Discussions about an Analytics group began just before IGeLU 2015. Alma’s Product Working Group was forming an Analytics subgroup, and Ex Libris’s announcement of Oracle OBIEE as the analytics tool for hosted Primo suggested that a joint group would be useful. Skills in OBIEE would obviously be transferable across the 2 products. John Krug volunteered to get the group started and a round of recruitment began. The first remote meeting took place in April 2016.
Since then (coordinator / deputy coordinator)
- Q1 2016 – John Krug, Lancaster University (UK) / Margaret Briand Wolfe, Boston College (USA)
- Q3 2016 – Margaret Briand Wolfe / Joan Kolarik, The Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)
- Q2 2020 – Joan Kolarik / Davin Pate, University of Texas at Dallas (USA)
A common theme for users of Analytics is that it is difficult to understand, in many circumstances, what exactly the data presented in Analytics products means. Everybody has the experience of not being sure how what is presented in Analytics is derived from what is being presented in Alma/Primo or other source products. The data in Analytics is not directly the data from Alma/Primo, etc. but there has been an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) from Alma/Primo, etc. to OBIEE Analytics or other analytics products.
We believe there are benefits for all product users in having the product data models, the Analytics data models and the transform process openly specified and understood. It would make it more likely that problems arising will be accurately diagnosed. We believe this also benefits Ex Libris in that Analytics will be better understood, be more effective and users will be able to help find issues and improve the quality of the service that is delivered for the community.
This goal is held in common with the other groups. We entrust Ex Libris with our data, its storage, manipulation and security. It is our data and we wish to maintain and extend access to it whether through batch processes or APIs. The community wants to use this data with external data warehouses and visualization tools, not just within Ex Libris products.
It is our on-going job to collect and analyze evidence that identifies:
- problems/bugs found in the data in Analytics
- incorrect labeling or mapping from products to Analytics
- data not mapped at all from products to Analytics
- difficulty in understanding what is available via Analytics due to incorrect or incomplete documentation
We work to present this evidence in a unified format and persuade Ex Libris to devote resources to address the issues in a timely manner. The majority of the evidence is based on group research, Analytics issues documented in product lists, support cases, and issues raised at ELUNA and IGeLU. Once evidence is been gathered it is presented to the ELUNA and IGeLU steering committees as well as the Product Working Groups for comments and then presented to Ex Libris for discussion and with a goal of getting it on the roadmap towards resolution.
We are also putting together a survey. The survey will be repeated every 2 years to monitor progress and changes on issues over time.
Education and Advocacy
We will work with Ex Libris to improve and extend documentation and training materials within the community about the ETL process between Alma and Primo and Analytics and build a more complete thesaurus of the data available in analytics and where it derives from in Alma and Primo. There is also a need for a common language so that elements are called the same thing in Analytics as they are called in Alma and Primo. It is often hard to find data in Analytics when it has been renamed to something else. There has already been some community generated material and this should be collected, preserved and built upon.
We have started a Discussion List so SIWG members and other interested users can share the work they are doing and post questions, concerns, answers.
Meetings and Communications
A monthly electronic meeting takes place on the third Tuesday of each month.