We did the patron and loans conversions and went live about a month ago. The staff have all been enthusiastic about Koha. So far, we’ve done two custom modifications: Membership cards and labels and full Gaylord book labels.
Patron (borrower) conversion followed pretty much the same type of code used to convert catalog entries. We did need to enable patron attributes and put some of the flags such as “OK to mail” and “OK to publish” as well as the select codes into Koha. There is an import patrons tool that will bring in the patron records in a comma delimited file.
Our loans file had some corruption. We dropped all records that were returned before January 2008. Then we looked at the patron number and catalog id. If either was not in Koha, the record was also dropped. Koha item records had to be updated with the number of issues and return date if the loan was still open. Returned records went into the old_issues table and open records into the issues table. We didn’t update the statistics tables. This gave us a reading history for each patron for a year and a half and allowed us to handle returned books in the normal way. We probably didn’t get all the open loans into Koha, so some of the returns gave a message that the item was not checked out. The staff was used to this on the old system.
We use a book label that has three parts. We modified the ‘BIB’ printing type to print the call number and copy number (if > 1) on the spine label. The second part is the inside label which contains the call number, author and title. The third part is the barcode label containting the call number, title and barcode. We tried to get it to use the Koha barcode routine, but couldn’t get it to work. So we used a barcode font and just printed it.
We modified the tools template to point to a separate patron card generator. We are on our second version of that generator. When the page first comes up, it lists all the patrons whose cards expire in 11-13 months as a checkbox group, all unchecked. The user can then check the boxes of the patrons whose cards need to be printed. There is also a field to enter card numbers of other patrons. When all the patron cards have been selected there is a button to download a patron card pdf and a second one to download a label sheet pdf. The patron card has the library logo in color, the patron name, expiration date, barcoded card number (rotated 90 degrees) and library boilerplate. The cards are laminated and mailed to the patron.
Part 2 of the conversion will complete the conversion with serials and archives.