Tech Blog

Alma and Tipasa Integration

The integration between Ex Libris Alma and OCLC Tipasa has been available since April 2019, but documentation is sparse on both ends. Here is a brief write-up showing how I configured the integration.

What does it do?

Before I started, it was really hard to figure out what the integration even does. Here’s what it can do in my experience so far:

  • When your library lends a book in Tipasa, the book will show as checked out in Alma. That means you will collect statistics in Alma and patrons will see it as unavailable.
  • When your patrons borrow a book in Tipasa, temporary MMS and item records will be created for the book in Alma. The patron will see the book as a current checkout in the My Account section of Primo.

Here’s what it does not do:

  • The built-in Primo resource sharing form will not create a request in Tipasa. Instead, you’ll need to use a General Electronic Resource so that users see a link in Primo to place an interlibrary loan request. This link will go to a pre-populated Tipasa form by passing book data as OpenURL parameters.
  • Patrons cannot renew books through Primo.

Set up Alma

There are two parts here. First, you need to configure Tipasa as a resource sharing partner. Second, you need to add a General Electronic Service so that links to Tipasa show up in your Primo search results.

Configure resource sharing

Log in to Alma. Go to Fulfillment » Resource Sharing » Partners. Click Add Partner.

In the General Information tab, enter parameters like these:

  • Name: Tipasa (or whatever you want)
  • Code: Tipasa (or whatever you want)
  • Profile Type: NCIP
  • System Type: Tipasa
  • Status: Active
  • Supports Borrowing: Yes
  • Supports Lending: Yes
  • Default Partner: Yes (unless you have a reason not to)
  • Borrowing Workflow and Lending Workflow: Pick values from the dropdown list. Ex Libris created ours during migration. If you don’t have any options here, contact Ex Libris Support.

In the Parameters tab, most of the settings will be based on your institution’s preferences. One thing to note is that the Broker System NCIP URL and URL Template fields should be left blank. Alma already knows these for Tipasa.

Here are the settings we used for reference, but as I said, it will be specific to your library’s preferred workflows and the locations you have set up in Alma.

Configure the General Electronic Service

Go to the Alma configuration page. In the Fulfillment section go to Discovery Interface Display Logic » General Electronic Services. You’ll need to add several services here. I used the settings shared on the Ex Libris Developers Tech Blog by Doris Munson. These have worked well for us so far. Thanks Doris! If I come up with any improvements, I will be sure to post them.

Books

Book Chapters

Articles

Other

Set up Tipasa

First, log in to your OCLC Service Configuration website. Go to the Worldshare ILL section. Go to the section labelled Non-WMS Circulation Integration.

This screen is where all the magic happens. First, check the box to enable circulation integration. Select Alma as your ILS. For your server address, enter [mylibrary].alma.exlibrisgroup.com. For your institution code, it should look something like 01UCMO_INST. You can find it in Alma under Discovery » Configure Views. It is the first part of the view code, prior to the colon:

 

In the Borrowing and Lending sections, select whatever you want. If you aren’t sure, this configuration worked for us:

That’s it!

Borrow book in Tipasa and connect it to one of your patrons. Have a look at the patron’s account in Alma. They should have the book from Tipasa. Success!

Things that would be nice (ahem vendors)

From Ex Libris:

  • Allow patrons to place Tipasa ILL requests using the default Primo resource sharing form. It would be nice if patrons didn’t have to be redirected to a different platform to create a request.
  • Put some kind of note in the patron’s My Account page indicating that a book came from interlibrary loan. Even better, allow libraries to add a custom message for these books like “If you want to renew, call the circulation desk at 555-555-5555.”

From OCLC:

  • Allow renewals to be triggered through Alma/Primo.
  • Post some documentation for Glob’s sake.

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