On 3 January 2017, the Freie Universität Berlin libraries' new library software (Alma) will "go live." The Freie Universität libraries are using the opportunity to harmonize their service modalities.
Service Modality Changes
- Login to Primo + FU computers/thinclients
Freie Universität students use their FU/ZEDAT account.
Freie Universität staff and external users continue logging in with their library-card number and the corresponding password.
Starting 2017, Freie Universität students will receive all library notifications as e-mails to their official FU e-mail address (ZEDAT e-mail) only. Options in the ZEDAT-Portal settings can be used to redirect e-mails to other addresses if desired.
Other users, please turn to the Circulation Desk at one of the libraries to register your e-mail address or report changes of address.
- E-mail notifications
Except for third dunning notices, all notifications issued through the library management system will be sent to you as e-mails only. Starting 2017, you will receive more e-mails to inform you about the status of your requests and to remind you of upcoming return dates etc.
- Password changes
Freie Universität students can change their ZEDAT account password on ZEDAT-Portal.
Freie Universität staff and external users can change teir password in Primo (My account → Personal settings). Please turn to the Circulation Desk at one of the libraries if you need to have your Primo password reset.
- Self-checkout-machine PIN
The PIN for the self-checkout machines at the Campus and Economics Library can be managed in Primo as part of the "Personal settings" on the "My account" panel.
The dunning procedure is triggered immediately when the loan period for an item ends. (Dates and precise times are indicated in your account.) Items can be returned at all Freie Universität libraries, no matter at which library they were taken out. Outside opening hours, you can use book drops (for instance, at the University Library main entrance, Garystr. 39); i. e., returns are possible at all times.
Starting 2017, fees owed to more than one Freie Universität library, can be paid in cash and at once at any Freie Universität library Circulation Desk. Transfers are possible, but remember that they take several days:
Berliner Bank, Niederlassung der Deutschen Bank
IBAN: DE67 1007 0848 051 3128 900
Swift Code (BIC): DEUTDEDB110
Payment reference ("Verwendungszweck"): 011/58 Library User Number (absolutely required)
As soon as due fees reach € 10, library accounts are blocked until payment is made.
The pay stations at Iltisstraße 1 (Student Records and Registration Office), at Garystraße 39 (University Library) and at Mensa FU II (canteen, entrance on Otto-von-Simson-Straße) need an update and are not working for library fees at the moment.
- Interlibrary loans (ILL)
In line with the regular hold period, interlibrary-loan items will be held ready to be picked up at the University Library Circulation Desk or Reading Room for five opening days. Interlibrary-loan items that have not been picked up or used within that period will be sent back to the lending library.
The maximum interlibrary-loan period is four weeks. Regrettably, extensions are no longer possible.
Changes in the Library Portal Primo
Primo is the "front end" of the library-management technology where users search books, journals, journal articles etc., and in principle, Primo is the same as before. However, because of changes in the underlying data management, there will also be changes in the diplay of data in Primo, especially for multi-volume works, series and journals.
- Request functionality
The link needed to request items from closed stacks or to reserve items that are out on loan will appear only after users log in and only if items have to be requested. For items that are available in open-shelf areas, no request funcionality is needed because users retrieve them themselves; and therefore, no request options will be shown.
- Loan periods
Starting 2017, the indication "Beschränkte Ausleihe" (restricted loan) will no longer be used. The loan time allowed will be indicated exactly for each item (one-day loan, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, etc.), depending on the regulations in the relevant library and depending on user status.
Starting 2017, the loan period for items from textbook collections (Lehrbuchsammlungen) will be two weeks in all Freie Universität libraries. Hold requests will be possible if all copies of a work are taken out; extensions will be possible, unless there are hold requests.
- Multi-volume works and series
Unfortunately, there will be a usability decline in the display of volumes in the details panel owing to an unavoidable change in the underlying data formats. You can find volumes that are part of a multi-volume work or series by using the "Show all volumes of this record" link. The numeric order of volumes can be improved by selecting "Series" or "Multipart item" from the sorting-options menu.
Journal titles are transferred to Alma from various data pools (ZDB, EZB). The details panel contains general numbering information for journals, regardless of Freie Universität Berlin holdings. Specific information on volumes held at particular Freie Universität libraries is given on the locations panel. For the time being, it is not possible to display holdings separately for each library (but a complaint in this matter has been submitted to the software manufacturer).
If volumes are listed in the locations panel, but not in the pick lists, then, as a rule, it is not necessary to request them because they can be retrieved from open shelves. However, in some cases, volumes that are shelved in closed stacks and need to be requested do not show up as requestable – in which case, please turn to the Ciruclation Desk of the library in question in order to request the volume.
Work in Progress
The combination of Primo and Alma will be constantly improved, and we will, of course, continue to make adjustments after Alma has "gone live." Some of the necessary work lies in the hands of the software manufacturer, some things we can do ourselves. As always, we appreciate your input: firstname.lastname@example.org.
After almost 20 years, the library management software Aleph has served its time – and the same is true for the accompanying front end, the OPAC. Aleph and the OPAC are being shut off simultaneously.
What does the introduction of Alma imply for library staff?
Staff in the libraries have been training for Alma for some months. But during this time, the system has still been under development, and functionality and routines are still changing even while we implement the software; therefore, we hope not to cause our users too much inconvenience while we continue to sort things out.