Although most library users won’t notice any difference, changes are coming to an important back-end system the Duke University Libraries uses to handle everything from checking out books to managing thousands of databases and online resources. Between now and summer 2024, we will sunset our legacy library enterprise system and transition to the Ex Libris Alma Library Services Platform.
Most large research libraries like Duke’s rely on various commercial and open-source software products to handle the everyday work of library staff, integrating systems for broad interoperability and accessibility while at the same time providing a high-quality user experience to library patrons.
While Duke has long contributed to the development of open-source library technologies (we were the founding institution of the Open Library Environment and a charter member of FOLIO), the decision to implement Alma was made after an extensive internal review of the specific library needs of the Duke community, including the separately administered libraries serving the schools of Business, Law, Divinity, and Medicine, as well as Duke Kunshan University Library. After evaluating financial considerations, impact on staffing, and the sustainability of wide-ranging library technology projects in which Duke has invested heavily, library leadership decided to move forward with Alma.
“We are in a better place today because of the contributions and work of our staff, who have laid the foundation for stronger, more sustainable library system at Duke,” said Joseph Salem, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs. “These investments, collaborations, and projects have been worthwhile in preparing us for an impactful future serving the Duke community.”
“We have a notable history of innovation through leveraging and integrating multiple technology platforms for library users,” said Tim McGeary, Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies & Technology. “We remain proud of FOLIO, our contributions and collaboration, and of our colleagues that have fully implemented FOLIO. We will work with the FOLIO community during this transition to minimize impact on leadership and staff collaboration, and we will fulfill the financial commitments we have made in shared development projects. We also remain proud of our partnership with Index Data, which will continue through hosting and supporting the Library Data Platform. Index Data’s dedication to FOLIO, Project ReShare, and open-source technology development in libraries is strong, and we look forward to future partnerships.”
Project plans for implementing Alma are being developed and will be communicated soon.