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    Alma Starter Migration and Implementation Guide

    Welcome to the Alma Starter migration process.  This guide will walk you through the steps needed to successfully migrate data from previous systems into Alma Starter.
    Alma Starter is a derivative of the Alma library services platform and helps libraries modernize their e-resource management approach, working along side your existing ILS. Alma Starter focuses on e-resource management to maximize staff efficiency and improve the patron experience.

    Related Documentation

    • Alma Starter Training Program - Essential training for all new users of Alma Starter.
    • Alma Starter Implementation form - a form which combines configuration and migration elements related to Alma Starter.

    Migration Process Overview

    Since the incoming data for Alma Starter is by definition very small, there is only one load.  Once the data is loaded, final configuration is completed, and the customer can go live on Alma Starter.

    Incoming Data

    Alma Starter customers may provide their existing electronic resources for migration to Alma.  For each data source indicate the file names and sizes on the Delivered Files tab of the implementation form.

    Electronic Resources linked to the CZ

    The Alma Content team maintains a Central Knowledge Base of electronic resources commonly known as the Community Zone (CZ).   There are three methods of migration which will link your electronic resources to the Community Zone.   These include: 

    • SFX - Since SFX and Alma are based on the same Knowledge Base, migrating from SFX is usually 1 to 1. See the SFX to Alma Migration Guide for more information.
    • 360Link - Ex Libris provides a map from the 360 KB to the Alma KB/CZ.  See the 360 to Alma Migration Guide for more information.
    • E-Resource Activation Form - for all other electronic resources, use the E-Resource Activation Form to manually identify packages for activation.  See the E-Resource Activation Guide.

    Electronic Resources not linked to the CZ (local)

    If you have local electronic resources, you may provide them in a file of bibliographic records.  These can be MARC or Unimarc.

    Each bibliographic record should contain: 

    • an http link to the resource (mandatory) - specify the location of this link using the P2E_LINK question
    • electronic provider  (optional) - specify the location of the provider string using the P2E_PROVIDER question
    • a public note about the resource (optional) - specify the location of the note string using the P2E_NOTE question

    Additionally, you may indicate if the local electronic resource for each bib is a portfolio or a database. For this, provide a textual input file with the relevant BIB numbers, one bib record per line, and an indication if the generated resource should be portfolio or database.




    The input file is provided along with all of the other input files for the migration process. 

    P2E Input File: Portfolio or Database

    In the input file where you provide a list of bib records for transforming a physical resource to electronic, you must also specify if the newly-generated resource should be a Portfolio or Database. During the P2E process, all resources must either be categorized as a portfolio or a database (DB).  It is not possible to generate packages during P2E processing, since packages require at least one portfolio.   A database is essentially a zero-title package.  Post migration, when you add portfolios to the db, you can change them to type 'package'.

    Remember that all of the resources generated from P2E are migrated as local, meaning they are not linked to the CZ/Knowledge Base entry for the resource.  If you want the resource to be linked to the CZ, then you must either do it manually after go-live, or don't migrate the resource via P2E and migrate it from your link resolver instead.  For more information on making a decision about where to migrate a resource from (P2E or link resolver), see Electronic Resource Migration General

    Portfolio: an individual title/resource.  In Alma, portfolios can be standalone or part of a package.  In P2E, portfolios may only be migrated as standalone with no relationship to any package.   If portfolios in your ILS are actually part of a package, it is recommend to start managing the portfolio as part of a package in Alma.  As mentioned above, it is not possible to create packages with P2E, but you can change a database to a package quite quickly, and then you can associate the standalone portfolios that were created as a result of the p2e process with the package (local e-collection) in Alma. The advantages of managing resources at the package level are that any information about the package that changes will affect all resources, such as license and access information. You need only manage this information once at the package level instead of multiple times at the portfolio level. 

    Database: Databases are a type of “Electronic Collection,” but don't have portfolios, and are available to be published as soon as they are defined by a URL and an associated unsuppressed bibliographic record.

    When a resource is generated in P2E, no service is created.

    Alma Starter Implementation Form

    There are various configuration and migration questions that customers answer in an external form, which is then loaded into Alma Starter.  

    Questionnaire Tab

    Institution Code, Customer Code, Institution Name, Customer Name, Time Zone 

    Codes: INST_CODE, CUST_CODE – these are filled in by Ex Libris

    INST_NAME and CUST_NAME: fill these fields in with your institution’s name and your customer name (this is only different from the institution name if you are part of a consortium). These are mandatory and must be filled in.

    Default: N/A

    Time Zone: Select your time zone from the drop-down list. If your time zone is not listed, contact your Ex Libris project manager.

    MARC Organizational Code 

    Code: MARC_OC

    Default: None; this is not mandatory

    Options: Enter your MARC Organizational code, which will be used to construct the former system number in Alma. Only one code is allowed.

    Further Information: The migration moves the value in the exported record’s former system number field (bibliographic system number) to the 035 $a field:

    (MOC)<bibliographic record id>-<customer code>

    <(moc)> is the MARC Organization code specified here. <customer code> is the customer code specified in the CUSTOMER_CODE question above.

    For example: (AbC)u12345-01abc_inst

    Usually the former system number can be in the 001 field of the bibliographic record. Customers should specify where the former system number is in the Bibs & P2E tab of the Generic Field Mapping form.

    Move 001/003 to 035 or 935

    Code: 001_035_935

    Default: 035

    Options: If your incoming bibliographic records have a number in the 001, then the migration programs move it elsewhere as (<003>)<001>.  For example: (OCoLC)12345.  To move to the 035, which is the default, then select 035 in the dropdown. If you are part of a consortium and are using OCLC numbers to determine matching records when linking to the NZ, you may wish to move this number to the 935 so that the moved number does not interfere with another matching key you may be using.  If you are not linking to the NZ, then this question is likely not useful.  Default: 035

    Ex Libris marks the moved 035 or 935 with $9 ExL to indicate that the migration programs generated this field.

    Further information: If an 035 exists in the record already with the identifier that was in the 001, then a second (duplicate) tag is NOT made.  Also, when checking if the identifier already exists, the migration programs compare to the $a only.  Meaning, if an existing tag contains

    001 12345

    003 OCoLC

    035 $a(OCoLC)12345 $z (OCoLC)54321

    then the existing 035 $a is considered a duplicate and a second tag is not created. 

    Add institution suffix to Bib ID 


    Default: No

    Options: When moving the legacy bibliographic identifier to the 035 or 935, you can choose to add the institution code to the end of the string, like 12345-34ABC where 12345 is the legacy bib ID and 34ABC is the institution code.  This may be used in conjunction with other bib identifier options, such as BIB_KEY_PREFIX and MARC_OC.

    Yes = include suffix

    No = do not include suffix

    Add $9 LOCAL to specified tags


    Default: empty

    Options: Add $9 LOCAL to specified bib tags, for use in consortia where an IZ environment links to an NZ. Tags marked as Local will be kept in the IZ, and not moved to the NZ.  

    Format for this input: tag + indicator.  Use # for any/wildcard, and b for the space character. Separate with semicolon.   For a list of acceptable fields, see the Guide for Consortia.

    Example: 59###; 69###;960##;970##;090b#

    If you include 9#### here, only 950-999 will be included, as described in the Migration Considerations for Consortia guide.


    Ex Libris does not migrate Acquisitions information for Alma Starter implementations. 

    However, if you wish to use any acquisitions functionality, there is still some acquisitions related information that the migration programs need to know in order to set up an empty acquisitions environment in Alma. These questions are listed under “Customer Input for Empty Acquisitions Environment” below.

    Default currency for Ledgers and Funds


    Default: USD

    Options: List the currency used for all of your funds. Orders can have other currencies and be translated to the default currency, but funds must have a single base currency.

    The currency should be a three-letter code, as listed in the dropdown.

    Fiscal Period Cycle Pattern


    Default: 01-07-1 (fiscal period starts on July 1 (01-07) and lasts for one year (-1).

    Options: To have functioning ledgers, fiscal periods are required. Specify your fiscal period as DD-MM-C (Day-Month-Cycle). For example, a one year fiscal period starting on January 1 is indicated by: 01-01-1. A one year fiscal period starting on July 1 is indicated by: 01-07-1.

    Alma currently supports one-year fiscal period cycles.

    Which year do you use to name the fiscal year?


    Default: second

    Options: Specify if the fiscal period is named with the first year or the second year.

    • second – if fiscal period runs July 1 2014 through June 30 2015, then the fiscal year is named 2015.
    • first – if fiscal period runs July 1 2014 through June 30 2015, then the fiscal year is named 2014.

    If your fiscal period runs from January 1 through December 31, this question is not necessary.

    Current Fiscal Year


    Default: determine by date of conversion

    Options: This question is important around the beginning/end of the fiscal period. If you do not know how to answer this, select determine by date of conversion. The options are:

    • Determine by date of conversion – The conversion program uses the fiscal period that includes the date of conversion.
    • Select a year from the dropdown box.

    For example if the date of conversion is June 15, 2017, and your fiscal year ends on June 30, 2017, then selecting ‘determine by date of conversion’ will place the active fiscal year as 2016-2017. If you wish to start fresh on July 1 with the new fiscal year, then select the year from the drop-down that corresponds to the 2017-2018 fiscal period.


    Local Electronic Resources (P2E) 

    Answer the following questions.  For each of the following three questions (P2E_LINK, P2E_NOTE, and P2E_PROVIDER), you can use indicators in the following manner:

    • Specific indicators: 85641u – only tags with 41 as the indicator is used.
    • No indicator (# is used for a blank character, for example: 8564#u) – only tags with 4<blank> as an indicator are used.
    • All possible indicators: 8564*u – tags with 4 as the first indicator are used. The second indicator is not taken into account.

      The space character operates the same way as an asterisk (*), for example: 8564 u is the same as 8564*u.

    • Special Request: If you need to specify multiple specific indicators, for example 85641 and 85642, it cannot be coded in the migration form but your ExL representative can make a special request to the migration team.

    For more information on P2E, see the section above under Incoming Data.

    Which Holding or Bib field stores electronic link information

    Code: P2E_LINK

    Options: Provide a Marc field code + subfield: 856u. Only one field/subfield is allowed.

    Recommendation: 856 u

    Default: If this is left empty, no tag is used.

    Which Holding or Bib field stores electronic link public note

    Code: P2E_NOTE

    Options: Provide a Marc field code + subfield: 856z. Only one field/subfield is allowed.

    Recommendation: 856 z

    Default: If this is left empty, no tag is used.

    Which Holding or Bib field stores electronic provider name information

    Code: P2E_PROVIDER

    Options: Provide a Marc field code + subfield: 856m. Only one field/subfield is allowed.

    Recommendation: 856 m

    Default: If this is left empty, no tag is used.

    For the questions on the Questionnaire tab, only one field/subfield is allowed per question.

    Delivered Files Tab

    Specify which data elements you are providing for the migration to Alma Starter.    The available data types are described in the Incoming Data section above.

    For each data type, list the file name, file date, file size, and number of records.  Additionally, list the encoding. Most files are Latin-1 but may be in UTF-8. 

    MARC files are expected in MARC binary, but can be provided in MARCXML if desired.  The encoding must be either UTF-8 or Ansel. 

    Libraries Tab

    This section describes the fields available in the Libraries tab. Each Alma institution includes  one or more libraries. Your libraries in Alma were created during the migration of data from your legacy ILS. In this tab, enter information about these libraries.

    Campus Definitions

    Configuration of campuses in Alma is not mandatory. Campuses can be used to control access to electronic resources:  see, for example, Configuring Inventory Network Groups (for Multi-Campus Environments) in the Alma Online Help). Campuses may be associated with libraries and/or patrons. Even if your institution has only one physical campus, you may find it useful to configure a campus (for example, to represent an IP range which encompasses more than the IP addresses of the individual libraries on the campus, or to provide off-campus patrons with access to electronic resources).

    You can insert additional rows in this table, as necessary.  In the Name column, enter the name of your campus as you want it to be displayed in Alma. Enter a code in the Code field for each campus you want to create in Alma. In the IP Match Criteria column, enter a valid and specific IP address (wildcards are not supported). If a campus uses more than one IP address, you may enter an IP range consisting of two valid and specific IP addresses, separated by a hyphen. You may also enter multiple IP addresses and ranges by separating each with a comma. There should be no spaces between IP numbers, only a comma or a hyphen. Alma can use your campus IP addresses to enhance the display of your patrons’ search results in Primo (for example, by ordering holdings locations according to their proximity to the patron) and help you manage access to electronic resources 
    (for example, by restricting access to users outside a specified IP address). Providing IP information of your campuses is not mandatory

    Library Information

    The library code and name are pre-populated from your migration form. The library code should be pre-populated from your migration form and should not be modified; however, you can change the name of the library as it will appear in Alma and Discovery in the Name of physical Libraries field. To associate the library with a campus, select the campus code from the drop-down list in the Campus column. Values in this list are taken from the Campus table above. Address and contact information are not mandatory. Addresses are used in Alma, for example, as the shipping or billing address when creating an order for that library, and appear in patron facing notifications such as hold shelf notifications and 
    overdue notices.

    In the IP Match Criteria column, enter a valid and specific IP address (wildcards are not supported). If a library uses more than one IP address, you can enter an IP range consisting of two valid and specific IP addresses, separated by a hyphen. You may also enter multiple IP addresses and ranges by separating each with a comma. Alma can use your library IP addresses to enhance the display of your patrons’ search results in Primo (for example, by ordering holdings locations according to their proximity to the patron) and help you manage access to electronic resources (for example, by restricting access to users outside a specified IP address). Providing the IP information of your libraries is not mandatory.

    Currencies Tab

    Enter the currencies that you want available in Alma. This is the list of currencies that are displayed, for example, when creating a new fund, vendor or PO line. From the Default column, select True for the currency that you want to set as the default.

    The currency code column must contain codes which comply with the ISO-4217 three-character standard. The list of supported currencies is in the dropdown for this field.

    You can only select one currency as the default. This will be your local or base currency in Alma. This base currency is automatically assigned to any monetary value in the form, for 
    example, overdue fines. However, in acquisitions-related usage (funds, vendors, and PO lines), you may override the default with one of the other currencies that you select here.

    Resource Management Tab

    Local 9XX fields

    List any local 9XX fields for which you want a dedicated search index displayed in Alma in the 9XX Field Tag column, and list the display name in the adjacent Index Name column. Each local field is indexed in its own index. All subfields of the local field are indexed together. You may insert additional rows in this table, if required.

    Active Metadata Registry

    Alma supports the following MARC bibliographic formats: MARC21, UNIMARC, and KORMARC.

    Registry Name – not configurable
    Activated – activate the selected registry. You can activate MARC21, UNIMARC or KORMARC. The default is activated (Y).
    Preferred – mark the preferred registry (which is then set as the default value) when processing bibliographic records in Alma or exporting them. Note that only one registry can be marked as preferred.

    ▪ Activating more than one metadata registry allows you to create bibliographic records in that registry type in Alma. 
    ▪ The registry selected as the preferred registry is set as the default source format to indicate the match when importing bibliographic records into Alma.
    ▪ The registry selected as the preferred registry is set as the default in the Alma publishing platform. However, it is also possible to select one of the activated registries.

    General Parameters Tab

    The following general parameters are used to set up Alma for first use.


    Default value: False

    About this parameter: This parameter is relevant only for customers who are part of a collaborative network. This parameter allows you to display in your discovery system e-resources from the Network Zone that are accessible to the patrons of your institution.

    Implications: Setting this parameter to True causes Network Zone e-resources that are accessible to your institution to appear in the relevant discovery system search results.


    Default value: n/a

    About this parameter: Select your time zone from the drop-down list. The time zone parameter determines the offset from GMT that is displayed in your interface on every page in which a time is displayed (for example, loan check-out and due times). 

    Implications: Alma assumes that all times (for example, library opening hours) are relative to the time zone parameter. It is important to select the correct time zone parameter for the location of your institution to ensure, for example, that loan and due times reflect the correct local time.


    Default value: 01

    About this parameter: Alma provides the ability to customize the definition of a brief record. Ten levels of brief records can be defined from 01 through 10 where 01 represents the most brief record and 10 represents a full record.

    Implications: Selecting 06 brief level, for example, means that all records with the same or lower brief level will be considered “brief”. When the required brief level is selected, the brief level rules should be created in Alma in the Metadata Editor. For more information about brief level definitions, see the online help topic: Working with 
    Brief Record Levels.


    Default value: LCNAMES

    About this parameter: Ex Libris provides customers with global authority files for use in Alma. Authority names are updated and maintained regularly by Ex Libris in the Community Zone (CZ). Currently, the following global authority files are available:
    ▪ LCNAMES (default)
    ▪ GND
    ▪ BARE
    ▪ FRBNF
    ▪ CSICAU
    ▪ LACNAF
    ▪ NLI
    ▪ EMBNE
    ▪ RAMEAU
    ▪ RVK

    Selecting one of the authority name vocabularies defines the global name authorities you use in Alma.

    Implications: The selection of a global authority file does not preclude the use of local authorities. The value you select for this parameter determines the default global name 
    authority vocabulary you use in Alma.


    Default value: global 

    About this parameter: Alma supports the use of local authorities. If you intend to use local authorities in Alma, enter local in this field. 

    Implications: Ex Libris maintains global authority files (for example, LC Names, LC Subjects, and MeSH). Headings in these files are available for you to use in Alma. Setting this parameter to local allows you to use your own local authority headings in addition to the global authorities, which continue to be available.


    Default value: FALSE

    About this parameter: This parameter allows you to control the cataloger level hierarchy, – which catalogers can edit and update records that have been edited and updated by other users.

    Implications: In order to activate this functionality, it is necessary to select TRUE. Define the permissions hierarchy in the Cataloger Permission Level table, which is available from the Alma Main menu (Resource Management > Resource Configuration > Configuration Menu > Cataloging > Cataloger Permission Level) and define the cataloger permission level in the user record. For more information, see the online help topic Cataloging Privileges.


    This parameter controls how certain characters with accents are normalized when a record (bib or authority) is saved in Alma. Characters in a decomposed form are normalized to the equivalent precomposed form. Default Is True


    Default value: $$

    About this parameter: Select the delimiting character to use to define the separation between subfields (either $$ or ‡). This is the character that is displayed in the Metadata Editor to indicate a subfield. 

    Implications: This parameter is only for display purposes in the Metadata Editor. There are no functional implications.


    Default value: n/a

    About this parameter: Select your system date format from the values in the dropdown, either MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY, depending on your local convention.

    Implications: The value selected for this parameter determines the format in which dates are displayed in any screen Alma. Beyond the screen display, this parameter has no functional implication.

    Enable SRU Target Functionality

    Default value: True

    About this parameter: Alma enables you to open your institution to SRU/SRW (search retrieval via URL/Web service, an XML based protocol) searches for the purpose of integration with external systems that want to search the Alma repository. To activate this capability, each institution must define and activate its own SRU Server integration profile and also indicate whether to return availability information in the response to SRU queries. Select 'True' to become an SRU target.

    Implications: When doing an external search using SRU (Search/Retrieve via URL) and retrieving 10,000 or more records, Alma responds with an error message when it retrieves the next bulk of records exceeding the 10,000 limit. SRU integration is intended for integrating Alma search with other automated systems for the purposes of interlibrary loan, copy 
    cataloging, or selection. Using SRU integration for other workflows, such as performing bulk exports of records, is not supported.


    Default value: 1

    About this parameter: After the time specified (in hours), you can unlock a bibliographic record currently locked by another user. Enter a whole number up to 9999 (not including 0). The unit of measurement is hours.

    Implications: If a bibliographic record is currently locked by a user, it will remain locked. If the timeout period defined by this parameter passes with no additional activity to the bibliographic record, the bibliographic record can be unlocked by another user.

    Benchmark Analytics

    Default value: True

    About this parameter: Benchmark Analytics allows you to create analytics reports comparing the performance of your institution to similar institutions. 

    Implications: When set to true, Alma collects the anonymized data from your institution.


    Default value: True

    About this parameter: Allows you to see usage of Alma Analytics in the institution This is reflected in the Analytics Usage Tracking subject area.

    Implications: When set to true, Alma collects usage of Alma Analytics in the institution.

    Licensing Tab

    If your institution does not intend to begin using Alma to manage licenses for electronic resources immediately, you do not need to fill out this worksheet.

    License Sections Order

    Define the order in which sections of the License will appear in the UI by selecting a number for each term.  There are six possible sections: Terms of Use, Restrictions, Perpetual Rights, Obligations, Termination Obligations, Authorized User.

    License Terms

    For each License section, select the license terms for that section. From the Section column, select a section. From the Term column, select the terms for that section one line for each term from the predefined drop-down listand list the terms in the order in which you want them to be displayed in the license. You may use a given term only once. All the predefined license terms are available out-of-the-box in your Alma and cannot be changed. If a new term is required, enter it manually starting from the first blank row at the end of the table. New terms may also be manually added and removed directly in Alma. In the Display to Public column, indicate if the license sections will be displayed to the public or 
    not. Change the Enable Display of License Information customer parameter to TRUE for the Display to Public configuration to be effective. The parameter is accessible during 
    implementation via Fulfillment Configuration Menu > Discovery Interface Display Logic > Other Settings.

    Note that if no section is selected for a license term, the Display to Public value can not be applied. Select a required section in order for the term to be displayed or not in the license.

    Vendors Tab

    Customers may load vendor information via this tab.  Vendors are associated with a vendor interface (sometimes known as a platform), which is a framework in which the vendor supplies electronic collections and resources to the institution.  The vendor interface is how electronic resources are delivered.  The Alma Knowledge Base team maintains information surrounding the vendor interfaces associated with Community Zone electronic resources.  When ordering an electronic resource, you can associate the PO line to the vendor interface using the Access provider field.

    After your electronic resource source files have been delivered to the project team, the Alma Migration team can process them and provide a list of vendor interfaces that are associated with your list of electronic resources.  Then, you can create your list of vendors and have them automatically associated with the vendor interfaces which are in use with your electronic resources. 

    Therefore, wait until you receive a list of vendor interfaces from the Ex Libris project team before you begin filling out this tab.

    You may add more vendors in addition to the vendors associated with the vendor interfaces.  You may associate them with an existing vendor interface (see list here), or you may generate a new vendor interface.

    After you fill out the information in the vendor tab, return it to your Ex libris project team, and the migration analyst will load the vendors from the sheet to Alma.

    Further information on the fields in the vendor is listed below.


    Field Name Notes
    Vendor Code

    The vendor code is limited to 10 characters, and must contain only alphanumeric characters.  

    Vendor Name The display name of the vendor.
    Vendor Interface The platform that a provider uses to supply electronic resources.  See the general description above for more information on how to use this column.
    Vendor Contact Email Contact email address
    Vendor Address Line 1 First line of address
    Vendor Address Line 2 Second line of address
    Vendor Address City City
    Vendor Address State/Province State or province
    Vendor Address Postal Code Postal Code
    Vendor Address Country Country
    Vendor Phone Phone
    Currencies Include three-character currency codes, as defined on the Currency tab.   You may list currencies by listing the codes, separated by semicolon (;).  Alternately, you may indicate all currencies on the currency tab by typing 'ALL' here.
    Language Indicate the language of communication for this vendor, as a two-character code, listed in set 1 here:
    Material Supplier Y/N - Supplies the material or the subscription to the material. A material supplier receives orders and payment for resources in all formats. 
    Access Provider Y/N - Holds the access privileges to vendor interfaces, which are collections of electronic collections (which are, in turn, collections of e-resources). 
    Licensor Y/N - Holds the license of electronic resources. A licensor must be defined when defining a license on the Licenses and Amendments page; see Managing Licenses and Amendments.


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