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Discussion of the Whole

(notes by Milly Williams, PCC)

Group discussion on the following topics:
a). Communication, structure and policies
b). SILS/CTST relationship
c). Identifying Alliance-wide policies which might require less coordination

What would be an ideal level of communication before a policy is implemented? How do we make sure staff at Alliance libraries know what policies have been implemented?

1. Comment/Question: We are a Cohort 2 school, and sometimes there is an assumption that issues are being dealt with and a policy is being made somewhere else in Alliance, but we’re not exactly sure by what group, and then we hear from other schools that we need to make a decision about that policy.  It would be helpful to know what is under discussion.  So heard from WGs today and need to make what WGs talking about/working on visible to know what they are working on and who is working on it.  Then can know what maybe isn’t being discussed. 

  • There are two levels of policy making: the institution and Alliance level.  Alliance level policy making is done in Working Groups and in consultation with others.
  • Have a Google Project site or website that lists all the issues being talked about and when decisions are made it could be clear there.  Have a clearinghouse for what is being worked on.
  • The Alliance is working on new CMS, and the hope is that it will be a vehicle and medium to help resolve this issue of communication and provide a place to place documentation and policies.  The new Alliance CMS will be launched in January and is going through a feedback process.  It is still important for anyone managing that site or a portion of that site to think carefully about how information disseminated.  There will also be a blog.

2. Comment/Question: What happens with an Alliance wide-policy in the Alliance structure?  Does the Alliance Board need to vote on it and how is that communicated out?  It’s hard to keep up with what is being worked on, when a decision is made, what is still a draft, and how to give feedback.
Response: Unless it’s a divisive issue, then the groups make the decisions.  The SILS Policy Team is above the working groups and they can handle the divisive issues.  It is made up of three library directors and John Helmer of the Alliance.  The hope is that by the time the policies come out, they have been vetted.

3. Comment/Question: It would be a good idea to have a way to share best practices to save time for libraries.  For example, instead of searching other libraries pages to hunt down information about implementation of the four-copy threshold, it would be nice to have best practices for that in one place. 

4. Comment/Question: It would be nice to see a formal adopting process for Working Group decisions.  For example, we could have a draft published and a formal process where everyone can comment and determine if the issue should be handled at the Alliance level and/or provide feedback and then put out final copy and have a formal vote where if X% approve it, then we agree to it.  The Alliance is getting too big to do Ad Hoc. 

  • How would we manage a policy that needs to be decided soon because ExLibris is implementing something?  We could have a draft, give a set time for comments and then take a vote.  [A quick temperature check in the room indicated most people were comfortable with a public comment period of a couple weeks.]
  • It’s difficult at this point for later cohorts who won’t know the context and will need more time while earlier cohorts feel urgency and want a decision made sooner.
  • The system changes quickly, and it’s difficult because it’s so dynamic, but we also need to get policies in place.  Would be good to have a more formal process, as long as can continue to be fairly responsive.
  • As a Cohort 1 library, agree it’s important to be nimble, but want to have everything in one place because very hard to track down.  Can’t be on all groups, but some of the decisions made in other groups affect my work.
  • This is very much on the Alliance radar.  We need to figure out a way to move policies up and work at the Alliance staff level to manage that transparency.

5. Comment/Question: As a Cohort 2 representative on two different working groups, it would be nice to let Cohort 3 & 4 representatives know when they will be activated into the working groups.  Advance notice is important for planning.

6. Comment/Question: If groups are meeting to discuss training or best practices, it would be good to have a live video feed and recording so people can watch as it’s going on. 

b). There is sometimes uncertainty among Alliance staff regarding which group—SILS and/or CTST—is in charge of what as far as implementation goes.  

7. Comment/Question: Having both SILS and CTST is like having two silos.  On the new CMS it will be nice to see conversations both groups are having in one place.

8. Comment/Question: The two groups were created because the thought was that SILS would be so busy with daily tasks that they wouldn’t have the time and space to focus on the long-term.  Issues are passed from SILS to CTST to be dealt with on a more strategic level.  SILS is more tactical.
  • The CTST was being asked to make some policy decisions without having knowledge of Alma or being able to see it.  There is synergy between the two groups, but it has been difficult because lot of SILS folks were in Cohort 1 and were seeing the system, whereas a majority of the CTST members were not.
  • The SILS Cataloging Working Group is too busy to take time to think about long-term policies, but they talk to the CTST Working Group once a month.  There isn’t a clear dividing line.  It’s frustrating because they sometimes take a long time to think about an issue, but also that is one of its strengths.  SILS decisions are often needed within a day. I’m glad to have both the groups with twin structures.
  • If anyone is unsure which group to send question to, that’s okay because it can be forwarded.  It’s still not clear which group should be working on something, even between the groups.  We’re always trying to figure out where the line is, and often one group will start a project and hand it off to the next group to finish.
9. Comment/Question:  At what point do SILS groups “sunset” out and that role is absorbed into CTST? Do they?  There will still be a Quick vs. More Deliberation Process that will be needed even after the last cohort has migrated.
Response:  These issues aren’t surprising, and the most important thing for those not in the team structure is to know that we’re working on issues as quickly and as mindfully as possible.  We need to have a mechanism to deal with the process of making policies.  When thinking about collaboration and dealing with Network Zone issues that deal with permissions and not necessarily the system, those are issues that come along with working as a very large staff, and we need to communicate in tandem to all staff.
10. Comment/Question:  The SILS migration is a project about integration of all areas in the library: fulfillment, public services, technical services.  It’s about bringing together ALL of our staff, and not just technical services.

Are there any low hanging fruit policies that are ripe for the picking? 

11. Comment/Question: How to identify criteria for areas where we need to have Alliance wide policy.  For example, maintaining the integrity of the NZ.  Maybe can develop criteria that will help us move forward.
  • In Alma, we share a bibliographic database, so it’s clear we need cataloging policies.  We can make list of where we need Alliance policies (e.g. RDA).  Acquisitions is not at a development stage where we share data with each other and only when we do will those issues/needs for decisions come up.
  • It may be too early to set policy, but we can maintain a development list.  In Acquisitions, vendor information is redundant information in our systems, so can we create master records for vendors?  Are there other things that we want to share and aren’t sharing now?  We can divide the list into short-range and long-range plans.
12. Comment/Question: Large burning issue of working at the Alliance level is doing consortial purchasing, so why are 37 libraries having to get and load the same MARC records?  What work can we identify as needing to be done at Alliance level and how can we distribute and finance it?
Response: Distributing workload is on Council’s list.  It’s important to underscore that big institutions won’t carry the burden.  We need to figure out what medium and smaller institutions can bring to the table, and that may be skills that can be applied to a different task (DDA loading, checking links, etc.).   This issue has come up before, but not much work has been done on it yet.
13. Comment/Question: There is overlap between Technical Services and Collection Development.  Many decisions made around Collection Development would affect collaboration on the Technical Services side.  Could we have an Alliance-wide approval plan?  Maybe with a shared system we look at the bigger pipeline and make Technical Services and Collection Development policies together.

14. Comment/Question: Will there be a mechanism for regular policy review and under whose purview will it be?
Response: There is an Alliance assessment Team that looks at policies to determine if they need to be changed or reviewed.  It’s a new thing for the Alliance.
15. Comment/Question: What about a regional storage system or a floating collection?

Small group discussion notes

(participants’ notes transcribed by Kathi Carlisle Fountain, Alliance)

General needs from the Alliance
  • Need for standing groups to manage and prioritize projects, training, grant writing, and share research in new areas.
  • Obligation for units of service?! Compensation and capacity issues.
  • More open volunteering opportunities for standing groups – more than just having directors recommend.
  • Want succession planning for standing groups and service terms.
General Alma notes
  • Firefox works best with Alma.
  • There is a lot of clicking in Alma. It may be necessary to get an ergonomic review once immediate needs have been addresses. Do not click the browser’s back button when working in Alma.


Sharing Tasks – Notes
  • Vendor records
  • A way to simply view available consortial copies and active orders.
  • Approval plans for identified collections. Nursing, for example. Some not keen on this because of cost and applicability.
  • Vendor location for media
  • Rate your vendor feedback mechanism
Migration Tips and Notes for Alma

Transcriber’s Reminder: The SILS Docs site provides recommendations on acquisitions clean up prior to migration. See the Acquisitions functional area in SILS Docs [SILS Docs password required]:

  • Some need help with role definitions, such as for branch staff
Funds and Orders
  • It is important to have allocations for funds so workflow for orders processes easily. (Transcriber’s note: It is possible to change settings that allow you to overspend a fund, which allows for spending against an unallocated fund.)
  • Estimated prices filled in prior to migration
  • Close as many open orders as possible.
  • Multi-branch ordering is a problem.
  • Multi-copy ordering is a problem.
  • Standing orders in Alma are not standing orders, can’t receive on a standing order. Let the serials people handle these.
  • Acquisitions unit – can be associated with funds and ledgers
  • There isn’t anywhere in Alma to associate an Alma fund with a campus budget line. UW uses a table outside of Alma.
  • UW and WSU gather payment and send to campus finance. Export to ERP for invoice payment. Standard XML report of invoice. Post processing of Alma output.
  • III order # is a Alma PO and PO Line
  • Strip the dot from the order records: .o  o
  • Before migration, stop ordering and use rush handling. Allows for closing as many orders as possible before migration.
  • If you purchase at the vendor system (an option in Alma), it may take overnight to be able to receive the item.
  • The receiving unit – user must be signed into a location to operate a PO.
  • Can’t have multiple vendors with same EDI code.
  • EDI works at the vendor level
  • YBP and Ex Libris are working on EDI stuff.
  • YBP EDI has a dot for order record, can strip dot once you migrate

  • Vendor is required, but you can set up a vendor called “none” for one-off orders.
  • Using vendor “none” would affect analytics.
  • Alma vendors are hierarchical. First level is vendor, under that is the vendor account. You can have multiple vendor accounts for one vendor.
  • Sets in Alma don’t work on PO Lines (order records in Millennium language).
  • Logical sets aren’t as flexible in Alma as in Millennium.
  • Can search on sets of approval records because each import profile is assigned a unique number.
  • For searching call numbers, you’ll need to search physical items + permanent call number. Call numbers are held in the inventory.
Certification Training
  • There is one certification training for each cohort. There is a quiz (open book) at the end of training. Institutions should send people from several areas, not just systems.
  • After certification training, turn off simple search call number indexes that don’t work and aren'’t necessary.
  • Selectors should be working in YBP and Alma analytics only and not in orders and funds in Alma. Roles that allow for viewing also allow for editing funds in open orders.
  • Consider training for selectors in Analytics [on the agenda for the Alliance CDMC]
  • Can you add selector to the PO Line note?


Sharing Tasks –- Cataloging
  • Joint projects
    • Foreign language cataloging – problems with compensation and capacity
    • Special media cataloging
    • Authority control – how does this make sense in Primo
    • Network Zone record quality
    • MARCIVE – US and State docs
    • DDA bibliographic records
    • Microform sets
    • Best practices for repository work
  • Contracts for catalog records and supplies
  • Want logic to automatically review records and route to specific libraries
  • Standing groups for:
    • managing and prioritizing cataloging projects
    • quality control
  • Might need to hire a person for Alliance loads
  • Share canned reports
  • Enhance quality of metadata in packages
  • Network Zone maintenance and clean up
  • Share Connexion client macros
  • Shared training
Migration Tips and Notes for Alma

Transcriber’s Reminder: The SILS Docs site provides recommendations and advice about cataloging in Alma. See the Cataloging functional area in SILS Docs [SILS Docs password required].

(Facilitated by Diana Brooking (UW), notes by Cheryl Davenport (Clark College))
  • Find all MARC 040 fields with $b not equal to “eng” and replace with English language bib.
  • Fix all that you can in Millennium where Global Update function is reliable and familiar.
  • Keep Millennium running in a view only format.
    • Helps with troubleshooting so you can see how records or record sets looked before migration and view only format will prevent staff from wanting to make changes in the old system.
    • Caveat is that if something breaks in your Millennium instance, it can’t be fixed.
  • If you don’t have export tables for serials, weigh the value of purchasing them from Innovative (about $2500).  Export tables are required to extract 853/863 pair data into compatible fields in Alma.
  • Spine label printing will change. Can still do printing from Connexion, but this will become more labor intensive as processes streamline in Alma (i.e. holdings updated in Alma link-out to OCLC and set holdings in WorldCat for you).
  • Documentation department will make corrections to documentation and can assist you better/faster.
  • P2E – when you encounter errors in you P2E migration, provide ExLibris with screen shots and plenty of examples. Be prompt and clear with ExLibris when data did not come over cleanly in test loads so that hopefully resolutions can be found for your final data load.
  • eBook packages can be migrated but there are issues with eBook management in Alma.
    • UW has a freeze on loading eBook packages as Alma treats them like ejournal portfolios which is not conducive to eBook discovery.
    • eBook packages can be managed locally in Alma, which makes for better discovery, but isn’t scalable beyond packages with 50 or so titles. (?)
    • Ebooks do not migrate as a package. The package must be created after migration by searching title by title. You need to search title by title to create your portfolio rather than searching to find specific language in the URL. URLs are not searchable.
  • If you did a reclamation project prior to implementing Navigator, clean up any failed records that may still live in your catalog before exporting your data to Alma.
  • Find and clean up bibs with no items attached.
  • Archive order records.
  • Reduce the number of location codes.
  • Physical items need item records attached to bibs, but it seems as though electronic do not.
  • ExLibris encouraged institutions to not migrate reserves or equipment bibs, but rather to start from scratch.
    • Some libraries did successfully migrate reserve and equipment bibs as long as all fields were in MARC format.
  • Equipment brief bibs live in the Institutional Zone.
  • Experience across institutions in how and what data migrates successfully to Alma.
  • Document your process with screen shots, written documentation, saved create list and export queries. If possible, save all your create lists as you may need them later.
  • There is a guide on the ExLibris documentation portal for tips on testing your migrated data in the sandbox to ensure that data is searchable, valid and migrated as anticipated.
  • Identify local notes that live in the bib that you really need. Copy local notes living in 500 fields to 590 as any local notes added to the bib in a 500 field will be lost during the relinking process.
  • In your P2E migration form, ensure that the enable proxy box is checked if a proxy will be required to access the material (i.e., not for government documents).
  • System latency is one of the biggest issues cohort 1 libraries are facing. Be patient and wait 1-5 minutes before assuming that item creation did not execute properly.
  • The more simplification you can do ahead of time at all levels, the better off you will be for migration.


Want from the Alliance:
  • shared policies, procedures, and other documentation.
  • A chance to talk about specific issues within groups
  • Are enhancements needed for resource record functionality? CTST could investigate.
Sharing Tasks - Ideas
  • Six law libraries should work together on serials.
  • Share license agreements.
  • Simplifying invoicing.
Migration Tips and Notes for Alma

Transcriber’s Reminder: The SILS Docs site provides recommendations and advice about serials in Alma. See the Serials/ERM functional area in SILS Docs. [SILS Docs password required]

  • What’s going to happen with ILL and OCLC Local Holdings Records?
  • How will claims work?
  • What else, besides vendor data, is migrated only once?
  • How do open subscriptions migrate? What are the problems with open orders?
  • What are people using check in cards for?
  • When should libraries stop paying Serials Solutions, before or after go-live date?
  • What statistical data needs to migrate in order to fulfill institutions and/or ACRL statistics needs?
  • How does the link resolver work?
Known information
  • Check in records migrate, and they show in receiving.
  • Resource records do not migrate, but license data does.
  • There are problems displaying availability of serials that are only available to specific locations (WSU).
  • In a sandbox environment, you can update vendor data because it is configuration data. It will not be reimported from Millennium.
  • Primo is live for Cohort 1, so libraries can look to their Primo instances to understand how serials will display.
  • Sales Force Cases are helpful. Always focus on the end result. Ex Libris will always want to know the why.
  • Ex Libris prefers MARC serials holdings
  • Print serials prediction does not currently work but is planned for development.

Bibliographic Floor Standards

  • Reviewed the Alliance mandate on floor bibliographic standards (document prepared by the Shared ILS Prep team)
  • Reviewed the BSR Metadata Application Profile (MAP)
  • Many non-PCC libraries are unfamiliar with the BSR and CSR, more familiar with using OCLC encoding levels to evaluate record completeness
  • Would be good to have a web presentation explaining how to use the BSR & CSR MAPs, with examples of records that do and do not meet the floor
  • BSR and CSR MAPs identify the elements that are required but provide little guidance on the content of the elements (CSR MAP provides more than BSR)
  • Interest in having a marker in bib records to show that the record meets the floor standard



Alliance-wide RDA training would be good even if not everyone is moving to RDA. It's– hard to do on your own.

  • May/can Alliance provide more authoritative training instead of the more informal/self training?
  • Where will we need policies in the Alliance?
  • More sample RDA records would be good
  • Go to RDA sooner than later. Training materials are going out of date.
  • Message board or wiki
  • Record webinars
  • Demo how to [catalog] in RDA after each webinar.
  • Assign samples to participants to demo
  • List of institutions that have implemented RDA with contact info
  • Make an agreement for when Alliance documentation will reflect RDA only
  • Training should include orientation for public services
  • Best practices needed, such as title changes and 264 fields. Make sure we are not all adding our localized standards. (The Network Zone already enforces this somewhat.)
  • Create master list of recommended RDA training resources (Lori shared handout on Library of Congress RDA training)
  • Instead of reinventing the wheel with new RDA training, we can coordinate timing to go through LoC training with discussions.
  • Add our own additional exercise to what LoC has in their training?
  • Recommend helpful shared workflows in the RDA toolkit.
  • Find someway to share what we are doing
  • Regional training so people don have to go so far – or webinar? People not excited by webinars
  • Maybe create a mentoring system where volunteers from nearby libraries will train people at another library
  • Consulting across institutions. Could Alliance facilitate this? Even just set up a list of available contacts?
  • Have found RDA is easier than AACR2 for new staff to learn / also difficult to keep RDA and AACR2 straight.
  • Some things are still confusing and/or difficult
Detailed questions, issues
  • No mandate from Alliance on RDA implementation – we are all in different places. We expect a variety for some time.
  • A couple of institutions are doing original cataloging in RDA and accepting copy cataloging in any code.
  • RDA Authorities: is this an issue?
  • Display of RDA 3XX fields? Current discussion of materials types doesn’t deal with this
  • What can you do with RDA Records in WorldCat? (Lori shared handout)
    • Worldcat is in transition to RDA
    • Catalogers can change any pre-RDA record to RDA, but you cannot change it back
    • Catalogers can add RDA fields to AACR2 33x fields
    • Spell out abbreviations
    • Add relator headings – OCLC is doing this too in an automated way, see OCLC quality control symbol (OCLCQ?) at end of OYO
    • OCLC will not remove GMDs from existing records but once record is changed to RDA this will go away
  • May matter as much with way records are displayed in Primo
    • Ex Libris proposal for deduplication in Primo
    • Based on mms ID
    • If we have AACR2 and RDA record, these are separate
    • Real dedup may merge these to one
  • Alma validation table sees RDA fields as validation errors, but you can still load and manipulate RDA records in Alma.
  • In Primo, all records are stored in the PNX format. If we were an institution, we could change NZ rules to display RDA fields. Until C4 migration, ExLibris controls these NZ rules so we need to request changes from them.
  • Who in the Alliance is responsible for this?
  • What happens when MARC changes in Primo?
  • Logic for setting material types in Alma on migration is completely separate from how Primo decides material type.
  • The SILS-Cataloging Working Group is working on this logic to give to ExLibris that will improve this.
  • Report dupe AACR2 and RDA records to OCLC and they will dedupe

PCC Participation

  • Educational – people can scan supporting documents and also email to bibchange@oclc.org
  • Eventual goal – list of what changes are priority to make on PCC records would help people to just know or prescreen themselves if they want
  • Working documents should be public
  • Minimum of 100 headings per year to retain NACU affiliation
  • Funneling with abbreviated training?
  • How to compensate for libraries contributing?
  • What does collaborative technical services mean?
  • Need to check out latest extensions and publish to Prism
  • Send use cases for what can and cannot be done at master record level
  • Coordinated training for headings as well as RDA
  • RDA training for NACO and bibs as necessary foundation to elevate for PCC libraries or become funnel
  • Need to raise floor of staff knowledge for effective collaborative technical services
  • More detailed info about when records can be replaced informs workflows at all levels.
  • Everyone needs to contribute. There needs to be support for load sharing.

Staff Anxiety

How do you manage staff anxiety about this change and manage negative reactions?