Frequently Asked Questions

1. What did we get from Ex Libris in our SILS contract?

  • 10 Alma Institution Zones (IZ), one per UC campus

  • 10 Primo VE discovery layers, one per UC campus

  • 1 Alma Network Zone (NZ)

  • 1 Primo VE discovery layer for the Network Zone

  • 11 Premium sandboxes, 10 for the campuses, and 1 for the Network Zone. (Premium sandboxes include copies of our own data rather than generic data)

Learn more about Alma and Primo VE from Ex Libris documentation.

2. What is the overall timeline?

View the detailed SILS Phase 4 Implementation Timeline & Milestones

3. What is our SILS setup going to look like? What modules are included and what aren’t?

  • 10 Institution Zones will be connected to a single Network Zone (NZ). The NZ will be the union catalog of all UC holdings. 

  • The following functions WILL be in Alma/Primo VE:

    • Acquisitions, Cataloging (Metadata Management), Print Resource Management, eResource Management, Fulfillment (between UC campuses), User (Patron) Management, Resource Sharing, and Analytics.

    • Some of these functions will be systemwide, for example, resource sharing and analytics; some will be local.

  • The following functions will NOT be part of the SILS service:

    • Digital Resource Management Alma module

    • Additional Ex Libris products like Esploro or Leganto (which can be purchased by individual campuses)

    • Interlibrary loan outside UC will be handled by VDX or WorldShareILL functionality. 

  • The RLFs will NOT get their own Institution Zones but will be handled within the UCLA and UCB IZs.

  • CDL work with shared electronic resources and shared acquisitions is assumed to happen within the Network Zone.

4. What services and products will be going away?

Alma/Primo VE will fully replace the current ILS, discovery, and link resolver products at campuses and CDL. Circulation within the UC Libraries is expected to be managed fully within Alma/Primo. Other products may be fully or partially replaced by the SILS including the CDL-managed e-resources ERMS and statistical aggregation.  See Current vs. SILS products.

5. Will Melvyl as the UC union catalog be decommissioned? If yes, when? 

The ability to see all UC holdings and availability in each campus discovery instance will continue in Primo VE. It’s not yet been determined what Primo VE will be named or whether it will be the same name for all campuses.

6. What happens to Melvyl? How long will we keep OCLC WorldCat Discovery Melvyl? 

Melvyl as a name for the systemwide search will be decommissioned. The working assumption is CDL will end access to OCLC WorldCat Discovery immediately upon the SILS go-live. For other OCLC-related services, see Melvyl and Related Services in SILS

7. How are decisions being made? Does my campus (do I?) have a voice in decisions?

The SILS phase 4 cohort is empowered to make systemwide implementation and standardization decisions on behalf of the UC Libraries. The cohort is composed of library staff from across the 10 campuses, Regional Library Facilities and CDL, and includes both representational (i.e., all ten campuses and CDL) and expertise-based groups.

As part of the decision-making process, phase 4 cohort members are consulting with their colleagues, locally and systemwide, to collect pertinent information and ensure the necessary perspectives are considered during decision-making. To review the decision-making mechanisms and workflows in use by the SILS cohort, please see pages 9-12 of the shared governance structure document.

As well: Follow decision-making and discussions within the dedicated workspaces for each Cohort group. A roll-up of all SILS decisions can be found here. If you have a question about a decision, contact your campus representative within each group.

8. How are decisions going to be made after SILS go live?

The Shared Governance Task Force has been tasked with recommending the governance structure for the operational phase of SILS.

9. How will library staff outside the SILS cohort be trained on use of Alma and Primo VE?

A variety of training opportunities is currently in planning. Training will look different on each campus. To stay up to date on our training offerings, you can visit our Internal Training confluence page.

There is a wide variety of training material available both from Ex Libris and our Internal Training team. Below are some useful links to help you get started. If you have more specific questions, you can email our Internal Training team at:

10. How will the new SILS be introduced to patrons?

The End User Outreach Subgroup (EUOS) is charged with developing a communications plan to introduce SILS to patrons. EUOS will launch a patron-focused website, and will develop templates and assets such as email text, slide decks, templates, visual assets, etc. Near and after go-live, EUOS will develop templates for training patrons on how to use the new system. Beyond the SILS-EUOS group, each campus will also have an End User Outreach group that will work closely with EUOS to customize and implement this communications and training plan. 

11. Where can I find a full list of SILS decisions?

SILS cohort groups have been making decisions for the SILS implementation. A full list of these decisions is available here: . More decisions will be added to the page as cohort groups work through various issues and workflows. 

12. What content will be in the Network Zone during the test load phase? How will it be managed?

In the test-load phase, which will start in February, initial content contained in the Network Zone (NZ) includes the following: 

  • Licensing and vendor information for CDL managed systemwide and multi-campus electronic resources (migrated from CDL 360 database) 

  • CZ-originating bibliographic records and online coverage information for CDL managed systemwide and multi-campus electronic resources (migrated from SFX and 360)

  • Approximately 487,000 SCP Bibliographic records from 44 collections and 41 databases (the names are listed on this Google sheet: SCP data identified for migrating to NZ (Test load)

  • About 179,000 Bibliographic records for federal government documents (aka Marcive Records) 

  • Bibliographic records migrated from all the campuses (for more information, see this decision page: (Test load) Bibliographic records to leave out of the NZ)

Please note: it is expected that following the migration process, some CDL managed systemwide and multi-campus electronic resources will not be activated in the Network Zone or might be activated in NZ and “available for” non-participants. Cleanup needs, processes, and implications will continue to be worked on during the test load period. 

More data may be added as various SILS groups reporting to the Policy & Practice Coordinators (PPC) work through the implications of storing different types of data in NZ. The work on creating policies and guidelines on how to manage data in NZ has started as well. Currently, the Resource Management Functional Group is working on this document, Bibliographic Record Management in the SILS Network Zone. Other PPC groups will post their policies as the information becomes available. 

13. Will digital collections content be accessible via SILS? Will SILS replace existing campus/CDL digital content repositories (e.g. Calisphere)?

While we expect that both the campuses and CDL will harvest some or all of their digital collections to make them available in the Primo discovery layer, we do not anticipate that such harvesting will replace campus/CDL repositories. Instead, our hope is that by making digital collections discoverable in Primo, more users will find and use these unique digital collections.

14. What was the vanguard and who participated in it?

The SILS vanguard took place between June and November 2020 as a standard phase of migration for Ex Libris consortia. It allowed the UC Libraries to test-migrate data from selected institutions into both Institution Zones (one per campus) and a Network Zone (a central collaborative space) before the official migration phase in 2021.

The following campuses served as our vanguard institutions:

  • UC Berkeley (including Northern Regional Library Facility)

  • UCLA (including Southern Regional Library Facility)

  • UC Santa Barbara 

  • UC San Diego

  • UC San Francisco

  • California Digital Library

This slate of vanguard campuses represented a mix of large and small campuses using different library systems, and an opportunity to include the RLFs and CDL. For more information, see this SILS News post.

Do you have a question for the SILS project team? Ask it here