New workflows and skill sets in Alma #vala14 #s42

Melissa Parent and Lesa Maclean Go with the flow: discovering new workflows and skill sets in Alma

Fully hosted. Not a “library management system” but a “library services platform”. LMSs are built around a catalogue with holdings – description and access for physical resources, not good at dealing with electronic resources. LSP – new info architecture unifying resources management, print and electronic resources and workflows in one place, all systems in one system. [Yebbut I’m still tagging this with LMS though. As described really this just sounds like it’s not a *bad* library management system. I mean, it may do things really really differently it’s still a system that manages library stuff.]

Before Alma had Voyager LMS, SFX link resolver plus central knowledge base, Verde ERMS to do admin work of acquisitions, licenses, trials, relationships between eresources etc. Voyager and SFX tied into Primo discovery layer. Alma (also tied into Primo) unifies resource management – print and eresources together – description, access and management all in one place.

Ebook workflows: under Voyager took 17 steps to get ebooks from ordering to access. Had to edit data in extra steps with MarcEdit; activate in a separate SFX workflow; enter relationships and license associations in Verde. Under Alma it’s 7 steps: data automatically edited with normalisation rules at point of import; ebooks automatically activated in Primo; relationships/license associations automatically created. Idea of automation and human intervention on exceptions only.

Sounds wonderful and is wonderful but complex and powerful and takes time to get used to.

(LMS about managing bib records; Alma about managing actual resource.)

metadata management Institution zone Community zone
populated with eresources that can all share
inventory ebook connected into the institution zone by an “intellectual entity” ebook

By activating something in the Community Zone it pulls it into Primo discovery – but still being managed by Ex Libris, linked to Community Zone intellectual entity. So get a read-only copy of shonky Community Zone record. But can create a local copy of the record and unlink the bad record. Inventory is responsibility of vendor, but associated with our good bibliographic record.

Wonderful but complex for staff. People used to dealing with print-only now dealing with print and electronic. Dealing with both records and inventory, distributed across different layers and different zones. This can lead to confusion about what Alma is and uncertainty about when they see something in Alma is it normal (just new) or is something wrong?

Eg user encountered 7 duplicates on inventory ISBN search but didn’t recognise this as an issue.
Eg user loaded same file twice. Recognised it so went into problem-solving mode and deleted acquisitions info, inventory, bibs – but didn’t recognise that Alma should have just noticed the matches.

Next steps
Innovation requires collective effort – need to get everyone on board. Need more training and orientation. Need to look at the print/electronic division of knowledge – old division of tasks between staff doesn’t work with new technology.

Q: Monash – share your feelings, challenges, ideas. Do you have a feeling of how many records you’re likely to modify from Community Zone and how many to live with?
A: No systematic plan at the moment, just ad hoc. What about at Monash?
Q: Don’t know, probably quite a lot.

Q [me]: Can you feed back modified records to Community Zone for benefit of other libraries?
A: Not yet but Community Zone still in development and working group in place – not sure if they’ll develop in this way though.

Q: Were the changes as big in other teams as for you?
A: Circulation staff had things to sort through.

Q: How does this work with suppliers? Some libraries using suppliers like YBP to activate ebooks. Do you maintain traditional relationships or work on platforms?
A: Never thought of this, discussion hasn’t come up. What’s happening at Adelaide?
Q: Currently go to platform but not sure how it relates to sources like ebrary.

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