August 20, 2023
Our user community is at the heart of the work we do. Through the establishment of several diverse working and focus groups, we take a collaborative approach to developing leading library software solutions – and we have done so from the beginning.
With the exciting establishment of two new working groups, we thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some of the many others behind our ground-breaking flagship product Alma.
Spotlight on some of the many Alma working and focus groups
Inaugurated in 2016, the original Alma UX focus group continues to convene regularly. Several original members from its inception remain active participants, a testament to the enduring dedication of the community. This group’s influence has been so significant that it extends beyond its designated scope, impacting the development of the entire Ex Libris Higher Education Platform (HEP).
The Analytics Community of Practice (CoP) working group collects feedback, leading to the development of numerous new features. Furthermore, the group is currently engaged in collaborative efforts to expand the documentation (Data Dictionary).
The Authorities group provides a direct line of communication between the Alma product team and the community of authority experts. As is the case with all working and focus groups, this group helps Ex Libris by attentively considering community input, offering guidance, determining priorities, and providing clarification.
A Consortia Focus group, which in effect is two groups (one based in the US, the other in Europe) collaborate and advise Ex Libris on consortial issues, as well as facilitate requests for enhancements.
New groups established with our user community
The Linked Open Data group has invited a diverse selection of institutions to become active participants, effectively functioning as developmental collaborators, with the responsibility of implementing and evaluating new features developed by Ex Libris in this area. This initiative aims to seamlessly integrate Linked Open Data conventions into all metadata management facets and workflows, encompassing acquisitions, fulfillment, and eventual inclusion in the discovery process.
Similarly, the Collection Management group has emerged from collaborative efforts among various institutions, driven by a shared goal of resource optimization, such as the exchange of print materials. Ex Libris, in turn, focuses on refining analytical tools and capabilities, enabling institutions to derive actionable insights from their collections.
Collaborating beyond the User Groups
The working groups are but a fraction of the multifaceted collaboration between Ex Libris integrated library system and its User Community.
The New Enhancements Request System (NERS) is a joint endeavor, integrating the Ex Libris User Community to facilitate the logging of development requests for Alma. The Alma library management system team dedicates resources annually to fulfill a specified number of these requests, reinforcing their commitment to user-driven evolution.
Additionally, the Idea Exchange forum empowers users to propose developmental concepts, fostering a direct channel of communication with the Ex Libris product management team. This interactive platform, particularly within the Alma section, consistently thrives as a space for dynamic discourse.
The ongoing constructive interaction between Ex Libris and its User Community epitomizes a model of collaboration marked by mutual enrichment. Through established working groups, joint initiatives, and open forums, this partnership actively shapes the evolution of Ex Libris products and services, ensuring our software solutions remain at the forefront of technology in response to the collective needs and requirements of our community.