The Alma Course API – An Exercise in Course Integration
Alma Course Loader was inflexible – only runnable once a day, and doesn’t let you recover from errors. So wanted to write their own. Migrated to Alma when SOAP was available; later had to rewrite for REST API. With the advent of Leganto the integration has become of even more importance.
Importance of API quotas and minimising frequency of calls. (Especially as the same API gateway is used by all Alma customers!) Course field mappings also important at the start. Another difficulty was course collapsing and parent-child course relationships (eg different cohorts within one course) which was important at their uni and was the hardest part to figure out. Ended up using course code for normal courses and parent course code for collapsed courses.
Discovered that even when they asked for JSON, error messages would come back as XML and crash their system – so ended up just writing their program to use XML instead of JSON.
Logging is a good debugging tool and audit trail and useful when raising jobs with Ex Libris.
Senior management often doesn’t value library contribution to course management – this is often political and requires a lot of awareness-raising among lecturers etc to get them to talk up the library to project managers.