Open Source Discovery Systems

Ex Libris provides institutions with the flexibility to deploy any discovery system. Alma integrates with open source discovery systems using several protocols and methodologies. This section summarizes the integration points.

You can read more about Open Source Discovery in the Tech Blogs.


The following diagram illustrates the main functions in a discovery system that require integration with Alma:

  1. Search and retrieve information about library resources
    In order to enable this functionality, all types of Alma data (such as physical, electronic, and digital data) must be published and loaded into the discovery tool’s DB. See Alma General Publishing.
  2. Retrieve real time availability information on library resources.
    Discovery system can query Alma for the real time availability of print materials, using the Retrieve BIB API. This API is based on the MMS ID (BIB ID in Alma), which is retrieved as part of the publishing process in 001 field. Note that the API should be invoked asynchronously via AJAX in order to give good performance in the results page in the discovery system.
  3. Perform fulfillment services on library resources.
    Alma offers the ability to “get” printed material or “view” electronic and digital materials. See Fulfillment services.
  4. Perform My Library Card functions via the My Account tab.
    Discovery system can offer patron details, using the Users API. This API is based on the user ID, and supports patron info, list and renew loans, list and cancel requests and list of fines.
  5. Provides the UI for Alma Link Resolver services for searches that are not initiated via the discovery system (such as EBSCO, Google Scholar). The result of these searches is a dedicated page showing available services for the requested resource. See OpenURL Resolving for more information on this flow.

Some of the services described above are relevant for logged in users: