Alma/Primo Implementation Update

With the end of the academic year approaching, it seems like an appropriate time to update you on the implementation of Alma and Primo, our new library system and discovery tool.

First of all, thanks to the contract team, which included Johnna Horton, Joan Roca, Kevin McGrew, Rachel Wightman, and Sarah Quimby. Their time commitment and valuable insights are greatly appreciated. The contract was signed on March 30, 2017. In the end, we achieved a favorable contract, which included language that ensures the consortium members of a fully functional product, adequate performance and capacity, and some added premium services that will be very beneficial.

The first decision that needs to be made with regard to the implementation is when we want to go live on Alma/Primo. The PALS staff will then work with Ex Libris project managers to develop a timeline, working backwards from that date. The PALS staff has recommended to the Deans, Directors, and Coordinators of our member libraries a go live date in the January/February, 2019 timeframe. That gives us the ability to take advantage of the academic winter break and complete the implementation in a timely manner. It also allows for some flexibility in case there are delays. In addition, this was a date suggested by Ex Libris, taking into account when they will have staff resources available. We learned at the Annual Meeting that there is no single good time for all libraries to move to a new library system, but we hope you find this timeframe to be workable.

Our next step will be to select the vanguard libraries. These four libraries will have their data migrated to the new system as a first test of the data migration. In addition, we will use our experience with their implementation in planning for the migration and configuration of the entire consortium. These libraries will not go live ahead of the others. Thank you to those consortium libraries that have volunteered to be members of the vanguard group. After our next conversation with the Implementation Manager at Ex Libris, where we will talk more about the role of the vanguard libraries in detail, the PALS staff will select the four vanguard libraries. We expect this to happen within the next month.

Progress so far

  • Recommended go live date to leadership of the Consortium libraries on May 3, 2017
  • PALS staff is in the process of selecting the four vanguard libraries
  • PALS is in the process of opening a temporary project manager position to oversee this implementation project
  • First meeting between the PALS staff and the Ex Libris Implementation Manager was held on April 24, 2017
  • Second meeting between the PALS staff and the Ex Libris Implementation Manager is being scheduled for later this month

What we know about the implementation

  • 16 months total time for the implementation
  • 4 months for vanguard group of 4 libraries plus creation of the network zone
  • 12 months for full test of all libraries plus the network zone
  • 3 rounds of data loads (vanguard, full test, cutover)
  • Technical services data (cataloging, acquisitions, etc. ) migrated 1 month prior to go live; these services then frozen until go live
  • Migrate fulfillment (circulation) data 2-3 days before go live; use offline Circulation in the meantime
  • All libraries will migrate in a single wave (on one day or over a very short period of time, such as 2 weeks)

We will keep you informed as this project moves forward. The PALS staff is looking forward to working with all of you on this project. All the new features that Alma and Primo will bring to you and your patrons will make it worth the effort. Of course, our number one goal is to achieve a successful implementation, but we will also strive to make it as easy as possible for you and as seamless as possible for your patrons.

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