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    Digital Workflows

    How can digital content be managed in Alma?

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    As a unified solution, Alma is designed to manage a broad range of digital collections, in addition to electronic and print resources. Digital content managed in Alma utilizes the same unified workflows as other resource types, leveraging the same consistent user interface while providing extended functionality to accommodate the special needs of digital collections.
    Digital resources in Alma can be managed in two ways:
    • Alma can integrate with remote digital repositories, where the metadata is managed in Alma while the files are managed in another system
    • Digital resources can be managed completely in Alma, including both metadata management and file storage
    Integrating Remote Digital Asset Management Systems
    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.
    • 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 will 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
    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.
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    For digital content, Alma enables provides the following activities:
    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.
    In a similar manner to how Physical and Electronic resources are managed in Alma, Each digital entity in the inventory is associated with descriptive metadata from Alma’s Metadata Management System (MMS) and contains one or more representations, which are themselves made up of one or more files. This provide Alma with a flexible inventory that can manage a wide spectrum of digital objects.
    Alma also supports robust and sophisticated collection management functionality. This allows institutions to organize their resources (digital and others) in a hierarchical, structured manner. In order to align Alma’s management of digital resources with common best practices, all digital resource workflows and process are organized around collections – meaning that all digital objects in Alma exist within the context of a collection
    In addition, all digital content can be assigned access rights that can range from full public access to restricted delivery. Actual access rights for digital content can be maintained separately from discovery publishing solutions. Alma’s flexible access right controls can be defined for each item.

    Can representation metadata and content be edited?

    The Digital Representation Resource Editor allows you to edit representation level metadata and the representation's content.
    After searching for a digital title in the Alma repository the staff user can click on the 'Representations' link in order to edit a representation:
    This will open the Digital Resource Editor. Clicking on the Resource description will display the metadata for the title. Clicking on the Representation ID opens the representation for editing.

    Does Alma support digitization request workflows?

    Alma supports library initiated as well as patron digitization on demand workflows that coordinate the activities of staff across library organization units.  Digitization requests trigger a workflow that can include, but is not limited to a pick slip for the physical item, transfer of it to a specific digitization location, optional steps where staff members can perform copyright clearance and approval checks, and for patron-initiated request, an email notification and delivery of the digitize content.
    The full process is shown in the image below:

    How does Alma process digitization requests for physical items?

    A patron or staff member can request the creation of a digital file for any physical or electronic item.
    Physical items are transferred from their library location to the digitization department, where they are scanned and digital files are created. Electronic items are digitized by locating them in the repository and saving them in digital format.
    The digital file is delivered to one of the following:
    • Institution – The digital file is owned and managed by the institution as part of the repository.
    • Patron – The patron receives the digital file in an email.
    You can request digitization for the entire item or for a chapter, page range, or article within an item.
    The following is an illustration of a typical digitization department workflow, after the item was requested for digitization. It starts with the arrival of the item to the digitization department, through the creation of its digital file, to delivery of the digital file.
    The workflow commences when the requested physical item arrives at the digitization department and its barcode is scanned.
    The item acquires the status Digitization.
    Upon arrival of the physical item, the digitization request is sent for review to determine whether there are elements that require special attention based on the review rules preconfigured by an administrator. These include:
    • Copyright clearance – If required, the library receives a copyright license (for example, from the Copyrights Clearance Center Services) to re-use copyright-protected content.
    • Approve – The request is approved and the digitization process continues.
    • Reject – The request is rejected. The reason for rejection is specified.
    The item is digitized.
    The request proceeds to the delivery stage. Delivery is handled in one of the following ways:
    • By the Add Digital Representation functionality. The digital file can be searched in Primo.
    • By the Document Delivery – An email is sent to the requesting patron with a link to the digital file.

    Does Alma support managing collections of digital representations and their metadata?

    Alma supports an extensive set of functionalities and workflows for managing Special Collections.


    As part of this, Alma is able to support large scale staff ingest scenarios.
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    • The mechanism for bulk deposit (ingest) supports different formats such as Marc based files, Dublin Core as well as CSV.

    Does Alma support limiting access to digital representations?

    Alma’s Access Rights functionality allows for defining rules related to accessing digital objects. An example can be seen following where viewing a patron is blocked from viewing a high resolution image:

    Does Alma support uploading individual digital representations?

    Alma provides easy to use wizards and upload utilities for staff to be able to create individual resources (e.g. ‘quick catalog’ a new representation), and manage content that has already been uploaded by other means.

    What collaborative possibilities related to digital asset management are available?

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