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Implementation of the new library management system Alma | FAQs

On this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding the implementation of the new library management system Alma.

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What is Alma?

Since 14 December 2016 TU University Library and the TU Special Libraries have been operating with Alma, a new library system supplied by the ExLibris company. Alma is a cloud-based library management software which handles all library processes from ordering books and cataloging to loans. The TU Libraries take this step together with the university libraries of Free University, Humboldt University and University of the Arts (UdK). TU and UdK Libraries share an Alma system.

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Why do the TU Libraries switch to Alma?

In recent years, innovations in media processing and information exchange have transformed library workflows fundamentally.

The new system Alma will support an optimal workflow for print and electronic media, enable outsourcing of tasks in some areas and reduce the level of technical supervision required. In the longer term, Alma will facilitate a closer cooperation with other libraries in a joint Alma network zone.

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Is security of data guaranteed in the cloud?

Protection of our users' personal data is highly important to us. Therefore, we have involved the TU data protection officer in our contractual agreements with the software company. Based on current data protection regulations, the contracts ensure a high level of protection. In addition we are obliged to provide a data security concept which has to be approved by both the TU and the Berlin data protection officers.

All personal data relevant to data protection is processed and stored on platforms located in Amsterdam and therefore inside the European area of justice.

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Are there any service restrictions?

At best, you will hardly notice any changes when we switch to the new system Alma. Primo Knowledge Portal will be available throughout the whole transitional period. Still, a few other service adjustments unfortunately will be necessary:

  • Reduced opening hours until 30 December 2016:
    From 17 October to 30 December 2016 opening hours will be reduced:

    Further information on the opening hours

  • Reservations on items placed before 14 December will be deleted
    All reservations placed on items before 14 December will be deleted. Please place a new reservation on the item after the transition, if necessary.
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What will be different after the implementation of Alma?

After the transition to the new system the following changes will apply from 14 December 2016:

  • TU students only: Sign in into your library account
    As of now, TU students log into Primo Knowledge Portal using their tubIT account data. However, for checking out books via the self-issue machines you continue to log in with your student card number and PIN. Default PIN is set to your postal code.
  • TU students only: Email addresses accepted
    For TU students, only the "official" email addresses assigned by tubIT will be accepted as contact email in the library account.
     
  • Renewing Items
    The regular loan period is 28 days. During this period items cannot get recalled by reserving them.
    You can renew all items as often as you wish up to a maximum of 180 days. You will not be able to renew items which have been reserved by another user or in case your library account is blocked.
     
  • New loan periods at the Architecture and Art History Department Library
    New loan periods starting 14 December 2016: all loan periods of 7 days and 28 days become to a loan period of 14 days. Text book collection items will keep the loan period of 28 days.
    You can renew all items as often as you wish up to a maximum of 180 days. You will not be able to renew items which have been reserved by another user or in case your library account is blocked. 
     
  • RSS feeds
    Unfortunately information on recent library acquisitions, recent publications by TU University Press as well as searches in Primo Knowledge Portal can be no longer subscribed to by RSS feed.

 

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How does searching in Primo Knowledge Portal change?

Primo Knowledge Portal will be the user interface for Alma und will continue to be your main access point for the library's print and electronic resources, further bibliographic data and online publications. Via Primo you can log in to your library account and renew, reserve and request media.

From now on you can search the TU and UdK collections at the same time and find books and items of both libraries at a glance. In order to use all available search tools and filters for the UdK collections we recommend searching via UdK Search Portal "Wissensportal der Künste".

Please note this change: borrowing conditions for print media (loan period etc.) will only be displayed after you have logged in to your library account.

 

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How does the introduction of a new system affect library staff?

Transition to a new IT system not only involves exchanging technical components but also entails organisational changes in all fields of work. Change to new work processes can only succeed when all members of staff invest a lot of their time and energy - also after the switch to Alma.

Library staff has to become acquainted with the new system. Answering your requests sometimes may take a little longer at the moment, we will appreciate your patience.

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