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Procedure Notes: This procedure was written by Bob Thomas for the process he used at WWU.

Table of Contents

1. Overview

2. References

3. Obtain a Project ID from OCLC Batch Services

4. Changing the EDX Password

5. Configure FTP Profile for OCLC in Alma

6. Configure Publish to OCLC in Alma

7. Sample Publish to OCLC Bib Record

8. Notes on when bibliographic records are published to OCLC

9. Notes for Institutions with Multiple OCLC Symbols

10. Retrospective Cleanup

11. Known Issues


It has been more than a year since I completed some of the steps described in this document, so as you go through the process please send me notes about what needs to be updated, what isn”t clear, recommendations you receive which might be helpful to others, or anything else that would improve this document for the next person. Send any comments to Bob Thomas (bob.thomas@wwu.edu).

1.  Overview

The Alma ‘Publishing to OCLC’ functionality is designed to keep both title-level holdings and Local Holding Records (LHRs) in WorldCat in sync with the inventory in Alma for a given institution. This document will focus solely on publishing bibliographic records from Alma to OCLC which are then used by OCLC Batch Services to set title-level holdings in WorldCat. Publishing Holdings to OCLC, used to keep LHRs up-to-date in WorldCat, will be covered in a separate document.

Based on recent tests at my institution (WWU), I believe Alma”s publishing to OCLC process can successfully keep WorldCat title-level holdings in sync with an institution”s inventory in Alma a) for physical resources, and b) for institutions that use only a single OCLC symbol. For institutions that use multiple OCLC symbols, publishing to OCLC can automatically add new title-level holdings in WorldCat, but cannot remove title-level holdings when items are withdrawn. Also, Alma”s publish to OCLC does not support e-resources (see the Known Issues section later in this document).

The publish to OCLC functionality includes the following steps:

  • An Alma job creates a file of bibliographic records for any new or updated bib records in Alma which are marked to be published to OCLC as bib records;
  • Another Alma job places the output files of bib records on the OCLC ftp server;
  • An OCLC script created by OCLC Batch Services picks up the files from the OCLC ftp server;
  • Another OCLC script goes through each record in the file and adds a title-level holding based on the OCLC number in each bib record (if a WorldCat record already has a title-level holding for that OCLC symbol, no change is made).

Setting up Alma”s publish to OCLC is a fairly complex process, but once set up your title-level holdings in WorldCat will be kept much more up-to-date than manual processes (at least that”s the experience in my institution).

2.  References

  • Alma online help page: Publishing to OCLC
  • Alma online help page: Overview of Publishing to OCLC
  • Alma online help page: Publishing Print Holdings to OCLC
  • Alma online help page: OCLC Publishing in a Collaborative Network Environment
  • Ex Libris slide presentation ‘Publishing to OCLC’ by Yoel Kortick (2012) in the Ex Libris Documentation Center > Alma > Product Documentation > Integrations with External System > How To Documents and Presentations
  • OCLC page listing various batchload documents: https://www.oclc.org/support/services/batchload/documentation.en.html
  • OCLC instructions for requesting a batchload project: https://www.oclc.org/en-US/batchload/ordering.html
  • OCLC Batchload for Bibliographic Records Online Help (PDF version of User Guide is available by clicking the “pdf” icon in the upper right of the screen in online help): http://www.oclc.org/support/help/batchload/Default.htm
  • A copy of the batchload order form so you can read through it before completing it online: https://www.oclc.org/content/dam/support/batchload/documentation/using/checklistfororderingBib.pdf
  • Batchload Solutions for Bibliographic Records Quick Reference (short high-level overview; the Alma publish to OCLC is considered an ‘ongoing batchload project’): http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-office-suite.htm 
  • Ex Libris PowerPoint presentation, ‘Publishing to OCLC’ in Ex Libris Documentation Center > Alma > Product Documentation > Integrations with External System > How To Documents and Presentations

3.  Obtain a Project ID from OCLC Batch Services

You cannot complete Alma”s publish to OCLC configuration before getting a ‘Project ID’ from OCLC Batch Services. To obtain your Project ID, complete the request for a batchload project in the OCLC Online Service Center (see https://www.oclc.org/en-US/batchload/ordering.html). You will shortly receive an email response something like:

From: OCLC Batch Services [mailto:batchload@oclc.org] 

Sent: Monday, October 27, 2014 11:01 AM

To: [you]

Cc: batchload@oclc.org; support@oclc.org; batchinfo@oclc.org

Subject: [Your OCLC Symbol], Bibliographic Batchload Order Received (P012345)


We received your batchload order for a group and assigned the batchload project ID number P012345. Use only this "P" number to refer to your batchload project.

Please re-check your order data below for accuracy. Send an email to batchinfo@oclc.org <mailto: batchinfo@oclc.org> *BEFORE you submit your data to OCLC* (1) if you have corrections to your order or (2) if you included a note in the order that may impact how your records are processed.

* Institution symbol: [Your OCLC Symbol]


Notice that OCLC Batchload Services assigned a new OCLC symbol for this project (‘XFFBL’ in our case), as this was setup as a “group” project so that OCLC could set title-level holdings for multiple  OCLC symbols in a single project.

Note: In the OCLC batchload documentation, it mentioned the possibility of requesting an initial ‘scan & delete’ to make sure you started off with clean title-level holdings in WorldCat. When we asked about this, we were informed that a ‘scan & delete’ is treated as a ‘reclamation’ project, and therefore would entail a separate fee (in late 2014, the quoted fee was over $8,400 for a file catalog of about 875,000 bib records).

Here are some notes on how I completed the OCLC Order Checklist for Bibliographic Batchload form (remember – Batch Services staff will go over your form, ask questions, and will work with you as they examine the results of your test file – they were really helpful for us and were happy to make changes to the project setup):

  • Is your project for a single institution or a group (multiple libraries)? – If you only use one OCLC symbol, check ‘Single institution’; if you use multiple OCLC symbols, check ‘Group’. I then asked the library code in the 049$a field be used to determine the OCLC symbol, and all of our records were exported with an extra ‘049  $aMAIN’ that was unnecessary, so I asked Batch Services to ignore that value and they did.
  • What is the format of the data you are submitting for this project? – Check ‘MARC’ and ‘MARC 21’.
  • What is the location and format of your unique local system bibliographic number? – Check ‘001’.
  • What is the location of the OCLC control number in your records? – Check ‘035 $a (OCoLC)’.
  • Do you want to qualify the OCLC control number for record matching? – Check ‘Do not use any qualifiers’.
  • Select a Batchload project type. – We checked both ‘Ongoing’ and ‘Set or cancel based on value of Rec Stat’.
  • Do you want to display local bibliographic data to your users via WorldCat Local or Web-scale [now called WorldShare] Management Services? – Answer will vary based on what subscriptions you have with OCLC. We left this questions blank as we do not subscribe to WorldCat Local or WMS.
  • Should we add your records when they do not match existing WorldCat records? – We check ‘No’, as this would indicate we sent a record with no OCLC number (if the 035$a contains an obsolete OCLC number for a record that has been merged with a different record, Batch Services will automatically add your title-level holding to the appropriate record in WorldCat).
  • What output do you want to receive when your project is completed? – Since the goal is to set title-level holdings, we checked ‘Report only’.
  • How will you submit your records and who will submit them? – Since Alma needs to place the files of records on a remote ftp server, we checked ‘FTP to your library”s EDX account’.
  • Do you have more information to add about your project? – This is where I requested that OCLC ignore the ‘049  $aMAIN’ fields.

4.  Changing the EDX Password

When OCLC sets up your EDX account, they set the password to be the same as your user ID. You must first change this default password to a regular password, and then change it again every 90 days (actually, less than 90 days, as your password expires after 90 days). If your password expires, you can have OCLC reset your password by sending an email request to support@oclc.org (but it normally takes a few days).

I have not found a way to change the EDX password from within Alma, and my normal FTP no longer has a command line option (that I know of). So here is a way to reset an EDX password using the Windows command line ftp program.

  • Click on “Start” and the “Run” link (in Windows 7)
  • In the “open” box type “cmd” (without the quotes) and click the “OK” button.
  • At the prompt, type “ftp edx.oclc.org”

  • At the next prompt, type “open edx.oclc.org”

  • At the “User” prompt, type your login, e.g., txxx1 (where xxx is your OCLC symbol)
  • At the “Password” prompt, type the following: Current_password/new_password/repeat_new_password
    • For example, apple@12/orange12/orange12
    • The password must be 8 characters.
    • The password must have at least one alphabetic character (a-z, A-Z) and one numeric character (0-9), and can contain the symbols (#, $ or @).
    • The password does not display while typing.
    • Once expired, the password cannot be used again for 8 years.
  • Here is what my session looked like after a successful password change:

  • I use Outlook as my scheduling tool, so I set up an Outlook reminder every 85 days to reset our library’s EDX password.
  • I tried the above process with an expired password and it did not work. At that point, I had to request a password reset from OCLC Support (support@oclc.org).

5.  Configure FTP Profile for OCLC in Alma

Before configuring the ‘Publish to OCLC’ profile, you must set up an FTP profile for the OCLC EDX server. Go to Alma > General Configuration > Configuration Menu > External Systems > S/FTP definitions and click the “Add S/FTP connection” button. The profile should be set up as described below:

  • Server:  Use “edx.oclc.org”
  • Port:  Use port 21
  • Sub-directory:  Use “edx.ebsb.xxx.ftp”, but replace “xxx” with your OCLC symbol. When defining an FTP connection to a MVS server in Alma, the sub directory value must not be empty or contain slashes (a limitation in Alma).
  • Ftp Server Secured:  Leave unchecked. Alma does not currently support secured FTP connection to a MVS server.
  • Ftp Server Type:  Use “MVS” for the OCLC EDX server.
  • UserName:  Use “txxx1” but replace “xxx” with your OCLC symbol (i.e., the letter ‘t’ - followed by your institution symbol - followed by the number ‘1’).
  • Password:  The password you set your EDX account to in the previous section.
  • FTP Passive Mode:  Check this box, as the FTP connection to the OCLC EDX server will often fail if the passive mode is not used (based on an article in the “Knowledge” database in the Ex Libris customer service center).

6.  Configure Publish to OCLC in Alma

Once you have your Project ID from OCLC Batch Services, go to Alma > Resource Configuration > Configuration Menu > Record Export > Publishing Profiles > Publish bibliographic records (Batchload) to OCLC and select Actions > Edit. Complete the following configuration screen:

  • OCLC Institution symbol:  Enter the OCLC symbol you will be using for the OCLC Batch Services project.
  • Project number:  Enter the Project ID assigned by OCLC Batch Services.
  • Publishing mode:  Leave as “incremental” unless you are doing a special baseline or full project (must be coordinated with OCLC Batch Services and may incur additional fees).
  • FTP configuration: Select the FTP configuration profile for the OCLC EDX server you set up in the previous section. Note: You can configure an Alma FTP profile for a local FTP server so that you can examine the files Alma creates for testing purposes.
  • Subdirectory: Leave blank.
  • Status:  Select “Active” when ready to begin delivering files to OCLC.
  • Scheduling:  Select either the weekly option or the daily option (making sure OCLC Batch Services knows which schedule you will be using). Since it will become a fully automated process, we selected the daily option so that our WorldCat title-level holdings will be as up-to-date as possible. 
Notes from online help page 
    • “Publishing Print Holding to OCLC”: OCLC retrieves the data from the FTP directory every night at about 2:00 AM (EST)/ 11:00 PM (PST). If this is still accurate, our files dropped off at 3am will not be processed until late the same night (about 20 hours after they’ve been dropped off).
    • Running the OCLC publishing profiles (Publish bibliographic record (Batchload) to OCLC and Publish your Local Holdings Records (LHRs) to OCLC) may be done only once per day. If you attempt to run one of these profiles more than once a day, you will receive an error message.
    • When publishing bibliographic records to OCLC, the maximum number of records per file that can be published is 90K.

  • Email Notifications: Click Email Notifications complete the process to specify which users and email addresses will receive email notifications when the publishing job has completed. Here is a sample email from WWU showing OCLC successfully retrieved a file from the EDX server for batch processing (note the time within the email appears to be EST while the time the email was sent appears in PST):
From: OPC@esa1.dev.oclc.org [mailto:OPC@esa1.dev.oclc.org] 
Sent: Monday, September 21, 2015 11:03 PM
Subject: EDX batch input notification

 Summary of EDX.EBSB scan for XFF completed on Tuesday, September 22,
  2015 at 2:03 am.

     "Hdrcnt" is the count recorded from the EDX header (default 0).
     "Rejects" are strings of data ending in a record terminator which
       may be badly formatted records.  These will normally be written
       to a separate PASS file (if the name is included below).
     "Copied" is the count of records accepted for further processing.

     Header data in error is automatically substituted and will
       appear in parentheses below.

                 EDX.EBSB files read and copied:

 User      Inst       HdrDate    Run Option  Hdrcnt  Rejects   Copied
 ----      ----       -------    ----------  ------  -------   ------
 XFF       XFF        20150921    P017597      2048        0      991
      P017597   New   DBS.@XFF.MARCIN.D150921                     991
    Original file: EDX.EBSB.XFF.FTP.DATA.D150921.BIBS

7.  Sample Publish to OCLC Bib Record

Here is a sample record from a “Publish Bibs to OCLC” output file in the WWU environment. It shows we needs a title-level holding set in WorldCat for OCLC record ‘ocn181643979’ and that last 049 field shows the resource is held in our Music Library. Based on the conversion table we provided to OCLC Batch Services, resources in our Music Library will be assigned a title-level holding for OCLC symbol ‘XFF’.

LDR  01753njm a2200385Ia 4500
001  9992423595201453
005  20150624150357.0
007  sdfmngnn||||d
008  071120s1991laujznnfnzxxd
028  02$aJCD-22$bJazzology Records
035  $a(OCoLC)181643979
035  $a(OCoLC)ocn181643979
041  0$geng
048  $abc01$awc01$aka01$apd01
049  $aXFFA
050  4$aM1366.D38$bA35 1991
[all fields of full bib record here]
994  $aC0$bXFF
049  $aMUSIC

8.  Notes on when bibliographic records are published to OCLC

1.  Whenever a new record is created or added to Alma, the “Export to WorldCat” field (which can be viewed in the MetaData editor) is automatically set to ‘Publish bib’. You only need to a) find the records that should not be published to OCLC and change the setting of “Export to WorldCat” to ‘Don”t publish’, and b) find the records which you want holdings published to OCLC and change the setting of “Export to WorldCat” to ‘Publish holdings only’.

2.  What about on-order records?
As explained above, as soon as a bib record is added to Alma, if the ‘Export to WorldCat’ management tag is set to ‘Publish bib’ (which is the default setting for all new bib records), the bib record will automatically be included in the next file sent to OCLC. The only way to stop this behavior is to manually change the ‘Export to WorldCat’ management tag to ‘Don”t publish’.

3.  From the Ex Libris ‘Knowledge’ database on in the customer service center:
Question:  When will a deleted record be published to OCLC? For example, a record whose items were withdrawn and the holding record was suppressed. Will the record be published as deleted (LDR position 5 'd')?

Answer:  OCLC publishing as 'd' applies only to bib records without holdings. Using Withdraw Items with option to suppress the holding record - still means that the bib has holdings.

9.  Notes for Institutions with Multiple OCLC Symbols

1.  You can use a single Alma process/OCLC project to set title-level holdings for multiple OCLC symbols by using the OCLC “group” project approach. In an OCLC “group” project, OCLC batch services uses a table (provided by you) to set the appropriate OCLC symbol based on a field/subfield value you specify (WWU uses the Library code in the 049$a field). This approach works great for setting title-level holdings, but 

2.  In our case, Alma was configured to output the Alma library code in 049$a. Alternately, Alma can be configured to output OCLC symbols in 049$a. OCLC Batch Services can be configured to use either library code or OCLC symbol. Since our output files were being created with library codes, we provided the following table to OCLC Batch Services so they could set title-level holdings for the correct OCLC symbol based on the library codes in the 049$a:

Library OCLC Symbol

3.  Since WWU used an OCLC Batch Services “group” project, I had to request that any associated reports and files for the project be placed in our “normal” (XFF) Product Services Web account for easy retrieval. This did not happen automatically.

10.  Retrospective Cleanup

Once I got the publish to OCLC process working correctly, I wanted to go back and make sure title-level holdings had been set in WorldCat for all the resources we”ve added since we went live with Alma (I had some indications that there were cases where title-level holdings had not been set).

I started by creating a set in Alma using the following logic (we went live on 6/13/2013):  Physical Titles where Physical items (Creation date after "2013-06-20" and Process type is empty). However, whether I included the optional holding information fields or not, I could not get an exported file that MarcEdit could read (a problem I”ve encountered before with Alma). So, I retrieved the data from Alma Analystics using the following analysis criteria:

I included the Library Name field only because we have multiple OCLC symbols and this allowed me to set the appropriate symbol for each resource. However, the presence of that field resulted in some additional data cleanup work, so don”t include it unless you have to. If I were to do it again, I would add a filter for Library Name and not included it in my output data.

The output from the above query looked like the following:

I just used the Analytics export feature to download the report data in Excel format. I was then able to cleanup the “Network Number” column by splitting the column in to multiple columns using Excel”s “Text to Columns” tool, remove records that didn”t contain an OCLC number, remove non-OCLC numbers, make sure the first “Network Number” column contained an OCLC number, then deleted all the rest of the “Network Number” columns. I ended up with a spreadsheet containing just a list of OCLC numbers.

I then copied the OCLC numbers into a plain text (.txt) document, which Connexion prefers. Finally, in Connexion, I selected Batch > Holdings by OCLC Number’:

And used the following options for importing my OCLC number keys and setting title-level holdings in WorldCat. A file of 1,000 OCLC numbers only took 2 ½ minutes to process in Connexion, so the files of OCLC number keys can be fairly large.

Once I was done setting holdings for over 22,000 bib records (that contained OCLC numbers) we had added since going live in Alma, I found that title-level holdings had not been set on 1,075 WorldCat bib records. This entire cleanup process took me less than four hours for a catalog of about one million records, so I thought it was time well spent to get our WorldCat holdings improved. Note: This process will not remove title-level holdings from WorldCat records for resources you no longer hold (but it saved us the cost of a reclamation project).

11.  Known Issues

1.  Alma is currently not able to publish bibliographic records to OCLC for e-resources.

2.  Alma is currently not able to publish bibliographic records to OCLC for records (without attached inventory) linked to host bibliographic records.

3.  For institutions with multiple OCLC symbols, Alma does not publish a delete title-level holdings to OCLC when the last item related to a specific OCLC symbol is withdrawn/deleted. While the bib is published to OCLC, it does not contain the necessary information that lets OCLC know that the WorldCat title-level holdings need to be removed for a specific OCLC symbol. (Alliance Salesforce case #00141970; submitted March 2015, Status: In Development as of August 2015)

4.  Alma can be configured to have a separate OCLC symbol for each library. However, it cannot be configured to use more than one OCLC symbol within a location (e.g., for WEST storage, which requires a separate OCLC symbol than used for normal serial holdings). (Alliance Salesforce case #00141969; submitted March 2015: In Product Manager Review as of April 2015, ‘was placed on the roadmap’)

5.  Alma publishes bib records to OCLC every time a bib record is changed or additional inventory is added. Bib records should only be published to OCLC when the first inventory is added (or the first inventory is added for each OCLC symbol). (WWU Salesforce case #00111784; submitted October 2014; In Product manager Review as of October 2014)

6.  Alma sometimes includes a bib record in the output files which is longer than the 99,999 maximum record character length allowed by MARC21. (WWU Salesforce case # 00112953; submitted October 2014; In Development as of November 2014)

7.  We (at WWU) have previously had a problem with Alma creating MARC bib records which are invalid based on MARC21 bib standards. Two problems we”ve seen are Alma not including the correct record length, and creating records which exceed the MARC21 defined maximum length for bib records. Any file containing these invalid records will cause the OCLC software to stop processing the file at the point it encounters an invalid record. I”ve reported the problem to Ex Libris (WWU SFC #00177012). But I”m also now logging the number of records in each day”s file, and the number of records processed by OCLC the next day (both based on emails I receive from Alma and OCLC). I plan to contact OCLC any time the numbers don”t match, and to use MarcEdit”s validate tool to find and remove invalid bib records and resubmit the file (which will have to be done manually – and the label file will have to be recreated and also resubmitted).

Software: Alma

Current phase: NA Written by: Bob Thomas

Approved by: NA
Last updated: 9/25/2015
Staff Contact: Cassie Schmitt Nature of last update: minor update

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