Asif Waheed is a librarian with the Government Punjab Public Library (established in Lahore, Pakistan in 1884), where he has been since 2007. An expert in various integrated library systems, Asif was instrumental in the library’s 2018 Koha migration, a project that included approximately 204,000 bibliographic records in English, Urdu, Arabic, and Persian.
Catch me at Kohacon20
Day 3, 2:00-2:25pm: A timeline of Koha Pakistan: What went well and what went wrong - Saima Qutab, Farasat Shafi Ullah, and Asif Waheed Kokhar (live, in-person)
The Koha journey in Pakistan started in April 2007 with a discussion among a few IT passionate libraries on PakLAG Yahoo group. There has been no turning back since then. Pakistani library professionals joined hands to learn, customise, adapt, and implement Koha in libraries. There were numerous challenges to adopt the open source solution, such as poor ICT infrastructure, lack of IT skilled libraries, lack of trust in open source solutions, and budgeting. Some selfless learners became volunteer mentors to other libraries for Koha training and implementation. Over the years, now more than 50 libraries are using different modules of Koha. However, several Koha training, integration into formal LIS education and acceptability does not reflect the large-scale implementation of Koha in Pakistan. This presentation will throw light on the Koha journey in Pakistan, and outline what went well and what went wrong. The study will show guidelines for developing countries like Pakistan, and the Koha community to understand the challenges of adopting Koha and how to avoid pitfalls. It will also guide national strategy to lead a successful transition to open source ILS solutions.