Schaffer Library has been using the same library system since 2003. At that time a library was understood to be a building full of books and journals that required a personal visit in order to use its resources. If you needed a journal article you might have to photocopy it yourself.
So much has changed since then, not only in the way academic libraries acquire and provide access to resources but even more so with the expectations of its users. Our automated system is still designed around the assumptions of a library in 2003.
In 2017 a library committee investigated options and determined that Alma, from the vendor Ex Libris offered a fresh, exciting, secure, cloud-based, multi-tenant Library Services Platform. Alma is designed to meet the needs and expectations of scholarly researchers.
|Prepare data for migration|
|Study Alma documentation|
|Plan for transition|
|Load data and test|
|Fail - reconfigure|
|Test 3rd party integrations|
|March 16th, 2018|
|Suspend ConnectNY borrowing|
|Begin staff training|
|May 27th, 2018|
|Cutover: reload data - go live on Alma|
|Continue implementation and development on live system|
|Develop resource sharing relationships with other Alma libraries|
Alma places electronic resources at the center of the library, where they already are. For the library user what was referred to as "circulation" (borrowing books) is now conceived as "fulfillment", i.e., when discovering appropriate research materials the user is able to:
all through a single interface.
Alma provides methods for integrating with other systems including
We wil be able to update our data directly, place orders with vendors, and ingest their metadata in real time. 3rd party integrations like this will simplify our workflows and improve our services.
Being cloud-based and multi-tenant means that the vendor develops and updates a single copy of the software which is shared by all customers. This simplifies the delivery of regular enhancements and bug fixes.
Being a platform means that Ex Libris has designed the system in a way that will allow them to build and adapt Alma's services to the evolving needs of its customers.
Managing electronic resources has been a challenge for libraries. Their acquisition, ongoing management, and presentation are fundamentally different from print resources. Existing library systems have tried to graft e-resource management on top their existing codebase in a modular fashion. Referred to as ERM (electronic resource management), these efforts were largely unsatisfactory. Alma solves this through Universal Resource Management, providing staff with a single interface and associating appropriate tasks and workflows according to the resource type.
We have always tried to provide access to the best and most relevant scholarly content to support teaching and research. When we don't own a resource we try to borrow it from other libraries. Currently this might involve a request through the ConnectNY consortium, or through Inter-Library Loan.
Beginning March 16th, all requests will be handled through Inter-Library Loan. We will update update our services at that time to direct your requests appropriately.