Ex Libris Implementation Project Update – December 2017

In this second update on the Ex Libris Implementation Project, we report on a major milestone achieved in November – the completion of organizational planning. In early December the project will transition from the pre-implementation to implementation stage, so this update also introduces the timeline from December to June, focusing on the three key phases of implementation – Define, Build, and Deploy.

Completion of Organizational Planning

Cabinet recently approved a proposal to form several working groups connected to the Implementation Team, marking the completion of organizational planning for the project. As reported last month, the Implementation Team was created in late September and includes seven members from the infrastructure units of the Libraries. Reporting directly to the University Librarian, the team functions as the coordinating body of the project. The working groups will provide expert input to the Implementation Team, organize workflow reviews, testing, and training in their focus areas, and involve library faculty and staff in the implementation process. The team appoints team members to liaise with the working groups to facilitate two-way communications.

Here is a list of working groups and their membership:

Working Group Implementation Team Liaison(s) Membership
Acquisitions Abbey DiPaolo Dominique Dixon, Megan O’Connor/Kati Ritter, Cathy Pecoraro/Rita Wells, Gracemary Smulewitz, Lucy Vidal, Mary Beth Weber
Data Migration and System Integration Chris Sterback & Chad Mills (co-liaisons) Fengzhi Fan, Dave Hoover, Bob Warwick
Digital Chad Mills Isaiah Beard, Kalaivani Ananthan, Jane Otto
Discovery Joseph Deodato Discovery Working Group*
E-Resources Gracemary Smulewitz Michelle Best, Paul Cabelli, Cathy Pecoraro, Lucy Vidal, Geoff Wood, Tao Yang
Fulfillment Chris Sterback Access Services Committee*
Interlibrary Loan Gracemary Smulewitz Abbey DiPaolo, Orla Mejia, Glenn Sandberg
Resource Management Mary Beth Weber Colin Bitter, Jamie Smith, Geoff Wood, Tao Yang

(* indicating existing groups)

The Discovery Working Group and Access Services Committee are existing groups, and the others are newly established. All of the groups have members from multiple departments or units of the Libraries.

While approving the working groups, Cabinet also made two important points:

  1. The Ex Libris Implementation Project is a top priority that must be completed within the established timeframe. Members of the Implementation Team and working groups are taking on a significant amount of work, so it may be necessary for everyone to adjust the expectations for them in areas unrelated to implementation.
  2. Communicating with library users about potential service interruptions (and enhancements) is an essential component of the implementation project. The Implementation Team will work with the Director of Communications to develop an external communications plan.

The Implementation Team has also made significant progress on creating a project website and performing data preparation and validation. We hope to describe them in more details at the poster session of the State of the Libraries or in the next monthly update.

Overview of Implementation Timeline (December – June)

Ex Libris divides the Alma/Primo implementation process into three phases: Define, Build, and Deploy. During the Define phase for Rutgers (December – early February), the Implementation Team gains access to the standard Alma sandbox environment including standard Ex Libris data and configuration, takes Alma training (including configuration training) via pre-recorded sessions, and then configures the sandbox environment. At the same time, the Libraries continue with data extraction and validation and deliver the data from source systems (Symphony and EDS) based on the Ex Libris specifications for migration to Alma. The Define phase ends with Ex Libris completing the configuration of the Alma production environment with the input from the Rutgers team and a test load of the migrated data.

During the Build phase (late February – May), the Libraries receive access to both the Alma production environment and Primo environment for functionality review and data testing. Both environments use Rutgers data and configurations and we need to document any necessary modifications for the cutover data load. The Implementation Team works with Ex Libris to define a list of third-party integrations (such as the ILL and Central Authentication Systems). Ex Libris conducts onsite workshops to explain the workflows of the new system. The Implementation Team and working groups also prepare and perform internal staff training. This phase completes with a “freeze” of the source systems (Symphony and EDS). Ex Libris then performs the cutover data load.

Alma and Primo are scheduled to go live at Rutgers on June 1, which is the Day 1 of the Deploy phase. From June to July, the Implementation Team works closely with Ex Libris to address any issues and support library faculty and staff through their first steps with Alma and Primo in production.

Additional information about the three phases can be found in this chart published by Ex Libris:

We look forward to the opportunities to discuss the project with you at the State of the Libraries and other venues. Please do not hesitate to contact us or other Implementation Team members if you have any questions or comments. Thank you!


Tao Yang & Abbey DiPaolo


Abigail DiPaolo