Adventures in Alma – Issue # 2

Welcome the next addition of ‘Adventures in Alma’. Whenever I type that I always hear it my head being done in a big, deep announcer voice with a lot of echo. Now you probably will too. Sorry.

These are pretty stressful times for all of us. The ‘not knowing’ is the worst, so here’s some more Alma Implementation information. At least you’ll know about this. In this post I’ll be talking about:

Alma Implementation Org Chart update
Cleanup progress
Working Groups descriptions and soliciting volunteers
Novanet Day
Alma Training

Alma Implementation Org Chart

After reviewing the Org Chart as presented to you in the last post, the Board felt it was imperative that there be a high level group composed of a representative from each Novanet institution responsible for oversight, direction and communication. They will become the Steering Committee. The group that was previously named the Steering Committee will become the Advisory Group to the Steering Committee. The modified structure, with more detailed descriptions of responsibilities can be found here.

I’m happy to list those people here.

Acadia – Roni Fenwick
AST – Emily Cooke
CBU – Catherine Arseneau
Dal – Sandy Dwyer
Kings – Janet Hathaway
MSVU – Sandra Sawchuk
MTA – Anne LePage
NSCAD – Lelland Reed
NSCC – Debbie Costelo
SMU – Amy Lorencz
StFX – Margaret Vail
USA – Pam Maher

Cleanup Progress

The Advisory Group and members of the Acq, Cat and Access Service groups have been busy with the first round of Aleph Cleanup. As you’ll recall, the purpose of this work is to do as much as we can to the data in Aleph so that we’ll have less cleanup to deal with when we start on Alma.

Current cleanup projects include:

  • Barcodes that cannot be searched or scanned in Aleph (and probably Alma) because they contain symbols, spaces and other oddities.
  • Collections with multiple item statuses, these need to examined and edited so there is one collection per item status.
  • No Collection – item records without collection codes
  • Item Process Status report – these will be reviewed to identify item process statuses no longer in use and clean up records that have old item process statuses that may need to be removed or changed.

Clean up projects on the horizon:

  • Suppressed records clean up – we’ve learned that suppressed records in Aleph can be migrated to Alma but we need to identify if there suppressed records that do not need to be retained.
  • Unclosed Orders – Acquisitions Service Group are identifying what order statuses are used for closed order. We will then produce a report for all these orders for review.
  • Electronic/print records split – We are working on identifying bib records that have both electronic and print items.

Implementation Working Groups

You’ve all seen the Org Chart that lists Working Groups we will need as we progress through the implementation. I’ll list them with a brief description of what we expect they will be doing in a moment. In general, each of the Implementation Working Groups will have four library staff members plus one of the Novanet Office staff. They will work with the Service Groups to carry out tasks assigned by the Steering Committee, and will recommend resolutions to policy or workflow issues in their areas of expertise. People on these groups should have a solid understanding of the functions of Aleph in their areas and in current workflows, be creative thinkers and enjoy brainstorming solutions and are comfortable passing on this knowledge to others. During the cleanup phase most of their work will involve identifying cleanup work, figuring out the best way to fix the issues and communicating that to library staff who will be doing the cleanup. During the implementation phase they will be tasked by the Steering Committee with recommending workflows, policies and procedures in their areas of expertise. As such they will be expected to develop a pretty good level of expertise in their area of Alma. Depending on where we are in the implementation this work could take up only an hour or two a week up to a five or six hours a week.

Now we need volunteers! If you are at all interested, please speak with your supervisor about it and drop me a line with the Working Group you’d like to participate on. These Working Groups are an integral piece of the Implementation and we look forward to your participation. The deadline for submissions is Friday April 3.

Here are the Working Groups and brief description of each.

Fulfillment/Access/Resource Sharing
Fulfillment is Alma-speak for Access services – circulation, reserves, Novanet Express, Relais etc. This group is being lead by Corinne Gilroy, MSVU and will work closely with the Access Service Group and Access library staff. In the cleanup phase they will advise on things that need cleanup and the instructions on how to do it. In the Implementation Phase, they will recommend workflows and procedures to the Steering Committee. We need three volunteers.

Much the same as Fulfillment except its Acquisitions. The Lead is Terri Winchcombe, SMU. This group will work closely with the Acquisitions Service Group and Acquisitions library staff. In the cleanup phase they will advise on things that need cleanup and the instructions on how to do it. In the Implementation Phase, they will recommend workflows and procedures to the Steering Committee. We need three volunteers.

Alma comes with a powerful reports feature. This group won’t have anything to do during the cleanup phase. During the Implementation phase they will become expert in the Alma Analytics module and will liaise with the institutions and Service Groups to identify critical reports and ensure their creation in Alma. There is no Lead yet for this group so we need four volunteers.

Data Migration
The intent of this group is to ensure that our data is in the proper format for the migration and assist in data mapping. This group is really the Novanet Office staff.

Alma uses Primo as its discovery service. Since we already have the Discovery Operations Group that is responsible for Primo, and there is little change in our current version of Primo and the one bundled with Alma, they will continue this role in the Alma Implementation.

All things Cataloguing in Alma. The Lead is Ian Fraser, NSCC. This group will work closely with the Cataloguing Service Group and Cataloguing library staff. In the cleanup phase they will advise on things that need cleanup and the instructions on how to do it. In the Implementation Phase, they will recommend workflows and procedures to the Steering Committee. We need three volunteers.

New Functionality
We anticipate that there will be new functionality in Alma and this group will be tasked with identifying potential new functionality and advising the Steering Committee on it possible use to the libraries. No Lead for this one yet, so we need four volunteers.

3rd Party Systems Integration
One of the reasons we chose Alma was its potential to communicate more directly with your campus systems like Banner and Colleague or your Learning Management Systems. This group will work closely with your library staff to identify possible integrations and act as a resource in the work of the Novanet staff, Ex Libris and your campus IT groups. No Lead yet, so we need four volunteers.

Last but certainly not least. Ensuring we all get adequate training in Alma and creating the documentation to go along with it is a major piece of the Implementation. This group will recommend the training process to the Steering Committee and will work closely with the Service Groups, Implementation Working Groups and library staff to develop the process and recruit trainers. No Lead for this group yet, so we need four volunteers.

We are looking forward to getting lots of volunteers. Talk to your supervisor first!

Novanet Day
As you might have expected, we have had to postpone the Alma Novanet Day, scheduled for May 21, due to the COVID-19 virus. We are exploring our options and will update you as discussions continue.

And finally – if you are stuck working at home, you should consider spending some time taking some Alma training. Our Alma page on the Novanet web site contains a link.

If you have any questions or comments, please drop me a line.

Stay healthy.


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