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Bye Bye Aleph & Mango, Hello Alma & Primo: Home


This guide is meant to be a one stop easy to find site for everything related to our next gen ILS implementation of Alma and Primo VE. Instead of having to search trough emails and bookmark various sites, we can all just go to our LibGuides page and search for Alma to find everything we should need to know about Alma and Primo VE at any given moment.

Did I forget to include or highlight something important? Let me know.

Meme of Jack Skellington looking at Christmas lights. Text reads: What's This? Alma & Primo - It must be Christmas!



Icon of instructor pointing at a board    Got training? 

Oh yeah we do!

Use the links below to explore the wonderful worlds of Alma and Primo VE. The training materials consist of short videos and downloadable handouts. Note: sometime the handouts contain additional information not included in the video.

No logins or passwords required Smiling emoji

Training Checklist:

Tabs are listed alphabetically by first initial.

Will YOU be the First to Check Every Box?

Disclaimer received 9/2/2020: "Please keep in mind that these are generic training resources and not all functionality they cover may be available in the final version of our ILS." 

The Reference Section

Alma Glossary: translates Aleph lingo into Alma lingo

Vanguard Libraries Webinar

Want a sneak peak of what's to come?

On July 9th, Ex Libris hosted a Kickoff Meeting for the Vanguard institutions. 

Direct link to the recording:

Ex Libris Meeting Recording (45 min.)


Shannon Schane's picture
Shannon Schane
Polk State College
999 Ave H NE
Winter Haven, FL 33881

Next Gen ILS Implementation

Welcome to your one stop shop for our Alma and Primo VE implementation.

Earth shattering revelations and important to-do's will live on this tab. For a more thorough update see the Good to Know box below this one.

Image of Pink Panther with text that reads, "Pink Panther's To Do List: - To Do - To Do - To Do, To Do, To Do, To Do, To Doooo..."

September 2020 to-do's:

  • Familiarize yourself with this LibGuide
  • Explore the training links to the left
  • View the first three Orientation videos in Getting to Know Alma:  
    • What is Alma?
    • Tour of Alma Training Resources
    • Navigating the Alma User Interface
  • Consider signing up for a FALSC discussion group or two (instructions are on the Member Group) tab
  • NEW- Read September Meeting notes below- especially "Data Clean Up"
  • Have a question or comment? Add it to our shared document in PIE: 
  • Want more? Explore the official FALSC ILS Libguide to see what goes on behind the curtain


Implementation Phases and Timeline Overview

Onboarding phase (3 months) April - June 2020

  • Finalize project plan 
  • Choose vanguard institutions
    • Daytona, FIU, FSCJ, FSU, Santa Fe, TCC UCF, UF
  • Ex Libris provision test environment
  • Form Implementation Team and Working Groups

Vanguard phase (4 months) July - October 2020

  • Extract Bib data from Aleph and all other data from vanguard libraries and load into Alma
  • Review converted data for all vanguard libraries in Alma
  • Set up Primo VE views for the union catalog and vanguard libraries
  • Set up and test all necessary 3rd party connections for vanguard libraries
  • Provide online and in-person training (if possible) for FALSC and vanguard libraries' staff
  • Analyze conversion procedures and revise as necessary

Full Testload Phase (6 months) November 2020 - April 2021

  • Extract ALL data from Aleph and load into Alma
  • Review converted data in Alma
  • Set up Primo VE views for the union catalog and all libraries
  • Set up and test all necessary 3rd party connections for all libraries
  • Provide online and in-person training for library staff
  • Analyze conversion procedures and revise as necessary

Go-Live Phase (3 months) May 2021 - July 2021

  • Perform Final extraction of all data from Aleph and load into Alma
  • Perform final setup for Primo VE views for all libraries
  • Freeze all current activity on Aleph/Mango
  • Switchover to Alma/Primo VE - July 13, 2021

Eight Working Groups:

  1. Acquisitions/Serials
  2. Cataloging Authorities
  3. Circulation/Resource Sharing
  4. Discovery
  5. E-Resources Management
  6. Joint Use
  7. Systems/Reports
  8. Training

They want YOU !

To facilitate this broad participation, FALSC has set up eight discussion lists, one for each working group, where any library staff can subscribe. Each working group is obligated to post notes from each of their meetings to their respective discussion list and monitor all messages posted to it. The working groups are also encouraged to post questions to the list asking for input. They may also sponsor open web meetings from time to time to invite discussion on a particular topic. These lists are a wonderful way to stay informed and contribute to the project.

Feel free to subscribe to as many of these lists as you want. Joining a list is pretty straightforward, and instructions are listed below.

How to join an Alma/Primo VE Implementation Discussion List

  1. Use the links below to join one of our ILS Implementation Discussion Lists:









  1. In the form that appears, enter your name and Email address.
  1. Click Subscribe to sign on to the list. 

  1. You will receive a confirmation email from LISTSERV.  Click the verification link to complete your subscription. 


Image of the FALSC ILS LibGuide Homepage

FALSC Next Gen ILS Implementation Homepage

FALSC "will be using this LibGuide to share information among the teams, Working Groups and Discussion Groups outlined in the Organization Framework for Implementation Document and the Organizational Framework for Implementation Graphic. Please feel free to check back to this guide often for updates and the latest information on this exciting project." 

Everything you ever wanted to know about the ILS transition lives here. 


Good to Know ! Meeting notes from ILS Coordinators Meetings

Wisdom from the ILS Coordinators meeting in bite sized tidbits

FALSC Update:

FL+ funding vetoed by the governor – Status of FALSC - “Full steam ahead until we’re told otherwise”

Implementation costs for Alma & Primo VE was split into 2 payments. Good news - 1st payment was already made. The 2nd payment ($875,000) will be due in July 2021. Ongoing costs for Alma & Primo – 1.3 million subscription fee starting in July 2021. The cost for Alma replaces:

  • Our server space - Alma annual subscription is in the cloud
  • Aleph – currently pay for this in July
  • Alma’s subscription fee also includes Primo VE (Primo central index CDI). This will replace what we are paying EBSCO for Mango

September Update:

  • FALSC has been working on carry forward funding and has not had any interruptions in services, resources, or staffing.
  • FALSC has been working with the chancellors office & board of governors of the state university system & the chancellors office of the state college system on a transition plan. Colleges have agreed to fund FALSC this year, but FALSC & FLVC need a new host institution - Goal: Institution will be selected by 9/15/20 & will be moved on or before 10/15/20  

Why Alma?

  • We are going from one Ex Libris product to another so it should go well.
  • Ex Libris have worked with many consortia – others have already blazed the trail for us.

Overview/Status of Alma implementation

  • There should not be any delays in the ILS implementation. Everything has been running smoothly so far.
  • Next Gen ILS Implementation LibGuide – available for anyone to access:
  • Implementation (4 phases) - We are now in Phase 2: The Vanguard Phase (July-Oct)
    • Will migrate 8 “Vanguard institutions” first (4 colleges & 4 universities) – experiment with them before migrating everyone else. The 8 institutions were chosen for specific reasons. Ex/ FSU – 2 time zones, Santa Fe – special relationships w/ 3rd party integration, UF – large
    • Migration forms (filled out by the 8 institutions and submitted by FALSC), items, orders, patrons, vendors… all the data is converted
    • Migration was completed the 3rd week of July for the 8 institutions.
    • The "configuration tables" are next - these include all the settings that need to be in place to check out a book, do acquisitions,...– 1st draft of the configuration tables was due to ExLibris 8/12/20 - final draft due the following week.
    • Should have a fully functioning test load for the 8 institutions by 9/8/2020
    • ExLibris will provide a checklist for the data review analysis.

Sept-Oct – Vanguard phase institutions can review, working group members will have access to all the data as well

  • There will be a meeting for those involved...
  • There will be ways to report issues ex/the diacritics didn’t look right...

Ex Libris Sandbox – test out how Alma works – using the data of others (Not available yet)

Working groups (8) – Each include 1 chair, 1 FALSC member, and 2 representatives from the members council in addition to the other members

Why Alma?

  • We are going from one Ex Libris product to another so it should go well
  • (Liked Ex Libris because they have worked with many consortia – others have blazed the trail for us.)

Primo VE views for the union catalog – working on 3rd party connections (PeopleSoft, Banner, self-check machines, etc... to make sure they work in this new environment

Online training already exists - Ex Libris has many training sessions:

In person training - planned for Sept/Oct (might need to switch to online training).

April 2021 – 41 forms (instead of just 8) – will extract ALL the data for ALL the institutions from Aleph

In person training is also included in the contract – These 3-day sessions will be held at 15 different sites – plan to coordinate that in the Fall (similar to what FALSC did with Innovative)

Will need to analyze the conversion procedures – do final extraction – will be a freeze at some point (most likely 3-4 weeks) snapshot – extract all bibs – switch everything from Aleph/Mango to Alma/Primo VE

Working Groups – all info is on the LibGuide

  • Meetings are closed but all the recordings will be available
  • Encouraging all working groups to branch out and invite others to provide input – ex/ topic to discuss – would like input – the group will hold a special meeting just on that topic.

Discussion Groups:

  • Every corresponding working group has a discussion group.
  • All staff can sign up – post comments, etc…
  • About 450 people have signed up so far for the discussion groups.

Framework document – reusing from last time - has framework graphic

FALSC Website – ALMA/Primo tab includes links to LibGuide – the website contains info similar to the LibGuide:

Good to know from Q&A:

    • Biggest problem encountered so far was the local fields. Worked with ExLibris to fix most of those issues already.
    • IT staff at FLVC set up a separate clone so ExLibris could do the extraction from the clone and not mess with our current Aleph environments.   
    • Will be a 3 week *freeze prior to the conversion. This will be a staggered freeze. More details to come in 2021.
    • Hard switch July 13th – middle of summer term for most of us
  • Date cannot be changed
  • Aleph & Mango will be frozen – can NOT have 2 systems at the same time
  • *Circulation freeze will most likely be only the weekend before July 13th (offline circ. At that time)

Looking forward:

  • How will your institution handle training?
    • Tracking formally or informally
    • FIU uses Alma essentials and counts Alma training as a part of staff professional development
  • There will be opportunities to become involved in cleanup projects - TSSC LibGuide and the COG – Cataloging authorities working group - also has a LibGuide

More Wisdom from the ILS Coordinators meeting in bite sized tidbits

Vanguard Libraries Update:

  • Vanguard Alma instances were released 9/8/20 (yesterday) – Ex Libris hosted a 2 hour meeting with the ILS coordinators from the Vanguard libraries and their local implementation teams regarding instructions for data migration review and testing to be carried out.
  • Following the meeting, configuration documents* were given to each library. 
    • Vanguard groups were advised to do data review for the first few weeks then functional reviews the following couple of weeks.
    • *We will receive those documents for our library when doing our personal data review (in Jan 2021) 
  • Upcoming dates:
    • Sept 17th – Primo VE first look meeting - for working groups, vanguard coordinators & local implementation teams. A recording will be available online if anyone else wants to view it later.
    • Sept 29th - Digital collections - Vanguard libraries will not be able to see digital collections prior to 9/29/2020.
    • Oct 23rd - Vanguard testing ends – start the test load for ALL 40 libraries!

Staff Accounts:

  • Aleph Staff Accounts do NOT migrate to Alma but ALL PATRON RECORDS DO migrate. (Therefore all staff accounts will come over as patron records.) This is actually a GOOD thing as there will be less cleanup of staff accounts for us.
  • In Alma we will use the patron record (for each staff member) and assign roles and profiles to those patron accounts. 
    • After the full test load into Alma (in January), we will begin working together with FLVC to assign roles for patron accounts that are staff (to establish the staff).
    • Once set up, we will be able to use our staff account through our institution’s credentials and login. 
    • Good news: Everything set up during the test load (ex/ profiles, roles, etc..) will come over & be in the “go live” product 
  • In Alma – EVERYONE will have their own unique login (No generic staff accounts anymore. Many campuses have a generic login in Aleph for PT staff, circ staff, etc…)
  • When the first test load is released in January, a generic account will also be available (temporarily) in case anyone has issues logging in (or hasn’t been set up yet) so everyone can immediately access the system. 
  • Decision to start thinking about - Who will be actively managing the staff accounts & roles? It is our choice! We can let FALSC keep doing that or we can choose to take it on. Some institutions requested this. We have also been warned to “be careful what you ask for….”

Patron Loads: 

  • The initial patron load will come over with the migration from Aleph.
  • FLVC will be talking with all the Deans, directors, & members council in the upcoming week regarding guidance for IT departments for patron loads in Alma. The requirements and format for the Aleph loads are different from the Alma patron loads. There should be automatic retrieval and loading after we go live.  

Data Clean Up:

  • Two documents have been shared by FALSC and two more will soon follow for us to do some institution specific data clean up prior to our test load. I added the first two to our shared folder in PIE. (The additional documents were not available as of 9/21/20. This page will be updated as they are made available.)

  • The first is a request from FALSC to help us clean up some of our data in Aleph prior to it going to Alma. The second is the spreadsheet of data they used to create the first document.
  • More work now = less work later. 
  • PLEASE add your notes to the data cleanup document and/or any comments regarding the cleanup that you might have. The due date is October 14th, but I would like to have ours submitted by Friday, October 2nd.

Alma Essentials Training & CANVAS option through FALSC:

  • Training – reiterated everything said in past two meetings. Emphasized Alma Essentials this time. 
  • FALSC has created a shell in CANVAS with the Alma Essentials training. It does NOT contain any additional content and is just one method of keeping track of who has completed what. The ILS coordinator could be a “teacher” and would receive notices as “students” complete sections of the training. This would NOT be hosted in our college’s CANVAS.
  • If we like we can opt to have access to this CANVAS shell, or continue with our previous plan to update a shared document. View the shared document HERE. It is also accessible in the training box on this guide.
  • It is important that we track our training because the Alma Essentials training is a prerequisite to the in-person Ex Libris training in the Spring. Alma Essentials takes a total of 4-5 hours to complete.

Coming in October: How the Vanguard libraries handled the data test review & (hopefully) a FALSC organization update. 

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