Forum - Integration of Alma to External Devices

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    Jawn Lim

    Hi Sir/Mdm,

    I have a couple of questions regards to how Alma is integrated to most library system.
    1) If the library already has an Alma software, how does it actually integrate to external devices;
    a) If there’s Return Kiosks, since it’s stated that via SIP2 protocol, is the procedures like installing Stunnel on the Kiosks PC and then install Alma cert so it would communicate with each other
    b) If there’s Card Reader, do we do perform the same steps as 1a)
    c) If there’s a Face Recognition Application, do we use Alma API to integrate ? or use SIP2?

    Hope to get your reply soonest.

    Jim Nicholls

    1a) That’s the most typical method. If you can’t install stunnel on the kiosk itself, an alternative is to setup an independent local machine that runs stunnel and have the return kiosks communicate the local machine as the “SIP2 server”.

    1b) and 1c) I guess this depends on the capabilities of that equipment/application.

    1b) What is the card reader connected to and what is it trying to do?

    1c) What are you expecting to get from Alma in the integration?

    Jawn Lim

    Hi Jim,

    1a) thanks for the clarification

    1b) Basically the card reader will be controlling the turnstile. Students tap their student card and by right it should send the message to the Alma to authenticate that it is a student and not outsider. Afterwhich it will activate the turnstile to open.

    1c) The FR System is generally more for students photo and ID database. FR camera will be capturing students when entering/exiting the library. The Student photo will be sent to FR System and at the same time communicate to Alma to verify that it is a student entering.

    Jim Nicholls

    Assuming you’re in control of the software for 1b) and 1c), I think the Alma User API would have two advantages over SIP2.

    1) No need for stunnel. The Alma APIs are over https.
    2) The Alma User API provides a much richer data set; including fields like expiry date.

    Be aware that the latency on a User API requests can be quite high. I’ve seen User GET requests take in order of seconds to return.

    If you get an identifier from the card or the FR system, you would be able to make a direct GET request to get the students details without first having to make a request to retrieve (search) users. An Alma user a primary identifier as well as zero or more (non-primary but unique) identifiers. The types of (non-primary) identifiers is configurable and varies from site to site.

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