What import profile options can be defined in Alma?
Record import and publication is considered a core function, and may be set up and run as a frequent process in Alma without intervention from Ex Libris. Libraries will set up one or more import and publication profiles, which can then be used to automatically import and export records on an ongoing basis. These processes may also be run on demand by the library.
All importing of metadata records in Alma is managed using “Import Profiles”:
These profiles define all aspects of the loading process. This process is split into a sequence of steps:
- Loading the file
- Normalizing and validating the records in the file
- Finding an existing match in the catalog
- Merging into the existing record (when relevant)
- EOD (Embedded Order Data) files – creation of order line records (when relevant)
This can be summarized as follows:
The import process supports the maximum possible automation. For example, the import can be defined to merge an imported record into the catalog automatically in cases where the system finds a single match.
When importing any record, Alma goes through specific steps according to the rule of the appropriate import profile. It validates each record for encoding and content. It checks for matching records that already exist in the catalog, then can be set up to either merge, overlay, ignore (importing anyway), or flag matched records for review.
If at any stage during the import process, either because of errors, or because the import profile definition requires mediated intervention, the staff user will be able to review issues using a dedicated task list. This task list will provide the staff user with information on what the issue is as well as the relevant actions the user can perform.
Alma also allows for catalogers to use merge, match and overwrite options for individual bibliographic records as they are imported from another library system that is being used as an external resource. In this way it is possible for the Library to prevent duplication of records in the catalog.
What match, merge and de-duplicate options are available on import?
As part of the matching during the import process, the imported record is evaluated and compared to the institution’s catalog. Matches can be done using specific match “profiles” which define how a match is evaluated. There are two types of matches:
- “fuzzy”, weighted match vector
The “fuzzy” match method attempts to evaluate a record based on various non-unique identifiers and fields to determine if the imported record and the catalog record are in fact duplicates.
Alma will use institution-defined merge profiles to calculate the new record content. These profiles determine which fields are preserved in the existing catalog record, and which fields will be imported from the import record. The profile uses a configurable business rule to make these determinations.
Merge Profile List:
Is it possible to override normal validation rules?
Imported records are validated according to the validation task chain defined in the import profile.
For jobs/records with validation issues, you can:
- Force the import
- Choose not to import
- Reject the file
- Create an XML file of the failed records
Is there a limit to the size of the import file?
When uploading files – using the ‘Upload File’ method, the file size is limited to 10 MB. For files imported using the FTP File Upload Method, this limitation does not apply.
Can import profiles be shared across institutions?
The Community Zone includes import profile templates for vendors with the recommended configuration for the vendor.
In addition, Alma supports the option of sharing import profiles between institutions:
- Libraries can copy import profiles Ex Libris has configured as a default template for a vendor.
- Libraries can contribute profiles to the Community Zone
- Libraries can copy profiles that other institutions have contributed to the Community Zone.
Clicking on the Community tab on the Import Profiles screen will display the list of profiles detailing profile type, contributed by and contribution date that can be copied to the local institution:
Export and publishing
What export options are available?
Alma supports the ability to export bibliographic, inventory, and authority records in their native formats, including MARC 21 XML or binary and Dublin Core XML. The export of bibliographic records makes use of Publication Profiles. These profiles are defined to determine which records to export, on what schedule to export them, and additional services to run at export (which may include enhancing or cleaning up the outgoing records). This publication approach is the same infrastructure used for synchronizing holdings with WorldCat.
Additionally, Alma supports the ability to perform ad-hoc exports on demand. This can be used for external record processing, updating for a shared repository, loading into an institutional data warehouse, or any other purpose. The most versatile and ubiquitous type of data extract is the Tools button that is found on most list screens generated in Alma. This Tools button permits the user to save whatever list is present to an Excel spread sheet for further work outside of Alma.
Can groups of records, or sets of records, be exported - e.g. to OCLC?
Alma’s publication framework allows the system to export records automatically to one or more target sources. With this approach to export, external systems (such as discovery interfaces or resource sharing systems) can be kept up to date with records from the catalog. The publishing framework allows libraries to define exports for individual, groups of records, or records changed since the last export. This includes the ability to export the entire catalog with no additional fee. Example of publishing (export profiles) can be seen in the following screen capture:
For synchronizing local holdings with WorldCat, individual libraries will define in Alma a holdings synchronization service that will run automatically. The service will identify every record that is new, altered, or deleted since the last WorldCat synchronization. Any given resource can be suppressed if the library does not wish to share it; in this case it will not be exported for synchronization or holdings update. All affected records will be exported from Alma with updated information (or a holdings delete notification, as appropriate). Additionally, specifically for OCLC, Alma can export the actual holding record: