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Creating and Searching Local Notes in Alma

OCLC must be used as the primary bibliographic utility (MSP-1), and due to the technical architecture of the Alma Network Zone, any new records or changes to bibliographical records must be entered into the WorldCat bibliographic record or they will be lost when the Alma record is overlaid (MSP-2).

Specific fields have been designated for local notes in the Network Zone and the Institution Zone. The complete list.

To record item specific or institution specific information in a bibliographical record, one can employ the use of local notes in Alma.

The following are examples of the type of information which may be recorded in a local note.

  • Annotations describing physical features of the item (for rare books)
  • Copy specific number information for limited numbered editions
  • Autographs and presentation copies
  • Donor information
  • Defects and irregularities
  • "Bound with" or "accompanied by"
  • Local preservation treatments

Local notes will persist in the bibliographic record even if it is overlaid with an updated master record.


Adding Local Notes using the Metadata Editor

  • Use the Edit > Add Local Field (Ctrl+L) command in the Metadata Editor. When using this command, Alma creates a field with an invisible subfield $9 containing the string "local" (all lower case).
    • This subfield $9 is used by Alma to mark fields as local, i.e., they are stored in an institution's Institution Zone and are not lost when the master bib record in the NZ is overlaid. Although this subfield $9 is not displayed in Alma (the local field building icon is displayed instead), it is present in local fields when bib records are exported.
What not to do:
  • Using the Metadata Editor Edit > Add Field (F8) command and then add the "$$9local" subfield in the ME does NOT work. The field will be a normal field in the NZ and will be lost when the NZ bib record is overlaid. Similarly, adding the "$9 local" subfield in OCLC Connexion before downloading the bib record into Alma will also NOT work, and the new field will again be lost when the NZ bib record is overlaid.
Searching local notes

You can search local notes by selecting [Physical Titles] (local notes) in the Alma dropdown menu. Note that the NZ does not have physical inventory, results will be in the IZ.

Alma search box with physical titles and local notes selected in drop-downs

When local notes display in Alma they have the little ”house” symbol next to them, indicating that they’re part of our local institution’s extensions to the master record.

Example of a 590 descriptive note:

590 descriptive note with institution "house" symbol circled on left


Related Resources:

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