Alto Blog

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Public Financial Year Rollover

With Financial Year Rollover approaching for public libraries, we have created two documents to help you through the process:

Financial Year Rollover Guide
Financial Year Rollover Quick Reference Sheet

Both documents have been uploaded to the MySupport Portal under the Documents tab.

If you have any questions or issues please contact the Support Team.

Telephone: 0870 4005400
Portal URL:

Watch the Alto 5.5 webinar video

You can watch a recording of one of our recent Alto 5.5 webinars below or by downloading the video. (1hr 18mins)

Highlights are:

  • An overview of the new architecture
  • A walk through of the new borrower notifications functionality
  • Changes to Alto
  • Changes to Prism

Alto 5.5 and Alto 5.5.1 updates available

Several customers have reported that since loading Alto 5.5 or Alto 5.5.1 they have experienced problems when Alto PCs lose their connection to the network. To address this we have worked with four customers to make changes to the Alto client which, combined with a new Sybase OLE DB driver, have improved the way network disconnection is handled. The most obvious change is that a network connectivity indicator is now displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen in Alto. This is green when the network connection is available and red when it is not.

We are now making the latest Alto client software and Sybase driver generally available. Customers experiencing this issue should follow the appropriate upgrade notice, available on the MySupportPortaland on our web site at (under the Alto 5.5 and Alto 5.5.1 headings).

MARC records for Welsh publications available in Talis Base

With thanks to our partner BDS a new database has been added to Talis Base containing MARC records from BDS for items published in Wales. BDS receives data from the Welsh Book Council for trade distribution and has kindly converted them to MARC and allowed us to make the records available to Talis customers at no charge. These records have been converted to MARC from the source data and as such do not adhere to BDS’s usual library quality standards.

The name of the database is BDSWelshM21. Currently it has 12,766 records. It will be updated weekly. It is not included in BDSAllM21 because it is not a normal BDS offering. You can configure access to BDSWelshM21 in Talis Alto Configuration Setup under the Target/Attributes tab. The simplest way to do it is to copy an existing Talis Base target and fill in the Name, the Sort code, and the Description, and change the database name part of the Connection.

If you have any problems please raise a support case.

Resource Description and Access (RDA) and Talis

RDA logoRDA was published in June as an online tool, with free access available until the end of August, after which an annual subcription is required.

The library of Congress, the British Library and other major libraries are now conducting tests into the use of RDA for the remainder of this year, to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of implementing it. Only after that will they decide whether to implement RDA. A decision is not expected until well into 2011, after which there will be further preparation time.

The Library of Congress has published the RDA Test plans and also practical documentation including training materials, rule choices, policy statements, and examples compared to AACR2, to support the testers.

A clear explanation of how RDA differs from AACR2 for texts is given in RDA Changes from AACR2 for Texts (Video webcast, 41 mins + 35 mins Q&A), Barbara Tillett, 12 Jan 2010. (Warning: sometimes crashes Firefox). For the slides used in the webcast, with notes, see: RDA Changes from AACR2 for Texts (ppt, 51 slides), Barbara Tillett.

Changes to the MARC 21 format have been made over the last few years to accommodate RDA. Details of all changes to date can be found here on the MARC website.

At Talis we implement all the MARC changes in Alto Cataloguing, so you will be able to implement RDA in MARC if you need to. We are up to date, having implemented MARC 21 Updates to Update 11 in Talis Alto build and higher.

Whilst RDA and AACR2 records will be basically compatible, it may be desirable to convert some data (see Barabara Tillett’s presentation for details).

In light of the uncertainty about the implementation of RDA by the national libraries, our position on RDA at Talis is to continue keeping up with MARC changes and to monitor the RDA tests and their outcome.