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Alma project: building the new library management system

By Margaret Stone, on 19 April 2018

Click on this demo screenshot from Alma to view it at full size.

The project to implement Alma is now well underway and on schedule for launch by the end of August 2018.  The project team from Library Services (Digital Libraries Team members plus a lead person in each functional area) is in place, supported by ISD project staff and the project board chaired by Martin Moyle.  They have together been preparing the Aleph and SFX data for migration, receiving core training on the new system, and considering how Alma will be set up.  Alma is a new generation library management system which streamlines processes across different types of library resource and offers a modern, web-based interface for library staff.  Many core functions meanwhile will remain familiar from working with Aleph.

The leads for each functional area are:

Jason Hobart – Customer service
Mike Jones – E-resources
Phil Leonard – Inter-library loans and stores delivery
Bill Martin – Acquisitions
Thomas Meehan – Cataloguing and metadata
Matthew Reynolds – Welcome services

As part of the project, we need to ensure that Alma delivers all the intended benefits and supports library staff in delivering excellent customer service.  Many of you are already contributing to shaping Alma and we will continue to seek your input and help you get ready for the transition.  The training programme is now being devised, working with team leaders across the library sites to ensure the most suitable content, format and schedule for the needs of different sections.

Project communications will become more frequent and more detailed in the coming months.  We will be releasing regular progress updates, but please do contact the project team through the dedicated mailbox, isd.lmsproject@ucl.ac.uk, at any time with queries, suggestions or feedback.

In terms of direct impact on our library users, this will primarily be felt through changes in Explore and SFX.  Explore will continue to be the way users interact with our catalogue.  Even though Alma is web-based, it is a back-end system to which only library staff will log in.  The new interface to Explore, which has been running in parallel during this academic year, will become the sole interface from September, with Alma bringing some minor changes.  Again, this is a new, cleaner interface with mobile-friendly features.  We are already working with colleagues to update user guides and training to reflect these changes, and further information will follow.

Thank you all for your contribution to this important development.

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