Koha everywhere (and further)

At last summer’s Kohacon in Manila, I did a short presentation summing up all the various contexts in which we have implemented Koha (you can watch it here: https://archive.org/details/kohacon2017_15_Boisson). A lot of libraries obivously, but also less common situations, and sometimes utterly unexpected ones. Laboratories, law firms, museums won’t surprise anyone, even though they do have their specific needs, but we also worked on bending Koha to an NGO’s needs (https://www.bibliosansfrontieres.org), or to those of a large fashion company, which manages a archive of clothes for its designers to use as a library.

For all these projects the challenge remains the same: answer the libraries specific needs while modifying as little as possible in Koha, in order to allow for realtively easy updates.

One such project has just gone live that deserves to be presented: OPENDOEK is an organization based in Antwerpen in Belgium dedicated to helping Flemish theatre groups. Amongst other activities, it manages a library. A very specific library of course, more than 16.000 theatre texts, mostly in Flemish although a minor number of plays is available in other languages. Furthermore other works documenting other aspects of theatre making such as directing, text analysis, etc. are also available. The specific needs of OPENDOEK included customised fields and display formats (e.g. number of actors in a play). The data migration was naturally tailor made since the existing library data was stored in an entirely homebrew system. But the most interesting aspect was search. Indeed, each director looking for a play suitable for the cast available in the group, requires a search facility that does exactly that, e.g. searching on the number of roles – per category – required to stage a play. A group with two women and one men won’t be interested in plays written for 6 children. So we setup specific indexes and setup a dedicated interface for searching on these criteria! This led us to finding (and correcting) a pretty inconspicuous bug in Koha: it was so far not possible to search for a value equal to 0 (https://bugs.koha-community.org/bugzilla3/show_bug.cgi?id=19873).

You can now search for your favourite Flemish theatre plays here: https://bib.opendoek.be

If you find this flemmish passion for theatre surprising, i was also very intrigued. Especially because the word “opendoek” doesn’t really translate to French or English: it is used to describe moments when, during a play in reaction to a particularly beautiful instant, the audience will erupt into applause withouth the play being finished, sometimes to the point of intterupting the actor’s play. Is theatre that important in Flemish culture that they have a specific word for this?

I obviously have no answer to this question, so i will leave you with the recipe for bokkenpootjes, a delicious pastry you can find in Antwwerpen : http://allrecipes.com/recipe/216586/dutch-bokkenpootjes-goats-feet/

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