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    Standards

    What standards are supported in Alma?

    Ex Libris supports a wide range of industry standards and protocols. We are constantly evaluating and extending our support in this area, based on our customers’ needs. Detailed below the protocols and standards we support:
    • SIP2
    • EDI
    • OAI-PMH
    • COUNTER 4
    • SUSHI
    • NISO Circ (NCIP 2)
    • RDA – as MARC encoded fields
    • MARC 21
    • Dublin Core
    • MARCXML
    • Z39.50
    • ISO2709 is supported in its MARC21/UNIMARC versions
    • RFID – supported as part of our development roadmap
    • KBART – we support the export and import of KBART data
    • ONIX – we support the import of ONIX base license data
    • AACR2 – is supported in its MARC21 version
    • DCRM(B) – it is possible to catalogue all necessary characters for DCRM(B) in Alma

    Does Alma support IP v6?

    IP v6 (the new, extended standard for IP address) is supported in Alma.

    BIBFRAME, Linked Data

    General

    Ex Libris is currently involved in Linked Data projects, including Europeana, the European Digital Library project. Our experience has shown that:
    • On-the-fly linking of triples in distributed data stores is rather slow and does not allow sophisticated discovery. Search engine technology harvesting the metadata is necessary;
    • Most of the current metadata sources do not provide RDF triple. A conversion of metadata is needed; and
    • New problems arise as to how to keep RDF triples up-to-date in the index. This is a matter of scale.
    Alma’s continued development will be informed by Ex Libris’ experiences with these projects. The Alma Community Catalogue will work with library data using an open license; Alma’s metadata management is designed with FRBR in mind.
    Recognizing the importance of up-to-date URIs that are part of BIB records, along with the large number of linking-based services that can be provided through such URIs, Ex Libris will focus on generating lists of URIs for given BIB records. By means of these URIs, numerous services will become available in Primo, third-party discovery interfaces, and citation management systems.
    Links will be created as embedded URIs or will be based on existing IDs that can be processed to generate full URIs. Alma will make as much use as possible of existing data sources and APIs to generate full URIs. Third-party applications and databases for which URIs will be created include:
    • Library of Congress
    • Virtual International Authority File (VIAF®), which links name authority files from national libraries and agencies into a single OCLC-hosted name authority service
    • Integrated Authority File, or GND (from the German Gemeinsame Normdatei), which is managed by the German National Library with other German libraries for the purpose of removing ambiguity in personal names, subject headings, and the names of corporate bodies
    • GeoNames, a geographical database with more than eight million place names
    This list is not exhaustive. In an effort to continually provide new linked-data services based on useful URIs, Ex Libris will enrich additional fields with URIs in accordance with research that the company is conducting.
    Alma is expected to be not only the metadata platform providing the infrastructure for other tools that supply services based on linked data; Alma will also be the platform over which such services are delivered. Thus, Alma will help enrich the user experience and support streamlined and more powerful back-office processes for librarians, who will leverage services based on linked data inside Alma.
    To this end, Alma will include a linked-data services menu on the Repository Search Results screen, indicating that linked-data services are associated with the record. Librarians who use Alma records for any process, be it related to acquisitions, fulfilment, or cataloguing, will be able to access linked-data services for an enhanced experience.
    As BIBFRAME is on the way to becoming a viable bibliographic description data model Alma will evolve its support in stages, as the model matures. LOD support is a necessary building block for this evolution, and Ex Libris have a number of initiatives planned to enhance support for LOD.
    Initial Support for BIBFRAME will deliver:
    • Support for import and export in the BIBFRAME format
    • Crosswalk to one of the supported Native formats
    Ex Libris continues to monitor market interest and adoption of linked-data compliant schemas. Ex Libris as a company has joined the W3C Schema Bib Extend Community Group. This community group brings together diverse library organizations and individuals who are creating proposals for extending schemas to improve the representation of bibliographic information on the internet. The group operates under the umbrella of the schema.org initiative. In addition, we are actively discussing with customers possible use-cases to consider in our future plans to support linked data.

    BIBFRAME

    Ex Libris is closely following emerging standards such as Library of Congress’ BIBFRAME initiative. Alma has been designed with an open and flexible architecture to support open metadata schemas, with the ability to add new schemas in the future utilizing a flexible linking structure.
    Ex Libris believes that customers will benefit from an evolutionary path towards use of Linked Data (LD) and BIBFRAME. This path translates to the incremental addition of features to products such as Alma and Primo. In the past year, Ex Libris has added Linked Data access (URIs) to BIB records in Alma and discovery records (PNX) in Primo.
    Stemming out of a vision of the place and volume that BIBFRAME will take as a major bibliographic description data model, and utilizing Alma’s agnostic design for cataloging methods, Alma has a clear roadmap for implementing BIBFRAME related functionalities that will support better integration with BIBFRAME records, including:
    • Alma will support exporting catalog records in BIBFRAME format, allowing Alma records to be part of BIBFRAME based record workflows outside of Alma. A BIBFRAME option will be added to the existing Title level export job
    • Alma will support the importing of catalog records in BIBFRAME format, allowing BIBRAME formatted records to be easily and seamlessly made part of the Alma catalog, regardless of the cataloging format in which it is managed. Alma will use the MD Import framework with a source format of BIBFRAME.

    Linked Data

    The Alma RESTful API for retrieving catalog records in linked-data format will be enhanced to include even more URIs, such as GeoNames, a geographical database with more than eight million place names.
    In an effort to continually provide new linked-data services based on useful URIs, Ex Libris will enrich additional fields with URIs in accordance with research that the company is conducting.
    Alma has been designed to serve as the metadata platform providing the infrastructure for other tools that supply services based on linked data. In addition, Alma will be the platform over which such services are delivered. Thus, Alma will help enrich the user experience and support streamlined and more powerful back-office processes for librarians, who will leverage services based on linked data inside Alma.
    To this end, Alma will include a linked data services menu on the Repository Search Results screen, indicating that linked-data services are associated with the record. Librarians who use Alma records for any process, be it related to acquisitions, fulfillment, or cataloging, will be able to access linked-data services for a richer and more efficient experience.
    In light of the Ex Libris vision of linked-data services as a major element in the facilitation of cataloging, the Alma Metadata Editor menu will also show linked-data services highlighted in a frame or displayed on a menu. In this way, such services will become a seamless part of an empowered cataloging process.
    Furthermore, among the plans for linked data in Alma is a capability to publish the institution’s catalog incrementally with Primo and other third-party systems. Publishing in this way will enrich the data with URIs as in the Alma RESTful API.
    To implement the use of linked-data sources for cataloging and leverage the existing MARC-based data, the development plans for Alma include workflows enabling catalogers to use well-known linked-data sources while cataloging MARC-based bibliographic records, and embed URIs directly in these records. The records will be available to Primo and third-party systems via the Alma APIs and publishing mechanisms.

    COUNTER and SUSHI

    Does Alma support statistics harvesting for electronic resources compliant with NISO COUNTER-SUSHI Schema?

    Alma facilitates the collection and reporting of usage statistics information supplied by vendors (content providers) in COUNTER 4 format.
    Support for COUNTER 5 as well as SUSHI lite is on the Alma Roadmap.
    Ex Libris is closely following developments in the industry regarding these protocols and will incorporate them into Alma in a timely manner as the industry develops.
    Alma Analytics provides usage statistics reporting capabilities that enable the creation of reports such as usage statistics by journal, database, publisher, platform, and subscriber. The reports enable the library to drill down on data elements included in the report such as year range, titles, etc.
    See here for the full list of reports supported.
    Alma includes cost per use data elements and reports out of the box, and reports can be done on both the level of institution and the Network level.

    ILL Standards

    Does Alma support ILL standards such as ISO 10160: 2015, and ISO 10161-1:2014?

    Alma supports ISO ILL messages for resource sharing. ISO ILL messages are based on the ISO 10160/10161 standards. Supported messages include:
    • Request
    • Shipped
    • Received
    • Returned
    • Checked In
    • Answer Unfill
    • Cancel
    • Cancel Reply
    • Renew
    • Renew Answer
    • General Messages

    Link Resolution Standards

    Does Alma support link resolution standards such as NISO Z39.88-2004?

    Alma includes an embedded OpenURL link resolver which provides patrons with context-sensitive electronic, digital and print services. It supports both the OpenURL 0.1 and OpenURL 1.0 standards. The embedded link resolver is a standard functionality in Alma (no additional subscription fee is required) and is based on the Ex Libris’ experience delivering the SFX link resolver to over 2300 institutions worldwide.
    The following graphic depicts a high level flow of the Alma link resolver:
    To summarize, the Alma link resolver accepts OpenURL requests and analyzes the OpenURL citation content and attempts to enrich it with additional content from different sources; resulting in a comprehensive Context Object that will be the basis for context sensitive service calculation. Based on the metadata available in the Context Object, the Alma link resolver will calculate the relevant services by taking into account the following:
    • Electronic resource availability
    • Coverage information for electronic journals
    • Embargo information for electronic journals
    • Linking thresholds
    OpenURL requests submitted to Alma from any OpenURL-compliant source will present to the patron the available electronic services made available via the OpenURL. These services relate to the electronic resources that were purchased on behalf of the institution. The Alma link resolver offers the available services via a menu that can be customized by the institution, defining the labels of the services and the order which they appear.
    In addition, the institution can define display logic rules among services based on local preferences; for example, if an electronic journal is available from more than one provider, the institution can boost one provider over the other. The institution also can define logic rules among different service types, such as not offering a document delivery service if a full text service exists for the electronic resource. The institution can also configure the link resolver to link directly to the electronic resource, bypassing the electronic service page.
    Services that are offered via the link resolver service page include the following types:
    • Full text
    • Document delivery
    • Resource sharing
    • Request
    • General Electronic Services
    Finally, Alma collects data on the usage of electronic resources via the Alma link resolver. These include OpenURL requests, services offered to the patrons and services which the patron chooses to use. Usage of electronic resources tracked via the link resolver can also be used for reporting using Alma Analytics.

    Support for Exchange Protocols

    Does Alma support data exchange with protocols such as EDIFACT, EDI, SIP2, and NCIP?

    Edit section
    Alma supports electronic data interchange (EDI) using the UN/EDIFACT standard for electronic communications of order and invoice information. This information includes vendor EDI attributes, S/FTP connection information, individual library EDI information, and EAN information per vendor account. These details allow for maximum flexibility when there are multiple libraries within an institution, or when a library has multiple accounts with a vendor (e.g. for multiple formats, material types, approval plans, etc.).
    The NISO Z39.83 Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) plays a major role in two aspects of resource sharing:
    • Integrating third party resource sharing systems with Alma in deployments where Alma is intended to make use of existing third party systems for managing the resource sharing communication, taking on itself the management of the internal library processes on which the resource sharing process relies.
    • Managing a full and independent resource sharing process. Alma’s NCIP capabilities may be implemented also for directly obtaining resource sharing related information, such as holdings availability and patron eligibility for requesting a resource sharing service, as well as orchestrating the process of identifying the most suitable library resource, making it available to the requester and managing the fulfillment lifecycle of the supplied resource.
    The Alma-supported version of NCIP is 2.0. NCIP 1.0 is also supported as part of our INN-Reach integration.
    SIP2.0 is supported for managing self-check actions such as:
    • Self check-out
    • Self check-in
    • Self payment of fines/fees
    All of the SIP2.0 messages that are required for supporting these actions are currently supported in Alma, including:
    • 11,12 – Check –Out
    • 09,10 – Check- In
    • 37,38 – Fee Paid
    • 93,94 – Login
    • 23,24 – Patron Status Request
    • 63,64 – Patron Information

    How does Alma support NCIP?

    The NISO Z39.83 Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) plays a major role in two aspects of resource sharing:
    1. Integrating third party resource sharing systems with Alma in deployments where Alma is intended to make use of existing third party systems for managing the resource sharing communication, taking on itself the management of the internal library processes on which the resource sharing process relies, such as:
      • Identifying the most suitable library resource for fulfilling a request
      • Making the requested resource available for the requester
      • Checking out/in a resource that is loaned as part of a resource sharing process
    In this model, NCIP is the key building stone by which the Alma integration with the resource sharing system is achieved.
    1. Managing a full and independent resource sharing process. Alma’s NCIP capabilities may be implemented also for directly obtaining resource sharing related information, such as holdings availability and patron eligibility for requesting a resource sharing service, as well as orchestrating the process of identifying the most suitable library resource, making it available to the requester and managing the fulfillment lifecycle of the supplied resource.
    NCIP support is an attribute of Alma’s resource sharing Integration Profiles. As each integration profile may be specifically tailored to the specific integration it is intended to facilitate, the NCIP message support may be specifically profiled per the use of the specific integration it is part of.
    The Alma-supported version of NCIP is 2.0.

     

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