[Koha] Some questions on itemcallnumber system preference and item callnumbers in general.

Manos PETRIDIS egpetridis at gmail.com
Wed Aug 21 05:57:37 NZST 2013

I noticed that some of my messages were still perceived as spam. Well, I
suppose it is one of the ills of having the same e-mail address for almost
20 years. As my previous message received no comments, I re-submit it
somewhat edited, hoping to find out if what I'm after is already supported,
or if I need to create an enhancement suggestion/request:

I want to comment on a number of issues that I've encountered as it regards
call numbers in koha, hoping that they may be of interest to other users as

Q1) I wonder if there is a way to have complex expressions in the
itemcallnumber system preference?
For example, I would prefer having call numbers formatted as "999.99 Aut
YYYY" where 999.99 are the first five digits of DDC code properly formatted,
Aut are the first three characters of the soundex of main Author name and
YYYY is the copyright year. Does koha provide for such functionality?

While I can update the items table once, using something like the following
query, this is not reflected nor in the search results of existing biblios,
nor in newly created item records' call numbers.

UPDATE items it
LEFT JOIN biblioitems on (it.biblioitemnumber=biblioitems.biblioitemnumber)
LEFT JOIN biblio on (biblioitems.biblionumber=biblio.biblionumber)
SET it.itemcallnumber =
'''', '' ), ' ', '' ), '/', '' ), '_', '' ), '.', '' )), 3), '.',
ber), '''', '' ), ' ', '' ), '/', '' ), '_', '' ), '.', '' )), 4, 2), ' ',
LEFT(LTRIM(RTRIM(SOUNDEX(biblio.author))), 3), ' ',
CONVERT(biblio.copyrightdate, CHAR(4))

I know that the statement above needs to be improved in order to properly
handle nulls, it was created only as a proof of concept, and I'm not
familiar with the MySQL dialect. 

Q2) How may I modify itemcallnumber system preference so that it would use
the 092ab entry if filled, otherwise use 082ab?

Q3) I have kept the "082ab" default value (in MARC21) and the items' call
numbers have been created accordingly. If I go and modify by hand an item's
"Full call number" to the desired value, for example "949    Par 2005" in
place of "949", the change is reflected in SQL reports containing
items.itemcallnumber. However, when I perform an Advanced search, and select
sorting by Call Number, the items' modified call numbers are not used. As I
am in ver., I understand that item information (including call
numbers) are supposed to be no longer stored in biblios, but only in items.
Indeed, a report with "select * from biblio;" shows no call number
information. Furthermore, in a "select * from biblioitems;" cn_class,
cn_item, cn_suffix, cn_sort appear to be empty, except for the sole biblio
having 942hm filled. Therefore, my question is: in Advanced search, sorting
by Call Number means what exactly;

Thank you for your time and patience!
Kind Regards,

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