A ghost record refers to a record which appears when it should not. They can occur in both Alma and Primo.
This CKC details what to do if you find an Alma Electronic Collection ghost record in Primo which should not exist based on Alma records, including why it happens, how to prevent it, and how to fix it.
- This scenario applies in full to sites which have Alma and a hosted Primo Back Office environment, and may only partially apply to other scenarios such as those with Back Office server access
Example of the issue in Primo
The records in Alma
What is so special about Electronic Collections?
Electronic Collections are a special type of record able to be published to Primo as a bibliographic record, with a package id starting with 61, regardless of having portfolios with active services or not, if the following conditions are met:
- There is a URL in the Electronic Collection
- Electronic Collection Editor > Additional Information tab > Electronic Collection Level URL
- There is a linked unsuppressed bibliographic record in the Electronic Collection
- Electronic Collection Editor > Additional Information tab > Additional descriptive information
It seems logical to assume that if the reverse is true of either of these conditions not being met, such as by removing the linked unsuppressed bibliographic record from the Electronic Collection Editor, that Alma would naturally process the bibliographic record as a deletion in the next Publishing to Primo job.
But you would be wrong!
Because of the special nature of this type of record and how these Alma records are published to Primo, care needs to be taken to ensure you don’t create a ghost record if you decide to remove them from discovery.
How does a ghost record happen for an Electronic Collection?
- If you remove the linked bibliographic record from the Additional Descriptive Information field in the Electronic Collection Editor, the effect is to cause the record in Primo to continue displaying as ‘Available online’ in the availability statement, but as ‘No full text available’ in the View It
- This is because opening the record triggers the Alma Link Resolver to check Alma for the bibliographic record and then provide any associated services, but you took those away by unlinking the bibliographic record from the Electronic Collection
- This situation will not fix itself, as there is NO trigger set for Alma to automatically republish this bibliographic record as Deleted to Primo in the next run of the scheduled Publishing to Primo job. This behavior is considered by Ex Libris to be ‘as expected’ (see case 00641717).
How to avoid creating a ghost record for an Electronic Collection?
- If deciding to remove an Electronic Collection record from Primo, or other workflows such as wanting to change the bibliographic record currently connected for a new one (and remove the old one from discovery), the removal process MUST have a first step of going to the MD Editor for the bibliographic record linked to the Electronic Collection as the Additional Descriptive Information, and set the Management tag as ticked for Suppress from Discovery
- Only then, as a second step, should you go to the Electronic Collection Editor and remove the bibliographic record from the Additional Descriptive Information field
- If done in this order, Alma will correctly set a trigger for the bibliographic record to be published to Primo as Deleted in the next scheduled Publishing to Primo job run
Oops! I created a ghost record. How do I fix it?
- Once a ghost record is created in this manner, you can only fix it yourself if the Electronic Collection record still exists in Alma ie is not Deleted. If this is the case
- Go to the Electronic Collection Editor, add the suppressed bibliographic record back into the Additional Descriptive Information field (which you may need to Restore if you're deleted it previously, and Save
- Then do a Repository Search for All Titles by the 61 prepend id for the single record and Save Query to put the record in a set
- Go to Run a Job and run the Republish to Primo job on the set
- After the job is finished, check the Job History information or Publishing Information for the record (if you have access per your roles), and see that the record is now published to Primo as deleted. This can also be checked in the PNX Viewer of the Back Office after the next Harvest Pipe is run, and also in Primo UI after the next hotswap
- Now go back to the Electronic Collection editor and remove the suppressed bibliographic record again from the Additional Descriptive Information field
- If your earlier work with these records included the deletion of the Electronic Collection in Alma, you are out of luck and cannot fix this issue yourself
- Electronic Collection records with prepend 61 can’t be restored by Resources > Manage Deleted Repository
- Troubleshooting is also made difficult if an Electronic Collection happened to be created and deleted in the same day, as there is no opportunity for the record to ETL into Alma Analytics
- Creating a new Electronic Collection record with the original bibliographic record linked will only result in a dedupmrg record in Primo because the new record will have a new 61 package id and will not match to the ghost record already in the Primo database to delete it
- In sum, it can only be fixed by Ex Libris, so open a SalesForce case, providing the 61 prepend record id and ask for the record to be deleted. Note: Ex Libris does have a 'sync tool' to fix these sorts of issues between Alma and Primo databases, but my experience is that they don't always work, and it's quicker not to reference it and just ask simply for the record to be deleted
If you also think that it’s a little bit ridiculous that this gotcha exists, feel free to vote on my Ideas Exchange submission:
OLH and Guides (none of which tell you how to fix ghost records)
Suggestions or additions?
- Stacey van Groll
- Discovery and Access Coordinator
- University of Queensland