Moving to Alma/Primo VE: Hindsight is 20/20

February 1, 2019 (10:00am – 3:30pm)

As SUNY Libraries enter the homestretch of our Alma/Primo VE implementation, we have a need to hear from those brave pioneers who have blazed the trail for us. The 2019 SUNYLA Midwinter Virtual Conference will focus on the ways in which library staff at non-SUNY colleges have implemented Alma and Primo, the problems they ran into during migration, and things that they wished they’d known ahead of time. This conference’s presenters, who hail from both public and private institutions, will provide attendees with information about ways in which they managed their consortial environment, how they organized data and analytics, and best practices for tech services and for OA collections.

Technology requirements for attendance:  Computer, internet connection, microphone/speakers (headset recommended) or telephone.  Zoom will be used for this conference and is free for use by attendees.

This webinar is free for everyone!

SUNYLA’s Midwinter Online Conference Committee:

  • Michelle Eichelberger, Genesee CC
  • Rosanne Humes, Nassau CC
  • Rebecca Hyams, SUNY Maritime
  • Bill Jones, SUNY Geneseo
  • Jill Locascio, SUNY Optometry (chair)
  • Carrie Marten, SUNY Purchase


Session 1 (10:00am-10:30am EST)

Implementation, Looking Back: Best and Worst

Janice Christopher (University of Connecticut)

Implementation is a complex beast, and when you’re deep in the process and it’s cold and the days end early, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like the confusion will never end.  But help is on the way: In UConn’s implementation, we had some notable successes and a few abject failures–and we’re willing to reveal all! This presentation covers the best and the worst of UConn’s Alma and Primo implementation, in the hope that you’ll feel more confident in some of your decisions and avoid falling into some ugly traps.

Session 1 Slides


Session 2 (10:30am-11:00am EST)

Five Things We Wish We Knew Before We Migrated

Rebecca Ciota (Grinnell College)

This presentation will discuss five things Grinnell College Libraries wish they knew before migrating.  These include: 1) your old system has way more idiosyncrasies than you expected; 2) data mapping forms are more challenging than expected; 3) the implementation is not what you were expecting; 4) it’s really difficult to migrate as a small institution; 5) workflows aren’t what you’re expecting…you still need to know your own processes.

Session 2 Slides


Session 3 (11:10am-11:40am EST)

Network Zone Analytics – What It Is and How Not to Ruin it for Everybody

Nikki DeMoville (California Polytechnic State University)

The presentation will include some brief background information to help demystify the Alma Institution Zone – Network Zone – Analytics topology, explain when Network Zone Analytics will be useful, and conclude with migration tips to help you launch with a clean Analytics environment. I will be speaking with the perspective of a 23-campus system that went live with Alma/Primo in June 2017. I’ve been the chair of the consortial California State University Analytics committee since 2016.

Session 3 Slides


Session 4 (11:40am – 12:10pm EST)

Data Impurities and How to Outwit Them

Sarah Lindsey & Lisa Wong (University of California, Santa Cruz)

We will discuss the many variations in our data, the issues those variations caused for staff and patrons, and how we addressed them.  Use of the programs Open Refine, MarcEdit, and Notepad++ will be discussed.

Session 4 Slides


Session 5 (1:00pm – 1:30pm EST)

Implementing Primo VE in a Consortial Environment: Finding the Balance

Melissa Becher, Shane Hickey, & Robert Kelshian (American University)

In July 2018, American University Library as part of the Washington Research Library Consortium went live on Alma and Primo VE–marking the first implementation of Primo VE in a consortial environment.  The implementation of Primo VE required balancing the needs of our institution and users with a myriad of stakeholders across the consortium all the while working with Ex Libris to address the unique challenges a consortial implementation presented.  

This presentation will cover the lessons we learned during implementation and migration to Primo VE in a constantly changing and decentralized consortial environment:  troubleshooting daily problems with data migration, records, and discovery; working with 13 other institution zones to create rules and new policies for our automated fulfillment network–the replacement for our consortium’s resource sharing structure; re-working the decision making process with our consortial partners as we made institution zone versus network zone decisions; and managing expectations and providing the best service to our users as we modified search profiles, displays, requests forms, letters, and rules in the production environment.

Session 5 Slides


Session 6 (1:30pm – 2:00pm EST)

Alternative Coverage and Open Access Collections in Primo Central: Guidelines and Recommendations

Lacey Mamak (Normandale Community College) & Zorian Sasyk (Metropolitan State University)

The intersection of the Alma Community Zone and the Primo Central Index can be a confusing place to navigate.  What do you turn on where, and why, to enable the best possible discovery experience in Primo for your users? Two electronic resource librarians from the PALS consortium in Minnesota will discuss their work during Alma/Primo migration to investigate, struggle, and ultimately craft consortium-wide recommendations for PCI activations.  Specifically, we will address Ebsco and Gale resource alternative coverage, as well as open access resources. The presenters are from institutions within the PALS Consortium, a group of 54 academic and state government libraries in the state of Minnesota that are migrating from Aleph to Alma/Primo VE, with a Go-Live date in January 2019.

Session 6 Slides


Session 7 (2:10pm – 2:40pm EST)

Tech Services Work Orders that Really Work

Erin Grant & Sion Romaine (University of Washington)

Designing work orders for technical services departments can be daunting to understand and apply on the first try.  This presentation will provide guidance on creating acquisitions, cataloging, and preservation work orders that facilitate, rather than hamper, interdepartmental workflows.  Drawing on experience from 2 institutions, examples of tech services work order models to follow and to avoid will be included.

Session 7 Slides


Session 8 (2:40pm – 3:10pm EST)

Fund Structures in Alma

Davin Pate (University of Texas at Dallas)

Fund setups within Alma is an easy process.  However, the decisions that are made when setting up Alma funds can impact workflows beyond their initial setup.  This presentation will cover fund structuring within Alma, options available within fund structuring, and the impact of fund structures during rollover and other day-to-day operations.

Session 8 Slides