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Alma Acquisitions

Alma Acquisitions training guide.

Managing Orders

Cancelling vs. Closing Orders

There is a critical difference between Cancelling and Closing a PO Line/order:

  • Cancel means you’re cancelling the order and don’t expect to receive any inventory or pay an invoice
  • Close means you’ve received the inventory and the order is complete

Which one you choose has an impact on both what happens next to the order and – sometimes – what happens to the inventory records that were created when the order was.

In Alma, if you cancel a POL that is the only order on that purchase order (including all migrated orders), Alma will delete the PO line’s inventoryboth the holdings and the items – unless that inventory has been received or activated. If the POL has a bib and holdings record, but no items yet, cancelling the POL will delete the holdings record.

In contrast, when you close a POL, the holdings and items remain untouched.

This is most important for unreceived and predicted items, such as serials issues, because you will have to go back and re-create those predicted items if you cancel the order and then they come in. For these materials, always close an order rather than cancel it.


Closing a POL

Alma will automatically close one-time orders after they have been received and paid for.

You can manually close a one-time order if the status is Waiting for Invoice, if needed.

To close an order, click on Close from the row action item list, then Confirm. Alma will close the POL and release any encumbered funds. If this was the only POL or the last open POL on a Purchase Order, Alma will also close the related Purchase Order.


Reopening a POL

Once you close a POL, this option in the row action item list will change to Reopen, so you can click on that to reopen the order.

Reopened orders go immediately into review, and you may need to edit the Acquisition method, price, or other details if these have changed. Once the updates are complete and the order is approved, it will either be sent to the vendor or simply changed in Alma as needed.


Order Maintenance Tasks on the POL Details Page

There are several order maintenance tasks that are managed from the PO Line Details screen. To get to that screen, find your order and click on Edit. Note that these options only appear after the order has been sent; if it hasn't been sent yet - if it's waiting for review, for instance - you can just edit the original order.


Changing Vendors

There are two ways to change the vendor for an order using the buttons along the top:

Replace (only) Vendor will change the vendor and nothing else, and will not send a new order to the new vendor. Use this if there’s no reason to send another order, and the old order is still valid. To use this option, a one-time order must be in a status of Sent or Waiting for Invoice; continuous orders must be Sent, Waiting for Renewal, or Waiting for Manual Renewal.

Change Vendor will change the vendor and send a new order to that new vendor. This new POL will be packaged into a new purchase order and deleted from the original PO. If that POL was the only order on that PO, the entire PO will be deleted. To use this option, a one-time order can only be in a status of Sent (nothing yet received or activated); continuous orders can be Sent, Waiting for Renewal, or Waiting for Manual Renewal.


Changing a POL’s Bibliographic Reference

The bibliographic reference is the brief bib description in the POL, as we saw earlier. Changing the bib reference does not mean changing the bib record a POL is linked to, or the holdings or items. Changing the bib reference is useful when an order was made on a provisional or stub bib record, but there is now better information available on the bib record that can be added to the POL description.

This feature is relevant for title-based PO lines, and cannot be performed on cancelled PO lines.

If you click on Change Bib Reference – either in the row action list or on the POL details screen – Alma will perform a repository search to find the correct updated bib information. There may be only one result, in which case click on it, or there may be more than one, in which case find the one you want and click on that. Alma will update the information accordingly in the POL bib description.


Relinking a POL to a Different Bibliographic Record

You can also Relink a POL to a different bib record, which moves the corresponding items and holdings to that new bib record. You might do this if your item matched an existing bib record better than the one imported for the order, or if the POL is linked to a bib record for single volume that’s actually part of a multivolume work with a separate bib record.

Relinking works in the same way as changing the bib reference: click on Relink, perform the search to find the bib record you want to link the order (and its holdings and items) to, and click on that result in the list. In addition, when you relink the bib record, the bib reference will automatically update to the new information as well.

The Relink option is only available for PO lines with the following statues:

  • One-time orders must be Sent, Waiting for Invoice, In Review, Deferred, Ready, Auto Packaging, Manual Packaging, or Closed
  • Continuous orders must be Waiting for Renewal, Waiting for Manual Renewal, In Review, Deferred, Ready, Auto Packaging, or Manual Packaging.



Putting a claim on an order – for an unreceived or damaged item or serials issue, for instance – starts by sending a communication to the vendor. Alma can do this automatically from the POL if it's configured to connect directly to vendors.

From the PO Line Details screen:

  1. Click on the Communications tab, then Start Communication
  2. Choose the Type of Claim
  3. Add the POL number to the subject
  4. Edit the body of the message to include all the relevant information about why you’re submitting a claim. Alma includes information about the order, so add in what item or issue you’re claiming.
    • You could add an attachment, either of a previous email exchange saved as a PDF, a paid proforma invoice, or an image of a damaged item.
    • The Notes field is for internal use, it will not be sent to the vendor. You might describe what the attachment is or include internally-relevant details.
  5. When you’re done, click Send

Adding a Vendor Response. When the vendor replies via email, it will go to your email address, not here in Alma. To add that response to Alma and keep everything in one place, go to the Communications tab and click Add a Response next to your claim. You can either copy and paste the text of the email into the response, or save the email as a PDF and add it as an attachment.


To combine the item records for materials that are being bound together:

  1. Find the list of items that you’re going to bind together. How you do this depends on whether your materials are older or newer, and your personal preference.
    • Search for the Title record
    • If they've been just received, go to the Receive New Materials list
    • Search for any one Item record that’s going to be bound, then skip to step 3
  2. From any of these starting points, go to the Title record for the materials being bound
    • If there is only one holdings record for that title, click on View all items and proceed with the next step.
    • If there are multiple holdings, click on Holdings and then choose View Items for the appropriate holdings record. This allows the next step to happen correctly.
  3. From the list of items, choose any item – it doesn’t matter which one – and click on Edit item.
  4. From the Physical Item Editor (and this is actually very important) click on View all items.
    • Only when you start at the editor will you see the option to bind items (and a few other neat things). If you go straight from the bib record to that list of items, you won’t see this. First you have to tell Alma that you’re editing things, and then it presents you with more editing options.
  5. Now, click the tickyboxes next to all of the items you are going to bind together.
  6. Click on Bind
  7. Alma will step you through the process from here, including creating a Work Order for the binding process.
  8. Once you confirm the Work Order, Alma will automatically delete all of the individual item records and create a new item record for the bound item.
  9. On the Physical Item Editor for that new bound item record, update the barcode, the enumeration and chronology, and any other fields that need changing.
  10. Click Save
  11. You’ll return to the items list. Your new item will have a status of Item not in place, because it’s in the work order process for binding. Once the materials are bound, and ready to be shelved, that work order will need to be marked as done by scanning in the item.
  12. If you want to edit the holdings record in the Metadata Editor to reflect the new bound volume, click View all holdings, find the holdings record, and click Edit in the row action list. Edit the record and save.