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    Working with Electronic Resources - Overview


    This section describes the concepts and all the elements involved in working with electronic resources and provides links to sections of the online help where each element is discussed in detail.

    Roles and Data Model


    To manage electronic resources in Alma, you must have one of the following roles:

    • Electronic Inventory Operator OR Repository Manager – required to activate e-resources
    • Electronic Inventory Operator Extended (required for delete operations)
    • CDI Inventory Operator – required to work with the Central Discovery Index (CDI).

    Data Model 

    Electronic resources are organized in Alma in a three-tiered hierarchy:

    • Electronic Collection – A collection of electronic resources that is either a package of electronic portfolios (i.e. aggregator package or selective package) or a database (which does not include portfolios or full text service and whose resources cannot be individually managed through an interface).
    • Electronic Services – Several types of access to the e-resource, for example, full-text or selected full-text and connection/linking information. For example, a 'Full Text Service' provides the user with access to the full text of the e-resource.
    • Electronic Portfolios – Serial or monograph titles that can be standalone entities or be part of an electronic collection. Electronic portfolios maintain the specific coverage (local or global), services, and link information relevant for a particular electronic title. Electronic portfolios can be of material types e-journal, e-book, or streaming video, among others.

    data model electronic resources.png

    For information on the e-resources data model, watch Electronic Resources in Alma - Terminology and Inventory Model (4:45)

    Community Zone Overview

    The Alma Community Zone is Alma's central community catalog, shared for all Alma users. Institutions have easy access to the records that they want to bring into their local catalogs.

    For information on the Community Zone, the Institution Zone, and the Network Zone, watch Electronic Resources in Alma - The Three Zones (6:17)

    Community Zone Components

    • Community Catalog

    Bibliographic records describing electronic resources, MARC records from publishers/partners, loaded by Ex Libris. The catalog allows libraries to work directly in a collaborative metadata management environment. Institutions can attach holdings directly to a community record, copy community records to the local catalog, or edit and update community records. They can also contribute their local collections add portfolios of certain types to the Community Catalog.

    • Central Knowledge base (Electronic inventory)

    Electronic Collections of electronic resources offered by vendors, with linking information and individual titles in the Electronic Collections

    • Global Authorities

    Authority files of many different vocabularies, such as LC names and subjects, MESH, and GND from Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. The authorities are synchronized against the relevant authorizing agency, enabling individual institutions to have access to the benefits of authority control without having to invest their local resources in synchronizing the authority files themselves.

    Activating Electronic Inventory from the Community Zone

    The process of managing electronic inventory via the Community Zone starts by activating an aggregator or selective electronic collection from the Community Zone. This triggers the creation of the following entities within the Institution Zone:

    • The creation of a local (meaning, within the institution) copy of the inventory record, with a link to the Community Zone.
    • The creation of a local copy of the bibliographic record, linked to the Community Zone

    Starting from this point on, whenever a change is made to the inventory or the bibliographic record in the Community Zone, this change is also automatically reflected in the Institution.

    This has the following advantages:

    • It saves valuable time for the librarians
    • It ensures that data is always up to date

    See Activating Electronic Resources from the Community Zone.

    In addition, you can activate specific electronic portfolios (and not entire collections). This creates a local copy of the portfolio. See Using Portfolio Loader to activate Community Zone Electronic Resources.

    Community Zone Updates Task List

    Electronic collections and portfolios are added and updated weekly in the Alma Community Knowledge Base (CKB) and are subsequently available for activation from the Community Zone.

    Every Sunday weekly updates are loaded to the Knowledge Base. Each institution that activated Electronic Collections in the KB automatically gets the update notifications via The Community Zone Updates Task List. The Community Zone Task List allows institutions to view the changes and take further action.

    For details, see Working with the Community Zone Updates Task List.

    Automatic Upload of Electronic Holdings to Alma

    You can update electronic holdings for journals and books from a number of providers by automatically retrieving the institution-specific holdings. You can do that on a schedule convenient to you by using a scheduled job.

    For details, see Automatic Upload of Electronic Holdings.

    Bibliographic Records and URLs of Electronic Collection Added to the Community Zone

    Bibliographic records for electronic collections and URLs are available in the Community Zone. These bibliographic records and URLs are updated in the Community Zone as part of the CKB update process on a weekly basis.

    You can expose these bibliographic records and URLs to patrons and provide access to them via the discovery system.

    See Working with Bibliographic Records and URLs of Electronic Collections Added to the Community Zone.

    Institution Zone Overview

    The Institution Zone is the basic level of data and workflow management in Alma, in which records are managed by the institution. An institution can link its inventory records to the metadata records in the Community Zone or the Network Zone, either of which eliminates the need to download these records to the local catalog. In addition, an institution can copy catalog (or download) records from shared catalogs (Community or Network) into the local Institution Zone catalog.

    The Institution Zone (local catalog) contains local bibliographic records that were created, copied or imported locally by the institution. The inventory is linked to the MMS (Metadata Management System) record.

    The publishing process (for example, to Primo) provides a means for the end-user to access the inventory.

    The Institution Zone inventory contains all material that was locally acquired and managed by the institution and made available to patrons:

    • Physical – holdings and items
    • Electronic - Electronic collections and portfolios
    • Digital - Representations and files

    The resources may link to the Institution Zone Catalog or to the Community Zone Catalog.

    CZ and IZ comparison.png

    Managing Electronic Resources

    • Electronic collection management includes adding, modifying and deleting electronic collections, and linking local e-collection to the Community Zone, and modifying electronic services.
    • Electronic portfolio management includes adding, modifying and deleting standalone portfolios, portfolios that are part of an electronic collection, or a set of standalone portfolios to/from an electronic collection, moving portfolios between collections, using Portfolio Loader to modify portfolio information in bulk, and performing global changes on portfolios, associating a license to a portfolio. 

    For details, see Managing Electronic Resources.

    Contributing Local Resources to the Community Zone

    Any institution can:

    • Update Community Zone bibliographic records
    • Add portfolios into Community Zone collections of types Free E-Journals, Miscellaneous E-Journals, Miscellaneous Free E-Books, and U.S. Government Documents
    • Contribute collections to Community Zone

    Your Alma must be in Production to participate.

    For details, see Contribution of Local Resources.

    Electronic Resource Activation Task List

    After an electronic resource has been added to the inventory, the library might want to complete other tasks prior to making the resource visible to patrons. For example, the library may want to test the access to the e-resource to confirm that the access is working properly.

    In Alma, these tasks are handled through the options provided by the Electronic Resource Activation Task List. Resources that were ordered from Community Zone are automatically added to the Electronic Resource Activation Task List. 

    For details, see Activating Electronic Resources and Activation Task List.

    Link Resolver

    The Alma Link Resolver (aka Service Page URL) is a component of Alma that enables linking to electronic resources from any OpenURL compliant source (EBSCO, ProQuest, Pubmed etc.). The Alma Link Resolver ensures that library patrons get the right links to library-owned electronic content.

    See Link Resolver.

    Central Discovery Index (CDI)

    The Central Discovery Index (CDI) enables you to manage your electronic collections for discovery in Alma.

    For a full discussion of CDI and its benefits, see The Ex Libris Central Discovery Index (CDI) - An Overview.

    Sharing Electronic Resources with 3rd Party Systems

    Alma supports the ability to export to third-party systems bibliographic, inventory, and authority records in their core formats, including MARC 21 XML or binary and Dublin Core XML. You can determine which records to export, on what schedule to export them, and what additional services to run at export:

    • Incrementally published data through files or OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).
    • Optionally enriching the data with non-bibliographic record data (such as inventory-related data).
    • Normalization (reformatting) of the published data.
    • Notification about inventory deletion.

    See Publishing Profiles.

    Managing Your Electronic Resources by Provider

    Alma allows you to easily view your subscriptions with providers and their availability status in Alma. This helps you ensure that the resources acquired from the provider are activated in the institution, and prevent situations where the institution has access to specific electronic collections but did not activate them, helping you finally close the gap between what was acquired and what is actually activated.

    For details, see My Electronic Resources by Provider.

    Overlap and Collection Analysis 

    Alma provides the capability to perform overlap analysis for electronic resources. When making acquisitions decisions, this enables you to compare the content of electronic collections to determine where there may be a subscription overlap. If collection/titles are included in other different collections, then perhaps they/it can be cancelled or not renewed, thus eliminating unnecessary expenses.

    For details, see Working with Overlap and Collection Analysis.

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