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November 4, 2016

Alliance News November 2016

From the Chair of the Board & Executive Director

Alliance members are working hard on numerous joint projects, from supporting analysis of the new Primo user interface, to developing and testing norm rules, and enhancing the instrument to collect information on our collective work. We thank you for your hard work and look forward to seeing the outcomes of these projects, and all Alliance member work. We have 35 groups working now, with more to come!

The Council will meet later this month. On the agenda is a discussion about an article written by a fellow librarian who works in a consortia using Alma. We will examine “Don’t Touch that Dial” and consider a survey exploring how many member staff work in areas the Alliance is active. We expect that these conversations will help us prepare for more comprehensive strategic planning.

The SILS Evaluation coordinating team is planning their first meeting. Soon we will be requesting member work in a variety of areas – instead of a large team doing most of the analysis of the SILS, we have created a coordination team supporting many small teams to do a smaller part of the SILS Evaluation work. You can keep updated on this page, and watch for calls for participation!

This week, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) released its white paper “Aggregating and Representing Collections in the Digital Public Library of America,” with CCD Program Manager Jodi Allison-Bunnell as one of the co-authors. This paper was the result of the recommendations that came from work done by the Alliance’s IMLS National Leadership Grant (2011-14), where the agency found the Alliance’s findings on contextualizing digital collections with finding aid metadata should be carried to a national level. The DPLA white paper recommends steps for DPLA and DPLA hubs to take to realize the advantages to researchers that the Alliance’s work--along with that of Europeana, the California Digital Library, and others--surfaced.

We continue work on the HR Transition project, with the staff, the HR Task Force, the Board and the Finance Team examining preliminary information from our consultants. Unfortunately, the health insurance market works on 90 day periods, leaving the Alliance without concrete information for July until Spring 2017. Nevertheless, we keep exploring how a new HR structure will work, in preparation for July 2017. 

Dana heads to Spokane and Seattle this month, to meet with member libraries. Dana will also meet with the new Washington State Librarian, learning about her vision for supporting library users in the State. 

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Lynn Baird, Chair of the Board and Council
Dana Bostrom, Executive Director

Program & Team Updates

Collaborative Workforce

CW Team
The CW Team reviewed and presented information to the Board regarding participation on Alliance groups for FY16. Revised versions based on Board feedback will be reviewed by Council at the November meeting.

Technical Services Working Group
  • The Alma November Release will be installed to production on Sunday, November 6. 
  • MARC 21 Leader Position 17 Enhanced for OCLC: MARC 21 leader position 17 for bibliographic records was enhanced to include OCLC options in the MD Editor form and Metadata Configuration.
    • These additional options are already included in the Alliance Brief Level rules so we do not anticipate problems with this change.
  • The release also now includes a "sneak peak" section for the December release.
Recruiting Trainers for Resource Management topics
  • We are currently recruiting trainers to assist in development of the curriculum. Please considering joining in this effort and expressing your interest via this survey. The revised deadline for completing the survey is COB Wednesday, November 23.
  • Remember, you can work on specific subsections of topics and we will work to find partners for those wishing to collaborate.
  • Thanks to all who have put their name forth so far! You will be contacted in the coming weeks to discuss your interest.
Shared Record Loading at the Alliance
The Alliance does not currently have capacity for staffing shared record loading. We recognize that shared record loading is one approach that could centralize and reduce labor for member institutions and is in line with the Alliance's strategic agenda item "Work Smart to maximize impact: do things once, do things the same, do things together." We understand the real potential for system-wide efficiencies with this work and appreciate the recent discussions on email lists and open calls on this topic.

Over the coming weeks, Program Managers Kathi Fountain and Cassie Schmitt will be examining how the Alliance can best create capacity to manage bibliographic records for sets of materials owned by many libraries. Our goal is to create a systematic and thoughtful approach to managing this area of work. We will be sharing out potential approaches with the technical services community later this year.

Updated in Documentation Center:
The following policies have been reviewed and approved with no changes: The main Technical Services Documentation page now includes additional information regarding who to contact with problems/questions and a list of other relevant contacts. You can find this information at the bottom of the page.

Open Calls
As a reminder the technical services open calls schedule is available on the TS Open Calls page.

Content Creation & Dissemination

Unique Collections in the SILS WG Seeks Issues, Solutions
The Unique Collections in the SILS Working Group (UCSILS WG) is spending November surfacing issues with (and solutions to) the representation unique materials in the SILS. Open forums with CCD Representatives and meetings with the Discovery, Technical Services, and Systems communities, and a survey for concrete feedback, are the mechanisms the group is using. 

The Unique Collections in the SILS working group is part of the Content Creation & Dissemination Team. It has two projects this year: 1) To study and characterize issues with unique physical collections in the SILS, including identifying practices that work well and proposing solutions in collaboration with Technical Services, Systems, Discovery and Delivery, and Normalization Rules; 2) To examine the current practice of creating MARC records for Archives West finding aids and explore potential alternatives. See our full charge here.

Once the group has completed its issue list, it will continue working with other groups to identify the sources of problems and work toward solutions. It is understood that resolving these issues involves examination and potential revision of both consortial and institutional practices and that issues of system limitations, effects on other materials, and resources will have to be considered.

Digital Collections Service Capacity Building: Plans to be Released in November
The Digital Collections Service of CCD will be releasing its proposed plans for metadata cleanup, the harvester infrastructure, and anticipated outcomes in DPLA and Alliance Primo in November for discussion and feedback. The plans are the result of many hours of analysis by our LSTA grant-funded Metadata Applications Librarian, Anneliese Dehner, and the Digital Collections Working Group, along with consultation with DPLA and our harvester programmer. The Digital Collections Working Group will release written materials on November 14, and will hold online discussion forums on November 17, 18, and 21 for the CCD, Discovery, Systems, and Technical Services communities. We look forward to lively discussions that help us shape our plans appropriately for action in December!

Discovery & Delivery


  • Testing the November release is under way, with installation to production scheduled for Sunday, November 6th. The Delivery open call, scheduled for 11/3, will discuss the release and what to expect. The open call recordings are posted on the the Discovery and Delivery page, under the Open Call Recordings and Agendas tab.
  • The Summit COE  has asked for demo session with Ex Libris to learn more about the fulfillment network resource sharing option, in light of some of the improvements to limiting linked patron data sharing found in the Alma November release.
  • The Summit WG has started contacting Summit processors to learn where things are working well in resource sharing, and where improvement is needed.
  • The Primo November Release, including improvements to functionality in both the current and the new Primo user interfaces, will be installed to the Alliance’s Premium Sandbox on either Sunday, November 13, or Sunday, November 20 - we'll announce the firm date as soon as we know it. Ex Libris has published the Primo November Release Notes; the Primo Release Testing Working group is currently working on customizing the release notes for the Alliance to highlight key features of interest to our community. Watch for announcements on the disc-discussion and the dd-reps email lists with more details.
  • The NRWG completed two weeks of testing for proposed norm rules changes, including 5 potential future replacements for the current Subject facet in Primo. NRWG will use the feedback received during testing to improve the subject facet for the next development cycle. The other changes have been implemented in the production environment.
  • On this month's open Discovery call, scheduled for 11/17: The Primo Release Testing WG's update on the November Primo release; an update from the Alliance Primo Customization JWG; and a presentation from the Unique Collections in the SILS WG.


  • The Courier RFP Committee is rapidly moving forward, and will begin reaching out to the resource sharing community soon for additional information to incorporate into their RFP draft.

Shared Content

E-Resources Operations
The Alliance staff who manage the end-to-end workflow have been engaged in a months-long investigation of ways to streamline our processes. The library contacts provided feedback on current processes and ideas for alternatives. Sister consortia offered suggestions based on their experiences working with their libraries. This month, we will interview consortia colleagues in more depth so we can arrive at a recommendation by December 1st.
Wiley and YBP Negotiations Update
Last month, you learned that YBP turned on holdings statements in GOBI for the Alliance’s Wiley ebook pilot. Negotiations between the two companies continue, but they should conclude by mid-November. In the meanwhile, holdings will remain for now. We hope they reach an agreement that allows YBP to remain workflow partners with us for the duration of the pilot.
Last Copy and Threshold Policies
The Shared Content Team launched its initial investigation to update the Last Copy Policy and the Threshold Policy. Roger Stelk (Whitman), Corey Murata (UW), and Zeb Evelhoch (CWU) are reviewing and updating the analyses done in previous years, and they will use this to propose updated recommendations.


Alma November release
The Alma November release will be installed on production on Sunday, November 6. Key Systems-related features include:

  • SAML Integration enhancements: there are a few changes, with the most substantial being that it is now possible to upload a metadata file from your IdP to Alma, to populate the relevant fields. See SAML section of release notes for information.

  • Webhooks: with this release, it will be possible to trigger a webhook request when a job is completed. Webhooks can be triggered when jobs complete, or when specific actions are completed. The notification sent to the webhook appears to be fairly generic. 

Survey on Alma Password Management
The Authentication Focus Group, created by the international and North America Ex Libris user groups, have created a survey related to Ex Libris' plan to phase out Alma internal accounts that have the password stored in Alma. Alliance Systems Team representatives have been requested to respond to this survey, which is due on November 15.

Once the Focus Group has this information, it will review it with Ex Libris and work with the vendor on migration solutions. In March of next year, Ex Libris and the Focus Group are expected to announce the supported migration solutions. That is, the solutions available to the Alliance/member institutions for managing this migration will be firmly identified. Ex Libris will also provide more information on the specific date for the phase out of accounts that have the password stored in Alma.

Idea Exchange
An idea submitted to the Idea Exchange by Doris Munson (EWU) for Primo to block requesting for expired patrons has been approved by Ex Libris and planned for development. Ex Libris’ Moshe Shechter wrote, “Thank you for this idea. We will indeed enable the system to consider not only the role expiry date, but also the account expiry date, so that if either is expired then the users’ privileges will be considered expired.” When implemented, this will remove the need for libraries to maintain some sort of workaround (such as moving expired users into a user group that block requesting).

A specific timeline has not yet been set for this development.

Editor's Note

Please send any feedback, thoughts, or suggestions for future content to Cassie Schmitt.

Check out the Alliance News on the web for future reference.
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