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Admin Console Release – 18 December 2014

We’re pleased to announce that the latest release of the Admin Console is now live.

This release includes:

  • Prism:
    • Redesigned editor for Prism themes
  • Notifications
    • Ability to schedule a “one-off” rule
    • Validation of mandatory fields when adding a rule
    • Adding name of rule to deletion modal dialogue
    • Rule parameters multiple value selection now uses a control with ability to move values into and out of a ‘selected’ box
    • Improvement to notifications editor to stop the page jumping around in certain browsers

Details of the Prism Theme Editor are given in the release notice in the Prism blog.



One-off Rules

We’ve now added the ability to create a special ‘one-off’ rule, that will send a notification on a specified date, rather than running on a regular basis. When adding the rule you now have the option to set the schedule to ‘Once’ or ‘Recurring’. When ‘Once’ is selected you can specify a date and time.

Mandatory Field Validation

When adding a rule, you’ll now be prompted with a warning message to fill in certain required fields, rather than defaults being provided which could previously be accepted inadvertently.

Deletion Modal Dialogue

If you have a long list of inactive rules and are in the process of cleaning them up, confirming you’re deleting the intended rule is important. To that end we’ve now added the name of the rule you are about to delete to the modal dialogue that pops up asking for confirmation.

Selecting multiple values for rule parameters

We’ve had some feedback that selecting multiple parameter values when creating a rule can be a bit cumbersone, especially if you have a long list of values. We’ve now adopted a similar selection widget to that used in the Prism Facets section of the Admin Console to make this a bit easier.

Comments and contact

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please get in touch. You can comment here on the Alto blog, on the Alto forum and Alto Ideas, or contact your Account Manager or the Prism team directly.

BDS records for video games and Welsh resources

We’re pleased to announce that a new dataset from BDS has been added to Base containing MARC records for video games, and that the BDS Welsh dataset has been greatly expanded.


Video games

BDS records for video games are now available in a new dataset in Base.

The cataloguing broadly conforms to AACR2, not RDA. The records include extensive descriptions and PEGI ratings, and they contain the elements needed by Prism to accurately identify format and content information. Many of them will have cover images when displayed in Prism.

The video games records are available to all Capita library customers. The name of the dataset is BDSGamM21. It is included in BDSAllM21, so you may have seen and used some of the records already.You can configure access to BDSGamM21 in Alto Configuration Setup under the Target/Attributes tab. The simplest way to do it is to copy an existing Base target and fill in the Name, the Sort code, and the Description, and change the database name part of the Connection.


Welsh resources

The BDS Welsh database has been refreshed with the inclusion of  large number of records from the National Library of Wales. There are now 418,247 records in the dataset.

The scope of the dataset is material with a Welsh focus, either as the subject, the place of publication or the language in which it is written.

The name of the database is BDSWelshM21. It is not included in the BDS All dataset collection.


Both BDSGamM21 and BDSWelshM21 are updated regularly. If you have any problems with configuring or using them, please raise a support case.

Alto Release 5.5 Available

We are pleased to announce that Alto 5.5 is now available on general release to all customers.

You will find the Release Notices and supporting documentation for this release on our web site at

Please ensure that you download and read the documentation prior to downloading the installation wraps.

Key features within Alto 5.5 are:

  • New ‘borrower notifications’ for messages such as overdue items or reservations awaiting collection and more
  • Faster user login to satisfy audit requirements
  • Ability to send ad hoc notifications by email
  • Bulk payment of invoice lines for part received orders

In order to gain access to the installation wraps, please raise a support case with the support team via indicating when you will be performing your LMS upgrade, as this will allow us to schedule your LDS upgrade.

Alto 5.5 requires LDS in order to provide access to the new Notifications functionality. In order to benefit from the new Notifications system through Alto, please ensure your desktop environment has access to ports 8083 and 25 on your Main LMS server.

The new borrower notifications can be implemented over a period of time. The old notification Perl scripts will continue to work, and will be supported by Capita until support for Alto 5.5 ends. You can set up a new rule and test it with a small set of borrowers before allowing it to run for all borrowers and switching off the old Perl script that it replaces.


Implementing RDA: Resource Description and Access

RDA: Resource Description and Access is the name of the new cataloguing rules that are superseding AACR2. RDA logo

The Library of Congress has announced their target RDA Implementation Day One: March 31, 2013. LC’s partner national libraries (U.S.: National Agricultural Library and National Library of Medicine; and non-U.S.: British Library, Library & Archives Canada, and National Library of Australia) have all planned for a similar implementation date. Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB) is planning for mid-2013.

In each release of Alto we ensure that the MARC validation in Alto Cataloguing is up to date with changes to MARC 21. This means that you will be able to create and edit MARC records in accordance with RDA.

We are assessing the priority of a few potential developments in Alto Cataloguing that could help to streamline cataloguing in RDA, and we are also reviewing whether RDA cataloguing might have impacts elsewhere in Alto.

In Prism, new MARC data elements will be accommodated as part of continuing development of the Prism data model.

More details, with links to numerous resources, have been published in the Capita Library management System forum.

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.