Self-Reliance Of Koha Cataloguing Module For Migration From Libsys To Koha

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The present paper is a case study of migration process from proprietary library automation software LibSys and open source library management software Koha.This paper aims to present a customized procedure flowed by the library University of Jaffna (UOJ) during the bibliographic data migration process. UOJ Library have different type of resources including books, journals, reports, government documents and huge number of electronic resources. Migrartion of bibliographic data from LibSys to Koha flowed a customized procedure according to our collection type. Data were transformed through LibSys Acquisition report and cataloguing report, finally two reports were merged to develop a final data sheet in Excel. Different excel functions were followed to extract some field from developed final sheet. MARC fields were arranged according to our cataloger’s needs, display in the OPAC system and searchable for the users. This migration was carried out by academic librarians using freely available tools: OpenOffice Calc, MarcEdit and the Koha Integrated Library System. The data migration pathway presented here was developed and successfully used to transfer over 150,000 records in less than two months. This case study presents an original process that is particularly effective for an academic library migrating from LibSys to Koha.


The influence of computer has flooded all sectors of librarianship. These systems include number of housekeeping activities, cataloguing, classification, serial control, circulation control and reporting. Library automation is the application of computers to library housekeeping operations. It’s now firmly established in Sri Lankan libraries. At present academic, public, special and school libraries in developing countries had access to library automation systems (Hopkinson, 2009).

The library automation effort all over the world have been fast phased and it is now common to ensuring user satisfaction and saving time for library staff. Sri Lankan situation has been changing from commercial software to open source software. In the early stage most of the academic libraries were automated with commercial software and now the trend has been changed to open source software (Benahal, 2018).

In Sri Lanka, “CERC library automation consultancy project, The Open University of Sri Lanka” public, special and school libraries were automated with Koha. According to Koha community 2017, 32 public libraries, five special libraries, one school library and five academic libraries were automated with Koha in Sri Lanka. Many integrated library management systems provide number of features through their modules. Example of this include Koha, Evergreen, New Gen Lib, Virtua and software for university library (SOUL). Koha is the oldest open source library management software and provides all essential modules for a library function including cataloguing. The University of Jaffna library have started it’s migration from LibSys to Koha in 2018. This paper is revealed the experience gained through this migration process.

University of Jaffna Library, Sri Lanka

University of Jaffna offers different academic programs in Bachelor of Arts, Agriculture, Engineering, Science, Management, Medicine and Technology through eight faculties and also provide postgraduate degree program through Faculty of Graduate studies. Here the library is acting as a central information system for the whole academic programs and support for teaching, learning and research activities. It has six branch libraries from Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, Technology, Sidha medicine unit and Fine Arts attached to the respective faculties. Three branch libraries were established at Kilinochchi, which 100 Km away from Jaffna. The main library is well-equipped with a collection of books, journals, reports, audio-video materials, e-books, online databases and other resources to serve its users. Library is automated with LibSys from 2005 and during 2018 it started to migrate from LibSys to Koha. We maintained three different accession series, such as books, pamphlets, government documents and bound periodicals. As the first stage we migrated books series.

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LibSys is an integrated library management software package designed and developed by LibSys Corporation, Gurgaon. Hariyana. It covers all the activities related to acquision, circulation, cataloguing, serial control, article indexing, abstracting, OPAC and etc. LibSys follows international standards such as CCF, MARC, etc. It has some special characters, such as interactive, and screen oriented, menu driven, user defined security, multilingual and powerful editing facilities.

Literature Review

Number of research articles and case studies has been reviewed during the data migration process, customization and implementation of Koha, which are mentioned in the reference.

Migration Preparation

To ensure that our export process transferred all data fields uniformly, we began the migration preparation by surveying our catalog records for internal consistency. This included the standardization of location codes and elimination of cataloging inconsistencies that had accumulated through successive ILS platforms and catalogers.

During this phase, we uncovered several major cataloging issues that presented during the data migration challenges. While developing the export process, it quickly became clear that many of the bibliographic records in our system did not adhere to accepted spelling, missing entries, and mistakes in entries. As we try to correct these inconsistencies, our e-resource unit created a partition on the current ILS server, allowing us to run a test installation of Koha alongside our active LibSys system. This enabled us to test our data mapping process and to verify that the information had migrated successfully by crosschecking both systems.

Data Transformation

Data transformation is an essential step in data migration as the target format may have a different system format, which is differentiable from the previous one. We followed the following steps, during the data import from LibSys, this includes combination, filtration, reformat etc. We find an efficient and effective method, for the same. To improve quality of data we have experienced the following steps during the process of data transformation.

Discussion and Conclusion

This case study presents a functional model for a fully in-house data migration from LibSys to Koha. Koha software has an extremely user-friendly interface and it is cost effective which makes more challenging to the traditional LMS software like LibSys. Koha facilitate browser based facility. The ‘Tools’ module is the prime area for customization and batch functions. This data migration process overcome several challenges. By handling all aspects of data extraction, clean up, and formatting, our library gained an in depth knowledge about our collection and the basic principles of digital information management. Our library decided to run Koha alongside our active LibSys system in the same sever. The Library University of Jaffna migrated around 150,000 bibliographic records from LibSys to Koha. At present Koha database is fully function at our branch level. Our library has considerable amount of Tamil books and this was a major challenge for us to customize our cataloguing module. Main we focus on uniform title and subject keywords. After migration also we try to modify the cataloguing entries, which we made through the copy cataloguing by changing the call number and subject keyword according to our user’s needs. This migration process gave number of practical experiences to our team and gave chance to learn more about our collections. The impact of Koha on cataloging practices at the University of Jaffna Library has been monumental.


  1. Benahal, A. R. (2018). Self-reliance of the Koha acquisition module for managing procurement of printed books: An academic library perspective. Electronic Library, 36(2), 338–349.
  2. Central, C., & Chattopadhyay, S. (2000). Circulation Module of Koha and LibSys : An Observation at St . Introduction : LibSys : Koha : The Library : An Overview Problems encountered during day to day transactions in St . Xavier ’ s College Central Library with the previously used software LibSys, 1–6.
  3. Hopkinson, A. (2009). Library automation in developing countries: The last 25 years. Information Development, 25(4), 304–312.
  4. Mishra, V. K., Librarian, A., & Rourkela, N. (n.d.). Systematic approach of data migration, customization and implementation of Koha: a case study of Saharanpur Campus Library, IIT Roorkee.
  5. Titilola Bayero Abdussalam, A., & Ajisafe Saliu, U. (2014). Using Koha for cataloging and classification: a case study. Library Hi Tech News, 31(2), 15–21.
  6. Todd, C. R. (2018). Librarian as data migrator: a functional pathway from Millennium to Koha. Digital Library Perspectives, 34(1), 60–69.
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Self-Reliance Of Koha Cataloguing Module For Migration From Libsys To Koha. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
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