Library collaborates with peers to speed access to scholarly works

The Iowa State University Library is upgrading its information systems to help faculty and staff collaborate better with each other, both inside the university and among institutions, including other Iowa universities.

The Alma® library management system will replace another product by the Ex Libris company, Aleph, currently used by the library. Implementation will begin later this year, with an expected launch in July 2016.

Alma will facilitate collaboration across the academic library community through a "community zone" that allows users to benefit from the work of colleagues at other participating libraries.

"In an age where information is abundant, discovering the most relevant information is becoming increasingly difficult. It might be said we are data rich but information poor," said interim Library dean Joyce Garnett. "By leveraging the combined work of multiple libraries, Alma will support our customer-centered service focus, improve workflows and help us become more data-driven in our decision making."

Work generated in the community zone will directly impact the "discoverability" of information for students, faculty and staff. The Quick Search tool currently found on the Library's website will connect to Alma, helping scholars find the information they need. Users also can personalize search results according to their academic discipline and level of scholarly expertise.

"The upgrade will help our staff do what they do best, and that's provide exemplary service to Iowa State's students, faculty and staff," Garnett said.

The upgrade supports the state Board of Regents' recommendation encouraging collaboration among institutions. The University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa libraries also have selected Alma, as have the academic libraries of Drake University and Hawkeye Community College.