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 Discovery / Primo VE

Search Configuration

Some things to consider when setting up Primo VE searching:

  • Expanded search vs. Unexpanded search: The default search for Primo VE is unexpanded, meaning that your patrons will only get search results for content that you own physically or via full-text online. This may sound like a good thing, but the "expand" filter may not be obvious to patrons, so they may not know that there are other results that would be available to them via ILL or Unpaywall. Most stand-alone databases and other discovery systems like EDS default to expanded searching, so that patrons get all of their results at once, whether or not the content is available. Patrons may expect this behavior from Primo VE. However, if you choose to change your default search to expanded, you may get too many results for searches.
  • Everything search: You have control over what is included in the "everything" search. If you want to give more visibility to content from other SUNY campuses, you could include the SUNY Catalog search profile in your everything search. However, adding that search profile might make your local content harder to find.
  • Search scopes vs. facets: It's up to you whether or not you want to provide a separate "articles" search, or if you want your patrons to use facets to limit to article resource types
  • Slots: Search profile slots do is to add a layer in the search box for a user to drill down (either by the “suggestion” feature in the search or via a dropdown choice) to a search profile without going to an advanced search. For example, you can set up slots for each of your physical collections.


Ex Libris Documentation:

Configuring Search Scopes

Primo VE was delivered with several scopes already set up for each campus, including your library catalog, PCI article content, etc. Much like a lot of things in Alma/Primo, the scopes are configured to be reusable in a variety of search profiles (or just one search profile if you’re not highly customizing Alma/Primo).

  • The thought is that many libraries will want to create a lot of search profiles that have blends of different scopes, so making scopes reusable within search profiles cuts down on configuration time, although it makes these concepts initially a little more confusing.
  • Scopes can be those by default based on a variety of different search sources or queries, or you can create your own using “Custom Local Data Scopes.”
  • There are 3 different conditions by which you can create a custom scope: Inventory, Local Fields, or Metadata.

Ex Libris Documentation:

Configuring Search Profiles

Search profiles allow you to define groups of records that meet specific conditions so that users may search and quickly find materials and services that are offered by your institution. A Search Profile is the highest level container for what content is searched. 

You can pick whatever scopes you’d like to use for the search profile, and they can be a blend of custom scopes, scopes from your institution, and those externally managed such as the central index (your selection of resources from the Primo Central Index you’d like to search), or others.

Ex Libris Documentation:

Advanced Search

The slots and search profiles that you set up for basic searching will also appear in advanced search. You can customize your advanced search in several ways:

  • Change the order of choices in the dropdown to put the most used choices first
  • Add a Search Index, Resource Type, or Language


Ex Libris Documentation:


The CDI (formerly PCI) is a centralized index that encompasses hundreds of millions of records harvested from primary and secondary publishers and aggregators. These records include a mix of scholarly material – primarily articles and e-books – but also conference proceedings, newspaper articles, and more. In addition to citation metadata, many records include abstracts and some ("link in record" type) also include full text. What you activate for CDI searching isn’t automatically reflected in Primo searches. CDI publishing to Primo happens every 48-72 hours, so there can be up to an 3-day delay in seeing your changes reflected in Primo. . 

Ex Libris Documentation:


SLS Training Videos:


Restricted Searching

A couple of use cases for restricted search groups could be:

  • An article purchase on demand or token collection that you only wanted to have available to graduate students and faculty.
  • An alumni search that only shows results from databases where the license allows alumni to have access to.
  • A PDA/DDA search that you want to have accessible to only different patron groups: maybe one for faculty, and another for students, with different thresh holds and parameters for purchasing.

Ex Libris Documentation:

Searching Configuration FAQs