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    Sets, Global Changes, Jobs, Normalization Rules

    Set Management

    Does Alma support the creation of sets of records?

    Alma enables management of sets, which embody predefined criteria for search operations. Once a set is defined, the user is able to run it from the search tool as a saved query. Sets can be itemized or logical. The sets can also be defined as private sets, or defined as public sets, which will be available to all staff members. When defining a logical set, the user is instructed to base the settings of the set on a predefined query. The user can run the query, view the results and then save the search query. If the set's type is set to be 'itemized' the intuitive UI guides the user through a series of steps in order to build the desired set.

    Does Alma support the option to save search results?

    Any Repository Search query may be saved for future use. Sets may be used for saving queries, publishing metadata or for moving a group of records to the MD editor. Additional set functionality can be activated from the Run a Job option. This includes the options to perform batch updates, withdrawals, and exports.
    Saved queries can be accessed from the Manage Sets link on the Alma menu. The sets are divided into tabs:
    • My sets—private sets, available only to me
    • Public sets—queries saved by users and not marked as private
    Alma supports the option for creating two types of sets:
    • Logical and
    • Itemized.
    A logical set is created by saving the results of a search query. An itemized set allows the staff user to add individual records resulting from one or many search queries to a set of records. Logical sets are dynamic – the results may change as records are added to the database that match the search query. Itemized sets are static – the contents of the set will only change if the staff user adds or deletes records to the set.
    Additionally the download icon set3ux.png that is found on most list screens in Alma can be used to save lists of records to Excel.

    Is it possible to choose items from a query, and to form a set from the chosen items?

    Alma supports the option for creating two types of sets - Logical and Itemized. A logical set is created by saving the results of a search query. An itemized set allows the staff user to add individual records resulting from one or many search queries to a set of records. Logical sets are dynamic – the results may change as records are added to the database that match the search query. Itemized sets are static – the contents of the set will only change if the staff user adds or deletes records to the set.

    Can sets be combined to create new sets?

    Saving the search results as sets enables the users to make use of additional advanced options related to Alma set management functionality, such as crossing search results by using the ‘Combine Sets’ option.
    These options are extremely useful tools to help staff in various activities related to data cleanup, and other tasks needed for maintaining the catalog.

    Global Changes

    How does Alma support global changes to records?

    Batch update actions may be performed using Alma’s Process Automation tools. These tools enable:
    • Defining a set of records to work on. These records may be of various types:
      • Title records
      • Physical title records
      • Electronic title records
      • Physical item records
      • Digital file metadata records
    • Defining a chain of defined tasks to be run on the set. These chains include:
      • Normalization of the set’s records
      • Global change of record information
    The Metadata Editor enables you to create normalization rules and apply them to MARC 21 records, or apply normalization rules that have already been created to records, so that changes to MARC 21 bibliographic metadata can later be made globally, in bulk. Staff users can utilize the rich search functions within Alma to create sets for batch change.

    How can sets of records be globally changed?

    Alma supports the ability to perform batch changes against bibliographic and inventory records. The approach to doing so is flexible and extensible. Staff with rights to perform global changes will first identify the action to perform, then identify the set of records to change (either manually or as all results of a search). These actions may also be bound to an import profile, to automatically run for every record imported by that profile. This allows staff to identify common problems records and perform automatic cleanup on those records.
    The following shows the first step of running such a bulk change process—selecting the action to perform on all records.
    Global changes and deletions are carried out with relevant user privileges. Such changes are supported via a ‘wizard’, which walks the operator through the steps needed to carry out the task. Initially the items that require changing or deleting are gathered into a managed set. Then, either out of the box or library defined processes are applied to the set of data.
    Alma comes with a pre-defined set of standard processes (normalization rules) for changing managed sets (including such standard functions as deletions and exports), but a library can also create its own rules. This provides libraries with a powerful means to develop complex custom manipulations to managed sets.
    An example of a library defined normalization rule:
    Automated import profiles and normalization rules in Alma means that massive time savings is achieved by minimizing the time it takes to manage common workflows in the library, allowing the library to focus on additional services instead.

    Can sets of bibliographic records be deleted?

    Alma supports the bulk deletion of bib records. The delete bibliographic records job allows you to define whether or not to delete:
    • Records that are related to other records
    • All associated inventory resources
    Records with associated orders will not be deleted
    The results of the delete job can be viewed in the report:
    The detailed counters report can be downloaded. The MMSIDs of the records deleted/no deleted will be listed in each of the relevant tabs of the downloaded excel file:

    Can sets of records be suppressed from Discovery?

    Alma supports suppressing a set of bibliographic records using a dedicated process as illustrated in the screen shot below:

    Can a set of item and/or holding records be globally updated?

    Alma’s metadata services framework may be used for both bibliographic and inventory data, including holdings and item data. This allows staff to run changes in bulk against holdings and inventory records. Examples of this can be seen in the following screen captures:


    How are scheduled jobs managed in Alma?

    Alma is preconfigured with all batch jobs required for operation of the system. On an institution level, one needs only to decide to opt in or opt out of a scheduled job.
    Batch jobs and processes in Alma are distributed to ensure there is no impact on other institutions’ processes. Dedicated batch-jobs servers and resources are allocated for batch job processes, thus eliminating the risk of interference with institutions’ processes or resources. This architecture means that Alma can scale virtually infinitely, as the only barrier is server allocation, and there is no dependency on the institution’s processing environment.
    To make sure processes are running smoothly, a set of application-level monitoring events is defined. For each core process we have defined the expected duration, and each scenario that does not meet the defined threshold is sent as an event to our monitoring system. In addition, we run proactive trend analysis and health check validations as an ongoing performance improvement mechanism.
    Alma supports the following job types:
    Scheduled jobs – Scheduled jobs run periodically. Some of these jobs are scheduled by Alma. For other jobs you can configure the schedule using predefined job scheduling options. Note that scheduled jobs run as close as possible to their scheduled time. Some jobs can run in parallel, but part or all of a job may wait until a server has available resources.
    In addition to their scheduled run times, Alma provides the ability to run some of these jobs at any time—for example, if you need to invoke the job’s process outside of its normally scheduled time.
    Workflow jobs – Workflow jobs run automatically when they are required. For example, after submitting a purchase order, the job Export Orders (PO) Job runs to send the PO to the vendor. In some cases, you can also run or rerun these jobs at any time—for example, if the original run failed.
    Manual jobs – These jobs are available to run by you as required. Some manual jobs first require you to create sets (of items, users, and so forth) for the job to process.

    Can Alma identify who is running reports and the reports they are running at any given time?

    The Monitor Jobs History provides a detailed list of jobs, including who ran the job – most of these will report as ‘System’ since these jobs are scheduled:
    Reports which are performed in real-time can be seen in the Running tab. Jobs that are scheduled can be seen in the Scheduled tab side-by-side with the staff user who has created/scheduled the job:

    Does Alma report on the outcome of batch processes, including failures?

    The Monitor Jobs menu shows a brief message if a job was successful, completed with errors or failed:
    When clicking the Report option from the Actions button Alma will provide details about the errors that occurred:

    Normalization rules

    How does Alma update a set of records?

    Normalization rules can be defined in Alma. These rules are small programs (rather like macros) that can be used to enhance or update records. A number of rules are available out of the box, but any number can be created and added by library staff. Rules can be quite simple:
    Or more complex:
    Normalization rules can be run on individual records, can be defined as part of the import profile parameters for batch import and on sets of records already in the database that might need update, modification or correction. An example of setting a normalization rule for an import profile:

    What options does Alma offer for monitoring cataloging standards?

    There are various methods for monitoring cataloging standards. 
    These methods will depend on the library workflow as well as the method of cataloging. The methods are not mutually exclusive (both can be used simultaneously)
    1. One option is to use the “brief record” methodology. In this mechanism records are assigned varying levels based on either the values in fields (such as LDR position 17) or the presence of fields (such as 020 or 022). There are two groups of predefined sets of rules provided in the default Alma environment. They may be used “as is” or customized by each institution. In this way each record is assigned a level and based on that level it can be either retrieved for manual update or put into a set for global update. 
    2. Another option is to make a group of normalization rules which can be activated when the record is saved in the Metadata Editor or imported via an import profile.Alma includes a wide variety of default normalization rules which may be applied. They can also be customized, and shared by each institution. 
    3. A third method is to retrieve records using indication rules and in this manner find records which do not conform to MARC cataloging standards and fix them with normalization rules.  For example there are rules which can fix and populate the 008 position 7-10 from the 260 or 264 subfield c.  Another rule can make LDR pos. 18 be "i" if 040 subfield e is RDA.  Here is an example:

      rule "If 040 e is RDA then make LDR pos 18 be i"


             ((exists "040.e.rda") OR (exists "040.e.RDA"))


              replaceControlContents "LDR.{18,1}" with "i"


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