News from the Alma PWG

Our Alma community continues to grow and the Alma Product Working Group (PWG) continues to work on your behalf. The PWG has been very busy since our last report in December.


You may recall that recommendations from the Licensing Task Force were forwarded to Ex Libris last fall. Some of those recommendations have already implemented in Alma. Some of the Task Force members will meet with Ex Libris staff via conference call on 29 April to talk about where the rest of the recommendations are on the Alma roadmap. The Task Force will report on their work at ELUNA and via the PWG.

Alma Enhancement Process

Following the development agreement between the ELUNA and IGeLU Steering Committees and Ex Libris, the PWG began work on an enhancement process for Alma. Ann Miller, University of Oregon, is our overall coordinator. Enhancement subgroups were formed from volunteers from Alma institutions around the world. The established subgroups and chairs are:

  • Acquisitions: Ann Kutulus, Tarrant County College, USA
  • Analytics: Scott Carlisle, Northeastern University, USA
  • APIs and integrations: Dave Allen, State Library of Queensland, Australia
  • E-resources management: Sion Romaine, University of Washington, USA and Jenny Quilliam, University of South Australia
  • Fulfillment: Chris Jones, University of Sheffield, UK
  • General: Thomas McNulty, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
  • Resource management: Ebe Kartus, Australian Catholic University, Australia
  • Resource sharing: Helen Loosli, UNILINC, Australia

Alma users entered over 600 enhancements (including duplicates) into NERS for our first enhancement cycle. The enhancement team is working their way through the enhancements to deduplicate, validate, consolidate and provide detail where needed. We are still on schedule to open the first round of voting on May 11.

While the PWG was setting up the enhancement process in NERS, we discovered we had not addressed enhancement of the Alma Central Knowledge Base. A new joint product process will be set up shortly to address CKB enhancement. Watch for this announcement after the ELUNA meeting and read more here in this issue.

Alma Usability

The Alma PWG was approached by Ex Libris to work on updating the user interface in Alma. Ex Libris decided to delay the proposed process while they looked more deeply into how to approach usability. The PWG is aware that the Alma community is very interested in this topic. We hope to have more news soon.

Community Zone Management Group

The PWG is working to establish a Community Zone Management Group (CZMG). It will function under the auspices of the Alma Product Working Group (PWG) in collaboration with Ex Libris staff. Using the document created by Ex Libris and the Community Zone Advisory Group, Alma Community Catalog: Cataloging Standards, Policies, Rights, and Responsibilities (Ex Libris, 2014), as a foundation, the group will serve to gather, interpret, and communicate the needs of users to Ex Libris on issues relating to the to the practical implementation of the initial document. The Group will also work in the best interests of the Community Zone (CZ) and Alma users to improve the data and functionality of the CZ.

Betsy Friesen, Alma PWG coordinator