Posts Tagged ‘Yonsei University’

Notes on: Ex Libris Primo

Posted on July 8th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

Primo is library software group Ex Libris‘s umbrella, “one-stop solution for the discovery and delivery of local and remote resources, such as books, journal articles, and digital objects.” It’s used by around 20 institutions in the UK, and ~800 worldwide.

Information about Primo is available at:

A couple of other useful links:

  • Slides – redacted for confidentiality
  • Discovery‘ on the SCONUL Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) wiki

The development of Primo marked a move away from the existing, Z39.50-intensive, metasearch model of unified resource discovery, to the use of a hosted, central metadata index of scholarly content (Ex Libris call this the Primo Central Index), characterised by unified discovery & delivery; faceted navigation; and usage-based recommendation.

Primo features include:

  • Import of local data data sources (catalogues; repositories) to a standardised XML format to allow cross-collection searching;
  • Ranking of printed, electronic and locally born-digital or digitised content, configurable by the subscribing library;
  • Integration with the OPAC – stronger integration for libraries that use one of Ex Libris’s own Library Management Systems; less-tight integration is possible for ‘foreign’ OPACs;
  • Integration with Ex Libris’s bX usage-based journal article recommendation service, which derives recommendations from the ‘user journey’ from article-to-article;
  • FRBRised grouping of similar titles in search results;
  • Facets derived from both the Primo Central Index and from locally-harvested data: for example, a facet could be configured to allow users to limit a search to only those items which are available in the OPAC;
  • Tools to embed the Primo search box in remote web sites (VLE, intranet, etc.);
  • An ‘open’ platform for development (including a suite of Primo APIs) – the EL Commons;
  • A mobile-friendly UI (e.g. this example from Germany).

Higher Education libraries in the UK using Primo include:

…and outside the UK:

Ex Libris are also developing Alma – which does for the ‘back end’ of library systems architecture what Primo does for the front end discovery UI – i.e. provides ‘umbrella’, unified management of print, electronic, and digitised/digital resources in the one system. In the UK, the University of York are ‘early adopters’ of Alma. Information about Alma is available at: