Tag Archives: alma

Central Discovery Index #anzreg2019

Central Discovery Index Working Group
Erin Montagu on behalf of Sonja Dunning, University of Western Australia

CDI is to replace both PCI and Summon Index. Hundreds of millions of records. Will be integrated into Alma so activation workflows simplified, faster update cycles, merged records and new search algorithm. UWA library hopes to gain enhanced discovery and operational efficiencies – hoped joining working group would let them influence development and avoid pitfalls.

Moving from one system to another not always one-to-one. Testing to make sure CDI activations covered all Alma activations to start with; later to make sure search/discovery works as expected. Findings:

  • local collections weren’t mapped – may have to change how these are set up in Alma
  • duplicate collections – Ex Libris is investigating
  • some collections not in CDI – hopefully addressed by final rollout
  • inaccurate result counts – hopefully addressed by final rollout

More testing in progress re search/ranking/full-text rights/record display. Then analysis and development of maintenance guidelines.


  • A new facet for CDI search activation; CDI info displaying on collection record.
  • Can “(De)Activate for Search in CDI” in electronic collection view – much easier, but lots of information eg about what the collection contains won’t be migrated which will make troubleshooting harder. (Have provided this feedback but haven’t heard a response.)
  • Can search on CDI fulltext rights, linking etc.
  • CDI tab added to collection record with activation status.
  • In Primo, “multiple sources exist” becomes a merged record.
  • More records in search results due to “improved” search algorithm – don’t know how this works
  • More resource types (including data_sets) (more info on Knowledge Centre: “Resource types in CDI“)
  • More features to be added

Individual switchover Mar-Jun 2020, general switchover (of all remaining customers) July.

For more info from working group: cdi_info@exlibrisgroup.com

A briefing from Ex Libris #anzreg2019

A briefing from Ex Libris on new initiatives and topics
Melanie Fitter, Professional Services Director APAC region, Ex Libris

Alma UI – looking at painpoints, have various systemwide tools in progress. Feedback messages have been released. Working on improving menus, choosing multiple facets, improving configuration of mapping and code tables. Working on accessibility.

Metadata Editor – has always been a source of complaint, so working on navigation, accessibility of tools, more easily working between different areas, add records to an editing queue from search. Some features will start trickling through starting from the end of the year. Old will be gone around mid-2020.

Known Issues Operator role gives access to known issues list which shows high-priority issues/bugs with a fix date (quarter or the specific monthly release) associated with them. So can search there then either be reassured or create your own case.

CDI – lots of benefits with latest hardware architecture, faster update cycle, single-activation, merged records instead of grouped records. About 92% permalinks will work after the move… In Alma there’ll be a new CDI tab on collection records. Rollout – Alma/PrimoVE moving Q4 2019 – Q2 2020, while Primo/SFX moving Q1 2020 – Q4 2020

COUNTER 5 – hopefully testing done by end of year and launched to everyone by Jan 2020. Both COUNTER 4 and 5 running in parallel until 4 phased out ‘eventually’. In the vendor record > Usage data tab can add a SUSHI account and choose whether it’s 4 or 5.

Provider Zone content loading – currently vendors provide Ex Libris data, and ExL does normalisation etc etc then it’s loaded – this causes a bottleneck. So providing a place where vendors can upload their own content. Based on their APIs, letting vendors load content straight into collections/portfolios/MARC straight from their own data.  This should be seamless from library’s point of view – on the collection we’ll just see eg “Managed by IEEE Xplore”. 5 intro partners: Proquest, IEEE, Sage, Alexander Street Press, Taylor and Francis – in production at start of 2020.

Resource Sharing – looking at creating a new next-gen system. Focus on patron value, library efficiency, shared holding index; also including search for libraries nearby. Estimate of due time. General release end 2020 and at end 2021 ability to add non-Alma institutions as lenders/borrowers.

DARA – plan to add recommendations for high demand item purchase, cataloguing (eg duplicates), more e-collection portfolio.

Next Gen analytics – moving towards data visualisation using OBI 12.

A national library perspective on Alma #anzreg2019

A national library perspective on Alma
Sandra McKenzie, National Library of New Zealand

Ex Libris marketing towards higher education/academic libraries. National Library purpose (per legislation) is to “enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand” including by collecting, preserving and protecting documents, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand.

NLNZ has two categories of collections:

  1. heritage collections held permanently, in controlled environments – both physical and digital
  2. general collections, borrowable but usually also kept in stack

Legal deposit – for physical resources publishers must deposit 2 copies (one for heritage and one for general collection); for digital resources, 1 file format. If publish both, deposit both and each gets a separate record. NLNZ provides ISBNs and ISSNs, and is the national bibliographic agency for New Zealand. Bibliography scope includes not just legal deposit but anything about New Zealand from overseas. Monthly extract from Alma made available in various formats, and dataset updated quarterly.

Analogue avalanche and digital deluge. (Project to import a few terabytes of data from musicians – will be talked about at National Digital Forum.)

Migrated from Rosetta to Alma/Primo in 2018 – without systems librarians. Challenges:

  • Metadata editor – very clunky for original cataloguing which is very important for them. A “fluid approach to adhering to MARC21”. Looking forward to new metadata editor.
  • Born digital workflows – nonexistent though an Idea is under review. No digital legal deposit workflow so had to use a physical order workflow – need to be able to chase them up.
  • Deduplication – different publishing numbers for digital inventory and for physical workaround inventory – Primo dedups this. Two very different maps, contour vs cadastral, but with same title – only difference is the series number, so Primo deduped it. Could turn this off but then would have a problem with the born digital material.
  • Serials – ongoing challenge; vast parts of the collection have no item records so requesting is very difficult


  • Normalisation rules – use this extensively and test in Sandbox which they love. Use them record-by-record eg for creating an online record based on a print record. Also use for metadata clean-up and for bulk record creation
  • Integration with Rosetta which stores files eg for podcasts

New ways of working

  • Thinking across teams, looking at the order they do things
  • Use records from spreadsheets, lots of use of MarcEdit which had only been used by specialists previously
  • New position of “digital collecting specialist” who use norm rules, APIs, MarcEdit etc
  • Template for podcast, harvest specific details for each episode from the RSS feed to fill in the rest. More scripts manage import into Rosetta. From 2018 to 2019 big increase in machine generated records from 500 to over 2500. (People still involved but machine doing the boring parts, cataloguers choose templates and analyse subject keywords required.)

Q: How do you deal with archival materials?
A: These are handled in a separate system.

Q: Have you managed to overcome the problems with serials?
A: Work in progress….

Integration with the Alma Course API #anzreg2018

The Alma Course API – An Exercise in Course Integration
David Lewis

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.

Resource sharing partner synchronisation #anzreg2018

Managing Resource Sharing Partners in Alma
Nishen Naidoo, Macquarie University

  • Used to use VDX – external system, not transparent to end-user. But good that partners were managed centrally.
  • Alma provided single system, no additional user system integration, user experience via Primo and much richer. But partner management is up to each institution.
  • Connection options: broker (all requests via intermediary which handles billing) vs peer-to-peer
  • managing partners – contact details, and suspension status. Tricky to do this automatically so most people updating manually based on LADD webpage (AU suspension info), ILRS (AU addresses), Te Puna csv (NZ contact details), mailing lists announcements (NZ suspension announcements)
  • part 1 designed harvester to scrape data from these sources and put it into a datastore in json. Also capture and store changes eg of inst name or contact email.
  • part 2 designed sync service (API) to get data from datastore and upload to Alma. Needs your NUC symbol, an API key with read/write to resource sharing, and a configuration in Elasticsearch Index. (There’s a substantial technology stack.) Then pulls partner data from your Alma institution, and sync service creates partner records, compares with existing, updates Alma with changes.
  • future – hope to host in AWS. Wanting to get LADD/Te Puna to release data through proper API. Ideally Ex Libris would get data directly but at the moment can understand they wouldn’t want to touch it with a bargepoll.
  • documentation and download at https://mqlibrary.github.io/resource-sharing-partners-harvest/ and https://mqlibrary.github.io/resource-sharing-partners-sync/

Institutional repository in Alma Digital #anzreg2018

Optimising workflows and utilising Alma APIs to manage our Institutional Repository in Alma Digital
Kate Sergeant, University South Australia

Used DigiTool as an interim solution with a long-term plan to move to Alma. For a while used the electronic resource component to manage metadata, with a local filestore. Last year finally moved everything properly into Alma Digital.

In early stage needed to generate handles and manage files. Phase 2 – development of templated emails to enable requesting outputs from researchers. Phase 3 last year – workflow management, data validation, author management, license management….

Get records submitted directly by researchers; harvest from Web of Science and Scopus APIs combined with Alma APIs for adding bib records. Land in Alma as suppressed records – often hundreds. Try to prioritise manually submitted stuff; and easier (eg journal articles) stuff. Make sets of incoming records.

Alma native interface doesn’t always show all data needed so use their own dashboard using the Alma APIs, which pulls out the things they care about (title, pub date, author, resource type, date added). Then have canned searches (eg Google title search, DOI resolver, DOI in Scopus, ISSN in Ulrichs, prepopulated interloan form…) . Look at metadata eg for authors/affiliations (links into Alma metadata editor for actual editing; links through to public profile). License information in Alma’s licence module. Shows archiving rights, version for archiving, embargo period – with links to copyright spreadsheet and to Sherpa/Romeo.

Would often forget to un-suppress the record – so added that ability at the point of minting the handle. The handle is then put into the record at the same time; and mint a DOI where relevant (eg data for ANDS).

Finally composes email based on templates to research – eg post-print required – built in delay for the email until after the item has actually gone live which often takes 6hrs.

Dashboard also includes exception reports etc; record enhancement facility with eg WoS data; publication/person lookup.

Ex Libris company / product updates #anzreg2018

Ex Libris company update
Bar Veinstein, President Ex Libris

  • in 85 of top 100 unis; 65million api calls/month; percentage of new sales that are in cloud up from 16% in 2009 to 96% in 2017; 92% customer satisfaction
  • Pivot for exploration of funding/collaboration https://www.proquest.com/products-services/Pivot.html
  • aim to develop solutions sustainably so not a proliferation of systems for developing needs
  • looking at more AI to develop recommendation eg “high patron demand for 8 titles. review and purchase?”, “based on usage patterns, you should move 46 titles from closed stacks to open shelves?”, “your interloans rota needs load balancing, configure now?”, “you’ve got usage from vendors who provide SUSHI accounts you haven’t set up yet, do that now?”, algorithms around SUSHI vs usage.
  • serious about retaining Primo/Summon; shared content and metadata
  • Primo VE – realtime updates. Trying to reduce complexity of Primo Back Office (pipes etc – but unclear what replaces this when pipes are “all gone”)
  • RefWorks not just for end user but also aggregated analytics on cloud platform. Should this be connected/equal to eshelf on Primo?
  • Leganto – ‘wanting to get libraries closer to teaching and learning’ – tracking whether instructors are actually using it and big jumps between semesters.
  • developing app services (ux, workflow, collaboration, analytics, shared data) and infrastructure services (agile, multi-tenancy, open apis, metadata schemas, auth) on top of cloud platform – if you’ve got one thing with them very quick to implement another because they already know how you’re set up.
  • principles of openness: more transactions now via api than staff direct action.
  • https://trust.exlibrisgroup.com/
  • Proquest issues – ExL & PQ passing the customer service buck, so to align this. Eg being able to transfer support cases directly across between Salesforce instances.

Ex Libris prodct presentation
Oren Beit-Arie, Ex Libris Chief Strategy Officer

  • 1980s acquisitions not part of library systems -> integrated library systems
  • 2000s e-resource mgmt not part of ILS -> library services platform (‘unified resource mgmt system’)
  • now teaching/learning/research not part of LSPs -> … Ex Libris’s view of a cloud ‘higher education platform’
  • Leganto
    – course reading lists; copyright compliance; integration with Alma/Primo/learning management system
    – improve teaching and learning experience; student engagement; library efficiency; compliance; maximise use of library collections
    – Alma workflows, creation of OpenURLs…
  • Esploro
    – in dev
    – RIMs
    – planning – discovery and analysis – writing – publication – outreach – assessment
    – researchers (publish, publish, publish); librarians (provide research services); research office (increase research funding/impact)
    – [venn diagram] research admin systems [research master]; research data mgmt systems [figshare]; institutional repositories [dspace]; current research information systems [elements]
    – pain points for rseearchers: too may systems, overhead, lack of incentive, hard to keep public profile up to date
    – for research office – research output of the uni, lack of metrics, hard to track output and impact, risk of noncompliance
    – next gen research repository: all assets; automated capture (don’t expect all content to be in repository); enrichment of metadata
    – showcase research via discovery/portals; automated researcher profiles; research benchmarks/metrics
    – different assets including creative works, research data, activities
    – metadata curation and enrichment (whether direct deposit, mediated deposit, automatic capture) through partnerships with other parties (data then flows both ways, with consent)
    – guiding principles: not to change researchers’ habits; not to create more work for librarians; not to be another ‘point solution’ (interoperable)
    – parses pdf from upload for metadata (also checks against Primo etc). Keywords suggested based on researcher profile
    – deposit management, apc requests, dmp management etc in “Research” tab on Alma
    – allows analytics of eg journals in library containing articles published by faculty
    – tries to track relationships with datasets
    – public view essentially a discovery layer (it’s very Primo NewUI with bonus document viewer – possibly just an extra view) for research assets – colocates article with related dataset
    – however have essentially ruled research administration systems out of scope as starting where their strength is. Do have Pivot however.

E-resource usage analytics in Alma #anzreg2018

“Pillars in the Mist: Supporting Effective Decision-making with Statistical Analysis of SUSHI and COUNTER Usage Reports
Aleksandra Petrovic, University of Auckland

Increasing call for evidence-based decision making in combination with rising importance of e-resources (from 60% -> 87% of collection in last ten years), in context of decreasing budget and changes in user behaviour.

Options: EBSCO usage consolidations, Alma analytics or Journal Usage Statistics Portal (JUSP). Pros of Alma: no additional fees; part of existing system; no restrictions for historical records; could modify/enhance reports; could have input in future development. But does involve more work than other systems.

Workflow: harvest data by manual methods; automatic receipt of reports, mostly COUNTER; receipt by email. All go into Alma Analytics, then create reports, analyse, make subscription decisions.

Use the Pareto Principle eg 20% of vendors responsible for 80% of usage. Similarly 80% of project time spent in data gathering creates 20% of business value; 20% of time spent in analysis for 80% of value.

Some vendors slow to respond (asking at renewal time increased their motivation….) Harvesting bugs eg issue with JR1. There were reporting failures (especially in move from http to https) and issues tracking the harvesting. Important to monitor what data is being harvested before basing decisions on it! Alma provides a “Missing data” view but can’t export into Excel to filter so created a similar report on Alma Analytics (which they’re willing to share).

So far have 106 SUSHI, 45 manual COUNTER vendors and 17 non-COUNTER vendors. Got stats from 85% of vendors.

Can see trends in open access usage. Can compare whether users are using recent vs older material – drives decisions around backfiles vs rolling embargos. Can look at usage for titles in package – eg one where only three titles had high usage so just bought those and cancelled package.

All reports in one place. Can be imported into Tableau for display/visualisation: a nice cherry on the top.

Cancelling low-use items / reducing duplication has saved money. Hope more vendors will use SUSHI to increase data available. If doing it again would:

  • use a generic contact email for gathering data
  • use the dashboard earlier in the project

Cost per use trickier to get out – especially with exchange rate issues but also sounds like reports don’t quite match up in Alma.

Alma plus JUSP
Julie Wright, University of Adelaide

Moved from using Alma Analytics to JUSP – to both. Timeline:

  • Manual analysis of COUNTER: very time intensive: 2-3 weeks each time and wanted to do it monthly…
  • UStat better but only SUSHI, specific reports, and no integration with Alma Analytics
  • Alma Analytics better still but still needs monitoring (see above-mentioned https issues)
  • JUSP – only COUNTER/SUSHI, reports easy and good, but can’t make your own
much work easy
complex analyses available only simple reports
only has 12 months data data back to 2014
benchmarking works with vendors on issues
quality control of data

JUSP also has its own SUSHI server – so can harvest from here into Alma. This causes issues with duplicate data when the publishers don’t match exactly. Eg JUSP shows “BioOne” when there are actually various publishers; or “Wiley” when Alma has “John Wiley and Sons”. Might need to delete all Alma data and use only JUSP data.