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Ex Libris Knowledge Center

Questions and Answers from the Managing Electronic Resources Webinars

These are questions that were asked by attendees at the Managing Electronic Resources webinars, and answers from Ex Libris training staff.



ERM-101: Overview and Background

September 20 and 21, 2023   


1.      What's the difference between title and portfolio?

ExL — A title is a bib record. I think of portfolios as an electronic item.  The same title can be available from multiple vendors in multiple collections. A portfolio is unique to a collection.  

Another attendee – If it helps, I think of a portfolio as a particular instance of a title (book or journal) being made available by a particular vendor within a particular collection. Title + vendor + collection "=" portfolio, roughly speaking.


2.      When searching, how do I know which one to search (title or portfolio)?

ExL — It depends on what you are trying to find. Are you looking to see if you have a particular title? Search by the title. From that title you will see the portfolio or portfolios that are linked to that title. The reason you will have more than one portfolio for a title is because you have more than one access point to the resource. Information in the portfolio includes the vendor that is providing access and coverage (if a journal).

On the other hand, if you search for a particular resource by portfolio, the results list will be organized by portfolio; the same title may be found in different portfolios in the results list.


3.      When you search for an electronic title, the collections are "portfolios," but when you search for an electronic collection the titles are "portfolios." Why?

ExL – When you search for a specific electronic title, the results come back with the Title information, and then a list of portfolios that have that title. The portfolios are organized by the collection in which they are contained. See this screenshot:


This is because, generally speaking, when you're looking for a specific title, you probably want to know which collection it is in; either because you want to order it now, or because you ordered it from a certain collection and want to activate it.


On the other hand, when you search for an electronic collection, the results come back as a list of collections that match your search query. To help you find what you're looking for, each collection indicates how many portfolios are included. See this screenshot:



4.      Do portfolios only contain a single title? Or can they contain multiple titles within one portfolio?

ExL—A portfolio is associated with only one title. A title can have multiple portfolios.


5.      Is an electronic title a bib record?

ExL—Bibliographic records are title records, they describe electronic, physical, or digital resources.  An electronic title search searches the title records that have electronic inventory attached.


6.      Our library is in the implementation phase of Alma. We have some resources categorized in A-Z database list, like online newspaper, is it a Package or Database in Alma? Thank you.

ExL – A number of our customers utilize A-Z lists. They are maintained in a different product (LibGuides) and linked to from Discovery. Is that the scenario you describe? If the resource has portfolios that are viewable in Alma, then it is an electronic collection in Alma.

Follow-up: Yes. We are using LibGuides to maintain A-Z lists now. We could not see any portfolio for this kind of resource in our current Discovery product. I am not sure about Alma now.

ExL – You would need to create a local collection that represents that LibGuide information.


7.      I continue to struggle to distinguish between collections and packages. Are the terms interchangeable? I suspect not, but could you explain the difference?

ExL – Yes, they are interchangeable. The Alma terminology is collection/electronic collection.


8.      What about "databases" in the ALMA Community Zone (CZ) that actually do have individual titles on the vendor's platform but that are classified as a "DATABASE" with no portfolios in the ALMA CZ?

ExL – That is a scenario that would need to be investigated. If there are errors in CZ data, please open a case with Support and report it. Be sure to share all the details in your case.


9.      What should we do when we have purchased multi-collections, like Academic Search Complete & Business Source Complete Package (ASC/BSC)

Exl – In the Community Zone, those are two different collections:

·         EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete; Collection ID 611000000000001505; 10,868 portfolios (as of today).

·         EBSCOhost Business Source Complete; Collection ID 611000000000000630; 46,938 portfolios (as of today).

If you have a title from that "multi-collection" (as you put it), you'll need to look for the title in the portfolios in those two collections in the Community Zone to see where it is located, and then activate the portfolio.


10.  Now I only have access to Alma Sandbox. I found a resource called ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection, it marked as Aggregator package, but no Portfolios list for it.

ExL – When I search the Community Zone for an Electronic Collection by Electronic Collection Name and enter search terms proquest historical newspapers black newspaper collection (no quotation marks nor anything else), I get one result: ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Black Newspaper Collection. Electronic Collection ID 614960000000000313. It has 31 portfolios. I don't think this is a Sandbox issue; you should be able to see the same thing if you search the Community Zone.

On the other hand, it is possible you have searched the Institution Zone in your sandbox, and it is possible that the collection has been added to the Institution Zone but none of the portfolios within it have been added.


11.  Sometimes a title appears in multiple electronic collections from a vendor.  How can we be sure which one to add to. Example: Title Oxford handbook of general practice ISBN 9780191845963.  If it appears in "Oxford Handbooks Online (Oxford Handbooks Online Complete) and (Oxford Medicine Online).  Which Collection should we add the title to? (This can be a made-up example, as I ordered it some time ago).

ExL – Check with your content vendor to confirm which collection the portfolio you are purchasing is contained within.


12.  Regarding titles the customer buys, and the access is set to Perpetual in the IZ, what happens when these portfolios are removed by the vendor from the CZ? Will the daily synchronization information from the CZ remove them from the IZ? (From vendors different than ProQuest, such as Gale, Elsevier, etc.) Are they removed or turned into standalone portfolios?

ExL – Sometimes the vendor makes the perpetual titles available in a different collection. I believe that sometimes Ex Libris metadata librarians make them available separately somehow. Start by contacting the vendor, and then communicate with Ex Libris Support as well.


13.  Would firm orders for ebooks, such as from GOBI, be standalone or are they part of a larger collection?

ExL – It's likely that you'll be able to find the title as a portfolio in a larger, selective-package type collection.


14.  Relying on color to distinguish between those two symbols [active resource versus not-active resource] is really bad accessibility practice.

ExL – We agree! Although the Alma interface does follow certain accessibility standards, I don't know if they deal with color and color blindness, for example. We recommend looking at the Idea Exchange and, if there isn't already a suggestion that fits this concern, then feel free to start one. (The product management team is much more likely to listen to customers like you who are concerned about issues like this, especially if many institutions sign on to the idea!)


15.  If a title was found in more than one electronic collection, would it have more lending capabilities?

ExL – If you subscribe to the same title in several different collections, each will have its own lending capabilities. These depend on the vendors and their license terms. And each will appear separately in the full record in your discovery service. See this screenshot from our Primo training environment:



16.  What about when a vendor has bundled numerous titles into a package, but a matching Collection doesn't exist within Alma Community Zone? We want our payment information to be properly linked to the bundle we're paying for.

ExL – Sometimes you can find it by searching the Community Zone by Title, searching for a title in the package that may be more unusual or rare, so it provides fewer results. The results will show which portfolios (and, therefore, collections) have the title. You may then be able to find the Collection that matches the vendor's package. (For example, maybe the collection name is different somehow.)

But if there really isn't a collection in the CZ that matches the package from the vendor, then you will have to create the collection yourself in your Institution Zone as a local collection, and then populate it with portfolios (which could be copied from CZ portfolios that come from that vendor, for example). Also, you might let the vendor know that it would be useful to provide collection metadata to the Ex Libris metadata librarians!


17.  I've seen collections and portfolios in my library's collection that used to be linked to the Community Zone but have somehow gotten unlinked. What kinds of things can unlink a collection from the Community Zone?

ExL – Someone at your institution, or perhaps someone in Ex Libris Support when assisting someone at your institution, has unlinked the collection or portfolio. There are various reasons they may have done this; check the Notes associated with the resource to see if there were any messages about this.


18.  When you say that a database collection would not have a portfolio. How can I activate databases from the community zone.?

ExL – You find and activate database-type collections in Alma the same way you activate aggregator-type and selective-type collections. (We'll discuss activation in class ERM-102.) You do need to activate database-type collections that you pay for, so that the citation (A&I) resources they contain become available in your discovery service.


19.  It's hard to find a database that has no portfolios in the community zone.

ExL – In Alma, do an advanced search in the Community Zone for Electronic Collections where the Electronic Collection Type equals Database. I found 12,269 when I did it just now.


20.  What is the best way to handle Patron Driven Acquisitions? Would they be considered standalone collections? Are there good strategies for maintaining those collections?

ExL – Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) and Demand-Driven Acquisition (DDA) can usually use Community Zone collections, instead of creating a local collection yourself. Many vendors have set up large packages (collections in Alma) that contain all the possible resources that can be purchased by PDA or DDA; they are selective packages (not aggregator packages). You subscribe to the collection in the CZ (add it to your IZ), and then add the individual portfolios as you purchase them.

For details, see Patron Driven Acquisitions in the Ex Libris Knowledge Center.


ERM-102: Order and Activate Collections

September 27 and 28, 2023   


1.      Can you expand on the license area and where that data pulls from and effects resource sharing?

ExL – We don't cover licenses in detail in this session, so see the documentation on licenses. In brief: Licenses are optional; they are added to Alma individually by staff at your institution; they can be added to the metadata about resources (collections and portfolios); they can be viewed by patrons who find those resources in your discovery service if you want, but they do not have any effect nor limits on discovery or delivery of e-resources, nor resource sharing.


2.      I sometimes report on acquisitions data in Alma Analytics, and we have some longstanding serial PO Lines for repeatedly-renewed subscriptions, which happen to have the wrong Material Type and/or Reporting Code values assigned. This can make reporting a bit challenging. Would it cause any issues to retrospectively change those values on existing PO Lines?

ExL – Changing those values on existing PO Lines shouldn't cause an issue. In Analytics, you just need to be careful which "Reporting Code" field you use. There's a field specifically for the PO Line (which will show the changed Reporting Code in the POL), but also one for the Fund Transaction (which will show the Reporting Code from when the transaction occurred).


3.      Can template be used for ordering collection as well? (not just subscription)?

ExL – Yes, templates are not dependent on the PO Line Type. You can use them for any order you may find useful.


4.      What is difference between activate and 'make service available'?

ExL – "Activate" will create the service in your institution zone so that you can add portfolios to it. "Make service available" changes the service from unavailable to available (making it available to patrons). You can make it available immediately in this activation wizard, or do so later by editing the Electronic Service.


5.      Why must task be made "Done" manually? Doesn't Alma know you activated it?

ExL – Depending on your workflows, you may have further checks to perform, such as making sure articles appear in CDI. This is why you need to mark the task Done manually, to confirm that all related work is completed.


6.      Can the task be complete but still show in list as Done was not checked?

ExL – The task will remain in the list until you mark it Done. Also, after it is marked Done, it can still be viewed on the Task list if you change the Status filter to show Done items.


7.      [Regarding the Course Exam available after Nov. 9] Can you take the exam more than once?

ExL – Yes, you can retake it as needed.


8.      Is there difference between the activation process of Database and the collections?

ExL – Yes. Because databases in Alma do not have portfolios, most of the steps we show today will not be necessary. Collections require extra steps, including activating a service and individual portfolios.


9.      In this test environment, there is only one match for the collection title. In reality, in the CZ, there can be many apparent matches for portfolios and collections to sort through. What details should we check in the result set view to help us find the right or a reliable match?

ExL – There are a few different things to check depending on the resource. Of course, you want to make sure the interface matches the vendor you've purchased from. Another helpful tool is the "Linking Information" option in the Community Zone. This will show more information about the link, and you can compare it to the information from the vendor. This is also of course why it's always important to test access in Alma!


10.  Just as a note for the trainers of this webinar - we have been using the new PO Line interface since August.  It mostly works, but we have had issues with renewal dates and funds not updating properly.  We have had to go back to the original PO Line interface to renew the lines, and then have to re-activate the new feature.  I have submitted feedback to ProQuest as well.

ExL – Thanks for sharing! Yes, the new layout is a work in progress, and we appreciate your feedback so our teams can correct any issues.


11.  Does the Access Provider field affect anything downstream in Alma, is it just for information's sake?

ExL – It is in large part informational, because the access URL is what really affects your patrons in your discovery service (and it would point the access-provider's site). But the access provider field is useful for reporting purposes. It also affects the Interface designation for the electronic resource.

Follow-up question: Do you mean that if we enter an Access Provider, it will appear in the Interface (override) field in the electronic collection?

I don't believe so, I believe this would be the Vendor Interface, but not overriding what's in the CZ for the collection. See the Vendor Interface documentation.


12.  Even if you are purchasing at vendor system, Save and Continue would get Alma to package the lines, is that right?

ExL – Correct, the PO Line would be put into the packaging process, and would be packaged with similar PO Lines in a Purchase Order when the scheduled job runs. However, that POL wouldn't actually be sent to the vendor.


13.  Where to find the recent orders I have been working on? Thank you!

ExL – This depends on the status of the orders. If they have not yet been sent, they will remain in the In Review list. Otherwise, you'll want to look at the PO Line search indexes to determine the best way to retrieve these orders. If you have a specific scenario, please feel free to reach out to Alma Support, who can assist more specifically.


14.  Is the renewal reminder period in workdays? Or all days (i.e., 7 days a week)?

ExL – The renewal reminder period is in calendar days (so 7 days a week).


15.  Why would you not want to package the line and instead just Order Now?

ExL – As now in the demo, you'd use Order Now if you want to proceed with working on the PO Line immediately. It's a question of whether or not your workflow can wait for the packaging job to run.


16.  When the Electronic Collection Proxy is not Enabled, if the remote users can access the resource?

ExL – The Electronic Collection Proxy needs to be enabled for remote users to access the Collection URL, if you are making that discoverable to patrons. The Electronic Service Proxy is more necessary, as this is what adds the proxy to the portfolios.


17.  You can see the journal's MARC record and portfolio in Primo within about 15-20 minutes, right? It will just take the 48 hours for the article-level CDI records to appear.

ExL – In Primo VE the journal record will appear almost immediately; CDI takes a couple days.


18.  The general workflow is ordering a resource first and then activating it. Is it possible to activate a resource from CZ and to create a POL for it later?

ExL – Yes, it is possible to create a POL for it later by clicking "Order" on the Electronic Collection.


19.  Does Resources by Provider only show collections/databases, but not selective titles subscribed, correct?

ExL – Based on the documentation, that looks to be the case.


ERM-103: Order and Activate Portfolios

October 4 and 5, 2023

1.     Are the exercises and answers available on the website for those of us who missed the earlier 2 sessions?

ExL— Recordings of the previous sessions and exercises are available on the series dashboard. There are no answers needed, because the exercises walk you through steps that were demonstrated during the live session.


2.     How can I know this title is not active? From the right side activate button?

ExL— (This was while we were searching for the title to order.) We first searched for the title in the Institution Zone and didn't find it. We switched to the Community Zone and found four versions of the title (four different bib records). We picked the title we wanted, and looked at which collections in the CZ had that title as a portfolio:


We then found a selective-package collection where we already subscribed to some of the titles but not the one we wanted now (indicated by the blue institution icon on the left side of the collection). We then ordered the portfolio in that collection. (We could instead have activated it at that point, skipping the ordering process.)


3.     If I order a portfolio from a KBART eCollection, would activation be automated, or do I still have to activate it manually?

ExL—We will cover loading local portfolios (including using a KBART file) next week.


4.      Is the activation date manually entered or automatically populated?

ExL—The activation date is populated by Alma when you complete the activation. If you enter an activation date there, then activation will happen automatically on that date instead of immediately.


5.     Test access can only link to homepage instead of the title page?

ExL—The Test Access option comes from the linking data provided in the portfolio or collection record. The example Kevin showed didn't have good linking data because we don't actually have a subscription to that resource from within our training Alma environment.


6.     Does adding portfolios from a set duplicate existing portfolio records, or does it move the portfolio records off the original electronic collection and onto the new electronic collection?

ExL—There is no duplicate checking happening.  This workflow would create new portfolios in your IZ.  It is possible to create local portfolios by breaking the link between the portfolio and the CZ. That is a different workflow than what is being demonstrated.


7.     Just to clarify, the linking of portfolio to community is matched by ISBN?

ExL— Alma doesn't do any match-checking. When you link a local portfolio (or a local collection) to a matching community zone record, you choose which CZ portfolio (or CZ collection) will be linked.


8.     Would there ever be a time when you wouldn't mark a vendor as a material supplier when creating that vendor? It seems like it's a requirement for ordering even if there isn't physical material coming from the vendor.

ExL— A vendor may be one or more of the listed vendor types (material supplier, access provider, license provider, etc.) Some "vendors" are not paid for the resource; they just provide access (and so are listed as an access provider), while you pay another vendor for the resource (material supplier).


9.     I am sort of new and I think we have collections that are linked to community zone records but not fully activated... any advice on how to find these and make sure they're fully live?

ExL— Perform an advanced search in your IZ for electronic collection with an activation date that is empty:


Also: When looking at a list of collections in your IZ, collections that have their records linked to the CZ version but are not activated will have the CZ icon in black rather than blue (activated):


10. Should we create an order from the portfolio level or from the bib level? Example streaming video licenses, we often buy one-off (electronic title – one time) licenses for a three-year term. Order is closed after purchase. Occasionally, when the three years are up and a professor wants to still use the video, we purchase it again for another 3 yr term. We would create a new order for that second term, but when we do that on the portfolio level, we get an “additional order” option, but it doesn’t seem to attached properly to the streaming video portfolio or bib. Instead, the POL is attached to the to the e-collection that it is in. What are we doing wrong?

ExL— You want to initiate purchase from the portfolio, not the title. The portfolio has provider and linking information for the resource. Please open a case with the Ex Libris Support team and share the details scenario you described for a closer look at the situation.


11. What is "technical" as an acquisition method?

ExL— This is relevant for service subscription orders without inventory or items that have migrated from an external system. Often used for multi-part orders where you pay once and receive multiple resources.

If you are ordering multi-part serials, it is recommended that you have one, main PO line (with fund information) for the subscription and an additional Technical PO line for each item that you are to receive at a different interval. You then associate each Technical PO line with the main PO line.

A common scenario is that you pay for a membership to an organization. Create a PO line for the membership (for which you pay) and a second, PO line with the Acq Method of Technical, for the journal you receive as part of that membership. You can link the Technical PO line to the original (membership) PO line. 


12. I am interested in the following scenario: The library purchase and activate 5 titles from a community zone collection, four of the titles are part of a package price with the vendor and one of them is purchased separately with its own price. So, I am guessing we would have two order records here, one for the collection and one for the individual portfolio (selected from the same collection)?  

ExL— Yes. You would have multiple PO lines for resources in the same collection in that scenario.

Follow-up question: And the Cost Per Use reports would be able to handle that scenario I assume: split the cost evenly for the 4 titles which are part of the package and take into account the separate price for the individually ordered title?

ExL— Yes. Whenever you purchase multiple resources with a single price, that cost is spread evenly among the resources. And the separate order for the fifth title would have its own cost-per-use metrics.


13. What's the best way to retrieve a list of portfolios that have been purchased and activated individually but are not part of an Electronic Collection?

ExL— Advanced search in your IZ; electronic portfolio is standalone.


14. How can you effectively search through notes in analytics? Any tips?

ExL— There are many notes fields in Alma, and many of them are available in Analytics. For example, here are some in the E-Inventory subject area:



15. In our local instance, we usually assign the order to ourselves before activating the portfolio. In the old POL system, I could assign the task to myself by going to the task list for the order and selecting "Assign to..." and selecting myself from the list. In the new UI POL list, Assign to me just hangs the system. Assign to... lets me go through the process but doesn't actually assign the task to me. Now I have to find the title in the unassigned e-resource tasks to assign it to me, as Kevin did. Is this going to be changed?

ExL— Open a case with Support to see if this has been reported. If it has been, you will be linked to it and alerted when it is fixed in Alma.


16. This may come up later in the presentation, but how can one make sure they aren't activating all of the portfolios within a collection instead of just activating a single title? I have paranoia about turning portfolios en masse instead of specific titles!

ExL— When your order is attached to a portfolio, the activation is for that portfolio. When you order a collection, the activation wizard walks you through activation and guides you to activate all or selected portfolios, and you choose what is appropriate for the resource.


17. Will the access link be visible if there is an expected activation date (a.k.a., the item is not yet available to access but we had paid for the resource)?

ExL— Yes, the Test Access link is always there; it just has the URL to the resource on the provider's platform. If the provider hasn't yet "authorized" (a.k.a., activated) the resource on their end, then testing access won't work.


18. Our POL notes contain a certain word or phrase, since lots of our POLs are attached to records that do not contain the title of what they were actually for. Searching by Order Lines > Internal Notes is not very helpful because it only lets you search individual words, not phrases or strings/groups of words.

ExL— That seems like something that needs to be added to Alma! Please check the Idea Exchange and, if that idea isn't there already, feel free to submit it. (Ideas submitted by actual library customers get more attention than those mentioned by us colleagues of the development team.)


19. For e-resources portfolios, why wouldn't you add the E-ISBN as opposed to the ISBN?

ExL— Generally, that would be a good idea. Kevin was just using that ISBN to surreptitiously bring in cover art of the book.


20. Can you activate an e-book or e-journal in Alma for display in discovery but suppress the CDI entries associated with that title?

ExL— We're not aware of a way to do this. The Support team may have some tools that can do this; submit a ticket and see if that can be done.


21. We use Purchase Requests and then manually order on the vendor's platform.  Is there a way to link the PR to the specific portfolio at the point of ordering, or do I have to manually link once activated by vendor (which is what I've been doing)?

ExL— Make sure you activate the specific resource that is in the Purchase Request. Or, if you also track your (manual) orders in Alma, then make sure you order the specific resource.


22. Why do we create a local collection?

ExL – We mentioned a few reasons in the presentation, but we invited others to answer that question:

-          All our electronic theses and dissertations created by our institution.

-          We do it for our ebooks so we have quality bib records.

-          We have a local collection for state government documents.

-          We have a local collection of locally created open educational resources.

-          Locally digitized and hosted collection.

-          The collection in the CZ didn't work for us, for Kanopy, we needed a local collection to load records into.

-          When we individually purchase ebooks from a vendor, we create a local electronic collection for it so they are all in one place.

-          Campus newspaper articles.

-          We create local collections when they don't exist in the CZ. and we bring full level bibliographic records by downloading from OCLC.

-          We catalog our resources, rather than rely on the very minimal CZ bibs.

-          We've used local collections for streaming films that are hosted on a vendor's server - it's independent to each institution and there is no collection in CZ.

-          We create local collections when the MARC record quality of the CZ portfolios is not adequate, then we load MARC records and put them into a local e-collection. We've also done that for migrated standalone portfolios where we know they belong together, but haven't been able to identify a good CZ match yet.

-          We also have a local collection where we had an "alumni" subscription and full subscription.

-          Some Alma users on Alma-L have suggested creating a collection for electronic government documents.


23. For those portfolios who were buyed and has the access set as Perpetual, what happens with them when they are removed from the CZ by the vendor, will they be deleted from the IZ due the synch daily jobs?

ExL— You'll need to check in with the vendor. Often, "perpetual" access resources are moved to a different package (collection) by the vendor, and you can change to the portfolio in that other collection.


24. If we link our local portfolio to a CZ collection, if the link URL we manually added in changes or no longer works, will the CZ update it/notify us of the link no longer working?

ExL— Linking a local portfolio to its CZ version allows the CZ record to override those fields, saving you the trouble of maintaining (for example) the URLs.


25. I'd love to have a supplemental training / overview for those of us in multi-campus institutions who use inventory network groups.

ExL— That's a great idea! We'll look into some options and try to figure out a way to offer that training.


ERM-201: Maintain E-Resources

October 11 and 12, 2023


1. Does Material Type also show up in reflection of bib details?

ExL: Yes, you can define a more specific Material Type for electronic and physical items, but the bibliographic record Material Type (based on cataloging) is also used.


2. What kind of messages in Authentication note?

ExL: Anything that you might find helpful to display to patrons in Discovery (related to Authentication), such as if any specific instructions are necessary to access the resource.


3. Is there any way to bulk relink the order records attached to local portfolios to their corresponding portfolios in CZ ? 

ExL:  If you link an existing local portfolio to the Community Zone portfolio, that order information should be retained on the portfolio in your IZ.


4. What happens if we click on the activate button even though it shows that it is already in our institution? It looks like the button is still available there.

ExL: Alma will give you an error and indication that the portfolio already exists.


5. Under what situation do we create an activation task instead of activating the portfolio in CZ?

ExL: You may not want to immediately activate the resource since you may not know for sure if it's set up for your institution to access (like if it's newly purchased). In these cases you can set up a task before activating a resource.


6. Would you mind showing us how to determine which ones are Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA)? How are they different from "Selective package"?

ExL: DDA is more behind the scenes on the content provider side (in communication with Alma), not anything specific to portfolios in the CZ.

Follow up: There are needs to identify which electronic items/portfolio are DDA or PDA items. Would we be able to identify them in Alma?

ExL: I would recommend opening up a case with support for your specific scenario. They'll be able to look directly in your environment and consult on your particular DDA/PDA setup to assist with identification.


7. It would be helpful if first line of template showed what info is required - eg Active , Y for local etc

ExL: Actually the only thing required is some form of identifier field - PORTFOLIO_PID, ISSN, ISBN, or OTHER_SYSTEM_NUMBER. All other fields can be included depending on whether they're necessary. See more in the documentation about using the Portfolio Loader.


8. Can you select all the three actions when uploading the portfolio file? 

ExL: You can (for Complete mode), and it will affect the behavior, for example, for portfolios that are not included in the file. Full details on the behavior are in our documentation for Portfolio Loader.


9. With the example Kevin ran - why didn't the portfolios upload?

ExL: I believe he accidentally ran it in the report mode, which is an option in the Validation Policy. This returned a file explaining what would happen if the job was run "for real".


10. Is there a link to the session on import profiles?

ExL: See the Alma Insights page, in the section on Recordings of Previous Sessions.


11. Does deactivate auto suppress bib from primo?

ExL: It does not, so you might need to check and see if those bibs needs to be suppressed as well.


12. How can we adjust the CDI settings for deletion or selective deactivation/activation so that CDI records does not get pushed into Primo?

ExL: This somewhat depends on the existing CDI settings, so unfortunately we can't get into all of that right now. However, there is an upcoming training session on the Alma Insights page that may help.


13. Can you elaborate on the "Set license" option in this job? E.g. how does it relate to the license you can associate with an order record?

ExL: This job is going to specifically assign or replace a License in the Electronic Portfolio record.

Follow-up: you say something about how it relates to the license you can associate with an order record? Is it two different things?

ExL: They're the same thing. When you select a license in the order record, it is assigned to the resource. It can then be updated by the job. For more information, see the "License" row in our Manually Creating a PO Line documentation.


14. Does URL prefix require https:// ? Such as

ExL: The prefix is going to be whatever the text is in the URL. If the prefix in the URL includes https://, http://, or any other value, that needs to be entered in the job parameters.


15. Could you address how to create a set of portfolios for the job?

ExL: We don't have time today to cover creating sets, but here's a link to our documentation on Managing Search Queries and Sets.


16. Which Job I can use to upate Local and Public Notes?

ExL: The Change Electronic Portfolio Information job can update notes in portfolios. You can also update these using the Portfolio Loader (shown later in this session!).


17. Is there more in-depth documentation on creating a set of portfolios that all reside within a collection? Each time I do it, I am only able to use the collection editor job. 

ExL: It sounds like you might have a particular scenario here you're looking at, so this would be a good time to open a support case. They can look more specifically at your workflow and use-case and advise the best procedure to create this set.


18. In the CZ when viewing a collection, is there any way to filter between viewing portfolios you have activated in your NZ/IZ, portfolios you don't have active, and all portfolios?  This would be a really useful feature.

ExL: This is a great idea! I'd encourage you to see if this is posted on the Idea Exchange, where you can indicate your interest in this functionality.


19. If a library buys a selective package, in its entirety, with access to all titles (i.e., portfolios) in the collection, then what should the edited settings be for the collection and the services?

ExL: This will depend on the specifics of what you've purchased, especially in regards to any future additions to the package. If you'll have access to any added portfolios, you might want to set the "automatically activate new portfolios" option to "Yes." All in all, any settings you choose just depend on what best matches what you've purchased from the vendor.


20. What is the difference between the authentication note and public note if both are shown?

ExL: They're very similar; mostly the difference will be for your own clarity and ability to update them and use them for different purposes:


21. Which fields are mandatory in the portfolio loader Excel template?

ExL: Our Portfolio Loader documentation specifies what's required. The only necessary value is at least one identifier: PORTFOLIO_PID, ISSN, ISBN, or OTHER_SYSTEM_NUMBER.


22. What is the difference between complete and incremental? I've only used complete and never ran into issues before.

ExL: Complete – Loads a complete set of portfolios, overwriting any existing portfolios. Incremental – Loads a file that includes only the incremental changes to the portfolio list of a specific electronic collection. With this option, you can load only the portfolios that have been updated since the last load.


23. When I look at the jobs I have available, I see only 40.  Where are the other ones?  Are the jobs related to the roles that I have?  Could that be why?

ExL: Yes, the jobs you see are related to your roles.


24. If you use the autoholdings function for a selective package (e.g., for Springer Ebooks), would you then attach the order record on that same Autoholdings collection? (hope the question makes sense)

ExL: Typically yes, you'd attach the Alma order to the collection or portfolio(s) in that autoholdings collection.

Followup: So if you use autoholdings for Springer ebooks for example: If the library have 100 ebooks from Springer and 99 of them is part of the "package deal"  with Springer, and one is paid for individually (this single title has an individual price which is different), you would have 2 order records I assume? (one for the E collection and one for the individual portofolio? 

ExL: A lot of this depends on what makes the most sense for your institution. But as Kevin mentioned earlier, we're not in an actual library - if you reach out to the Alma-L mailing list, other libraries can share their recommended practices for orders on these collections.


25. I tried the automatic upload feature and a large number of the portfolios did not upload. Do you know why that would happen?

ExL: This depends. First step is to check the file sent by the vendor (which you can retrieve in the job report). It's possible the vendor didn't include the portfolios in their file. Otherwise the file should include an indication of why particular actions were or were not taken. If you have further questions, then you'll want to open a Support case.


26. What is the recommended process if you cancel a database type collection that has an order attached? Set to unavailable?

ExL: It depends on your preferences. If you want to keep that inventory in Alma for clarity in the order record, then you can just deactivate it. Otherwise you can also delete it and still retain order information and data in Analytics.


27: How can you deactivate a single portfolio so it won't show in discovery?

ExL: After deactivating the portfolio, you'll need to see if there are other portfolios attached to the bib record. If not, then you can suppress the bib record from Discovery. (This is an advantage to deleting instead of deactivating - Alma can do that check automatically.)


ERM-202: Troubleshoot Discovery

October 18 and 19, 2023


1. In your first example, we ask our users to search for the journal in Primo and then search for the article in the database the journal is in. Thought that maybe you could mention this as another solution.

ExL: This is another good suggestion for patrons!


2. Is there a way to remove titles we don't subscribed to in selective packages?

ExL: Yes, you can do this using the Portfolio Loader (a tool that was demonstrated in our session last week).

3. If there is no institution or community zone symbol shown for the portfolio, what does that mean?

ExL: If you're searching within the Community Zone, portfolios that do not show any icon next to them have not been localized to your Institution.


4. Is there any documentation that covers common CDI linking issues?

ExL: Yes, the resources linked in this week's list of resources in the series dashboard cover some of these common issues:


5. Exercise-related question: As relating to last class [ERM-201]: I did exercise 4 [Load Portfolios from a File] and got an interesting error message. There was a warning that two of the records had "multiple records found" and then they refused to load. Why?

ExL: Most likely it's trying to match to an existing bibliographic record, before creating a new one, and so most likely, whatever form of identifier you had in your file, matched to two different records. There is a detailed file that should give you an indication of what the two  records were. Most of the time you'll have to see if one is better than the other. And a lot of the time, the quickest way to resolve that is just going to be manually doing the work of matching.


6. Can you elaborate on real life situations where you get additional CDI results if you are logged in to PRIMO.  I don't see a use case for this but it is a new area for me so I might be missing something.

ExL: This is more common in certain types of institutions where they do not want all information to be publicly searchable. Some institutions also require logging in to be able to retrieve results from restricted/paid databases. It's possible to configure restricted searching in Primo if your institution desires. 


7. Why does Ex Libris use this terrible Black / Blue icon ? Not useful for visually impaired people 
I would encourage you to open a support case indicating that this is an accessibility concern. Our support case can report this to our development/accessibility team.


8. Within the portfolio Coverage, can you speak to the difference between Only Local,  global, and global & Local?

ExL: Newly activated resources come with a global coverage statement that you can accept entirely (ONLY global), select portions based on your institution’s preferences (ONLY local), or require a BOTH/AND or an OR/EITHER presence of coverage. AND is more restrictive - an article has to meet BOTH the global and local coverage dates.

Specify the coverage statement within an electronic collection:

  • ONLY local: Full text is displayed if the issue date of the article is included in the local coverage added to the portfolios.
  • Global AND local: Full text is displayed if the issue date of the article is included in the local coverage added to the portfolios AND in the coverage defined in the Central Knowledge Base.
  • Global OR local: Full text is displayed if the issue date of the article is included EITHER in the local coverage added to the portfolios OR in the coverage defined in the Central Knowledge Base.
  • ONLY global: Full text is displayed if the issue date of the article is included in the coverage defined in the Central Knowledge Base


9. Not sure if you can answer this question as it may be an OCLC issue. We are frequently getting ILL requests for ebook chapters that are part of electronic portfolios that we do not subscribe to/ have activated. I can see the title in a search in ALMA of electronic portfolios but I'm confused why OCLC thinks we have access to this. In OCLC it says we do have it. This happens frequently.

ExL: Yes, it sounds like you need to check with OCLC and maybe check on your OCLC publishing profiles in Alma.


10. Do you have an example of when Global AND Local and Global OR Local would be used? We only use the Global Only or Local Only settings, as it's unclear to us what the other two would be used for.

ExL: As one thought, a case might be when you've purchased perpetual access to some resources. You might have perpetual access configured as local coverage that supplements the global coverage from the CZ.

Another attendee mentioned: We use Only Local when we add our own date information. We have the dates be for whatever we have access to regardless of how much is actually available at the resource.


11. If we have a Gale collection that is missing the ART parameter is that something we can add or should it be submitted to support?

ExL: If it's not included in the collection by default it might not be necessary - if article-level linking is working correctly you're probably fine. But yes, you can reach out to the Alma Data Services team to advise on whether this needs to be added to the collection.


12. The instructions on how to View Context Object (CTO) are here, but how do you turn it into a bookmark like Kevin has?  Thanks!  

ExL: In your browser, create a regular bookmark (of any web page; it doesn't matter). Edit the bookmark, and then paste the bookmarklet javascript code into the URL field. Rename the bookmark to something related to the bookmarklet so you can find it in your list of bookmarks.

Here are quite a few helpful bookmarklets.


13. Is CTO only in VE?

ExL: Primo Classic has essentially the same thing, but the steps are slightly different.


14. Can you confirm what roles staff need to access that service option?

ExL: Electronic Inventory Operator.


15. Is there documentation that explains in depth the differences between proxy enabled on collection, service, and portfolio? We get confused why it asks on collection.

ExL: We explained some of this verbally during the session, and here is some documentation:


16. Is there any problem with having the proxy on both the service and the portfolio?

ExL: Technically no, but it might add more work for maintenance.



[Note: There were several other questions asked during the session; they were answered verbally by the presenters and can be heard on the recordings.]


ERM-203: Overlap Analysis

October 25 and 26, 2023


Feedback from last-week's exercises:

I had an issue where a provider had 'no proxy' in their Agreement. but our search engine used the proxy as its primary link.

I had to track down all three places that had the proxy enabled and disable them before Primo could link directly to our subscribed material... on campus only.

That was my hardest fix.


1. Can I compare a collection I subscribe to a specific collection in the community zone? So, for example, an EBSCO collection in my institutional zone to a Gale collection in the Community zone.

ExL: Yes, that scenario is possible using the overlap analysis tool.


2. If Alma compares the physical resources in the entire IZ, will it also compare to the resources linked to NZ?

ExL: Yes. There are options to Look Up Titles- Network Zone resources available to my institution. See the main documentation for Overlap Analysis.


3.  title match method --> 245 $a    ?  ISBN ISSN--> 020 or 022 $a  what about if mulitple isbn? will match all of them ?

ExL: (The question seems to be about what fields are matched depending on the selections you make before generating the report.) The documentation for Overlap Analysis was just updated today with this: "Note that the match is done using the same fields for these indexes as used in the repository search as described at Available Search Indexes."


4. This is only for electronic collections with portfolios, right?

ExL: Yes, the electronic collections must contain portfolios.


5. How does overlap analysis work when comparing indexing databases like EconLit with non-indexing databases like ProQuest One Business? In the past, when I performed an overlap analysis between an indexing database and a full-text collection, I was unsuccessful with the analysis. Please let me know how I can perform an overlap analysis. Will overlap analysis work only with full-text collections?

ExL: EconLit is a database ("Alma-speak" for an electronic collection without portfolios; only citation information). The Overlap Analysis Tool requires the collections to have portfolios.


6. Is it possible to compare to the Entire IZ except a few collections you don't want compared (such as DDA, EBA, or ATO titles)?

ExL: I do not see the option to exclude collections from the IZ search. Check the Idea Exchange to see if this idea has been submitted. If it has not, submit it.


7. Does the overlap analysis also indicate whether access to a title that is already in the IZ is perpetual? We are currently using the overlap analysis tool to decide which titles we want to keep in an EBA collection, and we want to know which titles we already own in the IZ.

ExL: You might need to go to Analytics to get this information.


8. For coverage overlap - is it using the local coverage in the portfolios (not global coverage, or only global if there is no local)?

ExL: The comparison matches Alma records at the title level, using identifiers like ISSN or ISBN, and compares the coverage information at the portfolio level. Whatever is in your portfolio is the data that the tool uses in the analysis.

Follow-up to Q8: Technically both coverage statements are "in" the portfolio (local and global). Does this mean local coverage takes priority when it exists in your portfolios?

ExL: In the portfolio, if you have selected "Global and Local coverage statement," then both will be used for comparison.


9. What is the best way to run an overlap analysis between an electronic collection and your institutions print collection? For when you are considering electronic collections to clear shelf space

ExL: Alma has an Analytics Dashboard that does this: Catalog > Shared Folders > Alma > Titles > Dashboards > Title Level Overlap Analysis


10. Is there an optimal choice (title vs ISSN) to compare  a collection that includes ebooks and journals?  Comparing on title will still sort by coverage, but sometimes ebooks have a slight year of publication difference but are the same ebook). Or, is there a good way to sort through which ebooks really are overlap?

ExL: Try running it twice: Once to match on ISSN and once to match on ISBN.


11. Is there a reason that the report output format option is only available in Look Up Titles reports?  I also find having one result per match more useful and wish it could be done with collection comparison as well.

ExL: There may be some technical reason it isn't an option, but nonetheless, you can suggest this as an idea in the Idea Exchange.


12. When comparing a title list, is there a way to see what electronic collection is the target of the match?

ExL: When comparing a file of titles you upload into the Overlap Analysis tool, and you're looking at the tabs in the report file that show matches, the collection where the tool found a match is the column called "Collection" – column D in the spreadsheet.


13. Can you run an overlap analysis on both IZ and NZ content at the same time, or do you have to run two separate analyses?

ExL: You need to run two separate analyses.


14. Off-topic question: Can you explain how the DARA recommendations for electronic resources are generated?

ExL:  You can read about that here: DARA


15. This is a question on a previous topic from the series, about ordering E-resources. The vast majority of our E-resources are already activated, but we have not created order records yet. We want to start doing that to track payments, get cost per use stats etc. What is the recommended workflow in this scenario? Should we retrieve the activated e-title, portfolio, collection etc in the institution zone, click on Order and take it from there? I.e. the same steps we would use in the CZ to order a new title? Or would Alma think we'd want to purchase additonal "copies" (license) of something we already own? Hope the question makes sense.

ExL: Your proposed steps should be fine. There is a difference in Alma between something being Activated and being Ordered. Right now, you have activated resources that have no orders. If you order them, that will add orders. The only issue you'll need to handle is that, after you finish the order, Alma will automatically create a Task to remind you activate the resource; that task just needs to be marked Done because you already did activate it.


ERM-301: Usage Statistics, COUNTER, and SUSHI Harvesting

November 1 and 2, 2023


Attendee's comment on last week’s exercises: I was able to get an overlap analysis to work, and it was quite helpful, but is there any way to run an analysis over both the IZ and NZ at the same time?

ExL: They must be run separately.


Attendee's comment on exercises from earlier in the series:

Where can our library get help to create a new 2024 funds in Alma sandbox, otherwise we cannot practice to create POs in our sandbox.

ExL: You can rollover the ledger to get to the current FY (see the documentation: Rolling over ledgers), or you can open a case with Support to bring you to the current FY.


Question related to content covered in a previous session re: Bib record at collection level suppressed, sometimes can’t complete activation (red error) with message to unsuppress bib > Additional descriptive information in Electronic Collection required? Sometimes (regularly!) when we activate a new e-collection from the CZ, Alma gives us an error message that the bib record is suppressed and needs to be unsuppressed for activation to be completed. We then have to unsuppress the (always minimal) collection-level bib to be able to activate or, alternatively, we have to link to an old/other bib record if we have one from prior to migration. Is this a setting on our end or is this supposed to be this way in Alma? Should we be able to activate e-collections and keep the collection-level bib suppressed? Is there another setting we need to tweak perhaps?

ExL: Contact Support for this one.


Question related to content covered in a previous session re: My Electronic Resources by Provider: the list seems incorrect for our institution (and we are worried this may be misleading). How can we clean this up? There are databases listed that are not ones we have (e.g. “ProQuest Central UK/Ireland”) or where we have another CZ collection already activated (e.g. we actually have activated “ProQuest Central” with 25,700 portfolios).

ExL: Contact Support for this one. You may have the wrong Provider Account ID in the field on that page, or ProQuest may be sending Alma a different list than expected.


Here is a useful COUNTER tool provided by an attendee:


How do you remove SUSHI files from vendor record should there be too many? I mean automatically.

ExL: There isn't a way to do it automatically; you have to do it manually. From the Vendor Details page on the Usage Details tab, find the extra usage statistics file and, on the row-actions menu, select Delete.


If the vendor missed providing data for one month, how can we re-harvest the usage data only for that month?

ExL: If you've set up SUSHI for that vendor, Alma may be able to get the data when it tries again next month. Otherwise, you'll have to do it manually: Go to the vendor website, and download the file. You can then manually upload the file into Alma.


Are they referring to COUNTER releases?

ExL: COUNTER 4 and COUNTER 5 are counter releases. Kevin sometimes called them "versions."


Based on the law library example: Does this mean each subscriber needs its own IP range?

ExL: If you want to use multiple subscribers for acquisitions and tracking resources, you and the vendor need to determine how to do that within their system. It could be by IP range, it could be with authentication credentials, or something else.


Is it possible to upload a mix of Counter 4 and Counter 5 files for one vendor? Because, we often have several SUSHI accounts for one vendor.

ExL: Yes, some vendors offer certain COUNTER reports in Release 4 format and other reports in Release 5. You create different SUSHI accounts for each Release format, and then select which reports you want in each SUSHI account.


I see the uploaded file was in xlsx format. COUNTER 5 reports are usually in TSV or JSON format.  Are both supported here?

ExL: JSON files are supported for most reports, as are TSV files.  See the documentation here.


What happens if you don't add any report types? If you leave that blank.

ExL: Alma's SUSHI system will not ask the vendor's SUSHI server for any reports.


If we get our COUNTER stats via SUSHI from a central service like JUSP (, would we set up the SUSHI feed in the JUSP vendor record rather than the individual vendor records? How does it then associate the 80+ different vendor stats we get from JUSP with the right resources?

[related question] Can we create multiple SUSHI accounts in a vendor record? For example, SUSHI accounts for ARTstor and JSTOR in the ITHAKA vendor record.

ExL: This one is complicated enough that we suggest you submit a Support ticket. It's possible you'll have to use the manual method: Download (from JUSP), and then use the Load Usage Data tool to upload each file.


Do you know if there is any way to view a JSON file in EXCEL?  I've tried but have not been able to do it.  I use analytics to view the usage stats, but sometimes I need to download the JSON file from ALMA to check what was sent via sushi. I was looking for something that would format it - I realize that I can view the file in notepad but it is difficult to view unformatted data.

ExL: Perhaps someone on the Alma listserv can suggest a reputable JSON file viewer, which may be a better way to see them. I found these instructions for opening JSON file in Excel, and it seems to work:

  1. Go to the Data toolbar tab in an Excel Workbook.
  2. Click on Get Data > From File > From JSON.
  3. Find the JSON file on your computer and select OPEN.


It won't pull in more than 12 months worth through SUSHI?

ExL: Correct.


Is there a way to audit all our vendors to quickly see if they offer SUSHI but we haven't set it up yet

ExL: See the SUSHI Vendor List


Are there plans to have the check marks link to the data?

ExL: I am not sure. Check the Ex Libris Idea Exchange to see if this has been suggested and submit this as a new idea if it isn’t listed.


What happens when a vendor corrects/restates a report a few months later? Does it get downloaded with the next harvest and overlayed, or will it not be able to load in Alma, because there was alreday a SUSHI report for that month or year (which is now incorrect)?

ExL: Alma won't upload a revised report. Delete the old report and Alma will try to upload the new one next time. Or, you may have to retrieve the report manually and then upload it.


When you set up SUSHI harvesting, does it harvest data back to when it was made available, or only from the date of setup?

ExL: It tries to harvest up to 12 months of data prior to the date you first run harvesting for that vendor.


How did you get to Monthly Usage Data?

ExL: Acquisitions menu > Load Usage Data, then switch to Monthly Usage Data tab.


Is there a way to filter so we can see the red exclamation marks? I have 24 pages of data.

ExL: You can use the filters built into the table (Year, Platform, etc), but it may be easier to Export the list to Excel and search there.


Does a library need to create a SUSHI account? Or is it sufficient to work with a vendor that uses SUSHI?

ExL: You need to set up the SUSHI account on the vendor page, and the vendor must have a SUSHI server on their end.


Can we go over how to access and view the actual harvested counts and data in this session?

ExL: We'll do that in Analytics next week!


Is a lot of the SUSHI metadata in the individual vendor admin modules?

ExL: Some vendors may make the SUSHI information available on their admin module, so that you can "self-serve" and get it there; or you may need to contact them directly and ask.


Is it possible to upload into Alma COUNTER usage statistics (in Excel format) saved from several past years?

ExL: Yes! As long as the reports you are uploading are in COUNTER format.


ERM-302: Analytics of E-Resources

November 8 and 9, 2023


1. If we don't use full acquisitions, for example PO lines, can we store cost somewhere that Analytics can query? 

ExL - The Cost Usage relies on expenditures in Alma, so it does require invoicing in Alma. If you have cost stored elsewhere, you'll want to export the usage data and use an external program to stitch those together.


2. How about granularity if journal titles are quoted by package from the vendor and not by title?

ExL - Cost associated with an electronic collection will be divided between the portfolios contained within that collection.


3. Two of the error messages that sometimes occur in the Sushi harvesting log sound very similar. Can you help me understand the difference?

  • Failed - No valid report items found in the file
  • Failed - No Usage Available for Requested Dates

ExL - Downloading the file can help to clarify what you see in the job report.

The former indicates that Alma tried to load the file, but it didn't contain any valid report items. Alma is letting you know there wasn't any data that could be loaded from the report.

The latter is an error provided by the vendor, as defined by Project COUNTER. You can see the error definitions here.


4. Sorry, how did we get to this dashboard again? I'm in Analytics, Folders, my institution, Dashboards, but then I don't have an option for E-Inventory

ExL - You need to be under the Shared Folders > Alma


5. We share our Alma with our larger institution library (we are a health sciences library that operates separately from the main library at our university). What's the best way to tag or mark the electronic resources our library purchases, and pull reports so that we see our library's analytics and not those of the main library?

ExL - This is where you'll rely on definitions in the E-Resources and PO Lines to specify Library, as well as different Subscriber values if you have different COUNTER reports. This might be a good question to ask on the Alma mailing list so that other institutions in a similar scenario can share their specific procedures they already have for this.


6. How can we get to the list of these mis-classified records; for example, the 12,000+ Kevin was showing that are Book-Phyical and should not appear in the Available Electronic Resources report?

ExL - You can either edit the out-of-the-box report to drill down, or create your own report to identify these records.


7. Why is everything about usage stats in E-Inventory based on "cost usage" and not just usage? There are lots of cases to look at usage stats without looking at cost. Seems confusing.

ExL - To look at usage stats without cost, you'll be working in a different subject area: Usage Data.


8. I noticed that a journal that had been harvesting successfully failed this month. The SUSHI URL had changed. I don't remember getting notification, but discovered as I was QAing my SUSHI harvesting setup. Is there a report that would let me know which harvesting failed so I don't have to go through them all manually?

ExL - There are a few tools, between looking at the harvesting job report, the Monthly Usage Data table in Alma, or there's also an out-of-the-box report in Analytics.


9. How does Alma calculate the cost for journals in full-text databases, such as ABI/Inform or big deals?

ExL - Yoel Kortik has written a number of blogs on the Developer Network detailing in much more detail how cost per use is calculated.


10. On the previous screen, usage was 0.25  That seems like an error. And why is the usage measure in dollars?

ExL - The usage is being divided here by the other criteria, which can result in mathematics being performed on the values, causing decimal points. And the cost measures are in whatever units your Alma acquisitions system uses. 


11. Piggybacking on "cost usage" from other participant: Perpetual titles that are not paid for during the current year. What best practices do libraries use for those?

ExL - This is a good question if anyone has any feedback? Otherwise, I'd recommend reaching out on the Alma Mailing List.


12. Vendor records of type Access Provider has a field in the Interface section called "Interface name". The Electronic Collection also has a field called "Interface name". Could you elaborate on if/how these fields are used in counter/inventory related Analytics (we are just starting with harvesting counter data and will begin implementing acq for e resources next year).

ExL - The Interface on the Electronic Resource is used to assist with matching e-resources to usage data. So for example, if you own an e-resource on multiple interfaces, you'll be able to see the usage divided by those separate interfaces.


13. Is the usage coming from the SUSHI data we harvest?

ExL - Yes, data in the Usage Data subject area is any usage data you load into Alma, whether manually uploading a COUNTER report or by automated SUSHI harvesting.


14. How can I print - move it to an Excel sheet for the Electronic Cost Usage Dashboard?

ExL - Like Kevin just showed, there should be an export option.

Follow-up question: There isn't for cost usuage by eleectronic collections? (Export option)

ExL - On dashboards, the option is under the gear icon:

screenshot of the tools icon in Analytics


15. If our e-resources are maintained by an NZ, then how should we be using Analytics? For example, e-resources are activated in the NZ for availble for groups but our acquisitions and COUNTER data would be in the IZ.

ExL - This is a bit more complicated than I can get into via chat, so I'd encourage you to open a Support case. Or ask if other networks institutions can share their reports with you on the Alma mailing list!


16. Can we copy these reports to our own folder so that we can modifty them if needed? Thanks.

ExL - Yes you can, either by using the "Copy" function in Analytics, or using "Save As".


17. Is there a list of all the predefined reports?

ExL - Yes! Here it is.


18. Hi, just want to clarify. This report only applies to journals that are on IZ, not NZ. Am I correct? Or it also applies to journals that are on NZ. Thanks.

ExL - For the most part, yes, since it relies on your local data.


19. Would this show only active titles or deleted titles also?

ExL - This depends on the criteria in your report - you always want to make sure to use lifecycle filters if you want to only see Active titles!


20. Is there a way to mark portfolios or collections where we get usage data in some way other than COUNTER, so they won't be marked as used here but they are getting used?

ExL - Not by default, so you might need to create your own system to be able to identify and filter out these types of resources.


21. What does "title normalized" mean?

ExL - You can see the definition of this in our Analytics documentation here


22. What do you do when you can access analytics but don't have a line in ALMA Analytics for "Objects" or making objects?

ExL - This means you don't have the Analytics Administrator role.


23. What does the number "68" mean in the Physical inventory" column, Overlap P and E report just shown. Item records, holdings? 

ExL - That column is: "Title Measures"."Num of Physical Items (Active)"


24. I see it said somewhere that it takes 30-days for the Counter usage to show up in Analytics, correct?

ExL - Cost Usage is updated only once a month, because the process to match usage data to e-inventory can't be run each night. But the loaded usage data will appear every day after the nightly refresh in the Usage Data subject area.


25. General question: Why does Alma default to ‘Book {Collection}’ for all activated e-collections in the search results view – info coming from the bib record? Is this just our institution/consortium or a general setting? This is a bit confusing and I am wondering if there is a setting we have that displays it as such and if there is a way to change it?

ExL - If you're doing a Title search then yes, it is coming from the bibliographic record cataloging.

Follow-up question: I thought it might come from the bib record, but it is a CZ activated e-collection, so the bib at the collection level is in the CZ and I can't change it, right?

ExL - You can update the CZ record if needed, but you can also localize the record and update it yourself. It all depends on what your ultimate goals are for the record!


26. I don't think Analytics even work in the sandbox environment, correct?

ExL - Correct. Analytics is not available in your Alma sandbox.


ERM-Bonus 1: Contribute to the Community Zone

November 15 and 16, 2023


1. Does Community Zone sync to OCLC?

ExL -- No. The Community Zone (CZ) does not sync with OCLC’s WorldCat. The Community Catalog records in the CZ have been shared with Ex Libris from publishers, vendors, and customers like you. CZ Bibliographic records are largely for electronic resources.

For more information see Introduction to Alma Inventory

And this document seems to be a better explanation of the Community Zone:


2. Is it OK to add VIAF URIs to 100 and 700s in $$1? These are for headings that do not Authorise. Sometimes name headings are not transposed.

ExL— There are no restrictions on adding URIs in the $1 to the fields you referenced. The field restrictions in place for Bibliographic CZ Records are as follows.

·         Field 022 cannot be added, edited, or removed.

·         Fields 020 and 776 cannot be deleted but can be added/edited to existing records.

·         Fields 9XX, excluding 906, 920 and 999.


3. Perhaps off topic but what are the options in terms of using and updating a community zone record for local use? (For example, a portfolio for an ebook, you want to enrich the record with local notes etc). Is it possible? Would the local record get overwritten when the community zone record is updated?

ExL — You  can add local fields to the Community Zone (CZ) records. Those fields will appear only in your Alma environment (Institution/Network Zone) and will not be overwritten by updates to the CZ record.


4. Regarding updating CZ bibs - What is the likelihood of any bib edits being overridden by the vendor?

ExL – It can happen, just like any other changes that come in from the vendor. See Source of Alma Community Zone bibliographic records.


5. Is the approval a new thing?

ExL – As far as we know, getting your institution approved to share records in the Community Zone has been in place since the option was first available.


6. What are the local extensions you mentioned at the beginning?

ExL – See this document: How to add a Local Field


7. What items do you find get most contributed by institutions?

ExL – There are over 190 collections in the CZ where the Management Level in CZ = Contributed. But I don’t know that we have specific data on how many portfolios have been contributed by institutions, so your question is hard to answer.


8. What do you do when you find community zone records that are linked to incorrect content?

ExL — Open a case with the Ex Libris Support Team


9. We have updated CZ records unintentionally and as far as we know, we've not submitted any kind of approval.

ExL – We won't tell! But do submit a case to the Ex Libris Support Team, so they can check on it.


10. Can I determine within Alma whether my institution does or does not have the privilege to contribute?

ExL — If you can see the "Contribute to Community" tool when editing a collection, then you have that privilege.


11. Is there any way to know how many records have been contributed by our institution?

ExL – Not that we can find. Someone suggested using Analytics, but that only looks at your Institution Zone resources, not the Community Zone records.


12. What are the match criteria? ISBN/ISSN? [I think this is regarding Alma checking for a duplicate bib record already in the Community Zone.]

ExL – We’re checking on that and will update this answer when we can.


13. What is the process for maintaining a local electronic collection that was contributed to the CZ? Is only the contributing institution permitted to add portfolios, or update the bib records?

ExL – Only the contributing institution is permitted to maintain those collections. See Contributing to the Community Zone – Local Electronic Collections.


14. If my Institution has contributed, does the record show who did the contribution?

ExL – Yes for collections, but not for portfolios.

Collections show the contributing institution in the record:



However, portfolios contributed into the dozen community-managed collections don't show the contributor.


Question regarding last week’s session on Analytics:

15. Can you explain how Electronic Collections ID are connected to Portfolio ID and MMS ID and Collection ID? Why is it that sometimes retrieval of Electronic Collections ID may not allow us to retrieve MMS ID and Collection ID or other variables from the Bibliographic Details dimension.

What is the relationship between Electronic Collections ID from the Electronic Collections dimension and the Collection ID in the Bibliographic Details dimension?

ExL – The differences have to do with title-level collections vs other collections. See the documentation about the E-Inventory Subject Area.


ERM-Bonus 2: Automate Holdings Management for ProQuest Ebook Central 

November 29 and 30, 2023


1. Are we supposed to have Support do all integration profiles for the vendors or Just EBC?

ExL -- This is specifically for Ebook Central (and is especially relevant if you've used the Ebook Central integration before and want to switch to the "new" integration).


2. How does this work in an NZ/consortia environment where each campus may have different holdings? Impossible to set up one collection for everyone, or anything to be done in the group settings?

ExL -- It is absolutely possible to work with distributed access with this integration: See this documentation.

This is a good example of where working with Support can help you to get all the configurations set up correctly.


3. If you already have portfolios activated in this collection [Ebook Central Perpetual, DDA ...), will they duplicate when you turn on auto-holdings?

ExL -- They will not be duplicated.


4. If campuses have titles they want/need to manage in their IZ, but other titles we want to manage in our NZ,  it seems like this would not be possible with how the EBC configurations work for auto-holdings?

ExL -- This could potentially work if the division between IZ/NZ was owned vs. subscribed titles, but otherwise you're most likely correct. You can always reach out to Support to discuss best options though!


5. If we have a subscription to Ebook Central Academic Complete, will deactivating the service cause an issue with calculating cost per use for the collection?

ExL -- We have some information about usage reporting with this configuration in this documentation.


6. Unless you import full MARC records. That's why we have our fully cataloged EBC purchased titles in an local collection.
-- In that case, if you're wanting to use your own MARC records and already have a workflow for that process, this integration may not be the best option for your institution.


7. Can the Purchase Model be added to other vendors?  Wiley combines all titles and some are perpetual/purchased and some are eba/subscription.  This feature would be great for all the vendors!

ExL -- Right now this is only available for EBC, but it would definitely be nice to have from other vendors. I'd encourage you to share this as a post on the Idea Exchange, and if you have a Wiley contact, you might also reach out to them to indicate you'd like them to send that data to Alma in their KBART files.


8. RE: Usage; this doesn't address how we would calculate CPU on just the EBC Academic subscription titles? The POL for that collection would not apply to the firm ordered titles. Once subscribed and firm ordered titles are in the same collection how do distinguish CPU?

ExL -- I'd encourage you to reach out to Support so they can look into the Analytics reporting capabilities in more detail.


9. Do we have to order from PQ? Currently we are using the GOBI API. 

ExL -- The GOBI API should work as well.


10. Does maintaining active additional Proquest EBC collections cause any technical problems with this integration, or only duplicate portfolios for the same titles? 

ExL -- I believe just the duplicate portfolios.


11. Instead of doing this at the collection level, can you create your set as portfolios?

ExL -- The "Move Electronic Portfolio Information" job only runs on Electronic Collections, and moves all the information from the associated portfolios. There isn't a job to move portfolio information on individual portfolios. See this documentation.  


12. How does this job handle multiple public notes, authentication notes, internal descriptions, etc., being combined into single fields in the new collection? Also, probably unlikely, but what if there are different license records attached to each of the collections you're moving into the new main collection (when you can only attach one license to a collection)? 

ExL -- The documentation on this job  provides a lot more detail on the specific parameters.

Of course, this is also why it's always a good idea to test in Sandbox!


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