NCIP Broker-based Resource Sharing
NCIP services are comprised of a request from an initiating application and a reply from a responding application. In the context of broker-based Resource Sharing, the initiator is an application used by the library to manage resource sharing requests, referred to as the ILL broker system.
In this implementation Alma has the “responder” role only: the actions are done inside the broker ILL system, with each action being automatically reflected into Alma based on NCIP messages. This enables library staff to use two systems – broker ILL system for managing the resource sharing process and Alma for managing the inventory and the fulfillment actions such as hold shelf and loan management, while performing the daily tasks only once and in one system. Actions taken in the broker ILL system can then be tracked in either the broker ILL system or in Alma. Full transparency of the request and relevant inventory status is therefore achieved with minimal required actions.
Following is a detailed description of the workflow:
A resource sharing request can be submitted directly in the broker ILL system.
It is also possible to place requests via Primo or Primo Central: the Alma services page enables patrons to directly link into the broker ILL system request submission interface. Clicking the supplied link in the Alma services page triggers an OpenURL (or another URL) to the broker ILL system, which in response opens up a request form or a search result that is already reflects with the searched metadata.
There are broker ILL systems which authenticate the users against their own users database. Others use the LookupUser NCIP service in order to check whether the user exists in the borrowing library's Alma and is allowed to submit the request.
At this point, the borrowing request exists only in the broker ILL system. Some brokers will use the RequestItem message in order to create the borrowing request in Alma. However the common workflow is to create the borrowing request in Alma only when the item is shipped from the lender.
After a request is submitted, the broker ILL system looks for a potential supplier which has the requested material available. The availability check is done using Z39.50 request or pre-published metadata.
When a supplier was found, the broker ILL system sends a request to that supplier. For some ILL broker systems (e.g. OCLC navigator) the selected lender sends a Request Item NCIP message to the lending library’s Alma at this point. In that case, a lending request will be created in the lending library’s Alma system. The request can be for physical or digital material, based on the MediumType elemet.
Note that if the broker system (e.g. Relais) does not send RequestItem NCIP message, at this point nothing was actually done in Alma: all the work is currently inside the broker ILL system. Indication in Alma will be made once the Checkout Item NCIP message will be received
The following diagram illustrates the request submission workflow:
The shipping activity is done in the lending library.
The lending library’s operator prints a pickup slip in Alma (if a Request Item message was previously sent) or in the broker ILL system (if a Request Item message was previously not sent). This slip is used in order to locate the requested item and physically take it off the shelf. If the request is for digital, a digitization of the item will be performed. After the request is fulfilled, the operator updates its status in the broker ILL system. A Checkout Item NCIP message is sent to the lending library’s Alma, in order to mark the item as checked out (in case of physical). A corresponding lending ILL request is created in Alma as well at this point, if not previously created by an incoming Request Item message. In case of physical, this request remains open until the item is returned. In case of digital, the request might be completed (depends on configuration in Alma).
The following diagram illustrates the shipping workflow:
Receiving and returning material
The receiving and returning activity is done in the borrowing library.
The borrowing library’s operator scans the barcode of the received item in the broker ILL system. A corresponding borrowing request is created in Alma as well at this point, if not previously created by an incoming Request Item message. An Accept Item NCIP message is sent to the borrowing library’s Alma. In case of physical material a temporary item (and a brief suppressed bibliographic record) is created, and places a hold request for the requesting patron.
The item management at the borrowing library is done in Alma: a letter is sent to the patron, notifying the patron to pick up the item. The item is loaned to the patron and the loan is managed in Alma as any other loan.
When the patron returns the item, the operator marks the request as returned in the broker ILL system. A Checkin Item NCIP message is sent to the borrowing library’s Alma in order to mark the item as returned. Alma removes the temporary bibliographic record and the item and marks the borrowing request as complete.
In case of digital material, the request might be considered as completed.
The following diagram illustrates the receiving workflow:
The check-in activity is done in the lending library. After the item has physically arrived back to the lending library, the lending library’s operator scans the barcode of the received item in the broker ILL system. A Checkin Item NCIP message is sent to the lending library’s Alma in order to mark the item as returned. :
Canceling the request
The lending library might decide not to supply the material.
In this case, instead of performing the shipping action, the lending library’s staff will perform a cancel request operation in their broker ILL system: the request will be canceled from this lending library, and the broker ILL system will look for other potential suppliers. A Cancel Request NCIP message will be sent to the lending library’s Alma in order to cancel the lending request (if was already existing). Request can be cancelled as long as it has not been shipped.
Note: in version 1.0 of NCIP, cancel request is supported also in the borrowing library.
Recalling the request
The lending library might decide to recall the material.
In this case, a recall request will be received in the borrowing library's broker ILL system.
The borrowing library's broker ILL system will sent a Recall Item NCIP message to Alma, in order to check if a recall is possible. If so, the due date of the material will be changed accordingly.
The following diagram illustrates the recall workflow:
Note that a Recall Item message might be initiated by the Alma of the lending library. In this case Alma will send a Recall Item NCIP message to the RS broker.
Renewing the request
The borrowing library’s staff might perform a renewal request operation in their broker ILL system. A RenewItem NCIP message will be sent to the borrowing library’s Alma. In response, Alma will update the borrowing request’s due date accordingly, as well as the patron loan if a loan has already been performed. A notification will also be sent to the patron.
The broker ILL system will also notify the lending library about the renewal: A RenewItem NCIP message will be sent to the lending library’s Alma. Alma will check whether renew is allowed as per policies (for example if maximum renew date is arrived or if item is locally requested) and respond with a new due date if the renew is allowed.
Note that a RenewItem message might be initiated by the Alma of the borrowing library. In this case Alma will send a RenewItem NCIP message to the RS broker. This will happen when a patron requests renewal in Primo's "my library card" or from the Alma loan list.
Required configuration in Alma
In Alma, an ILL partner should be defined, representing the broker ILL system. Refer to Alma online help for more information.
Required Configuration in the broker ILL system
- The NCIP messages should include the relevant fields and information, as described in the application profile.
- The URL for which NCIP messages should be sent to Alma is:
- For NCIP v2.0: Alma domain suffixed with “/view/NCIPServlet”, for example https://na01.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/view/NCIPServlet
- For NCIP v1: Alma domain suffixed with "view/NCIPServlet/v1", for example https://na01.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/view/NCIPServlet/v1