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Speaker: Susan Stearns, VP of Strategic Partnerships of Ex Libris Group
Both library as a percentage of university expenditures and the number of library staff per student have been going down. The percentage of library expenditures spent on electronic resources has been going up dramatically.
There is a need to eliminate the duplication of data and workflows, and the silo systems in libraries today. Alma intends to unify both the data and the data environment: acquisitions, metadata management, fulfillment, and analytics.
Collaborative metadata management is a hybrid model to balance global sharing with local needs. In English, this means you can have a catalog that includes both an inventory of locally owned items and a collection of items shared by one or more “communities.” Multiple metadata schema are supported within the system in their native formats — no crosswalks required.
Individual library staff users can set up “home pages” within the system that includes widgets with data, alerts, and reports. This can help with making decisions about the collection. Analytics are also embedded directly in the workflow (i.e. a graph representing the balance remaining in a fund displayed when an order using that fund is viewed/entered).
Speaker: Maria Bunevski, Ex Libris
Preparation for moving to a new system, particularly a radically new system like Alma, requires spending some time thinking about workflows, data, technical aspects (integration points, etc.), and training.
Project initiation phase requires a lot of training sessions to fully grasp all of the change that needs to happen.
The implementation phase involves a mix of on-site work and remote tweaking. At some point work has to freeze in the old system before cutting over to the new one.
VCU is currently in the post-implementation phase. This is the point where un-configured things are discovered, along with gaps in workflow.
Speaker: John Duke, VCU Libraries
They had Aleph, SFX, Verde, MetaLib, Primo, ARC, ILLiad, university systems, etc. before, and they wanted to bring the functions together. They didn’t end up with a monolithic system for everything, but they got closer.
Workflows and other aspects have been simplified.
The system is not complete, either because Ex Libris hadn’t thought of it or because VCU hasn’t figured out how to incorporate it. Internet outages, security issues, and conceptual difficulties have thrown up road blocks along the way.