Skip to main content

Alma & Primo Staff Training Guide

Resources for LoMC staff training in Alma and Primo.


This section contains an abbreviated list of terms used in the Ex Libris Alma system. The complete Alma Glossary can be found at the ExLibris Knowledge Center.


Messages or warnings found throughout Alma that direct users to actions that need attention, for example: “Items already exist in the repository.”

All titles (a search function)
When searching "All titles," that really means "All the fields in all the records," i.e. you can enter an ISBN or other metadata in that basic search box.

Name for the Alma component used to manage data reports and the dashboard.

The record repository of information in Alma. The catalog contains all descriptive metadata managed by a library, institution, consortium, or community. The Institution Catalog contains the institution's local records (Academic and Base Libraries). The Community Catalog contains records provided to all institutions, by Ex Libris or community-contributed. The Network Catalog contains records centrally-managed in a Network Zone.

Circulation Desk
The location in the library that handles patron fulfillment.

An Alma catalog entity (top level collection or sub-collection) that groups any number and type of resources together, allowing for enhanced organization of mixed-type materials based on topic-based hierarchical structures. 

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. 

Community Zone
Ex Libris maintained resources available to all Alma institutions. Incorporates the Knowledge Base, the Community Catalog, and Global Authority Files. Can be accessed by any institution that is part of Alma for cataloging purposes.

The opening page of Alma after a user signs in. Its contents vary according to a user’s role. The dashboard may include reports, widgets, and a task list.

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

The feature that allows a patron to find records and inventory from the Alma Repository. Primo is Ex Libris' system to provide discovery. 

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

Fulfillment policy
The policies that control fulfillment activity -- i.e. our borrowing and circulation policies.

Functional Area
What is the nature of your job - it's function? It belongs to one (or more) of these key functional areas in Alma: User Management; Acquisitions; Resource Management; and Fulfillment.

A group of libraries managed together. In our case Library of the Marine Corps is the Institution. The Academic and Base Libraries are two  Libraries within that Institution. Each Library has it's own locations and circulation desks.

Interlibrary loan (ILL)
In Alma, ILL is called Resource Sharing.

A scheduled, invoked, or on-request process that runs in the background. 

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.

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

Persistent search box
A search box allowing various search options. The persistent search box is always available from the top middle of any Alma page. 

Primo/Primo VE
Ex Libris' discovery system for patrons i.e. the online catalog.

Permissions to perform certain actions in Alma, or to access specific pages, fields, or options in Alma. User Roles are defined by the privileges granted to a user.

A job run on a set of records. 

All information that Alma has about library material, including inventory, such as physical titles and items, electronic titles, electronic collections and electronic portfolios, digital titles and representations, deposits, management collections, and authorities. The repository title record is the bibliographic record for the title. 

Resource Management
Resource Management is a functional area responsible for managing the library's physical and electronic resources. In our library, think of it as a combination of Collections Management and Virtual Branch.

Resource Sharing
Another name for interlibrary loan.

Staff User
An individual who has permissions to work in Alma. Also known simply as a user.

An operation waiting for manual user intervention. Tasks appear in a Task List.

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. In other words, patron borrowing policies.

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

User roles
User roles 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. For example, a patron user is assigned a patron role.

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.


This section contains an abbreviated list of terms used in the Ex Libris Primo system. The complete Primo Glossary can be found at the ExLibris Knowledge Center.


You can save a search query, and have the search set to be performed automatically. An alert notifies you if there are any new search results.

Availability pipe
The availability pipe checks for available updates several times throughout the day, so the online catalog remains current.

Availability text
This text is determined by Primo. It appears next to the item name and indicates to the user the availability of the resource.

Basic Search
A configurable tile in the Views wizard. The user uses this tile to search for a specific item.

Blended search
A search in which several search engines are used to create a single results list. The most common blended search is between Primo and Primo Central.  

Brief Display
The information (such as the title and availability status) that displays for each record in the brief results and allows users to determine whether a record is available and contains the information for which they are looking.

E-shelf lets you save search results in your Basket.

A configurable tile in the Views wizard. The tile opens relevant links that might interest the user, such as full text availability, format publication date, subject, author, etc. 

Front End
The user interface that is responsible for all interactions (such as discovery and delivery) with the end user.

Full Display
The details of an individual record that displays on its own page. This page typically displays after clicking a record's title in the brief results.

The institution is a central administrative concept in Primo. Users and resources belong to institutions. Our Institution is the Library of the Marine Corps and the libraries within that institution are the Marine Corps University Library and the Quantico Base Library.

OPAC via Primo (OvP)
The delivery method in which Primo uses APIs to support the following OPAC functions within its native interface: My Account, inventory display (holdings and items), and material requests.

Patron Directory Services (PDS)
A “back-end” Web component that facilitates user authentication and login to an Ex Libris application. 

Primo Authentication Manager
An authentication method that supports the authentication of users using social logins. In our Primo, users will have the option of logging into their accounts using barcode and password, or social login. Social login is NOT available for Library Staff work accounts. 

Primo Central Index (PCI)
A mega-aggregation of hundreds of millions journal articles, e-books, reviews, legal documents and more that are harvested from primary and secondary publishers and aggregators, and from open-access repositories. If selected by the Library, these results will show up in catalog searches. For example, ProQuest databases activated in Primo Central will contribute to a user's search results.

Restricted search scopes
By defining restricted search scopes, you can restrict discovery of groups of records to specific users.

Scopes (Views)
Scope is a general concept that is used to create groups of resources. Primo has three types of scopes:

  • Restricted search scopes
  • Restricted delivery scopes
  • Blended search scopes

The term “scope” is also often used to refer to search scopes, which are defined per view.

Similar items
You can create a search for similar items. Similar items creates a search based on the author of the item from the previous search.
A fully hosted solution that provides initial configuration, ongoing application configurations (such as end user interface customizations), version upgrades, monitoring of data sources, and standard Support services.

The View is the Primo user interface. You can define one or more view. Every view can have a different “look and feel” and list of search scopes.

Loading ...

  Research Tools Library Services General Information Quick Links  
  Databases Reference & Research Assistance Contact Us Gray Research Center  
  eJournal Portal Borrow/Renew/Return Directions/Hours/Location Marine Corps Archives  
  Library Catalog Copyright Assistance Library Staff Training Marine Corps University  
  Marine Corps Reading List Interlibrary Loan Library News & Announcements National Museum of the Marine Corps  
  RefWorks Manage My Account Library Services & Policies Quantico Base Library  

This is an official U.S. Marine Corps website | Library of the Marine Corps | 2040 Broadway Street | Quantico, Virginia 22134 | 703.784.4409

Marine Corps Social Media / Privacy / Accessibility / FOIA / No Fear Act / / MCB Quantico /