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How to set up a Peer-to-Peer Alma Resource Sharing Configuration in Alma: (also known as a“Partner of Second to Last Resort”)

This documentation was created by a joint project between Northwestern University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Participating committee members are:

Alice Tippit, Northwestern, Basia Kapolka, Northwestern, Geoffery Welles-Morse, Northwestern, Ivan H. Albertson, Northwestern, Kurt Munson, Northwestern, Albert Quattrucci, UW-Madison, Bruce Barton, UW-Madison, Curran Riley, UW-Madison, Joy Pohlman, UW-Madison, Rachel Watters, UW-Madison, Susan Hedrick, UW-Madison, Cate Booth, UW-Madison, and Katie Sanders, UW-Madison.

In the spring of 2019, Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison experimented with joining two Alma Sandboxes as a proof of concept to see if we could add an Alma institution outside of our consortium to our Alma rota.  UW-Madison is a consortia member of the University of Wisconsin System, which has a Network zone. As a Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) member, UW-Madison also had long standing agreements with other BTAA partners, including Northwestern.

In this model UW-Madison added Northwestern as a partner of second to last resort on the Madison side, while Northwestern was set up to accept lending requests from UW-Madison. Northwestern did not borrow items from Madison during this test.  This document reviews the steps to configure this set up in Alma.

I. Partnership: You need to have a partnership in place or create one.  Northwestern and UW-Madison were already members of a partnership (BTAA), and they had Resource Sharing policies in place, though they used another system to process requests.

II. Make sure you have a Resource Sharing Library in Alma, or set up an existing library as a Resource Sharing Library.

    1. This could be done using the default Resource Sharing Library in Alma or you can make your main library the Resource Sharing Library. It depends on your workflow preference. Both Northwestern and UW-Madison opted to use the main library as the Resource Sharing Library.  
    2. In Alma Config>Fulfillment> (Configure your RS or Main Library) >Library Details
      1. Both institutions must have the Resource Sharing Library option checked either under a main library or the default Resource Sharing library. If you already have this set up, you can keep what you likely have.  
      2. There are five main match points you will want to note here:  
        1. Your library path – usually your institution code and library code in a string
        2. Your institution code
        3. Your library code
        4. Your ISO code which is for use is ISO_[library code]
        5. Your url domain with exlibris – aka –
      3. You will then need to share your information with your new partner and vice versa.  Also, discuss if you want to share patron information (we did not), and if you are able to share barcodes without collisions (we were able to).  

**** We also opened a ticket with Exlibris just as an FYI.  We did not need assistance but just wanted them to be aware of the connection and new traffic patterns.

This is UW-Madison’s main Resource Sharing library config – it is found in Alma Config>[Library Level]>Library Details

III. Create a Locate Profile for your new partner Alma Config>Fulfillment>Locate Profiles

  1. UW-Madison’s locate includes information for Northwestern and is separate from their other Wisconsin partners in the shared Network Zone.  
  2. You will need your partner’s server domain url and institution code to set this up.
  3. Locate fields can be changed, this is just was UW-Madison has used for over 4 years, so we stuck with that.  It should match what is also in the Resource Sharing Library Locate by fields.

IV. Set up a local Partner (Fulfillment>Partner>Add a new Partner)

    1. In this case both schools started off with Local IZ only Partners.  UW-Madison added a partner for Northwestern and Northwestern added a partner for UW-Madison.  (If all members of the Wisconsin consortia were participating in sharing with Northwestern, the Wisconsin Northwestern partner could have been set up in the Network Zone.)  
    2. The code is the path (institutional code and library code)
    3. The Holdings code is the library code that is doing the lending.
    4. The Lending or Borrowing workflow – you can use your existing config. 
      • If you have never set up a workflow – it is set up under Alma Configuration>Fulfillment>Workflow Profiles – these are the profiles the University of Wisconsin System has been using for over 4 years.  (Make sure this is set up and then go back and add it to the partner config)

      1. The Institutional code will autofill
      2. We added the ILL to the beginning of Northwestern’s name as it shows up on the printing slips and should help students direct the materials back to ILL Department for UPS shipping vs. our constorial van delivery system. We have found that the staff workflow switch for a large campus is definitely something a campus wants to think about.

3. On the Contact tab, do add in something in the email field as it is required.  Usually you would want to add the main ILL or circ email.
4. On the Parameters tab you need to add the url, ISO symbol and then only check boxes if you are allowed to share patron information and or barcodes.

* UW-Madison has Send Requester information for UW System transactions, but as this would cross state lines, both institution errored on the side of caution and decided not to share patron information, just like ILLiad does not.  t Both of us can share barcodes so that option is checked and that saves us both a few steps in the resource sharing workflow.


V. RS location – 

    1. Set up a new rsborrowing location just for BTAA. This is optional, UW-Madison could use the existing location for Mem Borrowing or do a new one for Mem BTAA to help with troubleshooting or stats. We opted for it to separate transactions and easily track them.  
    2. Alma Configuration>[The library doing the Resource Sharing]>Fulfillment>Physical Locations> add

VI. TOUs (Terms of Use) and Loan Rules – both institutions need to decide how long a partner can keep items.  We used the agreed upon terms from BTAA of 140 Days.

  1. Alma Configuration>Fulfillment>Terms of Use (TOU)
    1. Note we have found it is best to create all terms of use at the Institutional level vs. the Library level
           a. TOU for Lending – UW-Madison

            b. Northwestern Lending TOU: (Note for a good user experience you would want all rules to match between institutions.  Showing you Northwestern’s rule here as an example.)

           c. Borrowing rules can be built in the TOU and then applied by partner in the Fulfillment Rules

               d. UW-Madison Loan rule

      • Under Fulfillment Units – RS_FU – Loan rule – move toward the top in UW-Madison case this is right under non loanable.  Remember order matters here.

      • Request rule
        1. Standard Default rule may be fine.
      • RS Borrowing
        1. Standard Default rule may be fine
      • RS Lending

        UW-Madison only – would need a temp item creation rule that if partner is NU then item = BTAA item.  If UW-Madison’s Lending RS due rule works, Northwestern could theoretically skip the temp item creation rule and just go with lender supplied due date, which is what NCIP at Northwestern is using.  This is due to the fact that Northwestern is stand alone and UW-Madison is part of a constoria that overrides the lender due date in order to get constorial loans to work uniformly.

VII. Create a Rota Template

    1. Fulfillment>Rota Template – Add.  If you are using ILLiad as partner of last resort, you can use the ILLiad template.  Just add the new partner ahead of ILLiad. 

      2. Create or update the Rota Assignment  Rule that calls this rota (Config>Fulfillment>Rota Assignment Rule)

VIII. Borrowing Rules (these are for all of Resource Sharing)

  1. Config>Fulfillment>Sending Borrowing Request Rules List
    1. You will add a new rule at the institutional level or if you are using ILLiad and Partner of Last resort you can add this partner to the rule.  UW-Madison edited the existing ILLiad rule in this case.  

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IX. In Config>Fulfillment> Other Settings 

This area has other settings that are crucial to configuration.  

  1. #38 – ignore_lender_due_date>fulfillment> is false for Northwestern – currently true for UW-Madison.  Either way we have the TOUs and temp item creation rules set to deal with the differences.  Ignore Lender due date when set to false like Northwestern allows them to accept the lender due date as it is set.  This is great for setting up things like ILLiad which has various due dates. Ignore Lender due date was set to true for UW-Madison at implementation as this was seen as the best way for the consortia to maintain consistent due dates.  What this means for UW-Madison is that when adding additional partners or integrating ILLiad as the partner of last resort, UW-Madison needs to ball park the due date using temporary item creation rules.

2. #33 and 34  – ILL_item_creation_location – for a multiple library environment that is using more than one resource sharing library, these boxes need to be blank.

3. UW-Madison also noticed that Ex Libris had edited #70 – rs_auto_request_lending to be true – this helps make the system a bit more automated in resource sharing.

X. Other Useful config – 

    1. A note about the ship to vs. scan to – UW-Madison and its constoria have found that with resource sharing it is best to keep a configuration in Alma Configuration>Fulfillment>Other Settings – rs_allow_actions_on_scan_in – set to false.  In practice it is better for RS to use Ship Items when sending out lending requests and Receive items when Receiving borrowing requests. This helps activate the request on the other end.  It will also remind users to use ship items if they accidentally use scan in.
    2. Letters – ResourceSharingShipping letter? – UW-Madison can share their letter with the upside down and backwards font created by UW-Oshkosh below as it gets updated quite often.
    3. Ideally both institutions that would participate in borrowing would create a Lost Loan profile specific for BTAA schools procedures. (We have not done that yet as the due date of 140 days is quite far off)
    4. UW-Madison (Cate Booth) also created a dashboard of analytics reports to help keep track of items on campus and this dashboard can be exported and shared with the committee.  The Dashboard can also be viewed in the Analytics Community folder at – //shared/Community/Reports/Institutions/UWisconsin/Madison-Northwestern Dashboard

Instructions to share – 

RS procedures –

Oshkosh font – 

Customized Shipping Slip Letter –

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