Orbis Cascade Alliance and Ex Libris Complete Implementation
of a Shared Resource Management and Discovery System
Culmination of a two-year effort to replace local systems
The Orbis Cascade Alliance, a consortium of 37 North American academic institutions known for innovative collaboration, and Ex Libris Group® are pleased to announce completion of a two-year effort to migrate Alliance members to a shared, next-generation library management and discovery solution. Alliance member libraries have migrated from 37 locally hosted systems comprised of four discovery and three ILS platforms to shared use of the cloud-based Alma unified resource management solution and Primo discovery solution. Working in partnership, the Alliance and Ex Libris each played critical roles in managing the complex migration of four cohorts comprised of 6-11 libraries, each cohort migrating over a six-month period. Beyond migration, the Alliance and Ex Libris worked in partnership to create a new resource sharing solution and to develop consortial functionality that will allow Alliance member libraries to build on their 20-year history of shared work.
“This is truly a collaborative project that could not have happened without the support of everyone across the Alliance. Dozens of member library staff across the northwest U.S. have been in near-constant contact with Ex Libris colleagues based in Chicago, Boston, and Jerusalem,” stated Jane Carlin, chair of the Alliance and library director at the University of Puget Sound. “We now share a system and there are so many possibilities for service, training, workflow and product knowledge and development.”
“This has been a long and complex migration and huge credit is due to the leadership, imagination, hard work and perseverance of dozens of staff across all 37 member libraries,” remarked John F. Helmer, executive director of the Orbis Cascade Alliance. “For 20 years, we have been exploring the potential of deep collaboration, and implementation of this next-generation shared system is key to helping us realize our strategic goal to ‘do things once, do things together, do things the same.’”
“It has been a pleasure to work with Ex Libris on this historic achievement. Along the way, we often discovered new challenges and worked in partnership on creative solutions,” said Al Cornish, the Alliance shared ILS program manager. The Alliance and Ex Libris worked together to plan and achieve one of the project’s key objectives: a streamlined resource sharing program based on Alma’s capabilities. “Ex Libris was a very responsive partner throughout this effort,” stated Anya Arnold, the Alliance resource sharing program manager. “Resource sharing has deep roots in this consortium, with our first patron-initiated borrowing system going live for five libraries in the early 1990’s and migration to a second platform in 2008. It is a thrill to now launch the next generation of resource sharing serving all 37 members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance.”
Matti Shem Tov, President and CEO of the Ex Libris Group, commented: “Having all Alliance members live with Alma and Primo is a huge accomplishment, the result of excellent teamwork and many months of intensive efforts by all project members. This day is only the beginning. Now that the foundation is in place, we will start witnessing the emergence of new, innovative practices and services across the Alliance. We feel honored to be a partner of the Alliance and we look forward to many more years of collaborative work.”
“The success of this project is a testament to the dedication, ingenuity, and enthusiasm of so many individuals throughout the Alliance and Ex Libris who have enjoyed a close and productive relationship for the past two years,” stated Melissa Hilbert, Ex Libris Vice President of Professional Services North America. “Beyond implementing new systems, we have worked together to establish consortial implementation best practices and recognize the extremely valuable contributions the Alliance has made in this area.”
About Orbis Cascade
The Orbis Cascade Alliance is a consortium of 37 academic institutions in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, serving faculty and the equivalent of more than 275,000 full-time students. The Alliance helps member libraries to advance institutional missions through collaboration and innovation. Members join together in the spirit of innovation and combined expertise, seeking efficiency and productivity to strongly promote the success of students, faculty, staff, and researchers. We bring multiple perspectives together to challenge traditional thinking and elevate our ability to deliver outstanding services, programs, and collections. The Alliance supports a number of programs that promote this vision, including a shared resource management and discovery system; standardized policies and collaborative workflows; a service that allows students, faculty, and staff to easily search and request library materials owned by member libraries; courier service providing delivery of library materials in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho; enhanced access to archival and manuscript collections in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington through a union database of finding aids; an Alliance distributed print repository; consortium-wide participation in the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST); cooperative purchasing of databases and e-journals; and demand-driven and licensed e-book collections.