How To: Course Reserves in Alma

Overview

The CARLI Resource Sharing Committee reviewed Ex Libris's Alma documentation, along with companion documentation created by other Alma libraries and consortia as found online to compose this step-by-step guide for managing course reserves in Alma. Comments and questions on these steps are welcome; please email .

Updated 7/14/2021

Required Roles

  • The options available under the Fulfillment menu are dependent upon your assigned user roles. Your list of options may be different than the screenshots included below. If you do not have options for Course Reserves, you will need to work with your institution's User Administrator to be assigned the appropriate roles for your work.
  • To manage courses as part of the Course Reserve workflows, you must have one or more of the following roles:
    • Course Reserves Operator
    • Course Reserves Manager
    • Fulfillment Services Operator
    • Fulfillment Services Manager

Overview of Reserve Workflow

These four parts must be completed to successfully put an item on reserve:

  • Part 1: Adding the course(s)
  • Part 2: Adding reading lists to the course(s)
  • Part 3: Adding materials (reserve items) to the reading lists
  • Part 4: Setting the reserves so that they show up correctly in Primo VE

Additional sections found in the how-to:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Workflow: Manually returning/restoring a library's item to its permanent shelving location
  • Workflow: Remove items from a reading list
  • Workflow: Remove reading list from a course
  • Workflow: Delete a reading list
  • Workflow: Delete a course
  • Workflow: Gather reserve statistics (forthcoming)

Documentation from Ex Libris

expand / collapse all

  1. Under the Fulfillment Tab> Course Reserves> select "Courses."
    Screenshot displays the options available under the Fulfillment menu; the "Courses" option under the Course Reserves heading is highlighted.
  2. On the "Courses" main page, click on "Add Course."
    Screenshot shows the Courses main page, with the 'Add Courses" option highlighted.
  3. This will open the course creator page.
  4. On the course creator page, the "Course Information" tab provides options to add the following course information.
    Screenshot shows the Course Information tab of the course creator page.
    Enter data for all of the required fields, and optional fields as desired, for the course.
    1. Required Fields:
      • Code: Enter the course code (examples: ENGL1101, MTH 230, or CAT:112). Note that your library will want to define a standard format for this code and use it consistently. This will be one of the primary methods of searching for course reserve materials in Primo VE, and consistent spacing and punctuation will be important for your users.
      • Name: Enter the course name. This is also a field for which you will want a standard naming convention, as it is a searchable field in a Primo VE "course reserves" search.
      • Processing Department: Use the drop down menu to select the appropriate processing department for your library.
      • Start date AND End date: Although these fields do not have an asterisk designating them as required fields, you will not be able to make your course active, and materials discoverable in Primo VE, without these dates. You will want to select the start and end dates according to when the materials should be actively on reserve and searchable via Primo VE.
    2. Optional Fields:
      • Section: Used to designate a specific section for the course.
        From Ex Libris: "The combination course code + section must be unique. If you do not use sections, then all course codes must be unique."
      • Academic Department: Use this drop down menu to select the appropriate department. Your Alma Fulfillment Configuration Administrator can configure academic departments for your institution from the Course Faculties code table (Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Courses > Academic Departments).
      • Terms list: Select the appropriate timeframe for which the course will be active. Your Alma Fulfillment Configuration Administrator can configure the terms list for your institution from the Course Terms code table page (Configuration Menu > Fulfillment > Courses > Course Terms). It is not possible to add or delete course terms from this table; however, you can customize the course term descriptions and enable/disable the terms.
      • Number of participants: The number of students that are enrolled in the course.
      • Weekly hours: The number of hours the course is taught, per week.
      • Year: Academic course year.
      • Searchable IDs: Additional IDs by which you want your patrons to be able to search for course reserves in Primo VE. This could include things such as the "common name" for a course, a professor, or materials on the reserve lists; or alternate formats of the course code, etc.
  5. On the course creator page, the "Instructors" tab allows you to associate one or more instructors with the course.
    Screenshot shows the Instructor tab on the course creator page, with the "Add Instructor" option highlighted.
    Enter data for the instructors of the course.
    1. Select "Add Instructor" on the right side of the screen.
    2. Using the format "last name, first name" to search for the instructor of the course. Users from your database will begin to appear in a list as you type. Select the appropriate user from the list.
    3. Click on "add instructor."
    4. Repeat this step as needed to associate multiple instructors with the course.
  6. The optional "Campus" tab allows institutions with multiple campuses configured in Alma to associate the course with a specific campus.
    Screenshot shows the course creation window, with the Campus tab open. The Add Campus option is highlighted.
  7. When all three tabs have been completed as per your local procedures (Course Information, Instructors, Campus), click "save" on the top right of the page. This will take you back to the full list of courses for your institution.

Three options for adding, sharing, or modifying readings lists are outlined below.

  • Option 1: Adding a reading list to be used by a single course.
  • Option 2: Adding a reading list to be used by multiple courses.
  • Option 3: Duplicating a reading list for re-use in a new course.

Option 1: Adding a reading list to be used by a single course.

  1. When you are ready to add a reading list to your course, under the Fulfillment Tab> Course Reserves> select "Courses."
  2. Enter the course code in the search box at the top of the page and press enter/search.
    Screenshot shows the course search box at the top of the Fulfillment> Course Reserves> Courses page. An example search of  course code, LIB 102, is shown.
    This will retrieve only the course that matched your entered code.
  3. Click on the ellipsis for the course, then select "Reading List" from the drop down menu to be taken to the course's reading list page.
    Screenshot shows the results of th search for LIB 102, which is one course reserve list. The ellipse for the list is selected, and the "Reading List" option from the drop-down menu is highlighted.
  4. Select the "add reading list" button on the right side of the screen.
    Screenshot shows the course readling list page, with the "Add Reading List" button highlighted.
  5. This will open the "Add Reading List" window.
  6. On the "Add Reading List" window, enter data for all four fields:
    Screenshot shows the Add reading list window, with four fields for data entry.
    • Code: Typically, enter the course code as it was entered in the associated course.
    • Status: Select the appropriate status for the reading list for your library's workflow.
      • "Being Prepared" means there is more work to do with the list, at a later time or by another staff member.
      • "Complete" means that after staff are finished with the reading list, work is complete.
    • Name: Typically, enter the course name as it was entered in the associated course.
    • Due Back Date: Alma should automatically populate the "due back date" to the date set in the associated course information.
  7. Click "Add and Close." The course and associated reading list are now created.

Option 2: Adding a reading list to be used by multiple courses.

You can use the same reading list for multiple courses. For example, if your first-year writing courses all have shared core texts, but then professors are able to add supplementary materials on the topics of their choosing.

  1. Create the Reading List for one of the courses that will use the list, following the steps outlined in Option 1 above. For the Code and Name in step 6, you'll select a code/name that describe the shared use of the list, rather than naming it for one specific course.
  2. After the reading list is created, click on the ellipsis for the list you wish to associate with additional course(s), and select "Associate this list with a course" from the menu.
    Screenshot shows the Course's Readings Lists screen, with the reading lists displayed. The ellipse for the reading list we wish to additionaly assign is highlighted, and from the menu options, "Associate this list with a course" is highlighted.
    (If you are associating the Reading List with a different course at a later date, you can locate the reading list through Fulfillment> Course Reserves> select "Reading Lists." Your institution's reading lists will be listed on the All tab.)
  3. The Edit Reading list window will open. Select the "Associate course" option, and browse/search for the additional course(s) to associate with this list.
    Screenshot shows the Edit Reading List window, with the "Associate Course" menu selected. The pop-up menu to select the course is highlighted, as well as the Save button.
  4. Select Save when you've finished associating additional courses with the reading list.

Option 3: Duplicating a reading list for re-use in a new course.

You can copy a reading list and apply it to another course. For example, if you are preparing the spring reserves during the fall semester, and a professor is putting many but not all of the same items back on reserves for the following semester. You want to create a new list for the spring course with the appropriate titles, but cannot reassign/adjust the fall list since it is still in use.

  1. Search for the course that has the reading list you would like to copy. Enter the course code in the search box at the top of the page and press enter/search.
    Screenshot shows the course search box at the top of the Fulfillment> Course Reserves> Courses page. An example search of  course code, LIB 102, is shown.
  2. This will retrieve only the course that matched your entered code.
  3. Select the ellipsis for the course, select "Copy Reading List" from the drop down menu to be taken to a list of all of the available reading lists at your institution.
    Screenshot shows the resulst of the course serach, with the ellipse for the desired course highlighted. After selecing the ellipse, the menu is shown, with "Copy Reserve List" highlighted.
  4. Select the checkbox for the list you want to copy, and then the Select button.
    Screenshot shows the full list of reading lists available at the institution. One list is selected. The checkbox for that list is highlighted, and the "Select" button in the upper right.
  5. After the list is selected, you will be returned to the course view. Select the ellipsis for the course, and then Reading List to view the copied list.
  6. Notice that the code and name of the copied reading list have a number appended in parenthesis, example- (1).
    Select the course code to open the Reading List editing window.
    Screenshot shows the two reading lists associated with the course, noting how the code and name have a number in parenthesis included as part of the code and name. Selecting the code (highlighted) will open the editing window.
  7. Modify the code and name to reflect the course this list is assigned to, then Save.
    Screenshot shows the Edit Reading list window. The reading list code and name are highlighted, along with the Save button.

Option 1: Adding physical items from your library's permanent collection, method 1: Scan in items

  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Scan In Items."
  2. On the "Scan In Items" page, select the "Change Item Information" tab.
  3. Make appropriate changes to the fields described below before scanning items:
    • Change Type: Select "Temporary"
    • Due Back: Enter the last day of the semester if items are to be re-shelved. For permanent reserves leave this blank.
    • Location: Choose the location for the reading list materials, for example, "Reserves" or "Circulation Desk."
    • Item Policy: Select the item policy requested by the instructor, for example, "2 Hour Course Reserves."
    • Reading List: Select the reading list from the drop down menu, or, start typing the name of the reading list and select it when listed.
    • Check Requests: Box should be checked.
  4. Scan in the items you want to add to the reading list and click the "Exit" button when done.

Option 2: Adding physical items from your library's permanent collection, method 2: Direct add

  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Reading Lists." 
  2. If you know the unique code for the reading list you are looking for, you can enter it into the persistent search box, which will have automatically been set to "Reading lists." Otherwise, search for the desired reading list under one of the four tabs available on the Reading Lists Task List page.
  3. Selecting the desired reading list will open the Edit Reading List page. Scroll down to find "Add Citation" and click to deploy the drop down menu. Click on "Add Repository Citation."
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with the add citation drop down menu deployed and highlighted
  4. The Repository Search screen will open. Search for the title you wish to add to the reading list in the persistent search bar.
    An image of a section of the Repository Search screen featuring the persistent search bar
  5. Check the box next to the title you wish to add to the reading list, then click the "Select" button.
    An image of the search results for War and Peace, with a checked box and the select button highlighted
  6. The title has been added to the reading list, but now you must manually create a move request.
  7. Find the title you just added in the reading list and click on the "More actions" ellipsis to deploy the drop down menu. Click on "Manage Fulfillment Options."
    An image of a section of the Edit Reading List screen, with a title's more actions drop down menu deployed and Manage Fulfillment Options highlighted
  8. The Manage Resource Options screen will open. Click on the ellipsis for the item you want to request and select "Request."
    An image of the Manage Resource Options screen with the item drop down menu deployed and the request option highlighted
  9. The Create Request screen will open. Deploy the "Request Type" drop down menu and select "Move temporarily."
    An image of the create request screen with the request type drop down menu deployed and the drop down menu arrow and the move temporarily option highlighted
  10. More fields will appear on the Create Request screen. Populate the "To" field with the item's new location. If applicable, populate the "Due Back" field as well, then click the "Submit" button.
    An image of the Create Request screen with the to field and the due back field populated and highlighted, and the submit button highlighted
  11. The request for the item is now generated, and will be processed through the Pick From Shelf workflow.
    • Note: If the requests do not show in your library's Pick from Shelf list, your Alma Configuration> Fulfillment> Physical Fulfillment> Request Pickup Configuration> rule that governs the request type of "Move temporarily" may need to be adjusted so that the "Show in Pick From Shelf" list value is set to True. Decisions about this setting were made in fall 2019 in your institution's Alma migration process configuration form, and may not meet your current workflow needs. Please feel free to contact for assistance in modifying the "Request Pickup Configuration" settings.

Option 3: Adding physical items NOT in your library's permanent collection

  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Reading Lists." 
  2. If you know the unique code for the reading list you are looking for, you can enter it into the persistent search box, which will have automatically been set to "Reading lists." Otherwise, search for the desired reading list under one of the four tabs available on the Reading Lists Task List page.
  3. Selecting the desired reading list will open the Edit Reading List page. Scroll down to find "Add Citation" and click to deploy the drop down menu. Click on "Add Brief."  (Note: do NOT choose Non-Repository Citation. These do not display in Primo VE.)
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with the add citation drop down menu deployed and highlighted
  4. A pop-up screen will appear. Select either "Physical Book" or "Physical Article," then click the "Choose" button.
    An image of a pop up screen showing citation type options
  5. The Quick Cataloging screen will open. There are several fields you will need to fill out.
    • For "Placement of new record," select "Institution" for inclusion in your institution's catalog or "Network" to be included in the shared catalog.
    • Under "Resource Information," the "Title" field is required. Fill out as many additional fields in this section as are defined by your institution's best practices.
    • Check the box by "Course Restricted." This will ensure that the item will only appear in a search of course reserve materials, rather than a general discovery search.
    • Do not check the box next to "Suppress from Discovery." This will ensure that the item is discoverable in a search of the course reserves in your discovery layer.
    • Using the drop down menu, set the "Copyright Status" field to "Not Required."
    • In both the "Citation Parameters" and "Item Information" sections, use the drop down menus to set the appropriate "Material Type" for the item you are entering.
    • Using the drop down menu, set the "Location" field to the appropriate Reserves Location.
    • Using the drop down menu, set the "Item Policy" field to the appropriate loan period.
    • An image of the top half of the Quick Cataloging screen with Placement of new record, Title, and the Save button highlighted
      An image of the bottom half of the Quick Cataloging screen, with several fields highlighted
  6. Scan the item's barcode into the "Barcode" field under "Item Information." This will automatically take you back to the course reading list. Alternately, enter the barcode manually and click the "Save" button.

Option 4: Adding e-resources

  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Reading Lists." 
  2. If you know the unique code for the reading list you are looking for, you can enter it into the persistent search box, which will have automatically been set to "Reading lists." Otherwise, search for the desired reading list under one of the four tabs available on the Reading Lists Task List page.
  3. Selecting the desired reading list will open the Edit Reading List page. Scroll down to find "Add Citation" and click to deploy the drop down menu. Click on "Add Brief." (Note: do NOT choose Non-Repository Citation. These do not display in Primo VE.)
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with the add citation drop down menu deployed and highlighted
  4. A pop-up screen will appear. Select either "Electronic Article," then click the "Choose" button.
    An image of the pop up citation type screen
  5. The Quick Cataloging screen will open. There are several fields that you will need to fill out.
    • For "Placement of new record," select "Institution" for inclusion in your institution's catalog or "Network" to be included in the shared catalog.
    • Under "Resource Information," the "Article/Chapter title" field is required. Fill out as many additional fields in this section as are defined by your institution's best practices.
    • Check the box by "Course Restricted." This will ensure that the item will only appear in a search of course reserve materials, rather than a general discovery search.
    • Do not check the box next to "Suppress from Discovery." This will ensure that the item is discoverable in a search of the course reserves in your discovery layer.
    • Using the drop down menu, set the "Copyright Status" field to the appropriate value.
    • "Material Type" has the default value of "Electronic Article" but can be adjusted using the drop down menu if necessary.
    • Using the drop down menu, set the "Library" field to the appropriate value.
    • In the "Portfolio URL" field enter the URL for the resource. The URL must start with http:// and can be a link to a website, article database, pdf saved to an institutional drive, etc. Double check that there are no spaces in your file or folder name, as Alma will automatically remove spaces from the URL.
      An image of the top half of the Quick Cataloging screen with several fields and the Save button highlightedAn image of the bottom half of the Quick Cataloging screen with multiple fields highlighted
  6. When you have finished, click the "Save" button.

When you have added all course materials to a reading list, you will need to set the reading list to "Complete" to make it visible to patrons.

  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Reading Lists." 
  2. If you know the unique code for the reading list you are looking for, you can enter it into the persistent search box, which will have automatically been set to "Reading lists." Otherwise, search for the desired reading list under one of the four tabs available on the Reading Lists Task List page.
  3. Using the drop down menu, set "Status" to "Complete."
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with the Status drop down menu deployed and the Complete option highlighted
  4. Click the "Save" button.

Why aren't Course Reserves records (Citations) displaying in Primo VE?

Updated 1/20/2021

Check if:

  • The Bibliographic record for the Citation or the Holdings record of the Item is suppressed in Alma. The records must not have the "Suppress from Discovery" management tag checked in the MDEditor. Unsuppress the bib record so it can be published to Primo VE.
  • The Course is "Active" as of today as defined by its "Start date" and "End date". If the Course is not Active, its records will not display.
  • The job "Activate/Deactivate Courses" is enabled and has been running successfully. When activating or deactivating courses, this job publishes the bibliographic citations linked to the course. To see if it has been running, go to Admin > Monitor Jobs > History > change the limit box to Name and enter the job name: Activate/Deactivate Courses
  • Restricted Search Groups have been set up in Configuration Menu > Discovery > Search Configuration > Restricted Search Groups. This may have been done for you by Ex Libris during migration due to choices made on the Alma Configuration Form.  When a Restricted Search Group is configured, only users that match the criteria can search and retrieve Course Reserves.  When configuration is incomplete--such as the definition was created but no input parameters were added to the rule--no user will be able to see Course Reserves.  If restriction isn't necessary, the simplest solution is to remove the Restricted Search Group from configuration.
  • Course Restricted functionality is "on" in Configuration Menu > Resources > General > Other Settings > parameter "course_restricted_field" is set to 957$$r (this field was a CARLI consortial decision), AND the bib record has the field 957$$r CR_RESTRICTED field in it. If so, you can remove the 957$$r CR_RESTRICTED field from the bib using the MDEditor. (Note: The field text 957$$r ON RESERVE does not cause this.)
  • The Citation is a "Non-Repository Citation". Non-Repository Citations are not published and will never display in Primo VE.  Use "Add Brief" or "Add Repository Citation" to add the citation instead.

If none of these reasons seem to explain why the Course Reserve items aren't displaying in Primo VE, please contact with examples.

Adapted from the Ex Libris Knowledge Article Course Reserves/Reading List Checklist for Alma-Primo.

When it is time to remove materials from a reading list (such as, at the end of the semester, or, if the reserve instructor is otherwise ready to have the item removed), if the item is owned by the library, you will want to "restore" the item to its permanent location and item policy.

Note: Restoring the item to its permanent shelving location is not enough to remove the item from reserves. You will also need to follow the steps for Workflow: Remove items from a reading list to fully take the item off of reserves.

  1. Under the Fulfillment menu, select "Scan in Items."
  2. Select the "Change Item Information" tab.
  3. In the "Change Type" field, choose "Restore."
  4. Scan in the item barcode for the item(s) to be returned to its permanent shelving location and item policy.
  5. The item will now display in the change history on the bottom of the Scan in Items page; Double-check the change type and destination have updated as expected.

    This image shows the "Change Item Information" tab in the Scan in Items functionality. The Change Type field is highlighted showing the "Restore" option selected. The "Scan in barcode" box is also highlighted, as it is mentioned in the directions for this process.

  1. Under the Fulfillment menu, select "Reading Lists." 
  2. If you know the unique code for the reading list you are looking for, you can enter it into the persistent search box, which will have automatically been set to "Reading lists." Otherwise, search for the desired reading list under one of the four tabs available on the Reading Lists Task List page.
  3. Select the reading list you will be editing by clicking on the Code for that list.
    An image of the Reading Lists Task List screen with the Code for the selected reading list highlighted
  4. The Edit Reading List screen will open.
    An image of the top half of the Edit Reading List screen
  5. Scroll down until you find the item you wish to remove from the reading list. Click on the "More actions" ellipsis.
    An image of two citations in the Edit Reading List screen with the more actions ellipsis highlighted
  6. The "More actions" menu will deploy. Click on "Remove" to delete the item from the reading list.
    An image of a portion of the Edit Reading List screen with a more actions menu deployed and the remove option highlighted
  7. A Confirmation Message pop-up will appear. Click on the "Confirm" button.
    An image of a Confirmation Message screen with the confirm button highlighted
  8. Repeat as needed. Once you have removed all the items necessary from the reading list, click the "Save" button.
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with the save button highlighted
     
  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Reading Lists." 
  2. If you know the unique code for the reading list you are looking for, you can enter it into the persistent search box, which will have automatically been set to "Reading lists." Otherwise, search for the desired reading list under one of the four tabs available on the Reading Lists Task List page.
  3. For the reading list you wish to remove, click the associated "More actions" ellipsis.
    An image of the Reading Lists Task List screen with the more actions ellipsis highlighted
  4. From the resulting drop down menu, click on the "Remove associated course" option.
    An image of the Reading Lists Task List screen with the more actions menu deployed and the option remove associated course highlighted
  5. If the reading list was only associated with one course then the screen will remain the same (though the options available under the "More actions" ellipsis will change) and there is nothing further you need to do in this workflow. If the reading list is associated with more than one course the Edit Reading List screen will open and you will proceed to step 6.
  6. Locate the course you want to disassociate from the reading list and click on the "More actions" ellipsis.
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with a more actions ellipsis highlighted
  7. Click on "Remove Association."
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with the more actions drop down menu deployed and the remove association option highlighted
  8. Click the "Save" button.
    An image of the Edit Reading List screen with the save button highlighted
  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Reading Lists." 
  2. If you know the unique code for the reading list you are looking for, you can enter it into the persistent search box, which will have automatically been set to "Reading lists." Otherwise, search for the desired reading list under one of the four tabs available on the Reading Lists Task List page.
  3. For the reading list you wish to delete, click the associated "More actions" ellipsis.
    An image of the Reading Lists Task List screen with the more actions ellipsis highlighted
  4. Select the "Delete" option from the drop down menu.
    An image of the Reading Lists Task List screen with the more actions drop down menu deployed and the delete option highlighted
  5. A pop up screen will appear. Click the "Confirm" button.
    An image of a confirmation message pop up screen with the confirm button highlighted
  1. Under the Fulfillment drop down menu, select "Courses."
    An image of the main Alma screen with the fulfillment menu deployed and courses highlighted
  2. A list of courses will appear. Click on the "More actions" ellipsis for the course you wish to delete.
    An image of the course screen with a more actions ellipsis highlighted
  3. Select the "Delete" option from the drop down menu.
    An image of the courses screen with a more actions ellipsis deployed and the delete option highlighted
  4. A pop up screen will appear. Click the "Confirm" button.
    An image of a confirmation message pop up screen with the confirm button highlighted