AskALibrarian – Koha’s new feedback form plugin

A Koha plugin that adds user feedback functionality to Koha’s OPAC.

What is the ‘AskALibrarian’ Koha plugin?

It is a Koha plugin that adds a modal user feedback form to the Koha OPAC. It is written to utility the Koha Plugin System that was originally introduced into #kohails with version 3.12. This means that while the feature is an extension to a stock Koha installation, it is essentially a koha-native solution. Thus it is well-integrated within Koha as compared to any other third party solution. In terms of direct advantages it brings in (a) ease of maintainability across Koha upgrades, (b) ability to use the submitted data directly from Koha’s SQL reports, (c) data privacy – the data is stored directly inside your Koha database, as opposed to with any other 3rd party solution (something that assumes far greater significance in the GDPR era).

Why this plugin?

The Koha OPAC provides a lot of functionality to both the library staff as well as the library patrons. Below is a short list of things you can (there are more) and things you can not do.

Things you can 👍 Things you can’t 👎
  • Login with your user account
  • Reserve a book
  • Renew a book
  • Pay a fine or fee
  • Update your contact information
  • Do a self-registration
  • Submit a purchase suggestion
  • Add star ratings
  • And much more
  • Leave a feedback for the library staff

Since a lot of L2C2 Technologies’s client partners seem to be wanting the facility of user feedback forms, we finally decided “Why not… let’s do a plugin!” And so the AskALibrarian plugin was born.

How does it work?

The plugin adds a bootstrap modal feedback form as a menu option on the navbar at the top of the Koha OPAC. On submission of the form by the user / visitor, the information is submitted via an AJAX call to a Perl script – askalibrarian.pl, on the staff client side. The script invokes the required sub-routines from the plugin to do two things : (a) send the user an acknowledgement of the submitted input to the user’s email address, it provided is reachable and (b) store the submitted data in the koha_plugin_com_l2c2technologies_askalibrarian_feedback table in the Koha database. A callback sends up an alert popup on the OPAC, informing if it has successfully captured the data.

How to get the plugin?

The plugin is published under GNU GPL v3.0 license and is available here from L2C2 Technologies‘s GitHub repository. Pull requests for bugs or improvements are welcome 🙂

Please show me step by step!

Given how our readers from the Indian sub-continent are fond of “step-by-step” instructions, we have a small video for our readers (about 11 mins) that shows how to setup and use plugin.

Enjoy! May the source be with you!

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