Community of Practice

Community Charge

The cloud-based technologies embodied in Alma and Primo are providing libraries with next-generation tools for both automating library workflows and providing innovative new services. This is particularly the case when considering collaboration among libraries, and for the BLC this potential is especially attractive, as most of the current member libraries have now moved to Alma and Primo. As academic research institutions these libraries share much in common, so the potential for constructive collaboration is strong. In leveraging the technologies available within a shared cloud-based environment, the BLC could likewise move consortial activities into a next-generation framework.

The Alma/Primo Collaboration Community of Practice is an official working group with a designated membership appointed to develop and coordinate collaborative work among Alma/Primo libraries in the BLC. The formation of the group was approved at the September 2017 BLC Board of Directors' Meeting.  The Working Group recommends initiatives to the Board. Included in the recommendations are the cost implications to BLC staff and participating libraries, in particular related to the use of staff resources.  The group also considers the interests of the BLC libraries which do not currently use Alma/Primo and whenever possible investigates the expansion of consortial functionality to these other libraries as well.


To develop, pilot and coordinate collaborative work among Alma/Primo libraries in the Boston Library Consortium by carrying out the tasks listed below.  Areas of collaboration may include the following among others:  searching across BLC holdings in Primo, resource-sharing via Alma and Primo, sharing of management information and analytics, setting up BLC benchmark analytics, cooperative collection development initiatives, and uncovering hidden BLC Special Collections via Primo.


  • Work with Ex Libris to explore, develop, and keep updated a comprehensive inventory of the BLC collaborations possible within Alma and Primo. Closely monitor Ex Libris development of collaborative features.
  • Analyze the cost/benefit ratio of working on these collaborations, including the amount of work necessary on the part of one or more institutions and the benefits accrued to patrons and to the BLC.
  • When considering collaborative efforts, explore ways to leverage and integrate non-Alma/Primo libraries into the desired functionality.
  • Develop priorities and institute collaborative pilots; track projects and assess results.
  • Work with Ex Libris on needed functionality for collaborative projects and on required fixes and enhancements.
  • Decide on structured next steps for successful pilots and proofs of concept, including setting up staff groups to implement functionality. For implementations requiring BLC funding, make recommendations to the Board and request needed support.
  • Communicate activities of the group to Ex Libris, the BLC Board and the BLC membership at large.


Henry Steele
Systems Librarian
Tufts University

Mark Paris
Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources & Discovery
Brandeis University


The Working Group includes staff members from BLC libraries who hold a middle or senior manager role and who have been actively participating in Alma/Primo implementation at their institutions, with a solid knowledge of the products and understanding of both technical and strategic aspects of their Alma/Primo environments. 

As opportunities for specific collaboration are identified, representatives from non-Alma/Primo libraries will be encouraged to participate.


The Alma/Primo Community of Practice meets on an as-needed basis.

Join Alma/Primo COP

Complete the form below to join BLC's Alma/Primo Community of Practice (COP). Please note, COP membership restricted to individuals with specific roles and responsibilities.