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Koha Glossary
List of terms used by members of the Koha community

Note, this is a list of terminolology used, Preferred terminology (to be used in the OPAC and Staff Client) is here:


  • AACR2 -- Anglo-American Cataloging Rules Second Edition that is the content standard that libraries used until RDA came out [1]. see RDA
  • authority record -- records used to control the contents of MARC fields.
  • authorized value -- used to create drop-down menus and limit free form data entry.


  • basket -- a group of orders for the same vendor in Koha's acquisitions system. In this context, individual ordered items are each called an 'order'.
  • bib -- abbreviation of 'bibliographic record'.
  • bib frame -- Library of Congress' successor to MARC21, based on linked data.
  • bibliographic record -- contains data about a work, such as title, author and copyright date.
  • biblionumber -- Koha specific tracking number for bibliographic records.
  • budget -- Used by acquisitions to track money used in the acquisitions process. Budgets may contain funds. FIXME are budgets and funds the same thing? The terminology page prefers 'Fund'


  • call number -- a short code of letters and digits used to show where an item resides on the shelves. See LC and DCC.
  • cart -- temporary holding place to bookmark item information -- only kept until the user logs out. Similar to lists, which are permanent. Not to be confused with shelving cart.
  • circulation -- a general term for lending, returning or renewing items from the library.
  • circulation rule -- defines how long an item can be lent as well as what fines are applied if the item goes overdue.
  • cn\_sort -- a representation of a call number formatted/padded for alphanumeric sorting.
  • collection code -- define a collection of items.
  • collectionHQ -- A collection analysis tool that helps libraries determine what items to order.
  • connexion -- A service typically run on koha servers, which talks to OCLC.
  • CORAL -- an ERMS: Electronic Recources Management System. See [2] and [3]


  • Detail view -- a page on the OPAC or Staff client devoted to showing bibliographic records in a user friendly manor.
  • discovery service -- An program external to Koha which makes bibliographic and holdings (item level) information searchable and view-able... A bit like an external OPAC. See foss4lib:What is a Discovery Layer?


  • Ebsco -- A discovery service vendor who works closely with the Koha community.
  • EDI -- Electronic data interchange. Usually used for exchanging business data. In the context of Koha, this is used for ordering items from vendors in the acquisitions process.
  • EDS -- Ebsco Discovery Service -- See discovery service.
  • ElasticSearch -- A full text search engine used by Koha, as an alternative to Zebra. Currently in development.
  • Envisionware -- a library computer hardware/software vendor providing Computer access and SIP2 self-check machines
  • EZproxy -- A single sign-on service for econtent. developed by OCLC. EZproxy uses SIP2 to authenticate with Koha.
  • extended attribute -- Custom data that can be associated with a borrower record.


  • facet -- a filtering mechanism on the left hand side of the search screen which allows results to be narrowed by author, collection, item type, etc.
  • framework -- (Aka bibliographic framework or MARC framework) A template used to create new bibliographic records. Frameworks also control the display of marc fields in the staff and OPAC.
  • FRBR -- Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records [4]
  • fund -- Used by acquisitions. Funds live inside budgets.


  • git install -- A koha installation that uses 'git' as its install method. Cf. Package Install.
  • hold -- Holds allow patrons the exclusive right to check out a title.
  • holding -- Synonym for item record.
  • hungry alligators -- In Koha reports, the << and >> used to define run time variables. The variable in between is 'being eaten by hungry alligators'.


  • ICU -- Also referred to as 'ICU Chains'. International Components for Unicode. The internationalization component used in Zebra search.
  • item record -- contains data about a specific copy of a book in koha. All item records link to bibliographic records.
  • itype -- see item type.
  • item type -- the item type is contained by the item record and is used when defining circulation rules.


  • List -- Patron / Staff defined list of items.
  • Lost -- an item may have one of several lost statuses, including 'Long Overdue (Lost)', 'Lost and paid for' and 'Missing'.


  • MARC -- [5]
  • MARC framework -- See framework.
  • material type -- A term used by other ILSs for item type.
  • notice -- A message sent to a patron information them of an overdue, renewal, item

due, etc.


  • order -- An element in an acquisitions basket. See Basket.
  • OverDrive -- An Ebook vendor
  • package install -- A koha installation that uses the debian 'dpkg' install format. This has implications for trouble-shooting and administration.
  • patron -- a library user or borrower


  • RDA -- Resource Description and Access [6] [7].
  • rebuild -- See reindex
  • reindex -- Typically refers to rebuilding Zebra search indexes.
  • REST -- Representational state transfer. A way of getting and setting data via HTTP. The Koha community is in the process of creating its own REST api.
  • Report -- present data from the system (example count of new items added to juvenile fiction last month). Koha has pre-defined (canned) reports, as well as custom reports (written in SQL).
  • Restricted -- Referring to patrons: debarred or blocked.


  • serials -- used for keeping track of journals, newspapers and other items that come on a regular schedule.
  • subscription -- tracks how often issues of a serial arrive.
  • shelving location -- physical location for item, e.g. 'Compact shelving', '1st floor'.
  • SIP2 -- 3M's Standard Interchange Protocol. Used by self-check machines as well as various systems which use it to verify that borrowers are authorized to use the library's resources.
  • slip -- printed note which may show items checked out or overdue.
  • smart rule -- See circulation rule.
  • SPF -- Sender Policy Framework. The rules used to determine whether an email will be accepted by an up-stream mail server.
  • SQL -- Structured Query Language. a programming language used to request data from a database.


  • tools -- one of the top level screens in Koha. Contains various resources and utilities outside of branch, patron and circulation management.
  • Unique Management -- a collection agency used by many Koha users in the U.S..
  • vendor -- A bookseller or supplier from which you purchase materials
  • Virtual shelf -- See List.
  • Vufind -- A discovery service written in PHP. Vufind gets its name from Villanova University, where it was developed.


  • zebra -- The full text search engine used by Koha.
  • Z39.50 -- A protocol for sharing bibliographic information. Koha acts as both a Z39.50 server (sharing bibliographic information) and client (searching and loading marc data from other sites).
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