Trip Report: 6th IGeLU Conference, Haifa 11th-13th September 2011

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The 6th annual meeting of the "International Group of Ex Libris users" (IGeLU) took place in Haifa, Israel from 11th to 13th September 2011. The meeting has been attended by Inga as well as by Regina Bost and Benjamin Tetzlaff from the GWDG. This page summarizes our experiences and findings. Further information can be found via the conference program and the #IGeLU11 twitter stream.

Summary: The conference was attended by 418 participants from 34 countries worldwide.

Schwerpunkte - Cloud services? Combining Ex Libris products with OS?


Systems Seminar:

Videos form the Social Event: (Peter Klien as stand-up comedian)

Sunday, 10th September 2011[edit]

Ex Libris Report (Matti Shem Tov, Ex Libris)[edit]

  • company: 200 new customers, now 4900 institutions from 81 countries; growing number of staff (475->520, mainly new R&D) and the company grow continuously (- 93 mio revenue). Continuous growth in Asia (dramatic achievements). Primo: from 718-860. SFX from 1800-2200.
  • new section: Uri Livnat, VP Cloud Services
  • new partnerships with OCLC and Elsevier
  • new initiative: Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) launched in Jan 2011 under NISO ballot
  • achievements: the company is in very good shape and the development of Ex Libris is according to plans (decoupling of backoffice and front end). cloud-based computing: more offering, improved infrastructure and service. quality assurance: became ISTQB-certified (ISTQB=International Software Testing Qualifications Board)
  • Primo Central Index (PCI): In the last year, the number of PCI customers has grown from 318 to 738, 74% from Primo, 20% from MetaLib, 6 % from MetaLib+; 480 mio items under agreement, 84 mio regional items
  • Alma embraced by libraries! 24 early adapters representing 60 institutions have been committed to Alma, small to large
  • transition to cloud services has an impact on business model (the license-maintenance model is fading out and replaced by subscription model -> rapid move), application architecture (multi-tenancy) and operating structure (internal changes in the processes to cope with new requirements regarding hosting & support). uptime percentage: 99.95% across all products
  • key focus: cloud (paradigm shift), Alma, Primo, bX, Rosetta, new unit: Cloud Services
  • data centers: now 4 centers in NA and 2 in Europe; in the future: 1 center in NA (Chicago?), 1 in Europe (Amsterdam?) and 1 in Asia (Singapore or Australia?)
  • product roadmaps:
    • Alma: general release in Jan 2012
    • Aleph & Voyager: a huge customer base and it will at least take 10 years to move them into the new architecture. development for Aleph&Voyager will retained, but may be slowed down a bit

The new frontier: battle intensifies to win hearts, minds and tech dollars (Marshall Breeding)[edit]


Finding from an international perceptions survey: nobody is really satisfied with its automated library system and this is in particular true for big libraries, see

Ex Libris is a remarkable company, in particular because they are growing steadily and rapidly (e.g. personnel in R&D from 57 in 2005 to 174 in 2010). Ex Libris has a higher proportion in R&D.

ILS suppliers: New phase of competition following a period of research & development

key contexts:

  • academic libraries in transition: shift from print to electronic, strong emphasis on digitizing local collections. demands for enterprise integration and interoperability
  • technologies in transition: beyond web 20. and a full spectrum of devices
  • changed expectations in metadata management: life cycle of metadata, models of sharing the metadata which are more efficient than traditional copy cataloging, linked data

status quo sustainable?

  • the larger the library is, the more "business systems" will you have (e.g. ils, link resolver, ... and libraries won't be able to manage them long term
  • phase of realignment: e.g. legacy library systems enforce workflows no longer of priority

competing models

  • comercial ILS
  • open source ILS
  • new generation URMs
  • cloud-based automation systems

issues for

  • academic library: managing the balance between print, electronic, digital & providing discovery tools
  • public library: how to operate when ebooks are so cheap to individual users
  • national library: digital curation

cloud computing & employment of resources:

  • library technology should focus on higher level value service and outsource lower level IT services, server management moves from library to vendor, subscription based business model
  • most financial resources are spent on electronic resources, but most personnel resources still focus on the management of print collection

the next generation (after ILS): "Library Services Platform":

  • next generation systems must serve as platforms to connect external systems as well as to deliver internal functionalities...
  • next generation: matched set approach between backoffice and frontend to avoid inefficient integration between automation and discovery platforms. still possible to decouple, but more work, worse results

Strategic Update (Oren Beit-Arie, Ex Libris)[edit]

foremost: move to the cloud

  • sharing, community, collaboration - in regard to collections and data, but retain: uniqueness and identity

background: increasing costs

  • Acquisition: we can't afford everything
    • transition from ownership to access = transition from selection/acquisition (library perspective) to fulfillment (user perspective)
    • effective resource management, e.g. collection management tools
    • collaboration, e.g. shared purchasing. Numbers from HathiTrust: 750000 books (23%) are owned by > 100 libraries = big potential for reduction of costs
    • new models, e.g. just-in-case -> just-in-time (= Patron Driven Acquisition, PDA in Alma/Primo or Controlled pay-per-view in Alma/Primo)
  • Cataloging: we can't catalog everything

collaborative metadata management: inventory, library zone (private metadata), community zone () ex libris has installed a community zone advisory group, to advise on policies, stnadards and procedural activities, see http://www.Ex{916AFF5B-CA4A-48FD-AD54-9AD2ADADEB88}&itemid={66EF0D37-0AE4-4582-83E6-6B96A2A776BF}

  • Discovery: want discovery a lot

Open Discovery Initiative (ODI). Goal: to improve the ecosystem of library discovery services by establishing a more standard set of practice, see context becomes more important for deciding which kind of materials is relevant to a user scholarrank: query+item+user, personalizing relevance ranking in Primo

Three quick points for 2013: 1. Mind the gap!

  • google does an extrendous work with user analysing & text mining (to predict what the user wants)
"Hot Articles" as second output of bX
usage data will also impact "data-driven decision making"

2. Pracmatic approach

  • yes, the area is very complex, but there are pracmatic approaches (low hanging fruits)

3. facing the book

key goals: enable libraries: demonstrate clear value, work meore efficiently, drive new services

Monday, 11th September 2011[edit]

Alma Product Update (Bar Veinstein, Ex Libris)[edit]

overall roadmap of Alma: consolidate the current frameworks (e.g. unify management of all resource types), optimize through collaboration (e.g. moving services to the cloud to reduce costs of ownership), extend the range of services.

  • Jun 2012: 12 early adopters
  • Jun - Dec 2012: moving to production

Alma means sites "will lose some control", but Ex Libris will work with the Alma development partners to ensure that local needs (e.g. formerly implemented by triggers in the database) can be solved via the APIs.

The 3rd partner release brought a new dashboard which changed Alma to become more proactive, e.g. by presenting information to users according to their role e.g. Tasks / notification of events.

Alma partners believe in the Alma concept of consolidating all processes into a unified resource management because they are no longer able to maintain so many systems in parallel (e.g. ILS, link resolver, ERM, etc.)

Alma agile development, the customer should no longer be aware of new releases; updates every month, releases three times a year => customer is always on the latest release

Evolutionary Path for Every Customer. Ex Libris commitment: active roadmaps are existing for Aleph, Voyager, Verde and Digitool, but should consider to migrate to Alma to benefit from the advantages, e.g.

Why should customers move to Alma?

  • TCO (total cost of ownership, e.g. no HW/SW investment)
  • ROI (return of investment)
  • DIV (demonstrated institutional investment)

From the Partners Perspective (Bob Gerrity, Boston College - absent; Bart Peeters, K.U.Leuven; Paul Bracke, Purdue)[edit]

Ex Libris perspective, Carmit Marcus (Ex Libris)[edit]

Alma brought a couple of collaborative programs between Ex Libris and customers, incl. development partners (4 customers), Australia collaborative partnership (8 customers), early adopter programs in Europe, North America and ANZ (about 20+ customers in total).

The goal of these collaborations is to gain feedback, e.g. regarding

  • conceptual design phase
  • migration of data
  • workflows
  • user interface design
  • testing of partner releases

Development partner releases are partially working systems, including migration of customer data. Are tested by partners for 3 months

Reporting and integration with LMS, presentation prepared by Bob Gerrit and delivered by Carmit Marcus[edit]

Partner release 4 currently in test by Boston College is much more functional. The release allows role specific tasks and a configurable dashboard.

Goal: better reporting tools within Alma. With Aleph BC had to create many reports outside of Aleph/ARC framework to meet local needs.

Ability to extract all of he BC Alma data into data warehouse and loading additional data from local sources.

In the collaboration BC and Ex Libris brainstormed about the types of analytics BC wish to have, e.g. predicted funds burn down.

collaboration on course reserves

BC requirements for Alma to support for CR digitization workflows (currently done manually outside of Aleph), discovery via Primo desirable, but bigger interest to create CR services that can be embedded elsewhere (e.g. Blackboard).

Alma course reserve API.

  • integrate the Alma supplied reading list citations into the course management system ui
  • provide a link from the CMS to view the services the library can offer for a given citation.

Data migration, Paul Bracke (Purdue University)[edit]

partners test Alma using their own data, incl.

  • mapping of ils data to Alma structure and rules to apply while migration
  • all inventory data is migrated since partner release 2

one of the challenges: material type mapping (inconsistent use of material type). catalogers worked with with Ex Libris staff to develop an conversion table. result: start to think how to improve another example: migrating funds data longer-term preparation required for full implementation, e.g. reviewing existing processes (standardization, optimizing workflows an staff resources. examing roles and responsibilities) and database cleanup most important: rethinking our approach. potential of

User management, Bart Peeters (K.U.Leuven)[edit]

user management is a sub module in alam to manage users (individual or orgnizations that interacts wiht Alma). 2 record types: public users, staff users, contact users. users can be internal, internal with external authentication, external

user role: all staff and patron activity within Alma is role based.

  • roles define, what a user can do, in what scope (library, inst, consort). a user can have multiple roles in multiple scopes
  • templates used to define default roles, automatic role assignment is possible as well

Data import and export

challenges: a lot of other institutional and consortial systems. maintaining data ownership and integrity. Solution: just-in-time delivery of the right user information.

every external system has an integration profile (e.g. which fields can be updated from which external systems) with two sections:

  • import - optimized for large loads of new users
  • synchronize - optimized for ongoing updates

Leuven rates the Alma user management to be very good and capable for their needs

User Interfaces, Janet Lute (University of Princeton)[edit]

Example: dashboard incl. role-based task overview.

Staff search: collaborating on indexes required for administrative purposes, e.g. identifier

Screen Layout and Usage, e.g. to reduce number of clicks / scrolling, reordering data elements - because the "tasks need to flow", especially those which are executed regularly...

Aleph Product Update, Roadmap and Q&A, Carmit Marcus (Ex Libris)[edit]

  • today 2320 institutions, 75 customers in top-200-university-rankings
  • 46 new customers from Jan 2010 till now


  • from version 20: every version is for German speaking customers too!
V20.0 released in March 2009
V20.1 -> Sep 2009
V20.2 -> Aug 2010
V21.0 -> Jan 2012
V22.0 -> Dec 2012

Version 21 - new features[edit]


  • enhancement of edit menue: add a configuration in ini-file to decide which short key will be used for each menue
  • user created expand routines: tab_fix and tab_expand will be be modified, users can create their own expand routines
  • item list can be filtered by sub-library and year
  • leaving changed items without saving (-> warning)
  • use of comma in scripts for correction of records in Aleph sequential format (fix_doc_do_file_08)
  • multiple AVA fields in exp_doc_bib_avail => produce multiple AVA field if multiple locations exists


  • new service for serials and standing orders (acq-06-b)


  • cash workflow enhancements
  • multi item display in course reserves
  • log changes to patron records (circ logger Z309)
  • validation of email address
  • checking loan of similar items
  • additional hold request checks
  • futher SIP2 enhancements (cash, ID-checks)
  • HTML format patron notices within email body
  • display item call number and loan counter during loan session
  • request confirmation screen, page contains bibl. and item infos (MARC only!), back button
  • enhanced photocopy workflow, new status "supplied" => 4 status: filled, supplied, deleted, refused
  • new check circ routines: contolling transaction subjects, cash limits
  • IGeLU initiated: limitation of renewal in renew items on loan, new service p-cir-08


  • loan history
  • server side scripting support
  • requesting multiple items from basket or eshelf


  • serials batch claim (serials-44), two additinal parameters
  • enumeration and chronology -> new lable z103x


  • patron information display in ILL request
  • renewing ILL requests, new parameter in tab100, renewing is supported for ILL, CIRC, OPAC. RestAPI for ISO, Danzig, SLNP,BL


  • automated reflection of changes in linking authorities, new routine fix_doc_aut_5xx


  • label printing for a chosen group of items


  • MAB to MARC - GND authority project
  • RVM thesaurus support (for customers in Canada)

Performance improvements

  • ongoing indexing (ue_01), now 10 (!) parallel processes
  • cat record retrieve (ret-01, p_manage_62)
  • batch word indexing (p_manage_01)
  • GUI improved response time
  • separate batch server topology improvements


  • Oracle 11.2 (major release)
  • RH6
  • certified Sun Solaris 5.10 X86

Plans for V 22[edit]

major release in Dec 2012

  • request fulfillment improvements
  • modular integration with external protocols
  • extending OPAC functionality by RestAPI
  • infrastructure: SW/HW certification

SFX Software Update (Christine Stohn, Ex Libris)[edit]

  • SFX 4 upgrade status: about 70 % of the customers have been upgraded. SFX 3 is no longer improved, new enhancements will be introduced to SFX 4 only
  • Focus areas in 2011:
    • improve accuracy in link and availability calculations, e.g. embargos / moving walls and related objects
      • in release 4.1.3: display conditions can be extended to use the TIMEDIFF warning!
      • related object feature: improved performance, improved behaviour to give main object services preference. More enhancements coming (4.2):: simplified configuration options and text, separate activation for serials and monographs
    • enhanced ebooks support
      • SFX KB: the kb team is very busy with adding new ebooks to the SFX KB (about 246 ebooks targets) and an ongoing project to load author names
      • SFX core with release 4.2: improve matching by author/title; add author name / publication date to multi object screens (4.2), addition of author names and pub dates to export (4.2), add author names to API xml response (4.2)
    • enhanced system processes for simpler maintenance, e.g. cleanup processes, duplicate prevention, filter by localized to TXT reports
    • further improvements

4.1.4: extend length of threshold field to >255 chars 4.3:

  • ebook A-Z enhancements on a new tab, but not a comprehensive discovery tool
  • dataloader: batch load of author names for customers
  • enhancements from SFX SW voting

Other future plans and considerations

  • analysis and usage patterns for better quality control
  • adding conditions to give targets with certain features priority
  • availability on article level for hypbrid open access journals!!!
  • modernize UI and boost response time
  • interfaces for mobile devices (still under consideration what is useful)
  • improve implementation tools on SFX admin
  • direct links to PDF!

4.2 - 11/2011 4.3 - q2/2012 4.4 - q4 2012

kb revisions are released weekly!

  • no plans to discontinue SFX, there will be two products: link resolver in Alma, SFX
  • some pq ft databases only include selected articles from a journal

Alma link resolver + sfx will share the same kb

bX Update[edit]

  • bX status and usage: more than 1000 bX customers worldwide (within only 2 yrs); 20 mio request per months, 44% matches (= recommendations available) on average.
  • bX integration into Scopus in preparation
  • new service to be introduced in 2012: bX Hot Articles
    • bx calculates hot articles, based on usage data analysis on a regular basic
    • external systems send a request which is either topic related or not, bx returns the hot articles (not restricted to available articles)
    • free service for implementation of non-commercial use
    • planning release for 2012!
    • Ex Libris is looking for pilot integrations, e.g. blogs of individual scientists or faculty web pages

Alma Live Demo, Barbara Rad-el (Ex Libris)[edit]

  • nothing new compared to "Ex Libris Alma" (2.1)

Tuesday, 12th September 2011[edit]

Primo, Primo Central and MetaLib Product Update, Roadmap and Q&A[edit]

Jorgen Madson (Ex Libris), Gilad Gal (Ex Libris), Tamar Sadeh (Ex Libris)

MetaLib (Gilad Gal, Ex Libris)[edit]

  • MetaLib+ => Primo for electronic resource discovery, every MetaLib customer will receive a hosted Primo to search PrimoCentral
  • under customer control: PrimoCentral search scope, Primo UI (css, customer HTML titles), user management, databases in quicksets
  • MetaLib V 4.5 in Nov 2011
  • SFX V 4.2 in Nov 2011, weekly KB revisions, quarterly SPs
  • bX hot articles in subject pages, going beyond traditional library services, free of charge!

Primary research data

  • first step: metadata about primary research data sets
  • full vision: linking articles with primary data, primary data presevation, indexing

Primo Update (Jorgen Madson, Ex Libris)[edit]

  • now 860 customers

Primo V 3.1 released in June 2011:

  • enhanced ranking, PC grouping, snippels, OPAC via Primo improvements, improved multiple language support, improved consortia suppoert


  • PrimoCentral master title list available in docprotal (pdf)
  • total number of journal titles in PrimoCentral: approx. 150000
  • 99.25 % of the requests for articles are for articles indexed in PrimoCentral

Primo 4.0 in Q1 2012

  • datastamp in normalization rules
  • add comments on normalization rules
  • multiple selection with include/exclude
  • add page to e-shelf
  • search by date range
  • multiple tenancy: more granularity at the institutional level, parallel pipes and multi-indexes => more flexebility in system administration, better reporting, steps towards opening the back office for hosted customers, lower TCO
  • facebook like "find and share", push to facebook
  • support collection in AVA fields
  • personalized ranking based on academic degree and discipline

Relevance ranking (Tamar Sadeh, Ex Libris)[edit]

several kinds of relevance:

  • system or algorithmic relevance
  • topical or subject relevance
  • cognitive relevance
  • situational relevance

How to synchronize two Aleph servers (Bernd Luchner, University Library Basel)[edit]

  • UL Basel runs three Aleph servers for IDS Basel and Bern Consortia: 200 sublibraries, 5.6 Mio BIB records, 5.3 Mio ADM records, 9 Mio items, 342 GB including 58 GB publishing
  • with V20 Basel decided to set up third server for training (image of the production server)
  • synchronize A-tree, U-tree, Z62, Z66, Z67, Z602 (permissions and passwords)
  • not synchronize DB, Oracle and "excludes"
  • Steps: 1. exchange keys between servers, 2. write script with rsync 3. setup cronjob or joblist entry 4. take care of excludes and job time
  • exclude list, examples: ../ora_Aleph/*, ../apache/*Ü, ../adam/*, ../Alephe/tab/license, ../Alephe/startup and start.private
  • timing: 1. run p_file_04 (permissions), 2. run SP utility (if required) 3. rsync 4. run p_file_06 (permissions) on synced server 5. restart synced server
  • how often? once a week
  • after SPs script takes more than a minute, normally less than one minute

IGeLU closing session[edit]

Jirka Kende, Chair[edit]

  • evaluation survey will be available on the IGeLU website
  • election of steering commitee members: Peter Fake, Peter Klien
  • next IGeLU conference: 2012 in Zürich (ETH)