Does Alma support management of digital resources?
Alma supports the management of digital resources.
Digital resources are organized in Alma in a three-tiered hierarchy:
- Bibliographic record – The top level consists of the bibliographic record which contains the metadata of the resource. (This is also true for physical and electronic resources.)
- Representation – Under the bibliographic record level is the representation level. This level acts as a container for the digital files. Multiple representations can be attached to the bibliographic record. One representation can be the master copy and another a derivative copy and can differ in format, resolution, or size.
- File – The third level is the file level—that is, the digital files of the resource. There can be several files in each representation.
One feature unique to Alma is the Collections capability. A collection in Alma is an entity that can aggregate all three resource types (physical, digital, and electronic) into one entity with its own bibliographic record. It can be based entirely upon topic or subject matter, such as, for example, a collection titled “Art Collection" which would hold records of physical items including biographies of artists, images of their works, sub-collections by genre (e.g. Picasso's blue period) and so forth.
Structurally, collections can have child- or sub-collections and parent collections that behave in hierarchical relationships to each other. An example of an Art Collection with two sub-collections:
Within this hierarchy, the Picasso collection has two sub-collections:
Collections can be used in searches (as facets and in searching by collections) and in other areas of the system such as publishing: resources of all types can be published with their collection details, including parent and child collections.
There are two paradigms of how Alma maintains digital resources:
- Remotely - Alma allows you to store your digital files remotely in a digital management system system while maintaining the bibliographic records in Alma.
- Non-Remotely - You maintain all of the digital resource information in Alma, such as bibliographic records, representations, and files.
Does Alma support the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) for import and export of data?
- Alma includes the ability to integrate with digital repositories such as: Fedora, DSpace, Rosetta, DigiTool and CONTENTdm using standard OAI-PMH functionality.
- For Alma to be able to import your repository's objects, the repository must be able to publish the objects according to the OAI-PMH protocol. So while Alma comes pre-configured for importing digital objects from some notable repositories, any repository that supports OAI-PMH and standard metadata formats can be used.
How can digital collections be integrated into Alma?
Institutions that have been curating digital collections for some time will typically have one - or more - digital repository software solutions in place. In certain cases it may be desirable to leave these solutions in place. Nevertheless, the library may wish to include the digital assets among the library's Alma inventory and allow end users to access them via Primo, while leaving the images, documents and other files exactly where they are.
This integration is already supported and includes the ability to integrate with digital repositories such as: Fedora, DSpace, Rosetta, DigiTool and CONTENTdm using standard OAI-PMH functionality. How does it work?
- Alma harvests records published by the digital repository (via file or HTTP)
- Alma creates a digital representation when a matching bib record is found; otherwise, a new bib record (having a digital representation) is created (using matching and normalization rules)
- Alma publishes to Primo; ‘View It’ is available for remote digital items
After the import, you should be able to see your digital objects by searching Alma.
Alma will then publish your objects to Primo (unless you have suppressed your objects). In Primo's View It tab users can access the object directly from the remote repository.
How is the storage of digital objects handled in Alma?
While Alma manages the metadata and workflows related to print and electronic resources, digital resources are unique in that the objects themselves are stored in Alma. Alma provides library staff with the ability to manage digital workflows and objects through its user interface, hiding the complexity of cloud storage, and offers integrated resource delivery to patrons via Primo.
Alma uses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage Solution (S3) cloud storage service as the backend for digital resources stored in Alma. AWS is a best-of-breed cloud service, and S3 offers a reliable, durable storage solution. S3 is deeply integrated into Alma workflows, so there’s no need to interact with it directly from the Alma user interface. Those institutions that require access to the files stored in Alma have the option of using third party tools to communicate directly with the S3 service.
Digital resources in Alma are stored in the relevant AWS region, depending on the location of the Alma data center.
How will storing digital objects affect Alma’s response time?
Ex Libris uses Amazon S3 as the cloud storage for the digital objects deposited in Alma, thus leveraging Amazon’s storage and bandwidth. This means that core Ex Libris services and data centers are not affected.
Where are digital objects stored?
Ex Libris is using Amazon S3 as the cloud storage for the digital objects deposited in Alma. Ex Libris decided to use Amazon S3 for the digital storage because Amazon is known to provide highly scalable, fast access and durable infrastructure (designed for durability of 99.999999999% of objects). Amazon S3 is available globally in multiple AWS regions, allowing fast access and compliance with data residency requirements.
Is storing objects in Amazon a cost effective solution?
Storage is a commodity and prices are coming down. Storage and bandwidth costs are cheaper than storing in a private cloud
Should we be concerned with data privacy?
No – there are no data privacy issues as we are just using Amazon for storage of digital objects. We don’t store in Amazon any metadata or personal data of users.
Can I search in Primo by Digital Collection?
Yes, Primo supports the option of searching by collection.
Where can I find information about relevant external interfaces?
Please refer to the Ex Libris Developer Network - https://developers.exlibrisgroup.com/alma/integrations/digital and https://developers.exlibrisgroup.com/blog/tag/Digital