JULAC Shared ILS Project (May 2014 – July 2017)

About the Shared ILS System

The Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) is implementing a new shared integrated library system (ILS) to manage the print and electronic collections of 8 individual university libraries, with increasing strategic emphasis on electronic resources and digital collections. The shared system will hold a conglomerate of over 18 million bibliographic records serving over 380,000 users. The new system, which will be supported by Alma and Primo from Ex Libris on the cloud platform, was soft launched on 17 July 2017.

Key System Changes

Currently, the eight JULAC Libraries employ eight separate library management systems and a variety of discovery tools to serve their users. After the system goes live, one ILS platform and the same discovery tool will be used by all 8 libraries to provide support to the universities’ communities. The new shared ILS will be a cloud-based next generation ILS solution delivering services on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis.

  1. Alma from Ex Libris will replace Innovative’s Millennium and Sierra.
  2. Four of the JULAC libraries will keep using Ex Libris’s Primo as their discovery tool. Primo will replace Summon, ENCORE and EBSCO Discovery Service used by the other 4 libraries.
  3. Primo Central Index will replace Summon Knowledgebase and EDS EBSCO Integrated Knowledge Base for those libraries who are not current users of Primo.
  4. Alma link resolver will replace SFX and 360 Link.
  5. The INN-Reach system used for resource sharing will be decommissioned once the system goes live. The Hong Kong Academic Library Link (HKALL) union catalog will be available on Primo. Both online direct requests and walk-in borrowing on HKALL materials can be achieved through Primo.
  6. Two of the JULAC libraries will also implement Leganto for reading lists.

What is Improved with the New System?

Alma is a next-generation library management solution which will enable JULAC libraries to manage both their print, electronic and digital collections through a single interface. It supports library collaboration and helps libraries to optimize their user experience and collections with rich analytics.

Facing the Future

Alma is deployed by many major university libraries globally. Its architecture is geared towards evolving information standards and information management needs. Its open standards ensure smooth integration with third party solutions. This allows JULAC libraries to extend services to meet the growth of users’ needs.

Optimize User Experience and Collection

With the rich analytics provided by Alma, JULAC libraries can harvest the big data generated by the platform to gain better insight of their resources usage so as to tailor their services and collection development to support users’ needs.

Support Single Point of Access for JULAC Collections

It improves the visibility of, and the ability to, search across JULAC libraries collections without leaving the home library website.

Improved Workflow

Alma supports management of electronic, print and digital resources from a single integrated interface. This breaks down the silos in collections and delivers efficiency gains through automated workflows.

Collaborations and Community

Alma enables further collaborations among the JULAC libraries. The eight JULAC libraries will share their bibliographic records once the system goes live. JULAC is continuously exploring how the system can further support execution of the strategy of deep collaboration in the areas of consortium purchase and technical services.

Lower Maintenance costs

As the shared ILS is available on the cloud, high-level system resilience with reduced hardware costs and savings in long-term maintenance and IT support is expected.


JULAC’s member libraries have a long history of working together to share collections. They seek new ways to use technology to fulfill even higher levels of collaboration and cooperation among their institutions in their next phase of advancement. JULAC engaged a consultant in May 2014 to provide guidance regarding the next generation automation environment for the consortium and its members. A working group was formed for preparation of the RFP for the new system. The working group held 13 meetings during the period from Oct 2014 to Jan 2016.

In June 2016, JULAC selected the Ex Libris Alma resource management service and Primo discovery and delivery solution to build its collections and deliver innovative services. The Alma and Primo solutions enable a shared library service platform that will align with JULAC’s strategy of deep collaboration.

Milestones and Events
May 2014 Consultant Report from Marshall Breeding
July 2015 Issued RPF for the Tender Exercise
Jun 2016 Awarded the Tender to Alma and Primo from Ex Libris
Jul 2016 Official Project Kick-off
Aug 2016 – May 2017 Data Migration, Training and Workflow Testing
Jun 2017 Cutover
Jul 2017 Go Live


The Shared ILS Implementation Project is co-chaired by Ms Louise Jones, University Librarian, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Mr Peter E Sidorko, University Librarian, The University of Hong Kong with the JULAC Directors acting as the Steering Committee. Seven Functional Working Groups (FWGs) are formed for the project implementation.

  1. Acquisitions
  2. CJK
  3. Metadata Management
  4. Primo Discovery & User Experience
  5. Resource Management
  6. System & Development
  7. User Management & Fulfillment
Steering Committee
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Ms Louise Jones
City University Hong Kong (CityU) Ms Lisa Kwan
The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) Dr Sidney Cheng
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Mr Kendall Crilly
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) Dr Shirley Wong (JULAC Chair 2016/17)
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Ms Diana Chan
Lingnan University (LU) Ms Rachel Cheng
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) Mr Peter Sidorko
Project Team
Implementation Manager: Bonnie Ko (Sep 2016 – Sep 2017)
Change Manager: Alan So (Nov 2016 – Feb 2019)
Executive Office: Gladys Chan (Feb 2017 – Aug 2019)
RFP Preparation Team (Oct 2014 – Jan 2016)

Rachel Cheng, LU (Chair)
Alice Tai / Teresa To, CityU
Louisa Lam / Ernest Yik, CUHK
Clement Lau, HKBU
Francis Chan, HKIEd
Lisa Kwan, PolyU
Owen Tam, LU
Linda Lee, JULAC (Secretary)

Implementation Team (Jun 2016 – Mar 2018)

Louise Jones, CUHK (co-Chair)
Peter Sidorko, HKU (co-Chair)
Patti Cheung, CUHK
Edward So, CityU
Francis Chan, EdUHK
Li Yiu On, HKBU
Wayne Lam, PolyU
Owen Tam, LU
KT Lam, HKUST and Chair, CJK FWG
KM Ku, HKU and Chair, System and Development FWG
Cindy Lui, Chair, Acquisitions FWG
Connie Lam, Chair, Metadata Management FWG
Antonia Yiu, Chair, Primo Discovery and User Experience FWG
MK Wong, Chair, Resource Management FWG
Venia Mak, Chair, User Management and Fulfillment FWG
Bonnie Ko, Implementation Manager (Secretary)

Functional Working Groups (Jun 2016 – Mar 2018)
Ada Cheung, HKUST
Angela Ko, HKU
Katie Lai, HKBU
Kevin Leung, CUHK
Kit Li, CityU
Cindy Lui, PolyU (Chair)
Joyce Po, EdUHK
Bill Tang, LU
Celine Cheung, CityU
Kevin Hau, EdUHK
Lolita Kwok, HKBU
Connie Lam, HKU
KT Lam, HKUST (Chair)
Patti Lai, LU
Alan Ng, CUHK
Tang Sin Yee, PolyU
Metadata Management
Celine Cheung, CityU
Lolita Kwok, HKBU
Patti Lai, LU
Connie Lam, HKU (Chair)
Ryun Lee, CUHK
Emil Li, EdUHK
Zehua Sun, HKUST
Tang Sin Yee, PolyU
Primo Discovery & User Experience
Victoria Caplan, HKUST
Francis Chan, EdUHK
Ivy Kan, LU
Chloe Lei, HKBU
Alan Ng, CUHK
Joanna Pong, CityU
Helen Sin, PolyU
Antonia Yiu, HKU (Chair)
Resource Management
Thomas Hung, HKU
Josephine Lee, PolyU
Shun-wa Lee, CityU
Joyce Po, EdUHK
Bill Tang, LU
MK Wong, HKUST (Chair)
Wing Woo, HKBU
Monica Young, CUHK
System & Development
Joe Chow, LU
Kevin Hau, EdUHK
KM Ku, HKU (Chair)
Wayne Lam, PolyU
Li Yiu On, HKBU
Edward So, CityU
Andrew Wong, HKUST
Ernest Yik, CUHK
User Management & Fulfillment
Peggy Fung, CityU
Clarice Hui, PolyU
Teresa Kong, HKBU
Belinda Kwok, EdUHK
Andrew Liu, LU
Venia Mak, HKUST (Chair)
Esther Woo, HKU

Project Portal and Calendar

JULAC has set up the project portal on Confluence while the project calendar is available on Google Calendar for sharing of project materials among project teams’ members. Dedicated mailing lists have also been created for different teams for communication between meetings.

Project Portal on Confluence

Below is the URL of the project portal on Confluence (login required): https://hkjulac.atlassian.net/wiki/display/JSI/JULAC+Shared+ILS

Project Calendar

The name of the Shared ILS Project calendar on Google is ‘JULAC Shared ILS Project’. Members can access the calendar using their Google accounts.

Member Libraries

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
City University Hong Kong (CityU)
The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK)
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
Lingnan University (LU)
The University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Last updated 17 July 2017