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October 03, 2023


The Bocconi University Library in Milan, Italy embarked on an ambitious transformation beginning in 2022 to usher in new enhanced services and modernized tools. This past June, the library unveiled its transformation to the public with a fresh graphic design, new features, and new services as the result of adopting Primo for optimized discovery services. Additionally, the implementation of the Alma library services platform introduced new back-office methodologies that further expanded the library’s capabilities. 

The adoption of Alma marked a pivotal turning point, fundamentally reshaping operational procedures and fostering seamless communication among various library services. Alma’s cloud-based platform simplifies the management of diverse resources, giving staff greater control and improved data management. With Alma Analytics, staff are able to gain valuable insights into user behavior to better anticipate community needs and fine tune user services. 

“I will give you the human view of how much the inclusion of Alma platform has represented for this Library. No previous project had ever required so much energy, well spent, because it transformed in part the way people work together and created alliances between services that share processes or at least expertise… ALMA helps to have a comprehensive, cutting-edge view of all services, particularly in a very large library,” said Beatriz Villagrasa, Bocconi University Library Director. 

The library aimed to achieve two major goals with Alma: the automation of critical processes and ease of information retrieval by the library’s users. 

To achieve the first goal, the library’s administrative and accounting processes were seamlessly linked between Alma and SAP, eliminating the need for external tools or manual interventions. This streamlined workflows for a range of mundane tasks, from invoice handling to data transmission to SAP. Alma APIs were leveraged to automate transmission of data like user records. Vocabularies and templates were designed to simplify metadata entry. New criteria were introduced to enhance resource sharing services. The library’s circulation service received a substantial boost with the utilization of Alma-provided apps, greatly simplifying requests for materials stored in external repositories. 

Another essential facet of the library’s transformation was optimizing management of resources and collections. Through strategic partnerships with third parties, staff implemented automated metadata harvesting from historical archives and Bocconi University’s research repository. The integration of Primo’s innovative discovery services allows users to easily navigate between diverse resources in alignment with the library’s second objective to simplify information retrieval. 

The library’s commitment to inclusivity was underscored by integrating voice command functionalities and employing visually friendly color schemes for users with visual impairments. In addition, the library activated digitization requests exclusively for this user group.  

This transformation marks a new beginning for the library, as staff redouble their efforts in fulfilling their mission as intermediaries, guiding users in their quest for knowledge. 

Almalibrary management system, a cloud-based library services platform, will provide the library with a proven solution that offers flexibility. Nearly 2,500 libraries worldwide use Alma to empower staff with efficient workflows and increase productivity by unifying and simplifying the management of print, electronic, and digital resources. Alma also enables libraries to deliver high-quality user experiences to patrons with seamless access to materials, while also integrating with other library and university systems.   

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