 4Gb RAM and a .5Tb HD. The "someone to run it" is perhaps a tad more
challenging -- windows experts will feel uncomfortable, but Linux
expertise is widely available online. And yes "library experience"
(which I read as MARC) is most helpful, but the learning curve is
certainly not insurmountable -- again online help (LoC, Koha built-in
help files) are priceless.
>
> While I use Koha at work, my personal collection is online with
> LibraryThing because all I want to do is to create a public bibliography
> and perhaps a few trades with others in the very narrow field. For this,
> Koha is overkill; perhaps so for your situation.

This is where "scalability" comes in. Up to some 13,000 items, we had
survived with spreadsheets; in hindsight, always 20/20, we shouldn't
have gone beyond say 5,000. The plunge into Koha took us about 18 months
and a few hundred hours of volunteer work, but has never been regretted.
>
> However, if you want to manage circulation or do anything else
> "library-like", it's likely that you'd benefit from Koha. Just ask us
> for help in turning off the parts you don't need. Check out both and see
> which is the better match.

We're not a lending library (probably one of the great Koha strengths, I
know nothing about it so will decline any comments), but just for
"plain" cataloguing, total flexibilty, as much detail as you want,
Z39.50 capability, search options and bullet-proof reliability, Koha is
unbeatable. We now run two databases -- a limited set on-line and about
300,000 items internally for our researchers, students, volunteers,
staff (and accountants...)

My recommendation: go for Koha. If it doesn't "instantly do exactly what
you want", don't get depressed, ask around, and at the end of the day
you'll be proud of your catalogue...

Best regards -- Paul
---
Tired old sys-admin (and amateur librarian.)

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