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Alma Acquisitions

Alma Acquisitions training guide.

Choosing a Title Record to Order From

Due to the way Alma connects records, the best practice for choosing which title record to place your order from is:

  • Print/physical resources, use the Network Zone record
  • Electronic resources, use the Community Zone record

Creating a POL - Any Material Type

Step 1: Create a New Order

  1. Create a new order
    • From the search results or the bib record, click Order from the row action item list
    • From the Metadata Editor, click the Create PO Line and Exit icon
  2. Fill out the PO Line Owner and Type screen
    1. Choose a Purchase type (like Print One-Time order) and POL Owner from the drop-down menus.
    2. If your library is using Purchase Templates, choose that here. Purchase templates pre-populate fields in the order, such as fund or provenance notes.
    3. Generate barcode using sequence. If you’re not using pre-printed barcode labels for a material type, you may want to have Alma generate barcodes for you to save time.
    4. Assign inventory manually. The default setting is for Alma to automatically create holdings and items records as part of the ordering process. For some Purchase types, you can choose to Assign inventory manually and interrupt that process. Discuss in your library when you might want to do this.
  3. When you’re done, click on Create PO Line in the upper right
  4. Alma will let you know if other orders exist for this title. Click Confirm to continue.


Step 2: Fill out the PO Line Details

Once you’ve created the PO Line record, fill in the PO Line Details page. Most of the fields will either let you choose from a drop-down menu or type in information. You can review extensive reference lists on these fields at, but let’s go through a couple of less obvious choices.

Required Fields. Alma only requires a Materials supplier (vendor), price, and quantity to create an order. Discuss at your institution what other fields should be required, such as reporting codes for fund tracking.

Funds section. You do not need to identify a fund at the time of the order, but it can help to track encumbrances during the fiscal year. Click + Add Fund, search for the fund name or find it in a list, then choose what percent of the total price should be taken from this fund. In this way, you can split the cost of materials between departments or libraries at your institution.

Acquisition methods:

  • Purchase - order will be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory) Note: this is the only Acquisition method that results in a purchase order being sent to the vendor
  • Purchase at Vendor System - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory); use with direct ordering such as from Amazon/independent booksellers/publishers
  • Purchase - Without letter - no letter to the vendor is needed, but an invoice is expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory). This means no email or EDI order is sent to the vendor.
  • Approval Plan - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory)
  • Gift - order will not be sent to the vendor, no invoice expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
  • Depository (for government depository items) - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
  • Exchange (i.e. received on exchange) - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
  • Technical - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional).
    • Use technical for any order that does not need to be sent to the vendor and that does not fit into the other categories.
    • This can be used for membership payment, series standing order payment, payment of materials sent on exchange, etc.

Description tab. This provides a basic bibliographic reference on the Description tab. If you’ve ordered from a bib record, Alma auto-populates this information.


Step 3: Save and/or Place the Order

When all of the order information is added, complete the POL by choosing how and when to place the order:

  • Order Now, which immediately sends that single order to the vendor, and it becomes a purchase order of one order line (than one copy of the title on that order line)
  • Save the order and come back to it later
  • Save and continue to package the order with others and send to the vendor as a single Purchase Order. POLs need to have some of the same order details to be packaged together, including the vendor and purchase type.
    • Auto packaging: Alma will automatically collect all the POLs with the necessary values in common, package them into a PO, and send them to the vendor
    • Manual packaging: you can manually package together the POLs you want to send as a group to a vendor. This might be useful for approval orders that do not have an order load so they can all go on a single purchase order and then be invoiced together easily.


Important Encumbrance note: No matter which order option you choose, the amount of that order will be encumbered as soon as you click Save. As you spend down your budgets over the year, do not leave saved but unsent orders sitting for long periods of time.

Creating POLs for Multi-Volume Works

Creating POLs Without Funds

Institution Zone Import Profile