FOLIO detailed countdown timeline

The Five College Libraries will migrate back-end system operations from the current library system (ALEPH) to FOLIO at the end of June 2022. FOLIO (The Future Of Libraries Is Open) is a collaboration of libraries, developers and vendors building an open source library services platform that supports traditional resource management functionality while also opening the door for innovation in an increasingly digital world. We are excited about the opportunities this future-looking system will provide.

This transition will temporarily affect a number of library services. Please see transition timeline below:

  • June 14: Last day to edit records in ALEPH
  • June 21: Last day to request physical items from any of the Five College Libraries for pickup at your own institution before requesting is paused across the consortium. Requests will resume on July 5.
  • June 26: Last day to use self-checkout kiosks, the Smith Libraries Self Checkout app, renew materials, and to make patron record changes in ALEPH; We will resume on July 5. Some libraries will offer offline circulation between June 27 – July 3. Please note that library item available statuses will not be updated in Discover during this time.
  • June 30: Migration from ALEPH to FOLIO is complete. Final systems checks performed.
  • June 30: last day the Five College Catalog will be searchable.
  • June 30: First day for Discovery as the primary research interface. There could be intermittent outages.
  • July 5: Circulation of physical materials, requests, and patron record changes resume. Records are editable in FOLIO.
  • Week of July 11th: Order processing resumes in FOLIO.

In the process of adopting FOLIO, the Five Colleges Libraries will be retiring the separate Five Colleges Libraries Catalog search interface. The Five College Libraries will be consolidating the discovery and access of library materials in our Discover catalog search. Discover is a reliable interface that has been in use at the Five Colleges since 2012, and it will continue to include all of the records held in the retiring Five Colleges Libraries catalog as well as from most of our subject-specific databases. Additional tools that enable users to request items and manage their accounts within Discover will also be implemented at the time of migration, streamlining the request process and allowing for increased functionality (you’ll be able to see where you are in the request queue for an item!).

Library Databases, Publication Finder, streaming video and ebooks will remain available throughout the migration. We anticipate that Discover will also continue to be available, but there may be brief periods of downtime. Permalinks from the Five College Catalog and Discover Advanced Search may no longer work after the transition.

Staff across the consortia will be working to make this as smooth a transition as possible. Keep an eye on FCLIB FOLIO emails, Five College FOLIO Slack announcements, and your local institutions websites for the most up to date information.

More details about the FOLIO transition can be found in:

Inventory Working Group announces data load success!

The work of the Inventory Working Group is largely a silent affair. We spent our time in fall 2019 and spring 2020 reviewing the community MARC to FOLIO data map. This means that we look at our Five College MARC metadata and see where it aligns with the community-planned mapping profile, and where it doesn’t. We maintain our data map and specify custom solutions if we need them. In Summer 2020, we also inventoried all of the fields in our Aleph item records and completed our own custom mapping of these fields into FOLIO item records.

The other part of our work involves reviewing and troubleshooting the Inventory application each time data is loaded into our Five College FOLIO tenant. Starting earlier this fall, we began testing loads of our entire catalog. This was no easy task to get more than 7 million records out of Aleph and into FOLIO. It may have been FOLIO’s largest record load at that time! Each time we load data there is some trial and error. We see what works, we see what breaks, we see where our MARC metadata is non-compliant and we figure out what needs to be tweaked and by whom.

In November, we were able to load our first ever batch of merged bibliographic files, thanks to all of the work done by the Record Merge Working Group. We had a few bumps, we made some corrections and we tried again. Before Thanksgiving we were able to implement the FOLIO community holdings record MARC data map and our new Five College Aleph to FOLIO item record field mapping.

Today, we’ve had some big successes! We’ve re-loaded our complete catalog, which equals more than 6 million merged and non-merged records. Out of 6 million records, only 186 records failed transformation and could not be added into FOLIO. This is a huge accomplishment! It is a direct result of the work done by the Inventory Working Group. But we couldn’t have done it without the many metadata professionals at all five colleges working on numerous catalog clean-up projects over the course of the last year.

Another success is that our item records 100% mapped into FOLIO according to our specifications. This is another big feat, and is remarkable because it was our first time implementing this map. We still have to see how this data will work for us, but it is there and available for viewing, testing and feedback by all!

I want to thank the Inventory Working Group: Laura Evans (Amherst), Jen Bolmarcich (Hampshire), Emma Beck (Mt. Holyoke), Sara Colglazier (Mt. Holyoke), Colin VanAlstine (Smith), and Jaime Taylor (UMass). I’d like to send a shout out to contributor and back-burner member Michelle Paquette (Smith). Thank you to former Inventory Working Group members because your contributions definitely helped us get to where we are today: Paul Trumble (Amherst), Suzanne Karanikis (Hampshire), Jane Pickles (retired from Hampshire), Rachael Smith (Mt. Holyoke) and Mary Ann Stoddart (retired from UMass). Extra special thanks to the Record Merge Working Group, Aaron Neslin (5C), Steve Bischof (UMass) and Anya Arnold (Ebsco) for answering all of my questions. And a final special thanks to Theodor Tolstoy, our Ebsco developer, who answers questions on Zoom and Slack (sometimes at odd hours because he’s in Sweden), and who tries to make our requests happen.

So let’s celebrate this small, yet huge milestone, on our path to FOLIO! I recognize that we have done the bulk of this work remotely and in a weird and overwhelming environment, which makes it all the more poignant. I look forward to many more successes in the coming months.

Cheers to us!

Ann Kardos, Lead, Inventory Working Group

FOLIO Update September 2020

It has been awhile since we have had a general update regarding the Five College’s implementation of FOLIO.  The good news is that during these trying times of COVID-19, work has continued on FOLIO, both at the broader community level and here at the Five Colleges.   The Five Colleges now have the latest release of FOLIO installed, ‘Goldenrod’, and are currently in  production for the core modules of Electronic Resource Management (ERM).   The Five College ERM working group did an amazing job testing software and looking at data migrated from both ALEPH and Coral.   A big shout-out to the Five College ERM working group for all their work on testing and to Aaron Neslin at UMass and Alex Soto at EBSCO for all their hard work related to data conversion of agreements and organization data.  Thanks to all their efforts, the Five Colleges have now begun managing parts of our e-resources using the Agreements and Organizations modules in FOLIO.

Work continues in other areas of FOLIO also.  Other Five College working groups have been busy evaluating data conversion related to inventory, continuing to work circulation rules and procedures, and working on acquisitions procedures and order data conversion.  Stay tuned for more information on these areas in the near future.

Additionally the FOLIO community at large is making a shift in the production release cycle.   FOLIO has been releasing a new version 4 times a year, which allowed for rapid deployment of new features.   However the FOLIO community will be moving to 3 major releases per year; March, July and November.  This will have some affect on our details of our schedule but it is something we need to evaluate in relation to new features we are waiting for and when they will be released.

Welcome to the start of the new academic year and stay safe.

Five Colleges ERM Go-Live!

Hello Five Colleges!

I am excited to announce that we have officially gone live in the electronic resource management suite in FOLIO!!!! This has been a huge effort from members of the Five Colleges staff and has taken the better part of two years, but as of Tuesday August 25th we officially entered production and became the first consortium to adopt FOLIO as a single tenant environment. But what exactly does Going-Live mean? It isn’t as simple as throwing a switch. Tons of work has been going on in the background to ensure that the moving parts of CORAL, Aleph, the EBSCO Admin, dozens of spreadsheets, and FOLIO itself aligned this summer for a successful migration.

Way back in May 2019 my working group, FERM (FOLIO Electronic Resource Management), began meeting to discuss how we would implement a shared ERM system. Three of the Five Colleges currently use CORAL for this purpose, and we all use Aleph to track acquisitions and cataloging of electronic resources. At the time, we were all using SFX as a link resolver and managing EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) in the EBSCO Admin. Add to that list systems like OCLC for cataloging, EBSCONet for serials, eBook purchasing platforms, EZProxy servers, and many, many emails we were trying to manage individual resources sometimes in 5 or more places! The purpose of FOLIO is to cut that number way down. Having a single place to go to for information on a resources license, order history, discoverability, and lifecycle will allow us to work more effectively at our institutions and doing it in a shared environment will allow us to work more collaboratively across the Five Colleges.

When we decided in October 2019 to switch up our timeline and adopt the ERM suite first, FERM began a months long process to define systems settings, discuss workflows and shared experiences, articulate what existing data should or should not be migrated, set up permissions, and advocate for our needs in the FOLIO community. Now, in August 2020 we have reached a point where our work is beginning to pay off. I want to take a moment to thank all of those involved in both FIT and FERM who made it possible for us to shift gears and in under a year complete an implementation that we expected to happen after we left Aleph. Without their hard work none of this would have been possible.

But now that we’re live, what happens next? The short answer is: everything. We will continue to be partners in an open source community for as long as we use FOLIO, and have the opportunity to watch it mature and ensure that it can meet our needs. We will continue to attend special interest groups (SIGs) and act as subject matter experts for the development teams so that FOLIO can evolve to meet the challenges we can’t yet see. We will continue to work together here at the 5C to make the shared environment of FOLIO a success and to find ways to support each other in the ERM world. And of course, we still need to migrate Aleph.
Thank you to everyone involved in the FOLIO project here at the 5C. Here’s to more successful Go-Lives in the future!

-Jack Mulvaney

On behalf of FERM