Alto Blog

Archive for December, 2012

Alto 5.4.1 is now available on general release

On 28 January BDS will begin to supply bibliographic records catalogued using the RDA rules.  The main difference that will be seen is the use of the new 264 field for publication details.

We have now released Alto 5.4.1 to allow you to use these records.  The release consists of a small server upgrade and a new Alto client version, plus an updated set of Usemarcon rules and a change to the Zebra indexing rules.

The Usemarcon and Zebra changes are not dependent on the Alto release and should be implemented before 28 January.  If they are not, the implications are as follows.  For any record that you import containing field 264:

1. The Place of publication, Publisher and Date display fields in the WORKS table will not be populated.  These are normally seen in the Work field at the top of forms such as Item and Order in Alto.

2. The publication data will be absent from the WORK_SUBFIELD table.  This means that any scripts that read publication data from the WORK_SUBFIELD table, such as those that produce ILL requests and orders, will not find the data.

Such records would need to be edited to replace the 264 field with 260, or dummy edited after the new Usemarcon rules have been loaded.

For Assist Managed Customers, we will be in contact over the next few weeks to schedule in the Usemarcon and Zebra changes required.

For those libraries that have a bespoke set of Usemarcon rules, an updated set will be sent to system managers via email.

The Alto 5.4.1 release itself includes these features:

In Bibliographic Search:

  • In the Bibliographic Search results grid, the Publisher and Date fields show the contents of the new RDA 264 field if there is no 260 field in the record.

In Cataloguing:

  • A new bibliographic template is supplied, which sets the Leader Descriptive Cataloguing Form code to ‘i’, as appropriate for RDA records, and displays the 264 field instead of 260.  This template is only used if the new environment variable TAL_CAT_RDA is set to ‘YES’.
  • The Quick Manage Work form now reads publication data from field 264, if present, when displaying an existing record.  When creating a new record, it will create field 264 if the new environment variable TAL_CAT_RDA is set to ‘YES’.

In System Management:

  • A new environment variable, TAL_CAT_RDA, can be used to indicate that the library is now creating catalogue records following RDA.  This controls the template that is used when creating bibliographic records.

You will find the release notices and upgrade files at  You will need your Members’ Enclosure username and password to access the files.  The files are also available via the FTP server.