Choose SSD over HDD for Koha installation

Image courtesy: techyukti.com

Fast storage is the buzz word in the computer storage industry. We are familiar with HDD (Hard Disk Drive) with all types of computer devices. HDD has a moving read/write head to access data from storage same like a gramophone player and slower to read and write. Unlike HDD, SSD (Solid State Drive) has no moving parts, and it obtains data from storage instantly. SSD can give fast performance than traditional magnetic-based computer storage devices. "A standard SSD can read sequential data at a speed of about 550 megabytes per second (MBps) and write it at 520 MBps" (Paul Rubens). As it is a fast storage SSD consumes only less power and give long battery life for laptop computers. 

Let's check the pricing of SSD. Price of SSD storage is a little bit higher than HDD. Western Digital SATA 1 TB Desktop Internal Hard Disk cost Rs. 3700. Crucial MX500 1 TB Laptop, Desktop Internal Solid State Drive cost Rs. 10647. The price of SSD is dropping down. SSDs for computers are available in 120 GB to 4 GB capacities. Anyway, we can consider small capacity SSD (120 / 240 GB) for desktops and laptops. Visit any online shopping sites to check the pricing of SSD with various capacities.

Majority of Koha installations running on desktop computers with traditional HDD. Libraries can improve the performance of Koha using SSD storage. Koha installation consumes only small storage, 120 /240 GB SSD is enough for libraries with a small collection. The price of 120 GB SSD cost around Rs. 2300, and 240 GB cost only Rs. 3200 only. Koha users with HDD can replace to SSD. Take back of the database and everything. Need to install Koha fresh into SSD after storage upgrade. Libraries going for new Koha installation can specify SSD storage in the purchase order.

References
SSD vs HDD Speed
SSD vs HDD: Which Is Best for You?
SSD vs HDD: What's the Difference?

Unleashing Koha: the complete library solution book released


Unleashing Koha: the complete library solution
is a Koha user guide that suits all, whether you are a Library and Information Science student or a professional. It includes information on the emergence of Koha, selection of Linux-based operating system, Debian/Ubuntu basics, installation of Koha, Koha modules, administration, maintenance, and Koha learning resources. This book gives the step-by-step instructions with clear explanations that demystify Koha. The authors of the book are Library Science professional and Koha experts. 

The price of the book is Rs. 400. Now you can place an order for the book from here.

This book is for Library and Information Science students and professionals with little or no Koha knowledge. It takes you, step by step, through what you need to know to work with Koha. 

Gives an idea on how to prepare for Koha installation. 
Configuration of newly installed Koha. 
Learn fundamental operations of all Koha modules. 
Introduction to Debian/Linux administration for Koha. 
Simplified Koha system maintenance. 
Introduce various resources to keep in touch with the changes in Koha software. 

Unleashing Koha: the complete library solution is the learning companion you need. It provides hands-on training that lets you dive deep into Koha, the Free Integrated Library Management system. 

About the authors 

Vimal Kumar V has been teaching and writing about Linux and Koha for more than 15 years. A library professional and an expert in Free and Open Source software. His Koha Geek blog is trendy among the Library and Information Science community. 

Subeesh Gopinathan is a tech-savvy young library professional. He is interested in knowing and understanding technology changes. He explores and experiments the Linux-based operating systems and Open Source solutions in libraries. Also acts as a resource person for Koha training programmes.

For queries, contact to subeeshgopinathan1990@gmail.com

Google turning off less secure app access to G Suite accounts

A good number of Koha users make using Gmail for sending email notices from Koha. They use Gmail with Mail Transfer Agents (MTA) like Exim and Postfix. Google offered the Less Secure Apps feature to allow sending emails from MTAs. Google is turning off LSA access from third-party software. Google says "Starting in June 2020, we'll limit the ability for less secure apps (LSAs) to access G Suite account data. LSAs are non-Google apps that can access your Google account with only a username and password. They make your account more vulnerable to hijacking attempts. Instead of LSAs, you can use apps that support OAuth—a modern and secure access method".

How it affects Koha users?
After June 15, 2020 - Koha Users who try to connect to an LSA for Gmail with Exim or Postfix for the first time will no longer be able to do so. Users already connected can continue till February 15 2021.

After February 15, 2021 - Access to LSAs will be turned off for all G Suite accounts. Koha users can't send emails using LSA.

How to overcome this situation?
Google has introduced a new method to use Gmail service from third party software. The user needs to finish two-step verification for Google account. Then create an app password for Gmail clients (e.g. Exim, Postfix). Detailed instructions in the following link,

Send an account expiration notice when a patron's card expire

Reminder about membership expiry is very helpful for library users to settle the library account. Here are the steps to enable email reminders to library users the number of days in advance.

1. Prepare the notice template
Visit Tools > Notices & slips, search and find MEMBERSHIP_EXPIRY notice.

2. Set how many days in advance notice to send
Koha Administration > Global system preferences, search for MembershipExpiryDaysNotice

Enter how many days in advance the notice to send. Save the settings.

Note: Need to configure the mail system with Koha to work this feature.

Upgrade/migration from a very old version of Koha

Libraries stick on with old versions of Koha facing difficulties while trying to upgrade to the new version. Upgrading from very old versions to the latest version may result in data loss. Koha stops the official support for older versions after a specific period. Same way, Koha support for old Ubuntu versions stops when it becomes obsolete. New versions of Koha introduce a lot of improvements and new features. Changes in database structure required to accommodate new features. For example, Koha version 3.18 released in 2014, and it has 168 tables. Version 19.05, released in 2019, has 204 tables. Koha developers strongly recommend for the regular up-gradation to recent versions. The database structure is also subject to changes during the upgrade process.

Direct up-gradation from old versions (e.g. versions before version 3.18) to the latest version probably ends in data loss. Restoration of an old version of Koha is a challenging task. Data migration from a running instance of an old version of Koha is comparatively easy. Porting of bibliographic records to MARC format, patron details, and circulation details to CSV is possible. Then it can be imported into a new version of Koha. Following steps can follow to export essential data:
  • Note down all configurations with Koha including branch code, item types codes, authorized values, circulation and rules. Take screenshots of all configurations.
  • Export bibliographic details (MARC format) into MARC.
  • Export patron and circulation details into CSV format using reports.
  • Install a new version of Koha. Create branch code, Patron categories, Authorised values, circulation match with the old version of Koha.
  • Import MARC file, patron, and circulation details.
Note: Consult Koha release notes and installation manual at Koha Wiki for regular updates on changes.

DBIx::Class::Storage::DBI::catch (): DBI Connection failed

Many Koha users have reported following error when login for post installation configuration.

Software error:
DBIx::Class::Storage::DBI::catch (): DBI Connection failed: Access denied for user ikoha_librarylvlocalhost' (using password: YES)
For help, please send mail to the webmaster ([no address  given]), giving this error message and the time and date of the error.

Solution
Apply the following command and start Memcached service.

sudo service memcached restart

Refresh the browser window.

Attach items into a single record


Items with discrete records are not convenient for users to find through OPAC. Koha users can attach/merge items with separate Biblio into a single record. Here are the steps to attach items with discrete Biblio.

For example, bound volumes of Economic and Political Weekly catalogued as separate records with items. The search result shows many records of the journal bound volumes. If we merge all the records into one, users can find the entire journal bound volumes details by opening a single record.