The Alma Working Group has worked hard on behalf of the Alma community. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the past few months.

2018 Enhancement Cycle

The 2018 Alma Enhancement Cycle officially began on January 28. New enhancements will be collected via NERS at There will be two rounds of voting: April 1-14 (20 top voted enhancements go to Ex Libris for pointing) and June 17-30 (final round). Enhancements voted through the process will be rolled out over the following 12 months.

2017 Enhancement Delivery

Many of our 2107 enhancements will be delivered late in Q2. We were provided with a delivery update from Ex Libris on 2/5/2018.

-3792: Portfolio Management: simplify process to remove, relink, and delete portfolios in electronic collections (May 2018)
-4995: Alternative process for resource sharing borrowing requests rejected by last partner on rota. (March 2018)
-4629: Fulfillment: loan embargo parameters needed (May 2018)
-5109: Show the number of holds on an item in Primo’s Get It tab, status (Q2: 2018)
-5271: Acquisitions: More Flexibility to Update Order Records (February and March 2018)
-3672: DOI and PMID in a Resource Sharing request (May 2018)
-4856: Fulfillment: When placing a resource sharing request item requestability as well as loans availability must display in Primo (May 2018*)
-3858: Fulfillment: Ability to send hourly overdue notices (Q2: 2018)
-5197: Display request history in Item Fulfillment history (May 2018 *)
-5254: Perpetual access indication and coverage needed at portfolio level (Q3: 2018)

Alma New User Interface

The Alma Working Group worked closely with Ex Libris and user community representatives, through the UX Focus Group, for the last several months on redesign of the look and feel of the Alma interface. Nine institutions were involved in monthly (or more) meetings to discuss use cases and discuss improvements with Ex Libris. Many thanks to the institutions that gave so much of their staff member’s time to help with this effort:

-Mannheim University (Germany)
-KU Leuven (Belgium)
-University of Wisconsin System (US)
-Getty Research Institute (US)
-Monash University (Australia)
-State Library of Queensland (Australia)
-University of Tennessee, Knoxville (US)
-University of Oslo (Norway)
-Northwestern University (US)

Phase 2 redesign will begin in February with the same institutions acting as the core focus group. It is likely that more institutions will be asked to participate as necessary as the group moves through its work. More on this effort will be shared in the coming months.

Open Testing Framework

Ten institutions entered into an Open Testing Framework pilot with Ex Libris in the early fall. The project involved using a shared system to support transparency in Alma release testing. This framework was created in response to Alma Community concerns about quality of testing. Volunteers for this particular initiative were sought from institutions already rigorously testing releases or, at least, rigorously reporting problems with releases. Results of this pilot project will be discussed at a webinar for pilot participants on February 14.

Elections for Alma Working Group

We did receive enough interest in joining the Alma Working Group to hold an election. The ballot will be released the week of 2/6/20

Betsy Friesen, University of Minnesota
Coordinator, Alma WG (Joint)