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Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the improvements I can look forward to?
The shared system will include a single, intuitive search interface for print and digital resources. Moreover, a powerful and customizable search interface will allow all UofSC students and faculty to quickly find resources on their own campus, as well as those available through the PASCAL community.
Transfer students, faculty working and studying at multiple institutions, and distance education learners who access resources from more than one institution will no longer encounter a different search interface at each institution. We believe that will translate into less frustration and better, more fruitful research experiences.
Will I still have access to advanced search options?
How was this decision made?
- The decision to move to Alma/Primo was made collaboratively by South Carolina academic libraries through the state consortium, PASCAL. With the help of an expert consultant, PASCAL members evaluated the available systems on the market and developed a governance structure for managing the implementation and operation of the system. PASCAL members and staff then wrote a detailed request for proposals, outlining the features and functionality required for a statewide library services platform. Review of bids submitted in response to this RFP was governed by the South Carolina procurement code, which has strict confidentiality requirements, but the final outcome and contract are public record.
What happens during the "technical services freeze"?
- The "technical services freeze" is a required step in the implementation process. Because implementation involves the migration of vast amounts of data from the old system to the new, certain core library operations--specifically, purchasing, licensing, and cataloging new materials--must be suspended for a time to keep data consistent between systems. The freeze begins with the first extract of data from the current system, which the USC Libraries plan to make in early April 2020. Multi-step processes, such as buying a new book, processing it upon arrival, and creating a catalog record for it, need to be put on hold even earlier, so we have set a deadline of February 15, 2020, for requests for new acquisitions. While the "freeze" is in place, staff in the "frozen" units will, of course, continue to do other work, including preparing to quickly catch up with accumulated tasks once the new system is live (June 1, 2020). They will also undergo intensive training in Alma.
Will I still be able to use library resources during the freeze?
- Absolutely. The freeze will not affect access to any current electronic resources, and you will be able to check out and return library materials as usual, up until a few days before the new system goes live on June 1.
How has the Alma project been affected by the COVID-19 closure of the UofSC campus?
- Thanks to great efforts by everyone working on the project, the migration to Alma has continued on schedule, with library staff meeting project milestones while working remotely. All the required data was sent to the vendor by April 16, and we remain on track to go live with the new system on June 1, 2020.