More LibKi Updates!

I just completed the work necessary to run the LibKi client on Windows! The instructions are here. We are already running the LibKi kiosk software on about 10 Ubuntu thin clients, with around 50 to 75 unique user’s logging in each day.

The system has worked very well, the few issues we have are connected to the fact that I have customized our particular LibKi installation to integrate with the Koha ILS. By doing this, we are able to have a single username and password for each patron, for both Koha and LibKi. Those issues have been resolved, and we have not had any problems since.

Coming Attractions: LibKi – The Library Kiosk Management System

I’ve nearly completed a new project for our library system. I have named it LibKi, short for Library Kiosk, though I wish I had gone with KiLock, for the humor.

LibKi was written to take some of the load of handling the public computer systems off our librarians. The libraries currently use sign in sheets and have to keep track of who is on which computer. LibKi allows a patron to login, and a timer keeps track of how much time they have left. I’ve written a script to import our patron data from Koha each night, and to reset every patrons allotment to 30 minutes a day.

The entire system is written in PHP. The daemon is cli-only PHP. The web interface is built on CakePHP and allows librarians to alter a patron’s minutes, log them out, disable their account and send the user a message. The kiosk client is written in PHP/Gtk+ and should run on any OS with Gtk support. I’ve tested it in KDE and XFCE, and it work’s great.

I’ll be putting up a new section for LibKi on this site soon. But for now you can peruse the code at sourceforge here:

Happy Holidays.

Reserves System Update

Here’s a screen shot of the new reserves system I’ve been working on.

New Reserves System

As you can see, the pulldown where a librarian used to choose a reserve’s priority is gone. Instead priorities are altered with the arrows on the left-hand side.

The ‘lock’ icon on the right hand side allows one to ‘lock’ the priority of the reserve. If the reserve at priority 3 is locked, then the next person in line checks out the reserved book, the person at priority 4 will become priority 2 and priority 3 will remain the same. In this way reserves ‘flow’ around locked priorities. This features was requested by our librarians so that someone with a reserve can go on a long vacation without losing their place in line, and without holding up other people who could have read and returned the reserved item in the meantime.

The down arrow to the right of the lock is the ‘lowest priority’ switch. When enabled, this switched keeps the reserve at the bottom of the list. If a new reserve is added, that reserve will get a higher priority then the ‘lowest priority’ reserves. This feature was added because our library loans books to people in group homes. These people get to keep books for periods of months. Because of this, they only get reserved books if no one else has said item on reserve.

The ‘X’ icons to the right of this ‘lowest priority’ icons are ‘cancel reserve’ buttons. This replaces the ‘del’ option that was in the priority number pulldown menu.

Another new feature is the ‘not needed by’ date. If a date is put in here, and the reserve is not fulfilled by the given date, the reserve is automatically canceled. This is useful for students who are doing research for a paper, and don’t need a reserve if they have not received the item by the time the paper must be turned in, and other situations of the like.

Today is Koha Day!

Hello All,

The Meadville Public Library has finally switched over to Koha! For those who don’t know, I work for the Crawford County Federated Library System as an IT Technician. My primary job for the past year and a half has been to work on the Open Source ILS Koha so that it would meet our needs as a replacement ILS. I created a new Librarian Interface, add a Clubs and Services module, added a Rotating Collections module, and submitted many bug fixes and small features. I also created a side-project called Koha-Tools that houses many useful additions that didn’t belong as part of Koha itself, such as a replacement fines generator, a set of fancy reports, a Firefox extension, and many other things.

The CCFLS also paid the company Liblime to ingrate the Zebra indexing engine into Koha, thus speeding it up well over one-hundred fold. Liblime and the rest of the Koha team gave us tons of help getting up and running. I have to admit that when I first looked at the source code for Koha, I was intimidated, but now I know the system inside and out.

I’ve never seen a more shining example of Open Source Software at work. We give, and others benefit. Others give and we benefit. It’s a great system.