Systems Department

last modified 2019-08-20T08:24:01-04:00

Current Status:

We’ve been assigned an implementation team, led by Fadi Helou. They will take our migrated data and pull it into a Production Environment/Sandbox. This environment is for our libraries to sort out configurations, determine our workflow, create training guides/manuals, train our staff, work on third-party integrations with external vendors, and resolve our patron loading. Updates recommended by ExLibris to the migration files were made. With the latest exported files, we are still getting a few problems with Law’s checkin records for their serial holdings. Christian has been working with Barbara at ExLibris to try to get this sorted. Everything else has passed their validation scripts, but Barbara may find a conflict later that will need correction.

The Coming Weeks 

  • The Alma groups will be getting training from Ex-Libris. It’s not to learn the system per se but to learn how to set up configurations, permissions, and other implementation aspects for the Production Environment.
  • When the migration forms are processed, Christian will receive the configuration forms based on our setup. The estimated date to receive this is August 23rd. We will have 3 sets of configuration forms for each library: Main, Med, and Law. He will work closely with Judy Meirose at Med and Ismael Gullon at Law to get those forms filled out.
  • Christian will also be working on getting the Student Information System (SIS) set up for loading patrons into Alma. This will involve updating Main’s current patron loading system for Sierra and making major changes to it for Alma. We will try to make the system as automated as possible so we can continue updating our patron records daily with little to no human interaction.
  • In addition to this, we will be phasing out barcodes for Mercer students and employees in Alma. New Mercer ID cards have an ISO code that allows users to tap for entering buildings, accessing meal plans, printing, etc. These cards have been in place for several years now, but incoming new students will only have these codes and no barcodes on their ID cards. Certain phones can also have these ISO codes installed on them; so new students could opt to use their phone for tapping instead of their Bear Card. This ISO code will replace current barcodes for patrons in Alma.  If a patron does not have a new card, we will try to keep the existing barcode. This should not affect community patrons, attorneys, Navicent employees, emerti, or other locally created accounts, only current Bear Card holders.
  • Med and Law Libraries will need to contact Ken Boyer with Auxiliary Services in the coming weeks about ordering Tap ID scanners for your circulation desks to be implemented after Alma Go-Live to replace barcode scanners for checking out books. At that point, our libraries will need to notify employee and student patrons to get a new Bear Card if they have the old cards without the Tap ID.

Looking Ahead

  • The Production Environment for both Alma and Primo are still scheduled to be provided to us around mid-September.
  • Towards the end of implementation, we’ll have our workshop in late October, which will be used by Alma trainers to clean up any workflow issues we couldn’t figure out and to recommend more efficient workflows based on how their system is setup.
  • At the beginning of December, we are still freezing anything Tech Services related. No new orders, otherwise they will need to be manually entered in after Alma is live. No cataloging changes or changes to any record. No new location codes or other system related codes.
  • The configurations, vendor records, and a few other sets of records that we develop with the Production Environment will move over to the Live Environment. Everything else will need to be re-extracted and reloaded into Alma to the current set Sierra records before go-live.
  • The last set of records will be circulation related, which is why a few days before Go-Live, we will freeze circulation in Sierra (everything will be done manually and re-entered into Alma after Go-Live).

Current Timeline:

Aug. 23

Receive Configuration Forms

Aug. 30

Alma migration test load for Production

Sept. 9

Alma Configuration Review

Sept. 11

Alma Configuration Forms Due

Sept. 18

Alma Production Environment with our data in the system delivered

Sept. 30

Primo Production Environment with our data delivered

Oct. 29-31

Alma on-site workshop

Nov. 3

Configuration Completion Deadline. Third Party Integration Completion Deadline. SIS Completion Deadline.

Dec. 2

Alma Cutover Migration Starts. Freeze all Technical services in Sierra (no cataloging changes or orders if possible)

Dec. 15

Freeze all Circulation activities in Sierra

Dec. 17

Go Live with Alma


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