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Alma Electronic Resources Management

Working with and managing electronic resources in Alma.

Investigate New Content for Acquisition

Electronic resources demand a significant financial commitment as well as staff time to manage and maintain access. For this reason, it’s important to properly evaluate and consider a new acquisition before signing a license or making a purchase. Alma supports this stage of the electronic resources life cycle in two ways: trials and overlap and collection analysis.

Set Up a Trial in Alma

Setting up a trial in Alma has two components:
  1. Start and end trial (activate and deactivate access to the trial)
  2. Evaluate the resource (send a survey to selected patrons to solicit feedback on the resource)


Follow these steps to set up a trial and send a letter to patrons to request their feedback about the trial.
Preliminary Work:

Before setting up a trial for the first time in Alma, the following steps are necessary:

  • Submit a Salesforce case to request that Ex Libris activate the daily Trials - Start and Notify Participants job
  • Customize the Trial Letter sent to users
    • Navigate to Alma Configuration, General menu, Letters section, and finally, Letter Configuration
    • Activate the letter and customize (Trial Letter)
    • For more information on how to customize the letter, see the Ex Libris documentation: Configuring Alma Letters

1. Create a Purchase Order Line (POL) for the Trial Resource


  • Search the Community Zone for the desired electronic collection or portfolio. Click on the Order button to create a new POL.

CZ search using an "electronic collection" limiter

  • Enter minimal information in the POL (for example: the material supplier and access provider, list price, and fund). Note that none of the fields that are required for a POL intended for an acquisition are required for a POL intended for a trial so enter as much or as little information as you feel comfortable.
  • Click the button in the top menu to Save and Start Trial. Click Confirm on the reminder message that fields have been left blank in the POL.
  • Enter the trial start and end dates, number of days in advance to be notified of trial end, and click the checkbox to make the trial available to the public. Click Save when complete.

Trial Details page

2.  Activate the Trial

  • Click on the ellipses in the Manage Trials list and click the Activate button.
  • The activation process will follow the usual activation process for a resource, with the following exceptions:
    • Enter dates in the Active From Date and Active Until Date fields (which we usually leave blank)
    • Enter a Level URL (use the URL for the trial provided by the vendor)
    • Make sure the electronic collection bibliographic record is unsuppressed
    • Enable the proxy only if you intend for the trial to be available off-campus and the trial host URL has been added to your EZ proxy configuration file

3. Create Survey and Send to Patrons

  • In the Manage Trials list, select the desired trial and use the ellipses to select Edit.
  • Navigate to the Survey Form tab and use the Add Question button to create new questions for the survey. Alternatively, if you have already created survey questions, use the Add from List button to select a previously created question to add to the survey. Indicate whether or not the question is mandatory, and whether or not a comment field should be part of the response.
  • It's also possible to include a brief introduction to the survey that will appear above the survey questions. To include such an introduction, select the Add Survey Prefix checkbox.
  • The survey will also include additional tabs that display the electronic collection and list of portfolios. To hide either or both of these tabs, select the Hide Portfolio Tab and/or Hide Collection Tab checkboxes.

Survey Form tab

Form to add question to survey

Survey Form Question List

  • The completed survey will look like the following when shared with participants:

Survey example as sent to participants

Portfolio tab of Survey form sent to participants

Electronic collection tab of Survey form to participants

  • Navigate to the Participants tab to select patrons to whom to send the survey. Add participants one-by-one by using the Add Participants button or add a set of participants by using the Add from a Set button. When complete, click Save.

4. Manage Trials

  • On the trial start date, the trial will become available and a letter will be sent to selected participants to invite them to complete the survey.
  • To check on the status of a trial or update information about a trial, go to Manage Trials in the Acquisitions menu and Purchase Order Lines section.
  • Use the ellipses to select Edit.
  • Navigate to the Analysis tab to see results of survey responses.

Analysis tab of Trial Details

Survey analysis

5. Trial is Complete

  • When the trial is complete and all responses are gathered, it's possible to document the outcome of the trial in the Analysis and Result section by entering the result of the trial in the Summary tab using the drop down menus.

Summary page of Trial

Overlap and Collection Analysis in Alma

Alma supports resource evaluation with the Overlap and Collection Analysis feature. With this tool, one can compare the content between two or more resources.

1. Start a New Analysis

  • Open the Overlap and Collection Analysis function by navigating to the Resources menu, Advanced Tools section, and Overlap and Collection Analysis.
  • Click the Submit New Report button. Make sure Set Comparison is selected and click Next.

Choose Report Type of Overlap and Collection Analysis

2. Select Resources to Compare

  • Select a Source Electronic Collection (a collection to which the target electronic collection will be compared). Select a resource that is already licensed by the library to compare a new resource to an existing one.
  • Select a Target Electronic Collection (a collection that will be compared to the source electronic collection). For the purpose of evaluating a new resource, select a resource from the Community Zone that the library is considering acquiring. Update the "Compare with Collection Of" field to Community Zone. Alternatively, select a resource already licensed by the library and select Institution Zone for "Compare with Collections Of."

Select a target collection

  • Once the desired collections have been selected, click Next.

Source and Target Collections Selected; Next button in top right corner

3. Start the Overlap Analysis Job

  • Check the box to Use Date Coverage Information in the Comparison and add an optional Report Description. Click Submit when complete.

Use Date Coverage Box checked and ISSN match method selected

  • The job will start. Click the Refresh button to see the current progress. The job will also be listed in the Monitor Jobs list.

Monitor Jobs list

  • Use the ellipses next to the job to select View.

Open ellipses; View selected

  • The report(s) will be available to download as an Excel file.

List of reports to download


What the Reports Mean:
  • Complete Overlap Report: The target collection has equal or greater coverage for the titles listed on the Complete Overlap Report
  • Partial Overlap Report: The source collection has greater coverage for the titles listed on the Partial Overlap Report
  • Title Overlap Report: Coverage is available for the titles listed in the report from both collections, but the coverage is mutually exclusive
  • Unique Titles: Titles listed on this report are unique to the source collection based on match method


Duplicate Title Analysis

Additionally, one can analyze content overlap at bib record level. For example, one can compare print and electronic holdings to determine if a potential electronic purchase will enable the library to weed print volumes and create space in the stacks. The Duplicate Title Analysis job identifies duplicate bibliographic records using one of the following match points:

  • System Control Number (035 field) with or without a prefix such as (oclc)
  • ISBN
  • ISSN
  • Other Standard Identifier (024 field)

1. Run the Duplicate Title Analysis job

  • In Alma, navigate to Resources, Advanced Tools, and Duplicate Title Analysis.
  • Create a name for the job and select the desired Detect Duplication Based On field.
  • Click Submit

Duplicate Title Analysis form


2. Download the Report

  • The job will be displayed in the Monitor Jobs queue. When complete, download the report. The report is organized according to MMS ID, material type, resource type, and title.