[Koha] Barcodes - various thoughts and questions

Chris Nighswonger cnighswonger at foundations.edu
Thu Mar 17 05:50:41 NZDT 2011

Hi Paul,

On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 10:50 AM, Archives and Collections Society
<paul.a at aandc.org> wrote:
> Now approaching the end of our Koha ( on Ubuntu 10.10)
> implementation of barcodes is the next "problem" to be resolved. There
> seems to be very little Koha documentation on the subject and what little
> there is either "not to be used", "deprecated" (e.g  hbyymmincr.pm which
> looked promising but "This format is deprecated and SHOULD NOT BE USED") or
> has been relegated to "dead files" e.g.

I am the one who is responsible for the hbyymmincr format. In
hindsight it was a bit redundant as the homebranch can be included on
the label without having to include it in the barcode. But at the
time, it seemed a good thought. A critical limitation to this format
is that it is only good for 9999 barcodes per month. While in
production this might be ok, if one was doing a initial load of > 9999
items it would present a serious limitation on this format's

It is maintained because the library here is using it and in all
probability there are others who may be using it.

I'm sure we could fix up the code to raise the limit, but it probably
is not worth the effort, imho.

> <http://wiki.koha-community.org/wiki/Barcode_Prefixes_in_Consortial_Environment_RFC>
> is now found in the "Abandoned RFC" part of the Wiki.

I cannot speak to that, sorry.

> There is a default "generated in the form <branch>yymm0001" in admin -> sys
> preferences, which is close to what we require (replace "branch" - this
> would be a constant without practical value to us - with first four letters
> of "call number") but no obvious means of getting there. [Already we have
> rewritten callnumber.pl (nonfunctional) as acscallnumber.pl and use it for
> the callback on new items set as default through the admin interface Marc
> Subfield structure|edit|more constraints|plugin AND have written a separate
> perl routine for batch imports.]
> We can obviously modify barcode.pl and write a batch import routine, as
> this appears to be similar or parallel to the callnumber routines. However,
> this requires the 'SHOULD NOT BE USED' module above.
> So the questions are:
>         - are we missing something?
>         - is there some documentation (barcodes in general,
> coding|scripting in particular) that someone can kindly point us to?
>         - what are the reasons for the various 'deprecated', 'should not
> be used', 'abandoned labels'? and what pitfalls are we opening ourselves
> to? what are the replacements?

Have you had a look at the POD for C4::Barcodes?


This includes some brief direction for adding other formats.

> Our thoughts revolve around our overall respect for all the development
> that has gone into Koha (thank you all) - it is a remarkable project. But
> also around the quasi-total lack of technical documentation. We are still
> attempting to map the logic and data flows in the Koha architecture. We are
> still struggling with messy implementations of Zebra which has to be
> reindexed after every rewrite to koha.db during batch jobs (12,000
> operations take 10 hours on fast hardware - but cannot find any
> documentation e.g. why the daemon must be replaced by a cron job, which
> might be very pertinent) - and we're going to have to do this again for
> barcodes.

The daemon has memory leak problems. You are well advised to run away
from it as fast as possible.

There should be no reason to totally reindex afaik. You can run
rebuild_zebra.pl -b -a -z and just catch the new/modified records.

See http://tinyurl.com/4u4vtoz for an example of how to setup your
rebuild in cron.

Kind Regards,

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