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OLS to discontinue SerSol MARC record loading in summer 2019

(Please pardon the duplication. This information is also being shared with the PUBLIC-SERVICES, TECH-SERVICES, and ERAC mailing lists. The Chief Librarians have also been notified.)

The Office of Library Services will discontinue the Serials Solutions (“SerSol”) MARC records service for CUNY in summer 2019.

The SerSol MARC service provides title-level bibliographic records of subscription e-resources for public access. The monthly service sends updates (changes, additions, and deletions) of the holdings, triggered by collection activations in SerSol 360 Core, to the local online catalog (i.e., Aleph) and, subsequently, OCLC. CUNY uses the service to provide title-level access to e-journals via the library’s online public access catalog (“catalog” or “OPAC”) and Primo, and also to display holdings in OCLC WorldCat.

Sending SerSol records to OCLC to sync our holdings has always been a necessary but daunting and flawed process. It involves monthly identification and extraction of records from the Aleph database for submission. Mismatched records occur often and handling the unresolved records reports is extremely time-consuming.

The new library services platform (“LSP”) offers title-level access to e-journals in Primo through its shared metadata repository. Migrating SerSol MARC records to the LSP would result in duplicate records in Primo. Subsequent deduplication of these records has proven very time-consuming and inefficient by other institutions that have preceded us in their migration to the LSP. Therefore, it has become accepted best practice to not migrate SerSol MARC records of e-journals during this process.

Because SerSol MARC records will not be in the new system, there will be no records for CUNY to send to OCLC to attach holdings in WorldCat. In order to continue our status as providers of information to the global community, especially as ILL lenders, CUNY Libraries must maintain their holdings in WorldCat by activating e-resource holdings in OCLC’s WorldShare Collection Manager (“WCM”). OLS is making every effort to help with this transition to a new knowledgebase. We are currently testing a method that may allow for a one-time migration of all SerSol data to WCM.

While OLS works on a year-long OCLC reclamation project (to update and sync the OCLC control number, the primary matchpoint between records in the LSP) for the 24 CUNY campuses, we will temporarily suspend the monthly new holdings syncing process in OCLC in order to successfully bring CUNY’s holdings up to date in WorldCat. This makes it a good time for our cancellation of the SerSol MARC records service as there is no need to extract the new/updated SerSol records from Aleph.

We recommend that CUNY Libraries begin transitioning to using the WCM to manage their OCLC holdings now so that their holdings are accurate in WorldCat come summer 2019, when OLS will cease loading SerSol MARC records into the catalog.

More details will be shared as they become available.

If you have any questions, please contact OLS.

Advance planning for printing

Advance planning for a technical solution is the type of issue that seems worth bringing to your attention. This one applies to a library’s future purchases of printers. It may be prudent to consider only buying printers with full network connection capabilities. This allows them to be email aware, meaning that they can receive and print email messaging.

We know that in the future we will replace Aleph with something that is going to be a next-generation cloud-based system. We can predict that it will be a hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) environment, sometimes referred to as a ‘Library Service Platform’ (LSP).

Due to security concerns and technical limitations, cloud-based environments do not support direct connection of local or network printers. Instead, print jobs are sent by email to the printer for processing. (Documentation for Alma, as shown in just one example, can be found on the Ex Libris Knowledge Center.)

This may change in some future Alma enhancement, but for now one should plan for what we known to be already developed. For printing labels and circulation transfer slips, it is wiser to plan on using email aware printers.

An inexpensive network printer (aka not email aware) can continue to be productive without using Aleph or its replacement. Consider carefully whether you would really have a use for printers in some way. For example, the desktop Connexion application—used by many CUNY libraries—allows staff to batch print labels directly to a networked (or directly connected) printer.

Also, some Alma libraries are not be concerned about directly printing transfer slips and patron loan receipts. Instead, they route these emails to a dedicated staff email address, and then selectively print out (on their local network) the emails as needed.

It is up to each library to decide how this applies to their future equipment purchasing plans. It is important that the options be considered and factored into any plan being made.

If you have further questions, please contact the CUNY Office of Library Services.

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