Application Profile


This profile, referred to as the ExLibris Alma Application Profile, is designed to provide a coherent agreed-upon set of behaviors, options, and parameters that support the exchange of NCIP messages between an ILL application and the ExLibris Alma operating together on the borrowing side of an Interlibrary Loan transaction. The base standard that enables this communication is NCIP. versions 2.0 and 1.0 are supported. This profile is based on that protocol, as well as the supporting NCIP implementation Profile 1.

Application Profile Scope and Purpose

This profile does not cover how users initiate ILL requests. All user authentication and authorization is considered out of scope for this profile.


  • Implementation Profile 1, a Profile of the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol
  • NISO Z39.83-200x, NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol
  • ISO 10160:1997, Information and Documentation – Open Systems


To clarify the difference between similar but not identical terminology used in this profile and the ISO ILL Protocol, the terms “Borrower” and “Borrowing” are used in preference to the NCIP term of “Requester” or the ISO ILL term of “Requester”.
Likewise, the terms “Lender” and “Lending” are used in preference to the NCIP term of “Responder” or the ISO ILL term of “Responder.”

BorrowerThe agency that makes use of the ILL and circulation applications to facilitate the management and circulation to its users of items obtained via ILL.
Borrowing AgencySee Borrower.
Circulation ApplicationThe application that manages the circulation of items.
ILL ApplicationThe application that manages the exchange of Interlibrary Loan messages between the borrower and the lender.
ItemAn item received from a lender in response to an ILL request made by the borrower.
LenderThe agency that supplies an item in response an ILL request and manages the circulation of that item
Lending AgencySee Lender.
RequestA request for a loan, copy, or other service initiated by the borrowing agency and answered by the lending agency.
UserA user at the borrowing agency who places an ILL request.


An application that claims conformance to this profile SHALL:

  • Conform to version 2.0 or 1.0 of the NISO Circulation interchange Protocol .
  • Implement all required and conditionally required messages and data elements in this profile specification.

Participating Applications

Two applications are assumed in this profile: The Interlibrary Loan application and the circulation application. This profile assumes that circulation application is ExLibris Alma.

The Interlibrary Loan application manages ILL requests, including setting of fees charged to local users, transmitting recall notices to the patron etc.

The circulation application manages the loan of items obtained from external sources, including communicating with the user, determining if a borrowed item is overdue, collecting overdue fines and ILL fees, etc.

Management of User and Staff User Interaction

The Interlibrary Loan application manages the Interlibrary Loan staff user interface. The circulation application manages the circulation staff user interface. All Circ / ILL interactions are triggered from the Interlibrary Loans application.

Transport Protocol

The circulation application and the ILL application SHALL support the HTTPS transport protocol.

Security and Privacy

A user is authenticated/authorized when logging into the ILL or circulation user applications, which is out of scope of this profile. This profile assumes that the ILL and circulation applications whose interactions are described in this profile trust each other. Where the two applications are managed by a single agency, trust may be implicit and a minimum exchange of information may be required to enable the applications to communicate.