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    UNIMARC Support

    UNIMARC Support in Primo


    Primo supports and facilitates the discovery of the materials in Alma made available in various bibliographic formats. Our advanced integration of Primo with Alma has supported the discovery of items in UNIMARC format from the beginning of 2018, and we have continued improving it since then.
    We recognize the UNIMARC format is meaningful for discovery of many types of materials. Our initial design for the discovery records in UNIMARC was created after gathering requirements and working closely with French and Italian customers. Our experts continue to gather feedback and additional suggested changes to refine our approach as needed.
    This document highlights the support of UNIMARC format, through our advanced implementation of Primo with Alma in the following ways:

    • Mapping
      • Display, search, and facet
      • Resource types
      • Display of relationships between records
      • Dedup and FRBR Matching algorithm
    • Localizing
      • Local fields
      • Local resource types
      • Thumbnail configuration
    • Browsing


    Display, Search, and Facet Fields

    A unified platform enables records that are cataloged in Alma to be indexed and displayed right away to end-users in the discovery environment, with no additional data loading or indexing required.
    The advanced Primo integration with Alma has an out-of-the-box mapping from UNIMARC bibliographic format to meet various needs: display of the records, ability to search and find them, and for faceting. You can find the detailed mapping here.
    This mapping is the result of the collaboration between customers and Ex Libris experts, with an additional fine tuning taking place between its initial introduction in 2018 through mid-2019. Here are descriptions for the most recent changes made.

    • Adding punctuation and subfields for: title, creator, contributor, and format display fields
    • Adding Edition display field from UNIMARC 205 field
    • Improve the displaying of ISSN from UNIMARC 011 field
    • Enable records to be filtered with the Creator facet

    More information about these changes can be found in the Release Notes.

    Resource Types

    Primo maps resource types from the UNIMARC bibliographic records. Those resource types are used for display, search and facet.

    Displaying Relationships Between Records

    UNIMARC linking fields enable linking bibliographic records and differentiating their relationships to users. Those linking fields are used to build the relationships between the records in Alma. Primo uses these relationships for discovery needs. The relationships are reflected in full display within two sections:

    • Details section - the relationships and their types are presented as hypertext linking in the Details section, providing the users with the ability to find the related records
    • Get It section - the availability of the related records is displayed as part of the Get it section and services, reflecting relationships

    As in the mapping, the relationship display was reviewed by customers and Ex Libris experts. Adjustments were made from the end of 2018 through early 2019. Below are the changes:

    • Improving the display of the linking based on UNIMARC 4XX fields
    • Enabling hierarchical linking between the parent and child records
    • For Italian customers, permit linking based on the 4XX $a and $e subfields instead of the 4XX $t

    More information about these changes can be found in the Release Notes.

    Dedup and FRBR Matching Algorithm

    A dedup and FRBR algorithm combines or groups redundant records in the brief results. The mechanism works based on matching points found in the metadata. The matching points are also supported for UNIMARC records. Detailed information can be found here.


    As previously described, Primo aims to discover and present library materials in the best way that does not require customer intervention or adaptation. We also recognize that libraries can have their own unique materials and metadata, so we provide various localization options which all support UNIMARC records.

    Local Fields

    Primo VE enables customers to map additional information from bibliographic records to enrich the displayed information, extend search queries, and offer more facets to tweak the results. There are two mapping methods:

    • Bibliographic Local Field Mapping — provides the ability to select the relevant field from a closed list of UNIMARC local fields and enable it for display, search, and/or facet
    • Normalization Rules – provides the ability to use normalization rules (Drools) to map any UNIMARC fields and enable it for display, search, and/or facet

    Refining OTB Display Fields

    You can alter the presentation of OTB display fields according to your needs. The OTB normalization rules can be edited as needed.

    Local Resource Types

    Primo enables customers to define their own special resource types for their unique materials. This configuration is based on any field from the bibliographic record.

    Thumbnail Configuration

    Primo provides book covers based on the ISBN/ISSN from Syndetics and Google. For records with unique thumbnails sources, Primo allows configuration of local thumbnails which can be based on either a URL in the UNIMARC record or a template that contains parameters mapped from the UNIMARC record.


    Primo utilizes the Alma browse functionality and allows to browse bibliographic headings of the types: Author, Title, Series, and Subject and allows the browsing of shelf listings with various call numbers types.

    UNIMARC Support in Alma


    Alma’s metadata management system supports many different standards and types of metadata to describe your collection. This includes MARC21, KORMARC, CNMARC, and UNIMARC, as well as other types such as Dublin Core, Dublin Core Application Profile (DCAP), MODS and ETD. As one of the global library standards for cataloging, UNIMARC in Alma is a fully supported format.  


    Record import is a core function and may be set up and run by institutions using Alma. These institutions are set up with one or more import profiles which can then be used to automatically import records on an ongoing basis in their catalog in Alma.

    The following is currently supported in Alma for UNIMARC:

    • Ability to import descriptive records in UNIMARC format in batches
    • Ability to import and crosswalk into UNIMARC and records in other formats
    • Ability to import authority records in UNIMARC format in batches


    Alma’s repository search gives the Alma staff user a single point of access to all forms of resources in a wide variety of business workflow contexts.
    The Alma Search capabilities provide quick searching from a number of different access points (e.g. all titles, authorities); searching across all types of material – print, electronic and digital, as well as advanced searching across a wide variety of indexed fields. When searching the repository, it is possible to set a pre-search filter, e.g. by electronic collections, digital titles, physical items, and more.

    Search results display with brief metadata as well as item information, and/or e-resource and digital information where relevant. In addition, facets related to the search enable drilling down to a more specific result set.

    The following is currently supported in Alma for UNIMARC:

    • Ability to search records cataloged in UNIMARC format
    • Ability to display records cataloged in UNIMARC format


    The Alma Metadata Management System can support the management and cataloging of bibliographic records that represent physical, electronic, and digital resources. Using the Alma Metadata Editor, you can manage bibliographic records for these types of resources.

    Institutions managing their own local authorities are also able to manage bibliographic records for these types of resources. In addition, Alma provides a set of authority records that are updated and maintained regularly by Ex Libris in the Community Zone.

    The following is currently supported in Alma for UNIMARC:

    • Ability to create and update UNIMARC descriptive records
    • Ability to create and update UNIMARC authority records
    • Ability to describe any type of inventory (Physical, Electronic, Digital) in the UNIMARC format
    • Ability to perform authority control using UNIMARC Authority records
    • Support for specialized linking of UNIMARC descriptive record fields to multiple UNIMARC authority records
    • Support for globally available UNIMARC Authorities in Alma’s Community Zone
    • Ability to perform bulk updates of UNIMARC descriptive
    • Ability to perform bulk updates of UNIMARC authority records

    Export and Publish

    Ongoing Record export is another core function in Alma and may be set up and run by institutions using Alma. Institutions set up one or more publishing profiles, which can then be used to automatically export records on an ongoing basis from their catalog in Alma.

    The following is currently supported in Alma for UNIMARC:

    • Ability to publish descriptive records in UNIMARC format in batches
    • Ability to publish descriptive records in UNIMARC format from other formats in batches
    • Ability to publish authority records in UNIMARC formatin batches


    Alma supports a wide range of RESTful APIs, allowing read/write access to all major data elements and workflows of the system, including APIs for management of:

    • Repository records – including BIB records, HOL records, physical items, and digital representations (planned)
    • User record
    • Acquisition related records – including invoices, funds, purchase order lines, and vendors
    • Courses and reading lists
    • Analytic reports
    • Etc.

    The following is currently supported in Alma for UNIMARC:

    • Support for UNIMARC records in all RESTFul APIs
    • Support for UNIMARC records in open standards such as SRU and Z39.50


    Alma Analytics is used for generating a variety of reports, as well as for generating statistics from various library activities. Analytics is built into Alma throughout the system and is very flexible. Alma comes with a wide range of pre-configured reports and dashboards, all of which are customizable. In addition, designated staff may create reports of interest to other roles within the library and provide dashboards for staff, enabling them to access the defined reports.

    The following is currently supported in Alma for UNIMARC:

    • Ability to report on bibliographic details in all relevant subject areas for records in UNIMARC format



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