Koha Data Preparation

Unless you are automating a library for the first time, you will have data from an existing system that will need to be moved to the new Koha installation. This is one of the most important steps in the migration process, and managing the data preparation process is a key step to a successful migration. Data preparation is often talked about as data "mapping," meaning to ensure that the data fields between the two systems match up properly.

According to the Koha community documentation, there are two types of data mapping: that of bibliographic data and that of patron data. Mapping bibliographic data involves mapping and matching MARC records. Dealing with patron information, in contrast, requires creating a patron file and importing patrons.

Koha has the advantage of being a fairly new system, designed from the ground up to handle MARC records, while many legacy systems may not use MARC at all as the basis for their bibliographic data. Systems also vary in the types of items they allow and the way these are coded. All of these values must be mapped to the Koha system and checked to make sure that the record is accurate and useable.

Best Practices for Data Preparation
  • If you can do a fine amnesty when migrating. Sometimes it is very difficult to transfer fine data into a new ILS so an amnesty will make the process simpler.
  • Clean up data in advance. The more consistent your data is the easier it will be to transfer. in addition, migrating to a new system is a chance for a fresh start. It is an opportunity to clean up any inconsistencies in the old system.
  • Weeding - as part of your data clean up you should consider doing a weeding process on both materials and patron records. The fewer records you have the faster migration will be. If you are planning on using a vendor, they charge by record so why pay for records you don't need?
  • Consistency is key. If multiple people are working on the data make sure they are working based on the same standards.