Ex Libris has made progress across multiple products. There have been developments with Alma, its new unified resource management platform, Aleph, one of its integrated library systems, and with its Primo discovery product.
As Alma nears general release, the company has about 60 institutions participating as early adopters in addition to the original four development partners. Some of the libraries recently announced as joining the early adopter program include RMIT University in Australia and the University of Otago in New Zealand. North American institutions recently signed as early adopters include Boston University, Fort Hays State University, Midwestern State University, North Dakota State University Libraries, Northeastern University, Texas Woman's University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Minnesota Libraries, University of Texas at Dallas, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
In other recent Alma news, a meeting of a group of Expert Advisors--assembled by Ex Libris and charged with the task of making recommendations regarding how metadata in the shared Community Catalog should be managed—has taken place.
While the group's detailed recommendations were not published, a general statement reflected its principles that metadata in the Alma Community Catalog should be open and that “members should be able to share, copy, edit, and redistribute records that are linked to the library's inventory.” Alma will be available for production use in 2012. Despite the efforts focused on Alma, Ex Libris also continues full support of its existing products, including Aleph and Voyager. Aleph is widely used by academic and research libraries and has been deployed in around 2,300 sites spanning many regions of the world. January 2012 saw the release of Aleph Version 21. The previous major release, Aleph Version 20, was issued in March 2009; Version 19 came out in January 2008. So while the pace of new releases has slowed, this new release demonstrates that Ex Libris has kept true to its commitment to continue enhancing its existing ILS products as it develops Alma.
In the largest and most complex implementation of Aleph to date, the National Diet Library, Japan's national library, moved to production use, consolidating a variety of resources and projects that had previously been managed sepately. Aleph now manages a collection of 20 million bibliographic records representing 40 million items; it includes the Asian Language Materials catalog and the Japanese Periodicals Index in addition to the library's holdings. The implementation of Aleph began in 2010 following an extensive selection process and an 8-month trial period (See http://www.ndl.go.jp/en/).
Ex Libris continues enhancing its Primo Central discovery service. In January 2012, the company reported that it would provide full-text search for the HathiTrust collection of 5.3 million books and 263,000 serial titles. HathiTrust was founded in 2008 as a platform to collaboratively manage the materials digitized through library partnerships, such as the Google Books project by Microsoft, the Internet Archive and other initiatives. Sixty-seven institutions currently belong to the HathiTrust partnership (See http://www.hathitrust.org/).
Just prior to the ALA Midwinter conference, Ex Libris announced a number of new sales of Primo in North America, including Fort Hays State University, Idaho State University, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Hawaii, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Virginia Community College System, and the 11 academic libraries of the WISPALS Library Consortium. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a member of the Association of Research Libraries, also announced its selection of Primo in January 2012. Ex Libris reports that Primo is in use in over 900 sites worldwide.