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In July 2018, Harvard Library will move from Aleph to Alma as its unified resource management system/ILS. This section will hold training and support materials for staff during and after that switch.

For updates on the switch to Alma, read the Harvard Library CC articles tagged "Alma" and watch HLComms emails for Alma-related information.

April 2018 update: We are adding materials here as they reach final draft stage. Pages may still change significantly until Go Live/Cutover in early July, and continuous updates will be made as new features and processes are introduced. Do not print out materials - pages will continue to change.

The rest of this page contains information about Staff Training for Alma - what to expect and when. Read on for more details.

Alma Training

Training on Alma will begin in May, 2018 and continue through September, 2018. During that time, there'll be three ways to learn and practice on Alma:

  • Primary mode: In-person sessions led by trainers and facilitators, mostly hands-on with some demo-style sessions
  • Secondary mode: Self-directed individual learning, via online documentation and resources
  • Supplemental mode: Optional peer learning opportunities, through the Alma Training Buddy match-up and self-organized Learning Circles around specific topics and functional areas

Hands-On Training

From May through July, the hands-on sessions focus on learning Alma to do your current work to prepare for go live in the first week of July. Training from July through September will be on updates and additional features of Alma (that had no similar function in Aleph).

Most classes will be 2 hours long, including time for practice and questions, and will be in spaces that have either desktops or laptops for training. Current locations include 90 Mt Auburn Street, CGIS Knafel Building, 625 Massachusetts Avenue/ITS, and some sessions at Countway and Lamont. Additional locations will be added as needed.

Registration for hands-on training will be through the Harvard Training Portal, the same tool you can use to sign up for training from the the Center for Workforce Development. Sign in using your Harvard Key login at any time to get a feel for how the platform works:

The class list below is the draft as of mid-April, organized by functional area and topic. They're listed in the suggested sequences for each functional area; the class descriptions will detail exactly what each class covers.

Alma Overviews

These two classes are required for all staff, regardless of job functions. They are the basics of how Alma works, and how it's fundamentally different from Aleph.

  • Introduction to Alma / From Aleph to Alma
  • Search & Sets
Cross-Functional Topics

There are two topics that cut across Fulfillment, Acquisitions, and Resource Management that will have dedicated 1-hour classes.

  • Holdings & Items
  • Work Orders
Fulfillment (Circulation and Requests)
  • Circulation & Patron Records
  • Requests & Items
  • Finance for Acquisitions & Selectors
  • One-Time Orders 1 & 2
  • Continuous Orders 1 & 2
  • Order Maintenance
Resource Management (Cataloging & Related Topics)
  • Cataloging 1

  • Cataloging 2 & Authority Records

Other Topics

These classes will be 1 or 2 hours long, and may be either demonstrations or hands-on, depending on the material.

  • Reports & Analyses

  • eResources (probably demonstration only)

  • Course Reserves

  • Finance (for Finance staff)

Peer Learning Opportunities

In addition to hands-on training, trainer-led demos, and documentation, Alma training will support two kinds of peer learning opportunities:

  • The Alma Training Buddy program encourages staff to find someone to attend trainings with, bounce questions and ideas off of, and discuss the possibilities of Alma with. This program is optional, as an added support to formal training. If you'd like to be matched with a buddy, complete the registration form ( by March 30th. Buddies will be matched during March, have time to get to know each other in April, and can start attending trainings together in May.

  • Alma Learning Circles (or communities of practice) are opportunities to practice Alma workflows and techniques in Alma with a group, outside of formal training sessions. After training begins in May, we encourage training buddy pairs to come together for larger group discussions. On the peer learning resources page, we’ll provide a list of meeting spaces available at the libraries and instructions on reserving these rooms.


Trainer / Facilitator Training

We will be using a train-the-trainer model, where staff volunteers lead training using curriculum created by the Training Working Group. For the hands-on sessions, we be using two kinds of volunteers:

  • Trainers, who lead hands-on and demo sessions at the front of the room, presenting prepared material and answering group questions.
  • Facilitators, who move about the room to assist individual learners during the class, as needed.
Trainer/Facilitator Training Timeline
  • March: Outreach to prospective trainers and facilitators
  • April: Trainer/Facilitator training
    • Trainers/facilitators will receive training on their subject area functions in Alma, as well as tips on leading and facilitating training sessions
  • May - August: General staff training


Trainer/Facilitator Time Commitment

During the Trainer/Facilitator Training: A minimum of 4 hrs/week; maximum will be determined by how many topics you will train/facilitate

  • Trainers and facilitators will both take the same training for their functional area(s) of expertise
  • This will be their training on those areas of Alma as well as what they need to assist other staff in learning. However, all staff – including trainers/facilitators – will have the opportunity to take all the sessions they need for their work during general training.
  • This time includes practice time with Alma outside of formal training sessions

During general staff training: minimum of 3 hrs/week

  • Most classes will be 2 hours, and we hope most trainers/facilitators will be available for at least one class per week. The additional hour covers travel time to/from trainings if needed.
  • We will work with trainers and facilitators to fit their training sessions into their existing work and vacation schedules


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