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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!


The Full 40 Testload Phase has Begun !

And so it begins...

On November 12th, Ex Libris hosted a Kickoff Meeting for the local implementation teams of all 40 institutions.

Direct links:

Ex Libris Full 40 Kickoff - Meeting Recording (1 hr.)

Ex Libris Full 40 Kickoff - Presentation Slides

You are NOT required to watch the meeting, but will probably want to skim the slides (especially pages 31 & 32). 


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.

Be sure to play in the new Alma PLAY ZONES!

Will YOU be the First to Check Every Box?  Only if your name is Marguerite! Congratulations Marguerite - You have won bragging rites & ...sunglasses? We still have sunglasses right?

Note: Save copies of certificates received at the completion of the training. You may be asked for them at a later date.

Disclaimer: "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

Migration Data Prep Suggestions - includes comments from Ex Libris

Primo VE URLs

Primo instances created for the 8 test libraries in Sept 2020. Visit one or more if you want a rough idea what our patron experience will be like & see how other institutions tweaked theirs. As of 11/19/20 it looks like SFC has made the most modifications.


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..."

November 2020 to-do's:

  • REALLY Get to Know Alma - Visit 1 or more of the 3 play areas. Take Alma for a spin & see what it can do
    • How/Where? See the new "Play Zones!" tab on training checklist
    • What? Some ideas in the training exercises or explore on your own
  • Begin Alma Essentials. You may skip (strikethrough) the six acquisitions sections on your checklist
    • Already did acquisitions? Kudos to you! It may come in handy later.
    • Beth, Roni, & Laura may need to complete acquisitions at a later date....   
  • Read November Meeting notes (will be posted just before Thanksgiving)
  • Have a question or comment? Add it to our shared document in PIE: 

October 2020 to-do's:

  • Complete the Orientation videos in Getting to Know Alma:  
    • User Management 
    • Acquisitions (Optional)
    • Resources
    • Fulfillment
  • Take the Getting to Know Alma Quiz - Download / save proof of completion
  • Update your tab on the training checklist: 
  • Read October Meeting notes below

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 ResourcesNavigating 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

More Wisdom from the ILS Coordinators Meeting in Bite Sized Bullet Points

FALSC Update

  • Signed “memorandum of understanding” document to begin the transition of FALSC to its new host institution - The North West Regional Data Center – an auxiliary unit of FSU
  • FALSC is happy this project is going along well so far.

Overview/Status of the Alma Implementation:

  • We are still in the Vanguard phase – Sept was devoted to data review. Now all testing has been switching over to functionality testing (ends Oct 23rd) – many checklists and hands on exercises posted on the FALSC LibGuide.
  • Same reporting mechanisms as during data review.
    • Working groups – each has a spreadsheet 
    • Vanguard – help desk cases
    • There is also a known issues list document (as part of the vanguard phase) keeping track of things to tweak for the full 40. (Working on solutions for all known issues. Still a work in progress. Anything reported before the 23rd gives FALSC additional time to find solutions before Oct 30th).
  • Beginning Nov 1 – PHASE 3! Full 40 test load phase
    • Oct 29th & 30th – big refresh of data begins
    • Oct 30th – data will be pulled from our production version of Aleph – loaded onto clone server
    • Nov 10th – All ILS Coordinators & local teams – ExLibris kickoff meeting - will also be recorded
    • Test phase will lasts through the end of April (possibly May…)
    • What about ALL STAFF? Follow ExLibris “train the trainer” model - Local teams should be pushing the training to all staff

Clean up documents 

  • 23 schools returned the 1st clean up document & 17 have not 
  • We are on the good list for submitting it on time  :-)
  • Borrower status cleanup (clean up document #2) – due before Nov 20th
  • Metadata quality Control Subcommittee of the TSSC & the e-resources task force of the TSSC – will start having biweekly meetings with other clean up related topics (ex/ PDA & e-resource form was the topic last week)  
    • Cataloging & e-resources staff are welcome to join the meetings so they will know about the cleanup. email Shannon if you are interested and she will forward the meeting information to you as she receives it.
  • Note: Each Sublibrary in Aleph migrates as a library in Alma

Tips & Tricks from the Vanguard libraries (feedback):

  • The supplied PDF files (from FALSC) were helpful for the implementation teams.
  • Separate call about configuration forms & spreadsheets was beneficial (6-7 forms) & what we need to fill out for each one. (Note: the configuration spreadsheets will take some time.)
  • Testing Checklists & hands on exercises are available (Currently in Vanguard Phase portion on the libguide in the “test data review”) – These will move… somewhere else TBD.
  • Sandboxes
    • It’s helpful NOT to call the Alma instances “sandboxes” .
    • Test environments -ExLibris also calls the “Test environments” they will give us “sandboxes”.

IT Support:

  • FALSC surveyed the Dean last May to find out how FALSC should contact our campus their institutions IT departments.
  • What institutions wanted varied a bit. (who would be contacted first, who would be CCed) Working w/ SSO – now working on patron loads because these will be used more or less by all 40 
  • *Our Enterprise System is currently listed as Jenzabar JX. NONE of the other colleges have Genesis listed (I emailed after the meeting to have our Enterprise System changed from Jenzabar JX to Genesis. (I was asked if this was the same as the old Consortium Software?) As of 10/16/20, our system is now listed as being “HETGroup” 

Patron Files & Single Sign on (SSO)

  • These 2 need to be done for all 40 – Patron files & SSO files
  • SSO Testing – 8 Beta testers (at Vanguard institutions)
    • Heard back from 6 of the 8 – all 6 could get into both Alma & Primo VE using SSO – Yea!
    • Going to layout roles & profiles for the various roles & profiles is next – this will happen in the full 40 test load – didn’t want to do it in Vanguard because all that work would be wiped out.

How SSO will work: 

  • FALSC will supply a special URL to prompt each staff member to log in. 
  • This will set up our accounts in Alma along with SSO.
  • Result – We will be able to sign on using our regular campus credentials.

Patron Load Files

  • We have a relationship where we regularly send files in a format that Aleph can read. The format will change for Alma vs Aleph.
  • Some campuses send everything – some only send the deltas (what has changed)
  • Vanguard institutions already have the required specifications. 
  • IT Depts. at all other institutions will receive an email by the end of this week. (We received the email on 10/15 @ 4:29pm both Chris and Shannon were among the recipients) They would like a sample file from our IT department in the next 3 months (before February).
    • Note: Since we are not Vanguard they will not be able to test our patron upload until the first part of February That is when they will have our full instance of Alma.
  • FALSC wants to thoroughly test this. (Patron records will be a few months old by Go Live – Needs to be in place to refresh the data from July 13th/14th going forward.) 
  • Important: IT will also still need to continue sending the file in the old format as well - until July 13th.

Other testing for various other institutions: FALSC will also be working on self check machine support, berser data files, accounts payable feeds (AP feed), & patron photos.

Additional notes from various Sept. & Oct. emails:

  • Alma training is continually updates along with Alma! The next update (on 11/01/2020) will consist mainly of changes to the "look and feel" of Alma. Alma and Primo VE are usually updated on the first Sunday of the month for production  Ex Libris has already updated the training session in the “Getting to Know Alma” series, and they are currently working on the “Alma Essentials” series this month. It’s nice to know that their training materials that we are relying on are being updated with the latest version of the service. If you want to see what the new changes to Alma will look like, you can view this short YouTube video that explains them:
  • It is possible to include LigGuide pages in Primo. Is this something we want to do? If yes, contact Shannon.
  • A migration issue involving some 5XX fields being duplicated as 590 fields was found. The majority of institutions so far (including ours) opted "not to convert any 5xx fields to 590 field during migration. The conversion can be done post migration if any institutions would like to convert any fields to 590 field."  
  • "In ALEPH it is possible to use the same Item Status code for different Circulation policies across different sublibraries, for example Item Status 67 might be used for a ‘7 day loan’ at one sublibrary but the same code could also stand in for a ‘4 hour loan’ at another sublibrary within the institution. This discrepancy makes it impossible to map circulation policies in the Alma Configuration form. Another issue is item statuses that have the same description but have different Circulation policies, for example IS 10 is described as a ‘3 Day Loan’ and allows renewals but IS 63 is also described as ‘3 Day Loan’ but has an hourly fine and has no renewals. Both of these Item Statuses will show up in the Alma drop down as ‘3 Day Loan’ with no way to differentiate between the two. For Universities with item status issues, further instructions will be provided once the Word document is returned and processed." Additional Note: All of our campuses share the same item statuses. We can’t delete the Item Status for one campus without deleting it for all of them. 
  • From the Training Working Group: 
    • "If your institution is developing or plans to develop supplemental training materials for Alma and Primo VE, we would encourage you to wait until formal training by ExLibris has been completed in the Spring before finalizing these materials and making them available.  This will allow for better quality control and to make sure recommended procedures and workflows are being followed uniformly across our system.  However, once these materials are ready for use, we hope you will share them with Training Working Group so we can develop a system wide repository open to all institutions."  
    • "FALSC, ExLibris, and the Training Working Group are currently developing a formal training program for the Spring. Specific details have not been formalized yet, but rest assured the program will be comprehensive, flexible, and tailored to meet our system’s unique needs.  Details will be shared as soon as they become available."

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 3rd clean up document was not available as of 10/7/20. 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.

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

November meeting Notes - Coming Soon!

Clean Up Documents Submitted to FALSC

Document Name Date Due Date Submitted
“Item Status and Collection Clean Up”  10/14/2020 10/13/2020
Borrower Status Clean Up spreadsheet 11/20/2020 11/7/2020
“Duplicate Barcodes” report - optional (but important) 10/23/2020 Completed by Melissa on our behalf 10/23/2020
eResources activation form 11/6/2020 Revised version submitted 11/6/2020


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