Koha (software)

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This article is about the integrated library system. For other uses, see Koha (disambiguation).
Developer(s) Koha Community[1]
Initial release January 2000; 16 years ago (2000-01)
Stable release


/ May 25, 2016; 3 months ago (2016-05-25)
Preview release


/ May 26, 2016 (2016-05-26)
Written in Perl
Operating system Linux
Type Integrated library system
License GNU General Public License v3 or later
Website koha-community.org

Koha is an open source Integrated Library System (ILS), used world-wide by public, school and special libraries. The name comes from a Māori term for a gift or donation.


Koha is web-based ILS, with a SQL database (MySQL preferred) backend with cataloguing data stored in MARC and accessible via Z39.50 or SRU. The user interface is very configurable and adaptable and has been translated into many languages.[4] Koha has most of the features that would be expected in an ILS, including:

  • Various Web 2.0 facilities like tagging, comment, Social sharing and RSS feeds
  • Union catalog facility
  • Customizable search
  • Circulation and borrower management
  • Full acquisitions system including budgets and pricing information (including supplier and currency conversion)
  • Simple acquisitions system for the smaller library
  • Ability to cope with any number of branches, patrons, patron categories, item categories, items, currencies and other data
  • Serials system for magazines or newspapers
  • Reporting
  • Reading lists for members
  • Off-line Circulation


Koha was created in 1999 by Katipo Communications for the Horowhenua Library Trust in New Zealand, and the first installation went live in January 2000.[5]

From 2000, companies started providing commercial support for Koha, building to more than 20 today.[6]

In 2001, Paul Poulain (of Marseille, France) began adding many new features to Koha, most significantly support for multiple languages.[7] By 2010, Koha has been translated from its original English into French, Chinese, Arabic and several other languages. Support for the cataloguing and search standards MARC and Z39.50 was added in 2002 and later sponsored by the Athens County Public Libraries.[8] In France Paul Poulain co-founded BibLibre in 2007.[9]

In 2005, an Ohio-based company, Metavore, Inc., trading as LibLime, was established to support Koha and added many new features, including support for Zebra sponsored by the Crawford County Federated Library System. Zebra support increased the speed of searches as well as improving scalability to support tens of millions of bibliographic records.[citation needed]

In 2007 a group of libraries in Vermont began testing the use of Koha for Vermont libraries. At first a separate implementation was created for each library. Then the Vermont Organization of Koha Automated Libraries (VOKAL) was organized to create one database to be used by libraries. This database was rolled out in 2011. Fifty-seven libraries have chosen to adopt Koha and moved to the shared production environment hosted and supported by ByWater Solutions.[10] Another consortium of libraries in Vermont, the Catamount Library Network has also adopted Koha (also hosted by ByWater Solutions). Previously automated Vermont libraries used software from Follett, or other commercial software vendors.[11]

In 2011 the Spanish Ministry of Culture maintains KOBLI, a tailored version of Koha[12] based on an earlier report.[13][14]

International conferences[edit]

Dispute with LibLime / PTFS[edit]

In 2009 a dispute arose between LibLime and other members of the Koha community. The dispute centred on LibLime's apparent reluctance to be inclusive with the content of the http://koha.org/ sites and the non-contribution of software patches back to the community. A number of participants declared that they believed that LibLime had forked the software and the community.[22][23][24][25][26][27] A separate web presence, source code repository and community was established at https://koha-community.org/ . The fork continued after March 2010, when LibLime was purchased by PTFS.[28]

In November, 2011, LibLime announced they had been granted a provisional trademark on the use of the name koha in New Zealand by Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand.[29] The provisional trademark grant was successfully appealed by the Koha community as well as by Catalyst, with a decision handed down in December 2013[30] and with Liblime to pay costs.[31][32][33]

Current status[edit]

The latest stable release of Koha is 3.22.5.[34]

Koha is currently a very active project. According to ohloh, it has a [v]ery large, active development team and a [m]ature, well-established codebase.[35] The analysis of the size of the code base may be deceptive because Koha stores user interface translations alongside actual source code and ohloh cannot always distinguish them.


  • 2000 winner of the Not for Profit section of the 2000 Interactive New Zealand Awards[36]
  • 2000 winner of the LIANZA / 3M Award for Innovation in Libraries[37]
  • 2003 winner of the public organisation section of the Les Trophées du Libre
  • 2004 winner Use of IT in a Not-for-Profit Organisation Computerworld Excellence Awards [38]
  • 2014 Finalist Open Source Software Project New Zealand Open Source Awards [39]

Other open source integrated library systems (ILS)[edit]


  1. ^ the new site per the votes of the active developers & users of Koha
  2. ^ https://koha-community.org/koha-3-22-7-security-release/
  3. ^ https://koha-community.org/koha-16-05-released/
  4. ^ "Koha 3.2.3 is now available | Koha Library Software Community". Koha-community.org. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  5. ^ Eyler, Pat (1 February 2003). "Koha: a Gift to Libraries from New Zealand". 
  6. ^ "Paid Support | Koha Library Software Community". Koha-community.org. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  7. ^ BibLibre
  8. ^ "The Koha Project | Athens County Public Libraries". Myacpl.org. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  9. ^ About BibLibre Biblibre main Website
  10. ^ "VOKAL, The Vermont Koha Project". Green Mountain Library Consortium. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "VOKAL VT Public". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  12. ^ "Koha - Discuss - KOBLI, a customized version of KOHA". Koha.1045719.n5.nabble.com. 2011-04-09. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  13. ^ http://aims.fao.org/tools/kobli-koha
  14. ^ http://travesia.mcu.es/portalnb/jspui/handle/10421/4711
  15. ^ "KohaCon 2009". Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "KohaCon 2010: Wellington, New Zealand". Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "KohaCon 2012". Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "KohaCon 2013". Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "KohaCon 2014". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "KohaCon 2015". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "KohaCon 2016". Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  22. ^ Joann Ransom (2009-09-14). "Library Matters: Liblime forks Koha". Library-matters.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  23. ^ "Blog Archive » Koha and LibLime and the letter and the spirit of open source". librarian.net. 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  24. ^ "LibLime To the Koha Community: Fork You! « Tennant: Digital Libraries". Blog.libraryjournal.com. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  25. ^ "The Koha fork and being the change you want to see". Librarians Matter. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  26. ^ "Koha community squares off against commercial fork". Lwn.net. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  27. ^ [1] Log of IRC discussion and vote, February 2, 2010.
  28. ^ "LibLime Acquisition by PTFS Marks a New Era for Koha". Libraryjournal.com. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  29. ^ "PTFS/LibLime Granted Provisional Use of Koha Trademark in New Zealand". Liblime.com. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  30. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2579603/koha-trademark-case-won-by-nz-developers
  31. ^ http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/62619-koha-wins-trademark-stoush-with-us-defence-contractor
  32. ^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11172076
  33. ^ (2013) NZIPOTM 47
  34. ^ "Koha downloads". download.koha-community.org. 
  35. ^ Azevedo, Andre. "Koha Library Automation Package". Ohloh.net. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  36. ^ Fairfax Media Business Group (2000-10-24). "| Computerworld New Zealand". Computerworld.co.nz. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  37. ^ "'Library Idol' – It's the 3M Award for 'Innovation in Libraries' « LIANZA Conference 2009 Blog". Lianza2009.wordpress.com. 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  38. ^ Fairfax Media Business Group (2004-06-28). "| Computerworld New Zealand". Computerworld.co.nz. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  39. ^ "Award Categories". Retrieved 2014-11-20. 
  40. ^ "OPALS Help". Opals-na.org. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  41. ^ "Liblime KOHA". 
  42. ^ SENAYAN Library Automation | Free Home & Education software downloads at. Sourceforge.net. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.

External links[edit]