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Alma Migration: Home: FAQ

This guide will house information about Alma specific to SUNY Old Westbury migration process.

What’s an LSP?

LSP stands for library services platform. It differs from an integrated library system (ILS) like Aleph in several significant ways.

  • Unified resource management- the link-resolver, discovery layer and electronic resource management is part of Alma/Primo. We will no longer have separate indexes for print and electronic materials.
  • No more client – Alma runs in a web browser. There is nothing to install or upgrade.
  • Regular updates – Updates to Alma are released every month.
  • Connections – Alma can integrate with Banner for patron management (SUNY may not chose to implement this).

If you're interested in learning more about the LSP, read more here.

Breeding, Marshall. (2013). Beyond the ILS: A New Generation of Library Services Platforms. Robots in Academic Libraries: Advancements in Library Automation (pp. 24 pp.).


Why Alma?

During the lengthy review process Alma emerged as the most mature option. It is fully-functional and yet still under very active development. ExLibris is always improving and expanding its capabilities.

Alma works with 3 zones:

  • Institutional zone (IZ) - Holds records that are unique to the institution. Things like archives and special collections will all live in the institution zone.
  • Network Zone (NZ) - The real benefit of Alma. Records in this zone are available at the consortia (SUNY) level. The circulating collections for every SUNY campus *should* live here. This will allow us to treat resource sharing within SUNY like a circulation request. We would effectively be branch libraries.
    • Management of the NZ becomes critical to making resource sharing work and it gets complicated quickly. SUNY may look to hire someone(s) to manage the NZ.
  • Community Zone (CZ) – this is the collection of all records in the Alma index. As we add new resources, we can search for them in the CZ and import them to the IZ/NZ. This is equivalent to the SerialsSolutions knowedgebase.


What about Summon?

Primo will be the new SUNY-wide discovery layer and will replace Summon. It would be possible to keep a separate discovery layer, but not practical. Primo is fully integrated with Alma. Summon would require a separate knowledge-base (360Core).

Primo looks and functions remarkably like Summon. Most patrons won’t notice a difference. Summon pulls metadata from all submitted records to create a ‘master’ record, they call this match-and-merge. This allows our patrons to search the full-text of a book even if we only have it in print or to see the table of contents even if our record is brief. Primo lacks this functionality.

As of this writing, no SUNY campuses have expressed their intention to keep Summon or EDS. 


What is a fulfillment network?

The Alma fulfillment network allows walk-up borrowing for other users in the network who are not local to our library. The following services are provided:

  • Walk-in Registration
  • Direct requesting
  • Return Anywhere

More information located here.


Contract terms and costs?

At the September LSP Task Force update, it was announced that the new Alma contract will cost slightly less than what we pay for Aleph. We should not see any cost increases.

The contact is for 5 years with two 5-year renewals. We should expect to have Alma for 15 years. We’ll get to do this again in 2034, maybe by then we’ll have flying cars and robots to do this work for us.


How are we preparing?

There are preparations happening at the SUNY level and locally.

SUNY is poring over collections looking for records that will fail to migrate:

  • Records missing important metadata such as titles
  • Orphaned records – missing holding or item records
  • Patron and acquisitions data that may not migrate properly

Buffalo State was part of the Reclamation pilot project which sought to align our OCLC holdings with our Aleph holdings

  • Nearly 50,000 incorrect holdings were removed from OCLC
  • Scores of records were updated with the most recent OCLC numbers

Locally the following tasks are ongoing:

  • We are working to remove eBook records from Aleph that exist in our knowledge-base. This is because of the tricky migration of these items to the Alma index. You can expect to see Springer, ACLS, and Early English books online records disappear from Aleph. They will still be in our A-Z list and in Summon.
  • We are beginning to think about what kinds of historical circulation and acquisitions data we need to preserve.
  • We are looking at SUPPRESSED, DISCARDED, and other item statuses and determining how to migrate.
  • Marianne Muha is working with OLIS on a reclamation project which will update OCLC numbers associated with records so that they match the master records more readily.