Kohacon runs for 7 days, starting with 3 days of single-track conference.

19 - 21 October - Conference Papers

The first three days of Kohacon is a single-track conference - this will be held in the beautiful Taiwhanga Kauhau, the purpose-built auditorium at the National Library of New Zealand.

22 October - Cultural Day

Cultural day is a chance for visitors to Wellington to see and do a few things that are special to Wellington and the New Zealand library community. It’s also an excellent chance to get to know each other better before we work together in the coming days.

23 - 25 October - Workshops and doing!

On 23 October there will be workshops where you can learn or improve a skill that will enable us to make the Koha project and our individual libraries even better.

On 24-25 October an opportunity for us to work together on planning and doing some things to improve our libraries and Koha. (Previously called a hackfest! All levels of skill and experience are welcome!)

Draft Programme

Printable programme | Printable speaker biographies

Day 1

8:45 – 9:15 Registration opens

9:20 – 9:45 Mihi whakatau

9:50 – 10:25 Keynote: Te Kahu Rolleston, Ngai Te Rangi-born Wordsmith/Jester (live, in-person)

Te Kahu Rolleston is spoken word poet, mental health worker and educator from the tribe of Ngaiterangi in Tauranga. He has been called ‘The Taniwha of Poetry’. His work often honours his ancestors, the land, and the ongoing Māori struggles for Tino Rangatiratanga. His poetry speaks to what it means to be Māori, combining mythology, history and modern politics. Te Kahu was the 2014 winner of The National Slam Poetry Competition. In 2015 Te Kahu was invited to attend The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Writing Programme alongside Witi Ihimaera. He won the world pacific poetry slam at Festpac 2016. Te Kahu is extremely passionate about the power of words, and the actions they can trigger.

10:30 – 10:55 Opening address: Anahera Morehu, President – Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) (live, in-person)

Anahera Morehu (BMIM, RLIANZA) is a descendant of Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu, and Ngāti Whātua iwi. To date, her library career is a long and illustrious one with a particular focus on Māori and Indigenous issues. She has presented at many Indigenous fora. Anahera is the current Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) President and Kaiārahi at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Business and Economics. Anahera is the National Coordinator for the Mātauranga Māori programme within New Zealand libraries, Ngā Kaiwhakahau member (National Council) of Te Rōpū Whakahau, Governing Group of Ngā Upoko Tukutuku, on the LIANZA Professional Registration Board, and past Tumuaki of Te Rōpū Whakahau.

10:55 – 11:25 Morning tea

11:25 – 11:50 46 libraries, 15 groups, 1 consortium – so now what? - Lisette Scheer (pre-recorded talk with live Q&A, online)

The Valnet consortium has 46 individual libraries across 15 hierarchical groups. We use jquery to customise a variety of pages to fit the needs of individual libraries and groups within the consortium. This presentation will focus on troubles faced by consortium and how we solve them.

11:55 – 12:20 From Zero to Hero: A Beginners Guide to OPAC Survival - William Tuttiett, Horowhenua District Council (pre-recorded, online)


12:25 – 12:50 Koha as central catalog - Mengü Yazıcıoğlu, Devinim (live, online)

We’d like to share how we use Koha as central catalog, especially for small libraries and share bibliographic data between our system and with their Koha.

12:50 – 2:15 Lunch

2:20 – 2:45 From a manual to a documentation portal…what’s the future for Koha’s documentation? - David Nind (live, in-person)

Everyone likes using documentation – from helping to solve immediate problems, to tutorials and guides, to learning how to do something new. However, it is challenging to organise, write, translate, and keep up-to-date. How can the Koha community improve our documentation to support and keep up with the needs and expectations of our worldwide community, now and in the future? This session will share what the documentation team is doing now, and planning for the future.

2:50 – 3:15 What’s missing: Koha from a marketing perspective - Jessica Zairo and Adam Brooks, ByWater Solutions (pre-recorded talk with live Q&A, online)

While everyone at Kohacon20 already knows that Koha is the premier ILS on the planet, there are still thousands of libraries not yet convinced. As hard to believe as that is, the perspective from the sales side of Koha can help all of us understand what libraries are looking for as they change systems. Focus will be given to what potential partners ask about, don’t believe and ask for as developments. Marketing of Koha to the masses can be much better, but how do we do that? Shout it from the mountain top – Koha is amazing.

3:20 – 3:50 Afternoon tea

3:50 – 4:15 Creative problem solving - Joy Nelson

Creative problem solving is more than simply brainstorming ideas. It is a critical skill that everyone needs in any field. We’ll review the four part methodology of creative problem solving and explore ways this process can be applied to virtual teams, software communities, and diverse groups. Everyone is capable of creating innovation solutions to problems.

4:20 – 4:45 Talk: TBA - Biblibre (online)


Day 2

9:00 – 9:25 Keynote: The 1999 Koha Project Team - Rosalie Blake, Rachel Hamilton-Williams, Chris Cormack (live, in-person)

Three of the original project team members reflect on how we got here.

9:30 – 9:55 Dealing with personal data in Koha: From legal requirements to stiatistics necessity. GDPR: Welcome on board - Sonia Bouis (pre-recorded, online)

In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had been implemented in May 2018. A lot of new enhancements had already been added to Koha, but libraries could be in difficulty with the obligation to provide statistics asked by state institutions. That could have an impact with the financing they benefit from the state. Kohala (French Koha non-profit group) was asked by its members to finance developments regarding anonymisation. I would like to raise several questions. What is anonymisation and what are the technical possibilities to achieve it?

10:00 – 10:25 Talk: TBA - Biblibre (online)

Summary: TBA

10:25 – 10:55 Morning tea

11:00 – 11:25 Cataloguing plugins - Caroline Cyr La Rose (live, online)

Discover the Koha plugin catalog: Its purpose, its use, and how you can contribute

11:30 – 11:55 Stronger through integration - Kristina Hoeppner, Catalyst (live, in-person)

Koha is an impressive integrated library management system that can also be used creatively, for example to inventory media devices at a school. However, it cannot be all the things to everyone, and it can be beneficial to integrate it with other systems. In this session, I would like to brainstorm integration ideas with the audience to connect Koha to a learning management system, an ePortfolio system, and others. How can we harness the rich data that is is in Koha and make it available in other systems? Are there are any common scenarios that people have asked about in the Koha community or that have been discussed at organisations working with Koha? At Kohacon we have the chance to brainstorm these ideas and maybe even develop them further during the workshop days.

12:00 – 12:25 User perceptions and experience with Koha Integrated Library Management System adoption: An experience from Pakistan - Sher Afzal Khan (pre-recorded, online)

This study aims to find out the reasons for adopting Koha ILS, determines the problems faced by libraries during its implementation, and gets the perceptions of librarians about the performance of Koha in Pakistan. The result will be discussed with the international community regarding the adoptions of Koha in Pakistan. The study will comprise all Pakistan librarian and libraries which are currently using Koha ILS in libraries. The main issue will be highlighted regarding the option of Koha ILS. The research will provide a brief picture of libraries’ perceptions about Koha adoption and satisfaction levels. The selection, implementation, and usage of the Koha software in their libraries.

12:25 – 2:00 Lunch

2:00 – 2:25 A patron, a librarian, and a developer walk into a bar: The conversations and relationships that fuel Koha development - Myka Kennedy Stephens (pre-recorded, online)

It takes multiple perspectives and a variety of expertise to build a successful open source library system. As the Koha community looks toward the future, it must continue keeping the needs of libraries and their patrons at the forefront of development. How does this actually work? How do these relationships form, and how are they maintained? How does the patron experience influence development? This talk will explore the communication flow between patrons, librarians, and developers in the Koha community. It will also share a case study from one Koha library showing how an integrated library planning process has helped contribute to the Koha development cycle.

2:30 – 2:55 Unique Koha co-operation - Ari Mäkiranta, Koha-Suomi Ltd, and Esa-Pekka Keskitalo, the National Library of Finland (live, online)

This presentation will demonstrate co-operation between the libraries that use Koha in Finland. The co-operation covers all library sectors: national, academic, and public. Koha-Suomi Ltd is owned by almost 100 municipalities and purpose of the company is to organise Koha services to public libraries. The academic libraries have the organisation of their own. This organisation and Koha-Suomi Ltd have a keen co-operation relationship to develop Koha for Finnish libraries. For example, the system developers communicate daily and have meetings together at least once a week. The presentation will also describe how the co-operation works at the different levels of the organisations (library directors, admin, and library staff).

3:00 – 3:10 Support isn’t just tickets: Marketing to the believers - Jessica Zairo and Adam Brooks, Bywater Solutions (pre-recorded talk with live Q&A, online)

As a support provider, we obviously provide solutions and troubleshooting for all of our partners as our most important role, however, there are umerous ways we can further market Koha to enhance our partners’ experiences, and often make our support efforts easier. Learn how one support company is making and sharing news about Koha and other open source projects to hepl improve how libraries use those products.

3:10 – 3:40 Afternoon tea

3:40 – 3:50 Working with messy data - David Nind (live, in-person)

A quick introduction to using OpenRefine for tidying up messy data and getting it ready to import into Koha. (

3:55 – 4:20 You say tomato, I say tomahto - Janet McGowan (pre-recorded, online)

As we know, Koha is in use in hundreds of libraries around the world, but all libraries have their own workflows and ideas of how features should work. From the point of view of rolling out new implementations and handling support, I’ll give examples of contrasting requirements for features or behaviours and I’ll offer some ideas on “twisting” Koha to fill the gaps.

4:25 – 4:50 Postcards from a ledge: Whanganui District Library, going it alone and loving it - Sonny Tamihana, Whanganui District Council (live, in-person)


Day 3

9:00 – 9:25 Keynote: Web Accessibility for Your Online Libraries - Julius Serrano, Catalyst (live, in-person)

What is accessibility? It is the practice of making web content accessible to people with disabilities, and the degree to which people with disabilities can use and access content. The benefits of accessibility include: more people can access your online libraries, compliance with accessibility standards, improved usability and SEO, and opportunity to demonstrate social responsibility. People with disabilities use the Internet in various ways, such as screen readers, screen magnification, keyboards, and visual information. Julius will outline five steps to make your online library more accessible – descriptive images, keyboard accessible elements, accessible forms, sufficient colour contrast, and correct semantic structure. Julius will leave us all with a call to action.

9:30 – 9:55 World’s best libraries - Rebekka Pilppula (pre-recorded, online)

Finnish public libraries are efficient and innovative libraries that are highly respected around the world. All the public libraries use progressive library systems and use of automation is common. Almost 80% of all Finns use annually public library. Loans per capita last year were 15,4. Total amount of the loans was almost 85,000,000. The presentation will describe the story behind the success. The presentation will also point out the meaning of the library system to the efficient library work and the quality of customer service.

10:00 – 10:25 Data, data, cup of tea – Success factors for a successful Koha implementation - Jacinta Osman and Lee Rowe, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (live, in-person)

In July 2018, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology went live with Koha, hosted and supported by Catalyst. This followed a four month implementation project. The project team needed to migrate data from two different ILS (Voyager and Liberty) into Koha, integrate the EBSCO EDS plug-in, implement SSO, integrate with Ozone for patron data, configure our specific requirements, carry out comprehensive UAT, and much more. The project was highly successful, with Toi Ohomai senior leadership commenting that this was the smoothest IT project they had ever been involved with. This presentation will cover what made the project so successful from both a relationship and technical perspective. It will include the groundwork involved, including, communication between project members, unified policy development, and technical expertise. As with any project, there were lessons to be learned, and these will also be explored. Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology was formed on 1 May 2016 as the result of a merger of Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Waiariki Institute of Technology. Toi Ohomai is the largest tertiary provider in the Bay of Plenty and is one of the largest regional ITPs in New Zealand. Toi Ohomai is home to more than 14,000 students, more than 1000 staff, and offers more than 150 programmes ranging from certificate to postgraduate level. Toi Ohomai’s five main campuses are in Rotorua, Taupo, Tauranga, Tokoroa, and Whaktane. We teach from more than 68 delivery sites around the Bay of Plenty and South Waikato. There are two campus libraries, 23 library staff, 80,000 physical items, and an extensive collection of online resources.

10:30 – 11:00 Morning tea

11:00 – 11:25 Catalyst Academy - Ian Beardslee, Catalyst (live, in-person)


11:30 – 11:40 Koha-US: Life since Portland Kohacon 2018 - Lisette Scheer (pre-recorded talk with live Q&A, online)

An update on what Koha-US has been up to since Portland Kohacon 2018.

11:45 – 12:10 Got a hundred dollars? Get an ILS! - Fred King, MedStar Washington Hospital Centeri (pre-recorded, online)

This session will take the user through the steps of building a fully-functional ILS using Koha, a Raspberry Pi 4, MarcEdit, and a chicken (option) for a total cost of under $100 USD. The presenter (and chicken) will show how he installed Koha on the Raspberry Pi 4, then used MarcEdit to harvest MARC records using Z39.50. This is not a system for a large library with hundreds of transactions per hour, but might be used by a small library with an extremely limited budget that would like to set up an ILS. The presenter (and chicken) also hope to convince potential users that Koha is a lot easier to use than they might think. He’s a community college drop-out – if he can do it, so can you.

12:15 – 12:25 The Open Practice Library - Donna Benjamin (online)

A quick introduction to the Open Practice Library – a collection of ways and means of working together drawing from the worlds of agile development, devops, design and systems thinking, from discovery to delivery, to ongoing care and maintenance.

12:30 – 2:00 Lunch

2:00 – 2:25 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 yars, now more than 50 libraries are using different modules of Koha. However, several Koha training, intengration 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.

2:30 – 2:40 Wikidata – what libraries need to know about wikidata, the Wikipedia project you’ve probably never heard of - David Nind (live, in-person)

A quick guide to what it is, how to edit it, and some practical uses for libraries (

2:45 – 3:10 Teamwork: we have your back! - Kelly McElligott and Jessica Zairo, ByWater Solutions (precorded, online)

Kelly and Jessie took the question, how to continue to educate Koha users as the software grows and flourishes each and every upgrade? In what way/s can learning Koha be fun and educational? Solution: Monday Minutes! Jessie and Kelly created a weekly tutorial video and blog post called Monday Minutes with Jessie and Kelly. This has been very successful with our partners. Our goal was to break down one thing in Koha, demonstrate it, talk about use cases, and do this in less than 10 minute videos for users to watch. In this presentation, we will tell you how we created educational, fun, short videos to train Koha users. Through teamwork – we can make it easier and more enjoyable. Isn’t work fun with another fellow colleague in the trenches with you? Turn to Jessie and Kelly for help – we present our making of tutorial videos about Koha and so much more.

3:10 – 3:40 Afternoon tea

3:40 – 4:45 Koha Awards Ceremony (live, in-person)

4:45 – 5:00 Conference wrap-up (live, in-person)


Stay tuned!


9:00 – 10:25 Unicode and Perl: There is no escape - Grant McLean

If you’ve ever been frustrated or confused by encoding problems in Perl, this session is for you. We’ll start by building a shared understanding of what Unicode is and how Perl’s functions and modules deal with Unicode data. Then we’ll explore some common pain points and look at tools you can use to deal with them. Areas we’ll explore will include: encoding conversions; importing and exporting data; HTML, XML, and JSON; implications for web servers and databases.

10:30 – 11:00 Morning Tea

11:00 – 12:25 Documentation - David Nind

A hands-on practical session to get you started contributing to Koha’s documentation:

  • The easy way to edit: A hands-on step-by-step walk through of the process using just a browser.
  • Working with a local repository: Setting up a local content development environment overnight.
  • Working out what to work on: Identifying and selecting documentation tasks.
  • It’s not just writing: Other ways to contribute to the documentation.

12:30 – 2:00 Lunch

2:00 – 3:25 Playing with MarcEdit: Harvesting, editing, and recycling of Open MARC21 data into Koha - Farasat Shafi Ullah

This workshop will provide professional experience sharing of data migration from software like WINISIS, Excel data, SirsiDynix to Koha ILS data migration testing, and a hands-on session to participants to understand the metadata editing challenges, strategies, and techniques. It is anticipated that through this workshop, participants will be able to cope with the metadata management and editing challenges during data migration, data updating for ILS/discovery tool, preparing MARC data for bulk import and the difference between mrk and mrc files.

3:30 – 4:00 Afternoon tea

4:00 – 4:45 Round up


9:00 – 10:25 No workshop scheduled at this time

10:30 – 12:00 Linked Data (Part 1) - Jonathan Hunt, Catalyst


12:00 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:30 Linked Data (Part 2) - Jonathan Hunt, Catalyst


3:30 – 4:00 Afternoon tea

4:00 – 4:45 Round up


9:00 – 10:25 RFID solutions amid COVID-19 - Avin Lee Shinn Hwa, FE Technologies


10:30 – 11:00 Morning tea

11:00 – 12:25 The design dash - Donna Benjamin

A super-fast, facilitated introduction to design thinking methods and mindsets.

12:30 – 2:00 Lunch

2:00 – 3:25 No workshop scheduled at this time

3:30 – 4:00 Afternoon tea

4:00 – 4:45 Round up

Day 6 & 7: DIY Koha

Learn how to ‘do-it-yourself’ with Koha! We’ll be working together on planning and doing some things to improve Koha, including contributing to the development project. This is open to absolutely everyone regardless of your skill-level or experience.