ILS Coordination Team - General Information

Description – Implementation of Alma and Primo VE

Over the next year, the Library will be migrating from the current Integrated Library System (ILS) Voyager system to Alma and Primo VE, Ex Libris’ cloud-hosted library management systems and discovery instance. The ILS Coordination Team will coordinate the implementation of the Alma/Primo systems. Working with individuals at the Consortium of Academic Research Libraries (CARLI), Ex Libris project managers, and other members of the UIUC Library, the ILS Coordination Team will define and help configure the functional workflows, tasks, best practices, and services of the Alma/Primo systems. The Team will also work to implement and configure the Primo Discovery system as the public interface of the Library’s online catalog and local digital collections.

Information about Alma and Primo VE

What is Alma?
An all-in-one system offered by Ex Libris that covers all library operations: selection, acquisition, metadata management, digitization, and fulfillment. Alma is a cloud-based (SaaS) unified library services platform that helps manage the Library’s print, electronic, and digital materials in a single interface.

What are Primo VE and the Primo Central Index?
Primo VE is a new deployment model of Primo that combines the backend processes of both Alma and Primo VE into one integrated platform. All configuration and management processes are done from within Primo configuration menus in Alma in order to simplify Primo backend management processes.

The Primo Central index is a mega-aggregation of hundreds of millions of scholarly e-resources. Primo VE integrates with the Primo Central Index in the same way as other Primo deployment models. The Library can activate the collections we wish to expose for searching, and the results can be displayed as blended or separate from the locally managed records. The Library manages their electronic resources in Alma, which then publishes the holdings information to Primo VE, indicating which resources should be displayed as full text available. Primo VE also has feature that enables the Library to match physical and electronic holdings.

In addition to showing the electronic services available, Primo VE also checks to see if there are any relevant physical holdings and shows users that the library also holds a physical copy for that resource.

PowerPoint presentation on Alma/Primo VE implementation

August 6th PowerPoint presentation

Alma and Primo VE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The CARLI Office has created a site with answers to frequently asked questions so far during the test migration and implementation of Alma and Primo VE. This information can be found at:

Timeline of the Implementation of Alma and Primo VE

The ongoing schedule for the implementation of Alma/PrimoVE systems at UIUC Library includes:

Library-wide information sessions on Alma/Primo VE implementation

The ILS Implementation Team will have three identical information sessions in late July and early August to give updates on the Vanguard Test Phase for the implementation of the Alma/Primo systems here in the Library and in the I-Share consortial libraries. During the current Vanguard Test Phase, we have had access to test instances of both Alma and Primo for about 3-4 weeks now and the Team is busily examining the migration of the Library’s Voyager and SFX data into the new systems and determining how all this maps over to the different structures in Alma/Primo. We have gained a good overview of the Alma/Primo systems and we are at a place where we want to give a preliminary introduction to the Library and showcase the functionalities of both systems.

The dates for the Alma/Primo Implementation sessions are:

  • Tuesday, July 23rd, 1 – 2 p.m. in Room 106
  • Tuesday, July 30th, 11 – 12 p.m. in Room 106
  • Tuesday, August 6th, 11 – 12 p.m. in Room 106

There will be many more information sessions in the Fall 2019 after we get access to the Library’s new instances of Alma and Primo during the Second Test Phase starting mid-October

Activity so far during the Implementation of Alma and Primo

March 12, 2019 – Kick off meeting for the Vanguard Test Phase with Ex Libris Project team, CARLI, and the five libraries involved with the Vanguard Test Phase of Alma/PrimoVE implementation.

March 13th to April 25th, 2019 – We have been working daily with Ex Libris and CARLI to get our data ready to migrate into the new systems. In the next few weeks, Ex Libris will copy and extract the Library’s entire catalog (including Acquisitions, Cataloging, and Circulation data) to do a test load into Alma. Since the last report, we have been busy filling out the various implementation forms including to prepare for this test migration and configuration:

  • Migration Form for mapping our existing data from Voyager over to Alma’s structured setup
  • Configuration Form to help setup Alma/Primo systems for how we want them to operate
  • Print 2 Electronic (p2e) process to identify all the Library’s electronic resources to populate the online inventory of etitles
  • Primo VE Worksheet to configure the discovery layer of Primo interface

April 26th to April 30th – Ex Libris successfully extracted our Voyager and SFX data and records and migrated it over to UIUC Library’s test Instances of Alma and Primo. Overall, it took about 3.5 days (82 hours) to complete the extraction. Both the CARLI Office and members of the ILS Implementation Team were observing the process to see if production activity was impacted from the extraction and we did not detect any noticeable slow-down of processes. This will be good information to have for later extractions of our data.

May 21st, 2019 – After the extraction of our data and then the mapping process of data to Alma structure, we were delivered a test instance of our Alma System. We are currently testing how our data and records migrated over and how it mapped over from the configuration information we supplied to Ex Libris in building up the Acquisitions, Cataloging/Resource Management, Fulfillment/Circulation, User Management, and Analytics sections of the system. See the screenshots below for the initial Alma Dashboard screen and dropdown options in the Resources Management section

Week of May 27th, 2019 – The Library will receive a complete test instance of our Primo Discovery instance. This version of Primo is very different from the one that the Library experimented back in 2012-2014. The library is configuring this version to basically replace the Voyager and VuFind online catalog search. We will be activating a few electronic and digital collections within the Primo Central Index, including IDEALS, HathiTrust public domain titles, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Center for Research Libraries (CRL) holdings, several Alexander Street Press collections, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, and Naxos Digital Library.

May 27th, 2019 – The ILS Coordination Team did receive a Vanguard Test version of the Library’s Primo instance. It is completely different version from the previous Primo instance the Library had back in 2012-2014. It has a much different interface, a combined Ex Libris and ProQuest Central Index of collections that can be activated by the Library, and there are additional options in creating individual search scopes/profiles (for Catalog only search, WorldCat search, IDEALS and local digital collections, ProQuest Newspaper Collections search, Course Reserves, DataSets, and other possibilities). We have viewed that known-item search capabilities are improved. Relevancy ranking appears to be better than in the previous version with Primo now being able to search across various fields (author, title, publisher, pubdate, etc.) and bring the best matched to the top of results lists. We are looking forward to testing out the Primo and Alma APIs to incorporate searches into Easy Search Bento Discovery.

Month of June 2019 – We have been busily testing the migration of our Voyager and SFX data into the Alma system. We received our Vanguard test instance of Alma on May 21st and we are doing some initial testing and observation of the migration of data and how it mapped over into the structure of the Alma system. Good news. We did observe that most of the acquisitions, bibliographic records, holdings data, items data, SFX knowledgebase activations, Reserve items, Library patron information, items with circulation statuses, and library location information did migrate over successfully. There were some issues with the migration of our data including:

  • Ex Libris use of a Master bibliographic record that overrides some of our local versions of bibliographic records
  • Representation of analyzed titles and boundwiths in both Alma and Primo
  • Technical categories being assigned to items in Voyager that have a status (In Process, Lost, Missing, etc.)
  • Information normally recorded in the Voyager holding record not showing in the Primo discovery instance

Month of July 2019 – We are entering the 2nd Test Phase of the implementation of Alma and Primo VE. The Vanguard Test Phase of the five I-Share libraries was completed on June 28th. The UIUC Library will continue to have access to the Vanguard Test instances of Alma and Primo VE through September 30th 2019. We will also continue to have access to the Ex Libris Project Team through the end of September as well as we continue to test the Vanguard Test version of both Alma and Primo VE. On July 9th, CARLI and Ex Libris held the 2nd Kick-Off meeting that pulled in representatives from all 91 I-Share libraries that will be involved with migrating and implementing the Alma/Primo VE systems over this next year.

In mid-October 2019, the Library will receive a new Test Phase instance of Alma and Primo.

We do continue to test the migration of the Library’s data from Voyager and SFX into Alma. There have been some major issues we do want Ex Libris to address in the near-term and in future stages of the implementation. The most important problem we have encountered so far is the performance issues with slowness of both the Alma and Primo VE systems in returning search results. Also, facets are not displaying properly at times. If one clicks too soon as results are resolving, the system hangs up and the user has to re-initialize the search or even start over completely. This will need to be addressed during the 2nd Test Phase of the implementation.

Here is screenshot of a Primo VE sample search:

Information and training sessions on Alma and Primo VE

There are large representations of documentation and training videos on Alma and PrimoVE on the Ex Libris Essentials pages. A full list of available sessions can be viewed at the Ex Libris Essentials site at:

Charge of the ILS Coordination Team

The ILS Coordination Team will oversee the implementation of Alma/Primo to have it ready to utilize by all Library employees by the defined Go-Live date of summer 2020. The Team will be responsible for configuring the ILS system for successful use by Library personnel to acquire, catalog, manage, inventory, and share/utilize the Library’s Collections. The Coordination Team will define and configure the workflows, processes, and best practices for the individual sections of the new system. This will require successful completion of the Alma Certification Training courses to be able to access the configuration menus of the sandbox and production environments. The individuals appointed to the Team will be the expert and decision-maker for these individual functional areas of the system. The Team will also produce and review documentation and training materials for the new system to prepare Library personnel to work with the new system. The team will help test all aspects of the new system to help configure to most optimal settings for the Library. The ILS Coordination Team will continuously communicate out to the Library the status of the implementation to the new system, and inform how it will impact their work. Finally, as the coordination team concludes its work on the implementation, the Team will be tasked with providing a preliminary assessment of the new ILS, the anticipated impact of the new ILS on staffing levels in key units, and opportunities for the institution to utilize the new ILS that will provide increased flexibility and opportunity among staffing in the following two to three years.

Membership of the ILS Coordination Team

The ILS Coordination Team will include representatives from the various functional areas of the system including:

Chair – Responsible for the coordination of the team’s work, establishing project vision, managing timelines, direction setting, and problem solving.

  • Michael Norman, Discovery Services Librarian and ILS Coordinator

Acquisitions – Works with the acquisitions processes in the current system including ledgers/funds, POs and invoices, and acquisition of print materials (including monographs and serials).

  • George Gottschalk, Acquisitions Operations Specialist
  • Stephanie Baker, Library Information Systems Specialist
  • Chad Lewis, Assistant Chief Accountant

E-Resources – Works with the e-resources management workflows in current system including procurement, licensing, and management of electronic resources.

  • Wendy Shelburne, Electronic Resources Librarian

Fulfillment and Circulation – Works with the fulfillment and circulation processes in the current system include patron registration and management, circulation policies, and calendar matrices, including Oak Street integrations

  • Janelle Sander, Patron Services Manager
  • Jenny Maddox, Collection Management Librarian

Lending and Interlibrary Loan – Works with borrowing and lending processes in the current system including lending and borrowing and external resource sharing management applications.

  • Cherie’ Weible, Associate Dean For User Services and Central Access Services Librarian

Cataloging and Resource Management – Works with the cataloging and resource management processes in the current system including bibliographic and authority records, inventory, and local cataloging practices.

  • MJ Han, Metadata Librarian and Interim Head of Content Access Management

Systems Administration and Dashboard Permissions capabilities set up within the new system – Works with the systems administration and configuration of the primary roles and functionality capabilities and then helps on an ongoing basis when new people are added to work in the system. Work to show all how to use the enhanced reporting capabilities of the system.

  • Tracy Tolliver, Director of Information Technology
  • Megean Osuchowski, Help Desk Coordinator

Public Services – Works with the public services aspects of the system including the public display interface, user interaction with various bibliographic utilities of the system, users account and personalizing services, documentation and instruction on utilizing the catalog, and educating users about the new catalog.

  • Sarah Holder, Head of Research and Information Services

Discovery and Delivery – Works with the Discovery and Delivery aspects of the system (including utilizing APIs) and integration of the online catalog into the various discovery environments of the Library and I-Share consortia.

  • William Mischo, Head, Grainger Engineering Library Information Center

Training and Documentation – Works to provide training for the Library to use the new ILS system, and works with the implementation team and Library employees to identify documentation needs and how to address them for different components in the system.

  • Jake MacGregor, Organizational Development & Training Coordinator
  • Alisha Taylor, Monographic & Media Cataloging Coordinator for Cataloging and Resource Management Training — Cataloging documentation and training

User Experience – Works with the implementation team to identify, define and improve the overall user experience of the ILS and its public interface. Such work may include direct work on the system (when possible), or liaison work with consortial partners at CARLI.

  • John Laskowski, User Experience & Web Strategy Coordinator

Communication – Works to keep the Library informed on the implementation of the new system, sets up information sessions about changes and enhancements, advertises the significant changes or various stages in the development of the implementation and go live dates, and informs the Library’s User Community to all forthcoming changes and impacts on their saved information.

  • Heather Murphy, Chief Communications Officer