Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Alma Resource Management

Working with the Metadata Editor in the Institution and Network Zones. Includes indication and normalization rules.

What roles are required to catalog and work with items records in Alma?

Cataloging Roles:

Not all roles are required to catalog in Alma. However, to delete bib record, Cataloger Extended must be combined with the Cataloger role. See Managing User Roles to determine which cataloging role is appropriate for the user. 

  • Catalog Administrator
  • Catalog Manager
  • Cataloger
  • Cataloger Extended


Physical Inventory Roles:

Physical Inventory roles allow a user to edit item records. Physical Inventory Operator Extended must be combined with Physical Inventory Operator for users who need to be able to delete inventory. See Managing User Roles to determine which cataloging role is appropriate for the user. 

  • Physical Inventory Operator
  • Physical Inventory Operator Extended

Where should original cataloging records be created?

Original cataloging is done in OCLC Connexion Client/Web Client. Catalogers should create original MARC records in OCLC when a MARC record does not exist for the title/format in Alma's Network Zone and it is not in OCLC. Once a MARC record is created in OCLC, it can be exported to Alma's Network Zone.

However, if there is no MARC record in OCLC when ordering a title in Alma, a user should create a brief bib record in Alma using the SUNY brief bib record templates. This allows the library to create a brief bib record in Alma that an order record can be attached to until the title is received. Once the title is received at the library, the bib record can be cataloged in OCLC if it has not already been done by another library and updated in Alma.

MSP-2: Cataloging at the WorldCat Level

How do I create a brief bib record for ordering in Alma?

Brief bib records are created for ordering when the MARC record does note exist in the Network Zone and in OCLC. The brief bib record should contain enough information to identify the record for other members of SUNY searching the Network Zone, such as the 020/022/024, 100, 245, 250, and 264. Three SUNY brief bib record templates have been created to streamline and simplify the process:

  • SUNY NZ Brief Bib Record (Default) - used for monographs
  • SUNY NZ Cont Resources Brief Bib Record - used for continuing resources
  • SUNY NZ Visual Materials Brief Bib - used for visual material


Click the following link to determine when to:

How do I update a brief bib created for ordering?

To update a brief bib that was created for ordering, the OCLC number should be added to the Network Zone bib record in MARC 035 $$a and then exported from OCLC to Alma to overlay the brief bib record with a full bib record. 

Brief bib records created for ordering are the only records in the Network Zone that can be edited to add non-local MARC fields in Alma. Brief bib records are also the only Network Zone records where the MARC 035 $a (OCoLC) number can be added. 

Where is copy cataloging done?

Copy cataloging is done in OCLC Connexion Client/Web Client for all MARC fields, except local MARC fields. If changes need to be made to an existing MARC record in Alma's Network Zone, catalogers should make the changes in OCLC by locking the records, editing the MARC record, replacing the record, and then exporting the record into Alma's Network Zone.

MSP-2: Cataloging at the WorldCat Level

What are local MARC fields?

Local MARC fields are MARC fields that provide local information about the title in hand, such as gift notes or local subject headings.

Local MARC fields:

  • Should not be added to the OCLC WorldShare record, and should only be added to the bib record in Alma.
  • Contain $$9 local that cannot be seen in the field, but it is visually represented by the house icon that displays next to the MARC tag.
  • Are only visible to the institution that added them to a Network Zone linked record.
  • Are protected and they will not be overwritten when the bib record is updated.

SUNY has defined local fields (called local extensions in Alma) that can be used. 

How are local fields added to bib records in Alma?

Local fields (local extensions) are added in the Metadata Editor. Open the bib record in the MD Editor and go to Editing Actions>Add Local Extension (Ctrl+L). Add the SUNY appropriate local field MARC tag. A house icon will display next to the MARC tag indicating that it is a local field. Continue adding indicator/subfields and content for the local field. Save and release the bib record when done with local field changes.

If the user does not see a house display next to the field, it is not local and the user may have accidentally selected Editing Actions>Add Field. If the house icon is not next to the MARC tag, the field may be overwritten the next time the bib record is updated. The user will want to delete the field and go add the local field. Adding a local extension to a Network Zone linked record does not change the Network Zone bib record. Local notes can only be seen by the institution who created them.

More information and workflow to add local fields

How are Network Zone records updated?

Network Zone records are updated from an OCLC WorldShare Collection that is maintained by the SLS. Three files are imported into SUNY's Network instance of Alma daily at noon using an import profile. The three files are:

  • New - MARC records are triggered when a new SUNY holding is added to the OCLC WorldShare record
  • Updates - MARC records are triggered when specified changes in the SUNY WorldShare record occur
  • Merges - MARC records are triggered when MARC records are merged by OCLC

What MARC fields trigger records in OCLC to be updated in Alma?

The following MARC field changes that trigger OCLC WorldShare records to be sent to an Update file in Alma's Network Zone are:

00X 03X 046 1XX 247 270 810 882
010 040 047 210 250 3XX 811 883
012 041 048 222 251 4XX 830 884
020 042 050 240 254 5XX 84X 885
022 043 051 243 256 6XX 86X  
024 044 052 245 260 7XX 87X  
027 045 082 246 264 800 880  

The following encoding levels trigger MARC records in OCLC to be sent to Alma's Network Zone:

Blank 5 4
1 7 8
l K M

What is SUNY's language of cataloging?

The language of descriptive cataloging in SUNY is English, which means titles in languages other than English should be cataloged in the English language. MARC records with a language of cataloging of English can be identified by 040 $b eng. If there is not an OCLC WorldShare record with a language of cataloging of English, a parallel MARC record needs to be created in OCLC and then imported into Alma's Network Zone. 

How do I configure OCLC to export to the Network Zone?

Can I make changes to Network Zone (NZ) records?

No! Changes should not be made to bib record in the Network Zone. MARC records that need to be updated must be updated in OCLC Connexion and reimported into Alma. 

Adding a local MARC field (local extension) to a Network Zone linked record does not change the Network Zone bib record. Local MARC fields can be added in the MD Editor in Alma.

Can I change the OCLC number in a Network Zone bib record if I want to use a different bib record for the title?

No! The OCLC number, as well as other non-local MARC fields, should not be edited in the Network Zone linked bib records. SUNY's Network Zone is a shared bibliographic environment and other institutions in the SUNY consortium may be linked to the same MARC records. Changing the OCLC record on a Network Zone linked record will negatively impact other SUNY institutions that are linked to the same Network Zone linked bib record.

Best practices when an institution wants to a different bib record for the title in hand:

  • Export the bib record into the Network Zone and either order from the title or relink inventory to the bib record that was imported into Alma
  • Relink to an existing bib record that already exists in the Network Zone


Click the following link to view the workflows:

Can I delete a Network Zone record?

No! Network Zone records should only be deleted by the SUNY Library Services staff. Bib record need to be unlinked from the Network Zone prior to deleting a Network Zone linked record in the MD Editor. Bib records being deleted using a job do not need to be unlinked from the Network Zone prior to running the job.

Workflow on how to delete a Network Zone linked record in the MD Editor.

How do I know what zone a bib record is linked to?

Alma has three icons to represent the zone a bib record linked to:

  1. House icon - Institution Zone
    • Identifies bib records that are not linked to the Network Zone or Community Zone
    • Local records are only available to users at that institution
  2. Network icon - Network Zone
    • Identifies bib records that are linked to the Network Zone
    • Network Zone linked bib records are available to other users in the SUNY Consortia
    • Only Physical bib records should be linked to the Network Zone 
  3. People icon - Community Zone
    • Identifies bib records, portfolios, databases, or collections that are linked to the Community Zone
    • Only e-resources should be linked to the Community Zone

Why are some MARC fields in OCLC, but they do not display in the MARC record in Alma?

Not all MARC fields in the OCLC WorldShare record are in the Network Zone linked and Institution Zone only records because SUNY uses normalization rules to prevent certain MARC fields from being imported into Alma's Network and Institution Zones. Best practices also indicate that SUNY institutions should use the institution copy of the SUNY OCLC Norm Rule when importing records using import profiles.

MSP-45: Normalization Rules in the Network and Institutional Zone to see which MARC records are omitted from being imported into Alma.

Can I make changes to Institution Zone (IZ) only records?

Yes! Institution Zone only records (have a house icon) are not part of the SUNY shared bibliographic environment and can be edited and updated by the institution. 

What physical bibliographic records should I order from or link to in the Network Zone when there is a Network Zone record and a Community Zone record?

Users should order from, or link to, physical bibliographic records in the Network Zone (NZ) that are not linked to the Community Zone (CZ).

  • Sometimes CZ linked bibliographic records that display in the Network Zone use physical bib records, instead of an electronic format bibliographic record.
  • This can sometimes cause end user confusion when ordering or linking to a bibliographic record in the Network Zone.
  • A user can tell if a bibliographic record in the Network Zone is linked to the CZ if there is a Community Zone icon (two people) next to the title.
  • DO NOT order from or link to CZ link bibliographic record in the Network Zone.

What records should be linked to the Network Zone (NZ)?

Most physical bib record should be linked to the Network Zone because SUNY is a Consortium using a shared bibliographic environment. Access to a large repository of bib records benefits all member in SUNY by allowing us to see which institutions hold titles and gives us the ability to share resources with one another. Linking physical bib records to the Network Zone enriches the SUNY shared bibliographic environment. 

Exceptions: The following types of physical bib records should not be linked to the Network Zone:

  • Records created for ordering purposes
  • Personal-copy course reserves
  • Titles borrowed via ILL from outside the SUNY system
  • Inventory control of equipment
  • Records representing titles in a knowledgebase
  • MARCIVE shipping list records
  • Host bibliographic records for bound-withs
  • Suppressed bibliographic records
  • Record sets provided by vendors other than OCLC, including leased book sets
  • Standing order container records


MSP-1: Bibliographic Utility
MSP-3: Alma Network Zone

How do I link an Institution Zone (IZ) only record to the Network Zone (NZ)?

Institutions can share Institution (IZ) only records to the Network Zone at any time as long as the records meet the criteria to be part of SUNY's shared bibliographic environment (see MSP-3 for a list of exceptions). IZ only Records can be linked to the Network Zone using the "Share with Network" function in the MD Editor or running a job on a set of records. Once an IZ only bib record is shared with the Network Zone, the record will inherit the Network Zone bib record and local bibliographic information may be lost if it has not been created as local fields. 

Note: IZ only physical records should only be linked to the Network Zone. IZ only electronic resources should only be linked to the Community Zone (CZ).

What do I do if a bib record is locked by another user in Alma?

Bib records are locked for up to an hour once they have been opened in the MD Editor and they have not released. Locked records will prevent other users being able to edit the bib record in the MD Editor or export a record from OCLC to Alma. It is not possible to identify the user who has locked the record in Alma, therefor it is recommended to wait for approximately and hour and then try opening the bib record in the MD Editor or exporting a record from OCLC to Alma. Best practice is to release bib records from the MD Editor after the user is done working on it.

Possible ways a bib records are locked by another user:

  • Institution Zone only records are opened in the MD Editor by another user in the institution with a cataloger role
  • Network Zone linked records are opened in the MD Editor by another SUNY user with a cataloger role 
  • Network Zone linked records may be locked by the OCLC daily import of new, merged, and updated records during processing

There are two ways to tell if a bib record has been locked by another user:

  • “View Only” displays in the header for the title when a bib record is opened in the MD Editor’s editing pane and the record is not added to the record list 
  • “Import failed. Reason: NOT_ADDED_LOCKED” message appears when exporting a bib record from OCLC to Alma


Contact SUNY Library Services if a record remains locked for over an hour: info@slcny.libanswers.com

How are bib holdings published to OCLC?

Most SUNY institutions publish physical bibliographic holdings automatically from Alma using a publishing profile that sends a file to their OCLC WorldShare datasync collection. All physical titles that have a set management tag of “Publish bib” are automatically published to OCLC when new physical titles are added, changes are made to existing bib records, or bib records are deleted in the Institution. Bib records are published to OCLC on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the institution’s configuration.

Institutions that subscribe to OCLC Connexion and don't use publishing profiles in Alma will need to manually publish their holdings in OCLC.

The default set management tag is “Publish bib” when new bib records are added to an institution. Import profiles can be configured to “Don’t publish” for new titles being added to the institution. Best practice: Physical titles imported into Alma as “Don’t Publish” should be changed to “Publish bib” during the receiving/cataloging processing so the holdings are accurately added to OCLC.


Contact SUNY Library Services if you are not sure if your institution is publishing bib holdings to OCLC from Alma: info@slcny.libanswers.com

How long do I need to wait before our physical bib holdings in Alma are reflected in OCLC

Bibliographic holdings changes will be published to OCLC 2-3 days after OCLC has received the file from Alma. Files are sent from Alma to OCLC either daily or once a week.

Do I need to manually remove holdings from OCLC after withdrawing titles in Alma?

If your institution is publishing your holdings from Alma to OCLC, you do not need to manually remove holdings in OCLC if "Delete bibliographic records (unless other holdings are present)" is selected when withdrawing the last item or withdrawing items using a job. Bib records that are deleted in Alma will be sent to OCLC with LDR position 5 of "d", which tells the OCLC automated process to remove your holdings from these bib records. Holdings will not be removed in OCLC if the bib record is not deleted and remains in the institutions repository. 

If your institution is not publishing your holdings from Alma to OCLC using publishing profiles, you will need to manually remove the holdings in OCLC after deleting the bib records in Alma.

Should I add physical holdings on an e-resource record in the Network Zone?

No! Physical holdings should be on physical holdings in the Network Zone. Do not add your institution's holdings on e-resource titles in the Network Zone that are either linked to the Community Zone (CZ) or managed in the Network Zone for SUNY Institutions.

CZ records contain a number starting with (CKB) in 035 $a. They may also contain an OCLC number that matches the title in hand, but it should not be used. Maybe CZ records are using physical material type records erroneously.

Network Zone managed collections will either contain a (CKB) number in 035 $a or a non-OCLC number in 035 $a, such as (ODN). Please do not add your holdings to these records or edit the 035 $a field.