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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 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 add a layer in the search box for a user to drill down to a search profile without going to an advanced search. For example, you could 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, CDI article content, etc. The scopes are configured to be reusable in a variety of search profiles.

  • Scopes can contain a mix 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.
  • Note that there are two versions of the SUNY Catalog in your scopes list, which were set up by Ex Libris. SUNY Library Services recommends using the NewDiscoveryNetwork scope because it is limited to physical items. The original DiscoveryNetwork scope includes electronic bib records which may not be requestable and may not be available for your campus.

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. A Search Profile combines search scopes. 

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 Discovery Index, 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, such as Link in Record Collections, also include the links to full text.

Electronic titles that you activate for access in Alma are automatically published to the CDI as available, and their identifiers match on the content that's in the CDI. This means that you do not have to activate CDI search to make activated electronic content searchable.

The CDI search settings at the Collection level do the following:

  • CDI Search activation status: this controls additional non-fulltext search records that will be added to your expanded, non-fulltext search results. This needs to be set to yes for Link in Record collections.
  • We subscribe to only some titles in this collection: this controls how your availability publishing works. It's recommended to choose yes for this option even for aggregator packages because there may be extra content in the CDI that might match at the collection publishing level that wouldn't match if you publish title by titles. This could include blogs, online only content, etc.
  • CDI-only full text activation: this is used only for Link in Record collections
  • Do not show as Full Text available in CDI even if active in Alma: check this box if you only want Alma records to show as search results for this collection. If left unchecked, you'll automatically get book chapters, duplicate eBook title records, articles, etc.

Ex Libris Documentation:


SLS Training Videos:


Restricted Searching

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.
  • 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 thresholds and parameters for purchasing.

Ex Libris Documentation:

Searching Configuration FAQs