Getting Ready for Alma and Discovery Implementation
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Data migration/conversion requirements and interactions
- Training requirements
- Discovery requirements
- Appendixes for other requirements and recommendations
- Additional technical IP and port requirements as well as authentication requirements are described in Technical Requirements for Alma and Discovery Implementation.
- It is recommended that you view the Introduction to Alma Configuration video session before completing your migration form, as the mapping and migration of libraries and locations has implications for subsequent configuration.
- Alma does not support HTTP.
Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills
- Get the library up and running successfully with Alma and Discovery.
- Coordinate all activities related to Alma and Discovery implementation and perform all activities that are Ex Libris’ responsibility as detailed in the project plan (for example – data migration, configuration, training, implementation support, documentation, and so forth).
- Allocate an expert implementation team (project manager and implementation analyst) to work with the library implementation team and deliver agreed upon services to meet the “Go Live” date.
- Perform Alma and Discovery implementation, including Alma and Discovery configuration (based on the library's input) and data migration (including the extraction of data from Ex Libris’ products).
Access to many Alma configuration menus in the production environment is provided to customers only after successful completion of the Alma Certification Training course and upon Go Live. During the implementation stage of the project, Alma configuration modifications are made by the Ex Libris implementation team in response to customer testing and feedback.
- Perform integration of the Ex Libris Discovery interface with Alma, including configuration for new Discovery customers and transition from a local installation to the hosted cloud for existing Discovery customers, as relevant.
- Provide documentation and deliver the functional workshop, if applicable per contract, to the library implementation team in support of the Alma and Discovery implementation, provide detailed project plans, and coordinate testing activities with the library project manager.
- Provide executive project reports and regular communication with the library project manager.
- Implement Alma and Discovery within the agreed upon timeframe, according to the agreed upon contractual scope.
- Manage the internal library implementation team.
- Form a library implementation team of functional experts and appoint a project manager who serves as the primary contact for the Ex Libris project manager and manages the library implementation team.
- Test workflows end-to-end in the Alma and Discovery production environments and provide feedback to the Ex Libris implementation team concerning any necessary configuration modifications.
Alma and Discovery Project Team Roles/Skills
- Project Manager
- leads and coordinates activities related to the implementation of Alma and Discovery for the institution
- responsible for ensuring that institutional staff resources are available to assist as necessary
- manages internal and external communications about the status and priorities of the project
- keeps the project moving and on track
- helps to mitigate project risks
- acts as primary point of contact with the Ex Libris project manager – including the following specific activities:
- upgrading Ex Libris’ source systems, when relevant, to a supported version prior to the Alma and Discovery implementation project and preparing the source systems for the data extract based on the requirements of the source system
- arranging access to data and the necessary space allocation required for data extraction (Ex Libris products) or delivering data (for non-Ex Libris products)
- managing the library implementation team in determining and reviewing migration and configuration settings
- preparing, scheduling, and training the library staff in a timely manner and within the timeframe of the agreed upon Go Live date
- attending project meetings
- reviewing project plans
- managing and overseeing the testing processes and providing feedback
- setting and communicating relevant priorities with the Ex Libris project manager
- Project Team - Functional Experts
- Acquisitions – has overall familiarity with workflows in the current system including ledgers/funds, POs and invoices, and acquisition of print monographs and serials
- Digital – has overall familiarity with workflows in current system including selection, acquisition, organization, and accessibility and preservation of digital resources
- E-Resources – has overall familiarity with workflows in current system including procurement, licensing, and management of all electronic resources acquired by the institution
- Fulfillment – has overall familiarity with workflows in the current system including patron registration and management, circulation policies, and calendars
- Interlibrary Loan – has overall familiarity with workflows in the current system including lending and borrowing and external resource sharing management applications
- Resource management – has overall familiarity with workflows in the current system including bibliographic and authority records, inventory, and local practices
- Data Experts
- Acquisitions – has full understanding of the institution’s acquisitions data including ledgers/funds, POs, and invoices
- Digital – has full understanding of the institution’s digital repository and data
- E-Resources – has full understanding of the institution’s electronic resources data including procurement, licensing, and management
- Fulfillment – has full understanding of the institution’s patron and circulation data including patron import, circulation policies, and calendars
- Interlibrary Loan – has full understanding of the institution’s policies for lending and borrowing, profiles for external resource sharing applications, and integration with NCIP
- Resource management – has full understanding of the institution’s bibliographic, authority and inventory data, and access to external resources
- Discovery – has full understanding of the institution’s metadata and definitions of what should be discovered and displayed to the end users in Discovery
- Public Services Staff
- reviews the end-user systems that are impacted by Alma implementation (Discovery, MetaLib)
- assists in planning the transition from the OPAC or former discovery layers to Discovery
Migration Input and Guide
Areas to Be Migrated Once
- Vendors and Vendor Interfaces
- Resource Sharing Partners
Unfulfilled Hold Requests
- Historical count of loans per item (for example, an aggregate number) and most recent historical loan date. These statistics, when provided, are tightly integrated into Alma analytics reporting and may aid libraries in their continued weeding and collection development activities.
- When acquisitions data is contracted for, historical acquisition data (closed orders, payment info) can be migrated to Alma.
- Full historical loan transactions are not migrated to Alma - only active loan transactions for currently discharged items are included. However, for Ex Libris systems Aleph and Voyager, a csv report is provided during the cutover go-live period for library's use and future reference outside of Alma.
- Metadata and objects can be ingested into Alma
- Remote Digital repository metadata can be harvested into Alma via OAI-PMH
Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA)
Ex Libris Systems
- SFX/ 360 Link
- Verde/ 360 Resource Manager/ Intota v.1
- UStat/ 360 Counter/ Intota Assessment
- Alma institutions should have one UStat account only. In case a single Alma institution has libraries or campuses with their own autonomous electronic resource management, the library/campus-specific usage data must be marked separately using UStat’s Subscriber field rather than multiple USTAT accounts. Only one USTAT Account may be migrated to a single Alma institution.
- It is strongly encouraged NOT to upgrade any of your Ex Libris systems prior to implementing Alma if you are already on one of the supported versions listed below.
Versions Supported for Migration to Alma
|System||Versions Supported||Minimum Level|
|Aleph||v18, v19, v20, v21, v22, v23||All SPs for versions noted (and working C-compiler)|
|MetaLib||v4||v4.5.2 (Not migration data related, but Primo <> Alma interoperability required version)|
|SFX||v4||v4.1.2 (Nov 2012 version of SFX or later) + and latest KB version|
|Voyager||v7, v8, v9, v10||All releases for versions noted|
|Intota||v1, v2||All releases for version noted|
|360 Link / Core||Latest version|
|360 Resource Manager / Intota ERM||Latest version|
|360 Counter / Intota Assessment||Latest version|
KB (Knowledge Base) Level Requirements for SFX and Verde
Technical Migration Requirements
- Backup - Before deploying and running conversion programs on any native Ex Libris system server (other than hosted Ex Libris systems), a backup must be taken. This is confirmed in the Migration Request Form and Checklist. Contact your project manager for more information.
- DB Archiving and Scheduled Processes - Before deploying and running conversion programs on any native Ex Libris system server, disable any scheduled processes (cron jobs, backups, DB archive log mode) that may interfere with the performance of the migration process. This is confirmed in the Migration Request Form and Checklist. Contact your project manager for more information.
- Access to Source System - Ex Libris requires direct SSH and S/FTP access to your Ex Libris system servers in order to support the migration conversion and any troubleshooting necessary throughout the implementation process. Open access to the Ex Libris IPs in the following table (Mandatory IPs marked in red). Open access to both the IP of Ex Libris HQ as well as your nearest Ex Libris office.
Region IPs Ports NA
APAC 22.214.171.124 CA 126.96.36.199 CN 188.8.131.52
- Space Preparations for Extract
System Free Disk Space Required Aleph 5 G per 1M Bib RecordsAdditionally, 2G free in TS1 tablespace per 1M bibliographic records. This is needed for table lookup purposes during the extract. Voyager 5 G per 1M Bib Records SFX 2 G Verde 2 G Meridian 2 G
Verde/ILS Data Requirements
- E-Products - Migration of information from Verde is limited to e-products that are represented in SFX and/or ILS systems. Therefore, any non-SFX or non-activated SFX e-product of types standalone, package, or constituent must be represented by a suppressed bibliographic record from the ILS system in order to be migrated. It is suggested that any records in Verde not yet represented in either SFX or your current ILS and are needed for ongoing management in Alma, be added in preparation for your migration from Verde.
- E-Acquisitions - Any Acquisitions record in Verde that is not linked to an ILS order is migrated, but is not represented by a purchase order in Alma. Rather, the acquisitions data is stored on the Alma e-inventory (e-product), as is consistent with Verde. If you would like acquisitions record data from Verde to enrich your ILS order, update/add the order number from the ILS to Verde prior to migration.
Cutover Preparation and Approach for Third-Parties that Are Provided Library Data and Services
Many external (non-Discovery) third-party providers (for example, Google Scholar, EBSCO, RefWorks, etc.) target your library resources in your current library systems (before Alma). These include electronic access where current openURL, base URL syntaxes, and icons are registered with the search provider who offers link resolving services for your licensed e-material. They also include sites that search your library and catalog resources via protocols such as Z39.50.
Upon Go-Live, it is crucial that these external parties be updated regarding the change of address in order to continue to search and provide relevant services. Alternatively, some sites follow a more sophisticated approach using and maintaining their own URL redirect tools. More information regarding sites that implement such a solution can be found in the following location:
Link Resolving: For sites not implementing their own solutions, the third-parties should be instructed to point the base URLs, link syntaxes, and icons to Alma. Do not point them before Go-Live, since delivery and Discovery are still being provided based on the old systems. For Google scholar, if you have an existing Google Scholar account, it is recommended that you set a new test-restricted label for testing purposes, so that you can distinguish between your old and new system resolving. Following verification post Go-Live, change the label to the active one your patrons will access and retire the old account.
The URL of Alma-Primo’s base services page is:
The URL of Primo VE’s base services page is:
The URL of Alma-Summon’s base services page is:
Alma’s default View It icon is located at:
Do not shut down your previous link resolver system immediately after cutover because:
It takes time to contact the known external search providers and have them update the relevant link information.
It takes time to determine which unknown external search providers link to your link resolver data and have them update the relevant link information.
The following is the recommended method for handling the cutover from your link resolver system to Alma:
Based on our best practice, leave the link resolver system up and running temporarily for one month after Go-Live as a fallback for delivery purposes for all third-party discovery providers.
Update the providers during that month-long period (including those based on incoming requests to your link resolver system for providers of which you are not aware) in order to ensure that the new Alma URLs are on file with all of the providers so that they are linked to Alma instead of your previous link resolver system.
In addition to notifying vendors about changes to the base URL for the link resolver, all third-parties that have any type of integration with Alma should be notified of the upcoming base URL change, including those for EOD and EDI.
Since all updates to E-resources occur only in Alma after Go Live, it is recommended to complete the vendor updates as quickly as possible.
Search Providing (Z39.50): the third-parties (such as other catalogs, RefWorks, etc.) should be instructed to point to your institution’s Alma base URL and port (210) immediately upon Go-Live, similar to the procedure for link resolving described above.
Additionally, it is recommended to review the Alma and Primo Cutover Process document that details the entire cutover process to Alma and its associated Discovery environment.
Non-Ex Libris Systems
Data Format Requirements
|Area||Standard Expected Format|
|Bibliographic records||Marc ISO 2709, Marc21 XML, or Unimarc XML|
|Holdings records||Marc ISO 2709, Marc21 XML or csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Items||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Patrons||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Loans||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Holds (requests on the hold shelf)||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Vendors||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Funds + encumbrance/expenditure transactions||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Orders||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Invoices||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Course readings||csv (comma delimited fields)|
|Electronic identification||csv (comma delimited, in the format described in ILS-managed E-Resources.)|
|ERM data: license, interface, ERM linking Excel||xml – based on documented xsd
Excel for ERM linking
Data Delivery Process and Form
Validating Data Files
Data files should be validated using the Migration Validation tool, available for download from the FTP server. For connection information, contact your Ex Libris project manager.
2.5 GHz or higher processor
8 GM RAM (64-bit)
25 GB available hard disk space
Placing files on the SFTP server
Requirements for Skype and Microsoft Teams
- A monitor for individual viewing and ability to project on a large screen for group viewing
- Speakers and a microphone or telephone with conference call or hands-free capability for audio participation
Room Requirements for the Functional Onsite Workshop (If Applicable)
- Presenter’s workstation:
- The ability for the Ex Libris presenter to connect a laptop to the Internet (wired or wireless)
ORA presenter’s PC with at least one of the Alma-supported browsers connected to the Internet with the Alma and Discovery URLs accessible and the following applications installed: PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF reader
- Allow connecting to an LCD projector via standard VGA cable to demonstrate to an audience (overhead installation preferred)
- Situated at the front of the room, ideally to one side and facing the participants
- The ability for the Ex Libris presenter to connect a laptop to the Internet (wired or wireless)
Discovery Integration Requirements
- For Primo/Alma/MetaLib interoperability, MetaLib v 4.5.2 is the minimum version that can be applied.
- Before transitioning to Primo with Alma, it is recommended that you advise your patrons to export/email their e-shelf records from your previous Primo production environment, so that they can later be used for personal reference.
Appendix A – Fulfillment Simplification
- Categorize the types of locations you manage, in up to five location type categories. We recommend the following types: Regular, Limited, Short Loan/Reserve, Closed Stack, and Media. However, you may find that you have different paradigms/types in your library. The particular granular policies that actually apply for reach type of location are solicited at the time of your implementation.
- Categorize your user groups/borrower statuses into four categories. Our recommendations are: Staff, High priority, Regular priority, and Low priority.
- Most sites are able to group and categorize their locations and user groups into the above matrix. However, in some cases, sites have not physically shelved all items together based solely on policy. Therefore, there may be some exceptional items in those locations. While the continued maintenance of item-level exceptions is not our recommended best practice due to the maintenance and library costs required to continue to manage such granularity, we do allow for up to five item exception types per location type. So, for example, you may have an open stack where most items circulate in a certain way, but there might be particular items in that location (marked with an item level tag) that indicates that the item should circulate exceptionally for that location. It is best to keep the number of exceptional categories among your current item tags (item policy/item status) to be as few as possible. The maximum number of exception types allowed is five.
Appendix B – Optional Data Preparations
- Library and collection/location
Identify which of your sublibraries in Aleph (tab_sub_library types 1 and 4) are not an actual active library. Combine rarely used sublibraries into other existing sublibraries. Create unique collection and location names for each library in Alma and Discovery.
- Bibliographic, holdings, and item data
- Fix bibliographic records that do not have a 245/title
- Identify links pointing to existing source systems that are migrated, so that they can be removed or updated, if necessary. Once a resource is migrated to Alma, the links should be updated to point to Alma.
- Review non-standard MARC fields (alphanumeric, for instance), revising records as appropriate. Note that migration allows mapping to local 9XX fields.
- Identify and delete duplicate Bibs.
- Identify and clean up invalid Unicode characters
- Identify and re-barcode any duplicate or unintentionally empty item barcodes. In Alma, duplicate barcodes are not supported and non-barcoded items, although supported, cannot circulate in Alma.
- Consolidate multiple holding records for identical item copies for the same location/call number.
- For certain ILSs, identify and correct any location mismatches between holdings and item records. Not doing so may result in multiple holdings records, particularly if the mismatch represents a permanent location in the item record different than the permanent location in the holdings record.
- Assign a value for empty collection/location for items/holdings, if applicable.
- Since the NUC/OCLC code is associated at the library-level when publishing to OCLC or Libraries of Australia, if there are different owner codes needed for inventory in the same library, consider separating the inventory to different library owners before implementation.
- Enumeration and Chronology in Items/Issues
- Items/issues may have a description field such as ‘Vol. 1, No 6 (June 2015)’. This description field will be used to sort items/issues in Alma (for staff) and Discovery (for the end-user).
- If the descriptions are dissimilar, the sorting may be off. All of the items will still be present and viewable, but if there are many items on the same record, it may be difficult for someone to find the item in a sorted list.
Example of items that may sort incorrectly:Vol. 1 No. 1 (January 2017)V1 N2 (February 2017)March 2017 – V1 N3Vol. 1 No. 4 (April 2017)
- Statuses and codes
- Standardize statuses and codes to remove extraneous entries and consolidate them into fewer options. Review and reduce purchase order statuses, if this is applicable.
- Review and consolidate material types for items (for example, BK, Book, Monograph)
- Old/inconsistent data
- Clean up and/or purge patron records that are inactive or expired and have no outstanding items, fines, fees, or other transactions.
- Clean up and/or purge patron records with fines, fees, or other transactions that are older than a certain date and/or less than a certain amount.
- Clean up and/or remove purchase orders that are old drafts or tests.
- Clean up and/or remove invoices that are old drafts or tests.
- Clean up orders and subscriptions that are old, should have been closed, or require investigation when active, but have been inactive for years.
- Clean up or standardize currency codes for vendors, funds, orders, or invoices that are not standard per the ISO standards for currency.
- Clean up or standardize country codes for patrons or vendors that are not standard per the ISO standards for countries.
- E-resources and package resources
- Establish clear categorization of e-resources and electronic-package and database resources in your source ILS system. For example, organize electronic records by location, library, local field, or otherwise distinguishable manner.
- Mark PDA BIB records clearly so that they can more easily be found in Alma and marked for PDA workflows in Alma and Discovery post-migration.
- Use KB interface names for electronic interfaces to make use of the Community Zone in the best possible manner.
- Categorize vendor provider indications on electronic records. For example, some sites use the 856 $n or other 856 subfields to consistently store the electronic vendor name providing electronic access. This can be optionally used to display end-to-end users for local e-resources.
- Patron, vendor, library contact names
- Establish how name fields are stored (Last name, First Name, or First Name/Last Name) when names are entered in one field in the source ILS system.
- Ensure that all patrons have unique identifiers. Duplicate identifiers are not valid in Alma.
- Naming conventions
- Standardize how country information is entered such USA, U.S.A., United States, etc. for patron, vendor, and library contact information.
- Consider standardizing other fields such as St. or Street, Ave. or Avenue for patron, vendor, and library contact information.
- Library and collection/location names
- Create/ensure unique collection/location names for each library that will be established in Alma and Discovery
- Authority records
- Identify local authority records, if relevant (keeping in mind the Alma CZ will have various national authorities automatically available globally). When relevant, these can be loaded post Go-Live using standard Alma loading tools.
Appendix C – Joining an Ex Libris User Group
- IGeLU – see New Customers Information or send an email
- ELUNA – see Membership Information or send an email