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Alma Implementation


Functional Areas

Alma Term Definition Equivalent Term (in Aleph or as noted)
Acquisitions Acquisitions is the process by which an institution acquires new items or services, including physical and electronic, and including standing orders, periodical subscriptions, and renewals. Acquisitions

Resource Management includes cataloging, physical inventory maintenance and control, and e-resource activations tasks.


Fulfillment is the process by which patrons borrow and return physical resources, or access electronic or digital resources.

Circulation, Booking, Requests/Holds, Course Reserves, Reading Lists, Interlibrary Loan


Administration refers to user management and general administrative tasks, such as running a record update job.

Back office operations

Alma component used to manage data reports and dashboard.



Alma Term Definition Equivalent Term (in Aleph or as noted)

Acquisitions libraries

There are no ‘Order Units’ in Alma, only ‘Libraries.’ Aleph Order Units have been condensed and mapped into a list of Acquisitions ‘Libraries’ in Alma.

Order Units

Budgets for funding acquisitions. Funds are aggregated in a ledger. An allocated fund represents an actual budget. A summary fund is a collection of related or similar funds.


Purchase order line, PO line, POL

One or more copies of a bibliographic item purchased by a library. Purchases can be physical, electronic or digital, and they may be one-time, continuous (for example, subscriptions), or standing orders.


Continuous order

Includes both serial orders and standing orders.

Order types S and O

One-time order

An order for a one-time resource, be it a book, other physical material, print journal, or a one-time electronic book.

Order type M


Process of indicating that a piece has been received at the library (from vendor).


Resource Management

Alma Term Definition Equivalent Term (in Aleph or as noted)

Metadata Management System (“MMS”)

The interfaces, functions, and data that define institutional systems and allow them to manipulate their descriptive metadata. The MMS can access the Community Zone, the Network Zone, and an Institution Zone.

Cataloging module

Metadata Editor (“MD Editor”)

Tool for editing and creating bibliographic and holdings records in Alma.



Primary system ID for a given title record.

System Number, Bib Number


The resources that are owned or licensed by or associated with a particular library, institution, or consortium. All descriptive bibliographic metadata resides in the repository and can be edited using the Metadata Management System.


Resource Management - Electronic

Alma Term Definition Equivalent Term (in Aleph or as noted)

Electronic Resource Management (“ERM”)

The systematic approach to tracking the selection, acquisition, licensing, access, maintenance, usage, evaluation, retention, and de-selection of a library’s electronic resources. In Alma, this entire workflow is handled in the system across the acquisitions, resources, fulfillment, and analytics modules. 


A contract between the library and a vendor for the lease of one or more copyrighted Electronic Collections, Portfolios, or, in some cases, Services (see also: Slide 15). In Alma, we may also refer to a New York State contract as a license.


Resource Management - Access

Alma Term Definition Equivalent Term (in Aleph or as noted)

Institution Zone (“IZ”)

The IZ contains local inventory, ordering & licensing information, patron data, and a handful of bibs that cannot be shared.

Local catalog (as identified by OWN code)

Network Zone (“NZ”)

The NZ contains the vast majority of bib records for CUNY Libraries, allowing staff at any institution to see what titles are held or on order by other institutions.

Union catalog

Community Zone (“CZ”)

The CZ contains global authorities (a shared repository of standard authority files), a community catalog (shared records managed by Ex Libris and the Alma community, consisting of mainly e-resources), and a central knowledgebase (shared administrative information for e-resources, including linking and coverage information as well as bibliographic enhanced CONSER records).

Knowledge Base (SFX, SerSol)


Each component of the electronic resources model in Alma. A level can be an Electronic Collection, a Portfolio, or a Service. 

Level (SFX)

Package/ Electronic collection

A package of electronic publications. This can be an aggregator package that contains all the titles in a package; a selective package that contains some titles within a package; or a database, which is an abstract or index service.

Target (SFX), Database (SerSol)


A serials or monograph title in a particular collection from a particular provider that is available in a particular date range. This can be a title in an electronic collection or a standalone individual title.

Portfolio (SFX), Title (SerSol)


The linking or fulltext information. A service can be fulltext, selected fulltext, or no fulltext (A & I database). 

Service (SFX)


Alma Term Definition Equivalent Term (in Aleph or as noted)

Access rights

The area in Fulfillment configuration where permissions are granted to patrons that allow them to access digital and electronic resources.

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

Circulation loan policies

Admin - Users

Alma Term Definition Equivalent Term (in Aleph or as noted)


User accounts are required to access Alma. All users can search, view certain widgets, and view analytics information in a link or widget. Other users’ permissions are set by User Roles and User Profiles.

Patrons, Staff Accounts

- Internal Users

Records that exist only in Alma. They are created manually by library staff and their management is entirely within the scope of the library.

Local patrons

- External Users

Managed outside of Alma, by CUNYFirst. Records are loaded into Alma and synchronized on a regular basis.

Batchloaded patrons

User Role

Defines which parts of Alma someone can use by setting permissions (e.g., Fund Manager, Purchasing Manager, Electronic Inventory Operator, etc.).

Staff User Privilege

User Profile

Pre-configured set of user roles base upon job function (e.g., Cataloger, Circulation Desk Manager, etc.).