In addition to features on major new initiatives or events in the library technology industry, it is also important to track the ongoing progress of established companies and products. In that vein, Ex Libris has seen considerable momentum with Alma and related products since the major business transition, which we have covered in previous issues of Smart Libraries Newsletter.
Alma has been selected in recent months by a variety of important academic libraries and consortia. Some major announcements include:
- Harvard Library, the largest academic library globally with collections exceeding 21 million volumes, announced in December 2016 that it had selected Alma to manage its collections across its 70 facilities. The library has used Ex Libris Aleph since 2001 and selected Primo as its discovery environment in 2014. Among the members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), 33 have selected Alma to date. Counting the 24 using Voyager and 12 using Aleph, 55 percent of the ARL members have opted for an ILS from Ex Libris.
- The South Dakota Board of Regents selected Alma and Primo for its network of public colleges and universities throughout the state.
- The University of Bergamo in Italy announced that it will migrate from Ex Libris Aleph to Alma. It had previously implemented Primo as its discovery environment.
- Venturing a bit outside of its core market of academic libraries, ACT Health selected Alma for managing health information resources for its facilities in Australian Capital Territory.
- The University of Haifa, which selected Alma last year, became the first library in Israel to place the service into production in November 2016.
- Eastern Michigan University announced its selection of Alma in November 2016 and will be the first to integrate it with Summon as its patron interface instead of Primo.
Ex Libris announced a new product suite called Leganto powered by SIPX. This offering combines the Leganto application for the management of course reading lists announced in 2015 with SIPX, a platform for gaining savings for course materials by leveraging library collections and tracking copyright. Leganto relies on services provided through a library's implementation of Alma, though its functionality is provided via the institutional learning management system. SIPX, originally created by a group within Stanford University, was spun off as an independent business in 2012 and acquired by ProQuest in April 2015. Following the acquisition of Ex Libris by ProQuest, responsibility for SIPX shifted from its Bowker affiliate to Ex Libris. By combining these two products into an integrated package, Ex Libris is able to offer a sophisticated set of capabilities for the creation of course lists via the institutional learning management system, copyright management, and other tools to help reduce the costs students pay for course materials. Ex Libris has initially positioned its offering of Leganto powered by SIPX to libraries in North America.
Aimed to better support tasks performed by library staff away from service desks, Ex Libris has released the Alma Mobile App. Its initial functionality helps library staff members retrieve items from the shelves that have been requested. The app can use the camera on the device to read barcodes. Alma Mobile can be used by both Apple's iOS and Google Android. Alma customers, including those at the libraries of Colorado School of Mines, Macquarie University, and the University of Sheffield, worked with Ex Libris in the design of the mobile app.