Resource review #3: A Koha Diary
Hedges, S. (2005). A Koha diary. Retrieved from http://www.kohadocs.org/koha_diary.html.
This webpage is a collection of e-mails collated by the Nelsonville, Ohio public library director, chronicling that library’s transition to Koha. He mentions that the switch to Koha was the sysadmin’s idea — he knew about open source software, and thought that the open source philosophy and the library philosophy were compatable enough that one ought to support the other, and the director put together a team to explore transitioning to Koha.
The e-mails describe a variety of problems associated with the transition, from installation complications to modification details. They’re working with a much older version of Koha than the one currently available — an early e-mail discusses having to add Z39.50 support — but I don’t think that invalidates the usefulness of the document in examining what kinds of problems might arise in the process of adopting open source software and illustrating possible solutions.
There are also a few philosophical discussions on how and why library software works the way it does; I find these some of the best parts of this document. There are discussions on library software design, on the dedication required to fully implement an open source project, and on the ways to promote a real community for a project like this. You can really tell that the people working on this project were excited about it, and I love that.
There are e-mails here from Nelsonville librarians, from programmers, from Koha organizers, all over the board in this project, and it’s fascinating reading for someone interested in how the transition and modification process actually works.
I have only one complaint: the page isn’t well-organized for reading out of order. There are nine linked main sections, but since the whole thing is chronological, they work more to break up the narrative than anything else. I suppose you can always use your browser’s Find feature if you’re looking for anything in particular.