Switchover from Geac Advance to Aleph

In July 2011, all the libraries at the University of Oxford which currently use Geac Advance as their integrated library system (ILS) (also known as an LMS or ‘library management system’) will be switching over to Ex Libris’ Aleph.

This post is my summary of  what the change will involve, and I will begin by clarifying some of the names involved and what these different systems do:


What the company call their product

What it is/will be known as in Oxford (local branding)

What it is

Geac Advance OLIS ILS/LMS
Ex Libris Aleph OLIS ILS/LMS
Ex Libris Primo SOLO Resource discovery interface*
Ex Libris SFX OU eJournals Database of electronic journal subscriptions and OpenURL link resolver
Ex Libris MetaLib OxLIP+ Database of electronic database subscriptions

*A resource discovery interface is more than just an OPAC – in fact, it combines information from multiple catalogues and databases so that a library user only has to search in one place.  Primo has inputs from a variety of sources including Advance, ORA (Oxford University Research Archive), and the Bodleian Library Allegro Chinese and Allegro Japanese catalogues.

The colossal amount of bibliographic and circulation data that is currently stored and updated in Advance will be migrated to Aleph during the downtime period in mid-July. When the new system goes live on Monday 18th July, the SOLO interface will still be the same, but instead of displaying data from Advance, it will present information from Aleph.

Databases combined in Primo/SOLO
SOLO will have some additional functionality too. At present, to check the availability of a book in a particular library or place a reservation, you have to click through to Advance, but after 18th July these patron functions will be part of SOLO, so performing these actions will be quicker.

Members of Oxford University will access patron functions via Single Sign-On (the same system that you use for remote access to e-resources and for Weblearn) and external visitors will use their University card barcode and password as before.

To allow data to be migrated from Advance to Aleph, there will be a downtime period from 17:00 on Friday 8th July until 09:00 on Monday 18th July, when the new system will go live.

The downtime period will involve a complete shutdown of the system.  At my college library, I’m asking library users to avoid borrowing and returning books during this time if at all possible.  Any loans and returns will be recorded manually by library staff and the new system will be updated after the go-live date of 18th July.

Summary of the impact on library services during the downtime period (this affects all Oxford libraries which use OLIS):

  • OxLIP+ and OU eJournals will be available throughout the downtime period and so readers are be encouraged to look for alternative electronic versions of texts where possible.
  • SOLO will be available throughout the scheduled downtime period for readers and staff to consult the library location details of an item but will not show availability status (due dates etc.) SOLO will be unavailable for a short period at the end of the downtime period (details have yet to be confirmed).
  • OLIS Patron functions will not be available during the downtime.
  • Automatic Stack Requests (ASR) cannot be made during the downtime period and requests made after 17:00 on Thursday 7th July will not be fulfilled. Please request any material required for consultation in good time.
  • Self-issue is not available during the downtime.
  • Reservations will not be migrated to the new system. You may wish to keep your own record of any active reservations before Friday 8th July.

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