22. Januar 2019

Expert Advisory Group Makes Its Recommendations
for Open Data in Alma

The group embraces the goal of open access for the
Alma Community Catalog of bibliographic records

Ex Libris® Group, is pleased to announce that the international group of renowned library experts who convened to advise Ex Libris on the Community Catalog of the Alma library management service has concluded the first phase of its work. Part of the Alma Community Zone, the Community Catalog comprises metadata records shared by libraries that are using the Alma library management service. The purpose of the Community Catalog is to streamline resource-management processes, including selection, acquisitions, cataloging, and fulfillment.  

The group's recommendations were governed by the principle that all records contributed to the Community Catalog should be open and that members should be able to share, copy, edit, and redistribute records that are linked to the library’s inventory. Owned jointly by the community, the Community Catalog will also enable libraries to contribute records to external systems, such as Ex Libris Primo®, or other discovery environments. Alma’s early adopters and development partners had an opportunity to review the recommendations during the group’s deliberations.  

The group’s recommendations focus on the rights and responsibilities of the Community Catalog members to ensure that the records they contribute will be available for other members’ use. Furthermore, the recommendations specify the mandate of Ex Libris to provide clear documentation of these rights and responsibilities.  Ex Libris has agreed to work with the community, which will be largely self-governed, to establish any necessary dispute-resolution practices.  

Karen Coyle, an independent consultant and cataloging expert who is a member of the advisory group, commented: “Establishing clear frameworks to disseminate library data is of immense importance to library professionals. I applaud Ex Libris for consulting with this diverse and knowledgeable group and actively listening to the group’s advice.”  

“The ecosystem for library metadata is rapidly evolving,” remarked advisory-group member Jennifer Younger, chair of the board of directors at the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, an association of Catholic colleges and universities that make their resources available electronically to library professionals and the general public. “Open metadata is increasingly of interest to the library industry, as huge volumes of content are made available through the Web. This trend coincides with libraries’ growing interest in streamlining workflows for acquiring and managing resources to enhance efficiency. Opening access to metadata as early in the life cycle as possible enables this efficiency to be more easily and cooperatively achieved.”  

“It has been a privilege to work with the advisory group’s dedicated and passionate experts from the field of bibliographic data,” noted Susan Stearns, vice president of strategic partnerships at Ex Libris. “By helping create the governing principles of the Community Zone, this group has paved the way for Ex Libris to establish a truly open and shared foundation of data on which to build services.”  

The members of the advisory group are as follows:

As Alma moves into production in 2012, Ex Libris plans to extend this work by forming a separate group, which will develop and document cataloging standards and policies for Alma regarding operational issues such as content standards and quality control.