Alma Migration: Kickoff, Dates, Communications

The Kickoff

Rugby Kickoff
You thought I was going with American football, didn’t you?

Last Thursday (August 29), ZSR’s Alma Migration Team gathered in the Wilson 6 classroom for our kickoff teleconference with our Ex Libris onboarding manager, Donna Smith. Donna is a former systems librarian and library trainer, and all around Good People, and she has helped quite a few libraries through the onboarding process. Following that meeting, I wanted to let everyone know a few dates (some pretty fluid, others already getting pretty well set), and plans for how we’re going to keep everyone informed of what’s happening.

As of this meeting, we are on the Alma on ramp. January is when things really start accelerating, and our scheduled go-live date is July 22, 2020.

Note: I find myself saying “Alma migration” as a matter of convenience. In all cases, we are talking about migrating to Alma (the back-end library management system, replacing Voyager, Coral, and 360Link) and Primo (the public front end, replacing Summon and VuFind).

Dates of Interest

  • October 2: the second of two big, introductory calls, focusing on how Alma integrates with third-party software – or in other words, how Alma talks to everything in the world that isn’t Alma – and what we have to do to make that happen.
  • Mid-November: we are planning a day-long Alma event with speakers from other schools that have migrated to Alma (and free lunch!)
  • Also mid-November: we expect to receive an Alma and Primo “sandbox.” This is a work area with generic catalog records, and will be the first time members of the team can work hands-on with Alma as they work through online training modules.
  • Mid-January: onboarding ends and implementation begins.
  • Also mid-January: the start of monthly informal gatherings (“Rant and Rave sessions”) to discuss how implementation is going. Everyone will be welcome.
  • Four Days in May (probably May 11-14): Onsite training with Ex Libris staff.
  • Late June and early July. Please read this. Three things are happening almost simultaneously and we will need to be on our toes:
    • Ex Libris is scheduled to freeze Voyager on June 28. At that point, nothing can be added, edited, or updated in Voyager; when this happens, we start doing offline Alma circ.
    • The fiscal rollover needs to complete before the June 28 freeze.
    • The Independence Day holiday will run from 3pm, Thursday, July 2, through Friday the 3rd and the weekend. We will have a lot of balls in the air at that time, so please communicate with your supervisor as early as possible about any vacation plans or PTO requests.
  • July 22: Go live with Alma.

Needless to say, all dates (except Independence Day) are at least slightly subject to change.

Communications Plans

During onboarding I plan to post more or less monthly to the Inside ZSR blog, with notes to Lib-L gently calling your attention to the new blog post. If you already receive blog notifications automatically, you will feel doubly special (and apologies for the small extra hit on your inbox). Starting with the change to implementation mode in January, these updates will go out twice a month, and more when/as needed.

As mentioned in the dates above, starting in January we’re planning to hold monthly get-togethers to touch base on all things Alma and Primo.