Home 9 Featured Posts 9 v31 #3 Let’s Get Technical — Migration Items in Alma

v31 #3 Let’s Get Technical — Migration Items in Alma

by | Jun 28, 2019 | 1 comment


by Kristen Fredericksen  (Information Processing Librarian, The Catholic University of America)  

Column Editors:  Stacey Marien  (Acquisitions Librarian, American University Library)  

and Alayne Mundt  (Resource Description Librarian, American University Library)  

Column Editor Note:  In this issue’s column, we profile how one library tackled a post-migration cleanup project.  Kristen Fredericksen, Information Processing Librarian at Catholic University, describes the process that went into cleaning up items that did not migrate with the proper process type to Alma. — SM & AM

The Situation

After The Catholic University of America migrated to Alma from Voyager on July 26, 2018, there were 23,537 physical items with process type Technical – Migration.  These were items whose Voyager item status did not have an equivalent in Alma, so they were marked with a generic process status.  It seems like a high number, but it represents only 2.1% of the approximately 1,121,552 physical item records migrated from Voyager.  Despite the relatively small number of affected items, there was substantial impact on both staff and patrons. The items became unavailable to end users, even if they might have been on the shelf. Staff could not identify the true status of these items, since Technical – Migration is a catchall term that encompasses almost all Voyager statuses except Charged and Not Charged.

In the Ex Libris Voyager ILS, an item status can be either functional or informative.  There are 25 item statuses, some of which are applied automatically by the system, while others are applied manually by staff.  One item can have multiple item statuses. The following statuses used by Catholic University became Technical – Migration:

  • At Bindery
  • Charged
  • Claims Returned
  • Damaged
  • Hold Request
  • In Process
  • Lost–Library Applied
  • Lost–System Applied
  • Not Charged
  • Renewed
  • Withdrawn

Ex Libris Alma has a different approach to item status.  Every item has a base status, which indicates whether an item is in place or not in place.  Items may also have a process type, which signifies that the item is undergoing some type of activity:

  • Acquisition
  • Claimed Returned
  • Hold Shelf
  • Loan
  • Lost
  • Managed by Department
  • Missing
  • Not in Process
  • Resource Sharing Request
  • Technical – Migration
  • Transit

In most cases, there is no direct correlation between Voyager item statuses and Alma process types.  Charged and Renewed items should migrate as LoanMissing should migrate as Missing.  For all items whose Voyager item status does not map to an Alma process type, Alma assigns the process type Technical – Migration and puts the Voyager item status in item internal note 3.

I needed a plan to remove this process type and, if necessary, assign a new status or process type.  I decided to handle the items according to their original status(es) in Voyager, so I ran an analysis in Alma Analytics to generate all items with process type Technical – Migration and the text of internal note 3.  Unfortunately, I discovered that the Voyager item status did not migrate to the note field for 2,510 items.  I reported this to Ex Libris after a test load of our data, but Ex Libris stated that this was expected behavior for items with lost statuses.  However, I realized after final migration that some items with lost statuses did have the right information in the item note field while the information did not migrate for other items without lost statuses. 

In addition, the contents of the item note were not reader friendly, so they had to be parsed in Microsoft Excel.  This was the format of a typical note:


Given the lack of data for some items and the non-ideal formatting of the data that did migrate, I decided to rely on the data in our old ILS.  I still had access to Voyager reporting, so I exported the list of barcodes from Alma and ran an Access query on their original status(es) in Voyager.  There were 19 items without barcodes, so I used their Voyager item ID instead. I used the data from that query to divide the items into groups according to statuses.  I then created itemized sets in Alma for each group. These were the final categories:

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