Concerns with the Overlap Tool in Alma

Concerns with the Overlap Tool in Alma

Members have brought several issues to our attention. It is ideal if you can run more than one analysis as a cross-check. Depending on your situation, that could mean trying different options in the Overlap Tool, running reports in Alma analytics or taking data into another tool such as PowerBI or Tableau. Details follow . . .
  1. Alma information for electronic collections is often quite different from vendor information.
    1. Possible workaround - run your analysis both ways.
    2. Note also that some electronic collections don't have portfolio information in Alma, so you would need to upload a list from the vendor.
  2. Mixed collections (where electronic collections have ISBNs, ISSNs and items without either identifier)
    1. Possible workaround - break it apart so you can run the appropriate match method for each chunk.
    2. Note that title matching does not work very well. Matching on primary identifiers is usually a better bet.
  3. Dates - There is extra text in the date fields so you might be told no overlap for ebooks where there is overlap. For example: "Available from 1999" and "Available from 2004 until 2004".
    1. Possible workaround - run your analysis with and without dates.

If you want help running things more than one way or you need some NZ data - put in a ticket.

Specific Example using MegaFILE

We know from EBSCO that there should be 100% overlap if we compare MegaFILE to these three databases because MegaFILE is a combination of these three databases:
  1. Academic Search Premier
  2. Business Source Premier
  3. Masterfile Premier

Usually it is best to use a primary identifier, but when we use ISSN match in the Overlap Tool, it reports 87% with no overlap. That is 87% wrong (16,408 titles!), largely due to missing ISSNs.

Screenshot of report showing 87% titles with no overlap when it should be 100% overlap

While it works better to do a title match in this case, it still reports hundreds of titles with no overlap when the correct answer is 100% overlap. We have submitted this problem to Ex Libris, but in the meantime be sure to cross-check the overlap tool results with some other report or analysis.

Screenshot of report showing 324 titles with no overlap when it should be 100% overlap

P.S. EBSCO says that you do not need to enable MegaFILE in Alma as well as the specific databases and having all of them active might cause some headaches. The specific databases will do a better job of mapping to the content.

  1. Slides -
  2. Documentation -

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