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Executing Koha’s web installer

In this section of the article, we will learn how to execute Koha’s web installer. The web installer performs several important functions such as creating Koha’s database structure or populating mandatory administrative settings. It can also populate optional settings and sample data such as MARC frameworks or patron categories. The installer is launched from the staff client interface using Koha’s MySQL user and is a series of interactive steps. At the end of the process we will be able to launch Koha’s staff interface and its OPAC.

Understanding the web installer’s functions

Koha’s web installer performs the following functions:

  • Checks for the existence of Koha’s database, the connectivity to the database, and if the database user has the required privilege on the Koha database.
  • Creates Koha’s database structure—its tables, relationships between tables, database constraints, and other rules.
  • Accepts user input on important configuration questions such as Language or MARC flavor.
  • Populates the Koha database with several mandatory administrative settings such as the default system preferences.
  • Populates the Koha database with several optional administrative settings and sample data such as MARC bibliographic frameworks, sample libraries, or sample patron categories.
  • Configures Koha catalog search to use Zebra or to use database indexing.

Understanding how to execute the web installer

Here are some important points to note about executing Koha’s web installer:

  • The web installer is launched from the staff interface.
  • We use a MySQL database user and password to login into the installer; this user must have privileges over Koha’s database.
  • Choosing the correct MARC flavor—MARC21 or UNIMARC is very important; it is not possible to change this configuration once the database is created.
  • If you are evaluating or testing Koha, you should choose to import most or all of the optional settings and sample data. This way you can start using Koha right away.
  • The optional settings and sample data can be deleted or edited from Koha’s staff client at any time, but this can be significant amount of work.
  • If you have made a mistake in the configuration settings and want to start over, simply drop and recreate Koha’s database from the MySQL prompt; you will be able to launch the web installer once again.

Understanding optional data available for import

Let us understand some of the optional setting and sample data that we can choose to install using the web installer.

Settings for MARC frameworks

MARC frameworks define how data is captured for different types of material. The frameworks control things such as, which MARC fields are used, which of these fields is mandatory, or which fields are under authority control.

The installer has three sets of optional settings that we can import:

  • Matching rules: Matching rules are used during import of catalog records to match incoming records to those already in the database. Further action can be taken on matched records such as overwriting old records or adding holdings records. Two matching rules are available: one matches on ISBN and other on ISSN.
  • Fast Add framework: This framework is designed for quickly adding catalog records; it has fewer fields when compared to other frameworks.
  • Simple MARC 21 Bibliographic frameworks: A set of bibliographic frameworks for common types of material such as books, CDs, or serials.

Other data

Here is a listing of data we can import under the Other data section:

  • Authorized values: Authorized values are lists of values that control data entry into catalog fields. Here we can import lists along with sample values for fields such as collections, shelving locations, or item statuses.
  • Currencies: A set of currencies with sample exchange rates for use in Koha’s Acquisitions module.
  • Sample patron types and categories: A set of sample patron categories such as Student, Teacher, or Staff. Patron categories are used to define rules such as membership duration; the categories are also used to define circulation policy such as loan period.
  • Sample Label and Patron Card Data: A set of sample layouts and templates for use in Koha’s label and patron card generation, and printing tool.
  • Sample Holidays: A sample set of holidays for use in Koha’s calendar. The calendar is used in Koha’s circulation module to calculate due dates and fines.
  • Default Item Types: A sample set of item types. Item types are used to define circulation policy such as loan period or fine amount.
  • Sample Libraries: A sample set of libraries, patrons, catalog items, circulation rules are linked to libraries.
  • Sample News Items: A set of sample news items, for display on the OPAC and the staff interface.
  • Default messages or notices: A set of sample notices. These are used in various Koha modules, for instance the Overdue notice can be configured to be sent to patrons with overdue items.
  • Sample Patrons: A set of patron records.
  • Sample Z3950 servers: A sample set of Z39.50 servers such as that of the Library of Congress. These servers are used in Koha’s cataloging module for copy catalog records into Koha.

Executing the web installer

Here are step-by-step instructions on executing the web installer:

  1. Log in using the MySQL user and password; in this article we have used the user kohaadmin.
  2. In Step 1, choose your language; you should see just one option here—en for English or fr for French.
  3. In Step 2, the installer checks the database connectivity and user privileges.
  4. In Step 3, the installer populates the database with tables before prompting the user to install basic configuration settings.
  5. Select your MARC flavor—Unimarc or MARC 21. It is important to make the right choice here. Consult with your library staff if you are unsure of what to choose.
  6. Choose to import optional data related to MARC frameworks.
  7. Choose to import other optional data such as authorized values, currencies, or patron categories.
  8. Click on Import to install the settings and sample data.
  9. Choose to use Zebra or the regular database indexing.
  10. Click on Finish to complete the execution of the web installer.

Launching Koha

Once the installer finishes it should automatically redirect to the staff interface:

Log in using the MySQL user and you should see Koha’s staff interface home page:

To launch the OPAC navigate to the OPAC url and you should see a screen such as this:


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