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Integrated Alma – InnReach Workflows

The InnReach system may be integrated with Alma as a broker system, similar to other broker systems that are integrated with Alma. Below are some comments with regard to how to set up an InnReach\Alma integration.

1. Integrating Alma with InnReach requires the Innovative DCB component. This component is supplied by Innovative in order to facilitate the circulation of materials between an INN-Reach server and a non-III ILS

2. The basic element of the integration on the Alma configuration side is the partner record. Below is a recommended setup of the InnReach partner record:

Most importantly, the User Identifier Type must be chosen to be an ID type that is managed in Alma but that InnReach is also able to use when communicating with Alma. For example, if InnReach is using the patron barcodes to communicate with Alma, then the User Identifier Type must be set to be the barcode.
Note that the Identifier Type does not have to be one that is unique across the institution. It may be unique only across type. For example, you may make use of a distinct ‘InnReach ID’ that may be non unique with patron barcodes (i.e. they duplicate some patron barcodes), as long as there are no two patrons with InnReach IDs that are the same.

3.       Integrating InnReach with Alma via NCIP requires some special attributes:

a.       InnReach uses NCIP v1.0 (as opposed to v2.0 which is commonly used by broker systems). The URL that InnReach will use to send NCIP messages to Alma should be the Alma domain suffixed with “view/NCIPServlet/v1”, for example:
b.      Like all broker systems, the INNReach generated NCIP messages must include the Alma institution code (e.g. 01XXX_INST) and the partner record code (INNREACH in the above example) in the InitiationHeader element of the NCIP message.
Within an INN-Reach consortium, each institution is identified by a unique INN-Reach site code. This code in INN-Reach is communicated in the NCIP message, and may create an incompatibility with the codes used in Alma, which is based on the site’s Alma institution code.
The solution to this issue was relatively simple and straightforward. Rather than have the DCB system send NCIP messages directly to Alma, the DCB has to be configured to direct messages to a PHP script on the library web server. Upon receipt of an NCIP message, this script scans the message for the INN-Reach site code and replaces it with the Alma institution code. Responses sent by Alma to the DCB and INN-Reach systems are also processed using the same method.
The California State University San Marcos and the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries have implemented the PHP script and shared this information at the below blog posts:

4.       A general electronic service may be set up, in order to enable patrons to link from Primo into InnReach in order to place a request.

5.       InnReach DCB requires to be updated about record availability at member libraries via a publishing process. The Alma General Publishing Profile may be setup based on a logical set of the InnReach shareable resources, and include coded information required for record processing in the DCB. The published data captures circulation activity, includes new or modified records and is published daily. Below is a sample profile:

6.       InnReach DCB may work using a pre-loaded list of users. It is possible to configure the Users Integration Profile with an Export Users action, so that specific user types may be routinely exported based on changes done to the user record. An Alma XSL file (Export User Letter) may be used to determine what fields will be exported and in what format, for example:

·         Username
·         Name (Last, First)
·         Block Status (none or blocked)
·         Patron type
·         Email
·         Account Expiration Date
·         University ID
Note that it is not mandatory to run this export for DCB based integration.


The InnReach workflow is based on the same NCIP messages that make up the broker process for other broker systems. The full process is described in the following link:

Below is a brief description of the integrated workflow


1.       Request is placed by the patron by accessing InnReach, potentially through the General Electronic Service link described above (step 4)

2.       InnReach DCB queries Alma for patron information via NCIP


3.       Request is forwarded by InnReach to the lender.

Request is sent by DCB to the Alma lender via NCIP. Lending request is created in Alma.

4.       Pick slip is created in Alma, and item is shipped in DCB.

Alma is updated about the ship action via NCIP, and item is moved in Alma to the resource sharing library


5.       Item is received in DCB.

Alma is updated about the receive action via NCIP, and temporary item is put on hold shelf (or in transit to required pickup location).

6.       Patron loan is managed in Alma

7.       Item is sent back to lender in DCB.

Alma borrower is updated about the check in action via NCIP, and temporary item is removed


8.       Item is checked in by the lender in DCB.

Alma lender is updated about the check in action via NCIP, and item is moved back to its permanent shelving location.

One Reply to “Integrated Alma – InnReach Workflows”

  1. Thank you so much for providing this. The Colorado School of Mines is planning on moving forward with this integration in 2018 and this sort of information is incredibly valuable to us. We appreciate the time and effort it takes to create these documents.

    By Laura Guy on March 29, 2017 at 09:56 AM

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