The End of Library-ing like it’s 1999

January 8, 2015

It’s 1999.  Bill Clinton is in the White House.  Brett Favre is the Packers’ quarterback.  The only thing “in the cloud” is condensation.  And the UW System has just implemented a state-of-the art library management system called Voyager.  A lot has changed in fifteen years – now when presidential politics are debated it is Hillary Clinton who is the center of the conversation.  Brett Favre retired in the audacious purple jersey of a Minnesota Viking and now we put “stuff” in the cloud to save it for that rainy day.  One thing hasn’t changed.  The UW System libraries are still using that same management system from the past century, Voyager.

But not for much longer.  The UW System libraries are on schedule to unveil a new library management system in February 2015.  The new system, Alma, is a cloud-based suite of solutions for 21st century library services.  Owned by Ex Libris Group, a leading provider of library automation solutions, Alma will integrate seamlessly with our discovery system, Search@UW, also an ExLibris product.  You may notice some minor changes to Search@UW labels but functionality will remain the same.

Although the transition to Alma will occur behind the scenes, there are some minor service modifications that are unavoidable.   UW Colleges librarians are requesting that faculty:

  • Turn in purchase requests and spring semester reserve lists by the date provided by your local library staff or Director. 
  • We also want instructors to be aware that borrowing between the UW’s will be done through ILLiad during the cutover period of January 8 through February 16th.  You may want to consider this when scheduling an information literacy session for your classes since any sessions conducted during this period will not include instruction on borrowing items from other UW’s through the normal methods of universal borrowing (UB) and callslip.  If at all possible, please schedule your sessions to occur after our go live date of February 16th.
  • Another thing you may wish to do before February 1st is to print or email your Search@UW e-shelf list to yourself to ensure that these are saved during our migration.  We have been told by the vendor that they will be saved—but past experience tells us that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

And lastly, please be patient with your local librarians during this time. We know that having these disruptions at the beginning of a semester is not ideal, however this is a UW System-wide migration and, as such, requires concessions in scheduling to accommodate licensing and budgets. Thank you, and please direct any questions you may have to your local library staff.

Yvonne Niesen and Cheryl Nessman – Library Support Services, with the help of the UW Colleges Library Council’s ALMA Group