HORIZON to Koha data migration: technical issues and challenges: the Dimitris & Aliki Perrotis Library case

Iro Sotiriadou, Fotini Traka & Damiana Koutsomiha - American Farm School Library, Greece

Dimitrios Kouis & George Veranis - HEAL-Link, Greece


The American Farm School of Thessaloniki was founded in 1904 and has a library since 1924. In 2000, after a generous donation, it underwent a complete renovation and was named Dimitris and Aliki Perrotis Library. Leaving behind the card catalog, the Library decided to also update its old Integrated Library System and proceeded with the purchase of the Horizon ILS in 2001. According to the needs at the time, Cataloging, Circulation, Administration and OPAC modules were used. Throughout the 15 years of the system’s operation more than 44.177 bibliographic records and 103.777 authority records were created. Extensive weeding of records in order to keep our collections current and up to date resulted in a more compact collection of 10566 records and 21237 authorities. At the same time the enrollment and thus the number of patrons were increased five times higher due to the expansion of current academic programs and the provision of new ones.

As expected, the new information technology reality and in light of the need to provide new, embedded and interactive services to Library patrons, a migration to a more user-friendly, Internet-based ILS, the open-source ILS Koha was decided.

In this direction, the Dimitris and Aliki Perrotis Library started, in September 2015, an in-house project (which is the topic of the presentation for kohacon2016) that would implement the migration to the Koha ILS, which was completed in February 2016. The work plan was organized into 5 phases as described below.

Phase 1. Bibliographic records and other data extraction from the HORIZON ILS.

  • - Bibliographic records (10566 records), item data (16466 items) and patrons’ data (953 users) were extracted.
  • - Statistical analysis of the data – Data cleanup

Phase 2. Implementation of the necessary tools for converting the data in appropriate format as supported by Koha.

  • - Character set conversion (from ISO 5428 to UTF8)
  • - Bibliographic and item records, item mapping to Koha supported format (including locations, collections, item type codes cleanup)
  • - Patrons record mapping to Koha supported format
  • - Authority file creation (as HORIZON didn’t support extraction) with more than 21237 authority records.

Phase 3. Configure Koha and import converted data – Data consistency check

  • - Koha configuration (libraries, locations, item types, patron categories, authorized values, administrative parameters, circulation rules, cataloging, authorities, web opac, enchanced content etc.).
  • - Initial data import and thorough consistency check from librarians.

Phase 4. Fine tuning conversion tools, Koha final configuration based on the data consistency check results and data reload

  • - Fine tuning at conversion tools and mapping rules.
  • - Final Koha configuration parameters and data reload.

Phase 5. Personnel training on the new ILS – Go Live

At the end of the project, all data from the old ILS were migrated to Koha, while both staff and the end-users of Dimitris and Aliki Perrotis Library enjoy the new ILS and its advanced services (http://librarycatalog.afs.edu.gr)