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Alma Electronic Resources Management

Working with and managing electronic resources in Alma.

Testing Access

Testing access to a newly activated electronic resource in both Alma and Primo is a good practice. As described in the activation workflow, one can test access to electronic portfolios in Alma using the Test Access functionality. By testing access in Alma immediately after activating a resource, you can identify issues with access before the electronic resource is discoverable in Primo.

After activating and testing access in Alma, it's worthwhile to go a step further and test access in Primo as Primo is the interface with which users will be interacting. By testing access in Primo, you'll be checking the following items:

  • Portfolio bibliographic record
    • Does access work properly on and off-campus?
    • Is the View Online section of the detailed record properly displaying collections?
  • Article or chapter-level searching and indexing
    • Can a user discover an article or chapter within the portfolio?
    • Does access to the article or chapter work properly both on and off-campus?



Publishing Times in Primo VE

It's important to note that some changes made in Alma take some time to reflect in Primo. The document below outlines the general publishing time and display time for changes made in Alma. When testing access in Primo, it's important to be aware of when an issue is truly an access problem and when it's just a timing issue. For more information, see also the FAQ on this topic:

Test Access to the Portfolio Bibliographic Record

1. Select a portfolio from Alma to test in Primo

  • When testing portfolio bib records, it's helpful to test a known portfolio title. You can open the portfolio list of an electronic collection, copy the title of a portfolio and paste that title into the Primo search box.

Electronic collection record in Alma



Portfolio List


Primo search for Journal title


2. Check Access

  • Verify that the portfolio (ejournal, ebook, or steaming video) displays as Available Online. Open the detailed record to check the full text service(s) listed in the View Online section and confirm that access is available both on and off-campus.

View Online section of detailed record in Primo

Publication information and table of contents for Journal title

(Note: the title of this publication changed from The Eta Sigma Gamman to the Health Educator.)


Test Access on the Article or Chapter-Level

It's helpful to check access on the article or chapter-level to ensure that indexing is functioning and patrons can access the content they are really looking for - the full text article or book chapter. Be aware, though, that the availability publishing job for Primo runs weekly so depending on when the resource was activated, searching at the article or chapter-level may not be available for up to a week after activation. If testing access before the availability publishing job has run, use the Expand My Results function in Primo to see the expanded search which will include content to which the library does not have full text access.


1. Select an article or chapter title to search in Primo

  • Find a title to search in Primo by conducting a Google search and locating the journal or book table of contents on the publisher website, and copy the title of an article or chapter from the table of contents. Or, search within the database (using the vendor platform and not Alma or Primo) to find an article or chapter title and copy the article or chapter title.
  • It's helpful to select an article or chapter that may be more than a year or two old so that an embargo does not interfere with search results.
  • Paste the article or chapter title into Primo.

Article search in Primo


2. Check Access

  • Verify that the article appears as Available Online.
  • Open the detailed record to check that the View Online section displays full text service(s) available for the article or chapter.
  • Check to see that full text access is working properly on and off-campus

View Online section of detailed record in Primo


Full text of article


Testing Access Documentation and Training