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General Circulation Documentation: Alma Fulfillment Glossary

Procedures, forms and templates, circulation statistics and policies, & legacy documentation

Alma Glossary



Active (Analytics)

Not deleted from Alma.

All titles (search)

A search for all titles/bibliographic records, but not item records.

Alternative Call Number

The full call number of the item, containing both the classification portion for the set and the sequence portion (the unique portion of the item’s call number containing item volumes).  The Item Call Number (Item Call Number=Alternative Call Number) field was populated for multi-part items at migration.  In Alma, the sequence portion is intended to go in the item record Description field.


The querying option within Analytics that allows a user to create a report.


Alma component used to manage data reports and the dashboard. See Introduction to Analytics and Terminology.

Borrowing request

A resource sharing [ILL] request placed by local patron and fulfilled by another institution’s resource. Otherwise known as a resource sharing outgoing request. See Requests in Alma.

Bursar Transaction ID

A unique ID sent to Student Accounts, associated with particular fines and fees, in order to enable the bursar system to let Alma know when a fine or fee is paid.

Central Knowledge Base (CKB)

The part of the Community Zone that contains linking information to electronic resources around the world. See Introduction to Alma Inventory

Circulation Desk

The location in the library that processes the borrowing and return of materials.  One library can have multiple circulation desks.  Circulation desks do not have to directly serve patrons (ex. Annex Desk).  See Circulation Desk Operations.


An item that a student should read or watch in a course. Otherwise known as "reading list citation".

A citation is an element of a reading list. A citation can be a library resource, such as an item in the repository, a URL, an uploaded PDF, or nearly anything else. See Managing Citations.

Code Table

An Alma feature for configuring a list of items, typically so that they can appear in a drop-down list elsewhere in Alma. See Code Tables.


An Alma catalog entity (top level collection or sub-collection) that groups any number and type of resources together. See Managing Collections.

Community Catalog

Metadata records stored in the Community Zone, which are updated as required by Ex Libris or by contributions from the community. Inventory records can link to these records; alternatively, the current versions of these records can be copied to the institution and maintained locally. See Introduction to Alma Inventory

Copyright clearance

The process of getting permission to use copyrighted works. A digitization process may require performing copyright clearance. See Approving/Rejecting a Request for Digitization.


A personal or shared collection of Analytics reports. See Creating a Dashboard.

Deleted (Analytics)

Status for past loans, user records, etc., removed from Alma.


Enabling the patron who requested access to a digital resource to view or access a copy of that resource. See Configuring Digital Fulfillment.

Delivery rules

Rules that determine how content is delivered to users and external systems. The rules are configurable by the customer. See Configuring Electronic Document Delivery Rules.


An area in the library where dedicated physical inventory actions take place, such as receiving acquired physical material and digitizing physical material. See Configuring Departments.


The Deposit feature allows patrons to submit digital content to Alma to be added to the repository. For more information, see Deposit.

Digitization approval

The process of approving a digitization request. The process may include receiving copyright clearance from the proper agencies. See Digitization Processing.


The interface that allows a patron to find records and inventory from the Alma Repository. Primo [the Library catalog] is Ex Libris' system to provide discovery. See Primo.


Digital object identifier. For more information, see

Due back (Scan In Items)

When a due back date arrives, an automatic job places a restore request on items shelved at temporary locations.  Items in turn appear on the Pick from Shelf task list.  Items not Scanned in will be automatically assigned to Missing within a designated timeframe.


Facets are used in search results lists in order to filter the results. For example, PO lines may be filtered by fund, location, or digital format. See Facets, Filters, and Secondary Search.


The process by which patrons borrow and return physical resources, or access electronic or digital resources. See Introduction to Fulfillment.

Fulfillment policy

Stipulations of Terms of Use. See Physical Fulfillment.

Fulfillment unit

A number of shelving locations with similar lending/return policies and blocks. See Physical Fulfillment.

Interlibrary loan (ILL)

See Resource sharing.

Interested user (Acquisitions)

A user who will be notified that an in-process order has been received by the Acquisitions department.


The resources that are owned or licensed by or associated with a particular library, institution, or consortium. Incudes physical holdings and items, electronic portfolios, digital representations, and deposits. All descriptive bibliographic metadata resides in the repository and can be edited using the Metadata Management System (MMS). See the Introduction to Alma Inventory.


The inventory level of a resource for fulfillment and usage. Items may include bar codes and other identification details. See Introduction to Alma Inventory.

Item Call Number

See Alternative Call Number

Item Policy

Stipulations of Terms of Use.  Typically exception policies to the default policies for a Fulfillment unit.  See Physical Fulfillment.

Item Type

See Material Type

Itemized set

A group of objects whose set members are determined at the time the set is saved. The set is created after searching for items using a search query, but there is no stored relation between the set members and the query from which they were derived. The data in this set is static. See also Logical set.

See Managing Search Queries and Sets.

Lending request

A resource sharing request placed by another institution’s patron and fulfilled by a resource of the local institution. Otherwise known as a resource sharing incoming request. See Requests in Alma.


The basic level in the hierarchical structure of management within Alma, which is collaborative network, institution, campus, and library. A library can have departments that handled work orders, as well as locations and circulation desks that are well-known to the library patrons.

See Configuring the Institution and Its Libraries.

Lifecycle (Analytics)

Active = Item record has not been deleted (using the Withdraw feature) in Alma; Deleted = Item record has been deleted in Alma using the Withdraw feature

Loan Status (Analytics)

Active = On loan; Complete = Returned; Inactive = Deleted from Alma

Local Param (Analytics)

Locally indexed bibliographic record 9XX fields.


A physical place where items are stored (for example, a shelving location). See Physical Locations.

Logical set

A saved search query. The items in the change every time the set is run based on the most current results of the query. See Managing Search Queries and Sets.

MARC record

A Machine Readable Cataloging record, a standard record format for library cataloging information, including bibliographic, authority, and holding records. See

Material type

See also Material type (Titles).  The type of material, such as a book or electronic journal collection, from which an item takes its form. Unless hidden, an item's material type appears in Primo’s Get It/Details tabs. Material types are system-defined, but they can be enabled or disabled and their labels can be configured. See Configuring Physical Item Material Type Descriptions.

Material type (Titles)

See also Resource Type.  Note that Material type can mean two things in Analytics.  The version of Material Type associated with Bibliographic Details in analytics is a broad category for materials describing the type of bibliographic record associated with the item: Book, Computer File, Journal, Map, Mixed Material, Music, Unknown, or Visual Material.

Non-repository citations

Titles that are used for a course’s reading list, with no link to an Alma repository item. These are typically faculty resources that are not part of the institution’s inventory, such as an article at an external website. See Adding Citations to a Reading List.

Normalization rules (Advanced!)

A set of rules that can be built and applied to bibliographic records in order to enhance the record. These rules may add fields, remove fields, or make changes to fields. The rules can be applied to an individual record during bulk import and as part of the global update process. See Working with Normalization Rules.


Staff member who performed a task in Alma.  The Staff Operator associated with a fee in Analytics is the staff member who designated the fine as waived or paid in Alma.


A type of Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that contains the address of an OpenURL Web site combined with the item's identification. The Alma Link Resolver responds to OpenURL requests and directs the patron to the resource. For more information, see

Owning Library (Analytics)

Having to do with ownership of items associated with fines or fees.  Keep in mind that the Annex is a library in Alma.

Patron digitization request

A request by a patron for the digitization of a resource. See Digitization Processing.

Patron group

See User group

Persistent search box

A search box consisting of various search options. The persistent search box is always available from the top middle of any Alma page.  See Searching in Alma.


"Physical" refers to anything with a holding/item, excluding "Print" items (print books, print journals).  Note you can have a holding without an item but not an item without a holding.

Physical titles (search)    

"Physical titles" will search all indexed fields from records with "physical" inventory

Primo/Primo VE (the Library Catalog)

Ex Libris' discovery system for patrons. A single search interface that provides a gateway to a wealth of scholarly content, including print, electronic and digital collections. See here for more information on Primo. See here for information on Primo VE.

Primo Central Index

Primo's central database. A mega-aggregation of hundreds of millions of scholarly e-resources of global and regional importance. These include journal articles, e-books, reviews, legal documents and more that are harvested from primary and secondary publishers and aggregators, and from open-access repositories. See here for more information.


Permissions to perform certain actions in Alma, or to access specific pages, fields, or options in Alma. A user role is defined by the privileges that it grants the user. See Managing User Roles.

Process (Bulk process)

A job (mass modification) run on a set of records. See Working with Normalization Processes.

Process Status (Analytics)

Status of the item: NORMAL (on shelf), CLAIMED_RETURN, FOUND_ITEM (billed and returned), RECALL (recalled), RENEW (renewed)

Process Type

How a resource is currently being processed (processing stage or work order type). See Requests in Alma.

Purchase request

An item requested to be purchased by an instructor or patron (or on behalf of an instructor or patron). Also known as a Patron Purchase Request (PPR). See Purchase Requests.

Reading list

A list of citations for a specific course. See Managing Reading Lists.

Reading lists may be divided into sections.


The process of accepting physical items shipped to the library by vendors. See Receiving Material.


A discrete, manageable entity in Alma. Examples include repository records (bibliographic records, authority records), inventory (physical items, electronic portfolios, digital representations, deposits), PO lines, users, reading lists, vendors, and so forth. Does not included stored configuration information, such as your configured code and mapping table information, your institution's logo and IP information, and other institution-specific information stored in the Alma database.

Record List

An Alma list that displays a list of Alma records. See Record Lists.


A resource request (or just "request") is for the acquisition, manipulation, movement, or processing of inventory. An external request, such as an OpenURL request, is a request to locate a resource originating external to Alma, such as a request from Primo.

For more information, see Requests in Alma.


The user for whom a request is made. The request form can be filled out by the requesting user or by a staff user on behalf of the requester. See Creating a Request from the Institution.

Resource request

A request to make a library resource available at a specific location for a specific purpose. The resource request may be triggered by a patron-initiated request or by an internal library work order requests.

For more information, see Requests in Alma.

Resource Sharing

Resource sharing enables a request by a patron in one institution fulfilled by another institution. The fulfillment of the request is invisible to the patron: the patron requests and returns the item to the patron's local institution. See Resource Sharing Workflow.

Resource sharing partner

An institution or a distinct external ILL system that participates in a resource sharing process, either as borrower or as lender. See Resource Sharing Partners.

Resource type

The type of item in the repository (based on existing bibliographic fields, such as the LDR and 008) or being ordered. A resource is physical, electronic, or digital, but may have a more specific type (not including its physical material type). See The Resource Type Field and Creating/Editing an Import Profile: Inventory Information.


A group of items or a saved search query. A set is created so that multiple items can be worked on by a job. See Managing Search Queries and Sets. A set is either logical or itemized.

Staff user

An individual who has permissions to work in Alma. Also known simply as a user. See Managing Users.

Statistical Category (Users)

User group subcategories, such as Visiting Scholar.

Terms of Use

A list of predefined fulfillment policies that defines the institution/library commitment to the patron and under which the service will be provided or disconnected. See Configuring Terms of Use.


A financial activity that may impact the fund’s balance. See Performing Fund Transactions.

Transit Slip

A printed slip attached to a physical item that is placed in transit. The slip identifies the requested material and its destination. For example, see Managing the Hold Shelf.

Transit time

The time it takes for a physical item to make it from one location to another. See Configuring Transit Time Rules.


A person with an Alma user account: a staff user, an instructor, or a patron. See User Management.

User blocks

Flags on a user’s account that can prevent various fulfillment activities such as requests or loans. See Blocking and Unblocking Users.

User group

A user record category, such as Faculty, Staff, or Undergraduate Students.

User roles

The privileges that a user has to work on Alma. A user's roles (actually, the roles' privileges) determine a user's access to certain pages, fields, options and areas on certain pages, as well as the ability to run certain jobs and processes. A user role may have a specific scope, related to a specific library. See Managing User Roles.


A specified list of terms developed by creators of catalogs and databases to ensure precise and comprehensive searching. The terms may vary from database to database. See Configuring Controlled Vocabulary Registry.


A small visual link found on the dashboard, which can be controlled by the operator. Examples include reports for graphs suitable for your area of interest, or access to a calendar, local weather, or a link to notifications. See Managing Widgets.


Delete from Alma, but not Analytics, or PO Lines if associated

Work order

An internal library request to route physical materials for internal processing. A work order sends an item to a work order department (marking it as not available on the shelf), where it can be managed according to internal statuses. Both departments and statuses are configurable and can be used to manage tasks according to a library’s local needs. See Managing Requests and Work Orders.