Related product I-Share

Alma & Primo VE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Over the course of the Alma & Primo VE implementation project, CARLI staff will work with the Ex Libris implementation team to answer questions as they arise. If you have questions not represented here, please consult with your library's Alma/Primo Liaison and submit your questions to .

FAQ last updated 4/17/2020


General Questions

What are the most recent updates on the migration?

Highlights on the migration project are posted on the Weekly Alma and Primo VE Project Updates page.

When will my library be migrated to Alma & Primo VE?

CARLI: The plan is to cutover all 91 I-Share libraries to Alma and Primo VE in June 2020. We may have to do some of the final implementation tasks in batches of I-Share libraries, but overall, the plan is to keep the consortium together and not prolong the cutover. We will have a complete test installation run before final cutover, which allows you to do your troubleshooting on the test installation and, hopefully, make the cutover to production a much quicker process than the test round.
Answered 2/21/2019

Now that we've moved past the test installation, do we know when the cutover to production will occur?

CARLI: Our target date for going live on Alma is June 24, 2020. On that day, libraries will begin performing daily activities in Alma instead of in Voyager. The extract of data from Voyager is expected to begin 6 to 8 weeks prior, sometime between May 1 and May 15. 
Answered 1/10/2020

Will library staff be expected to travel for off-site training or classes?

CARLI: The Ex Libris Knowledge Center contains several online training modules, including introductory videos and exercises that can be used with Alma sandboxes by any library staff. The site also includes online certification courses targeted at, “Administrators and system librarians, and those who are tasked with making system-critical decisions should plan on becoming certified Alma Administrators at their institutions.” Library staff do not need to be certified to use Alma or Primo VE.

CARLI has also contracted for 2-day, in-person training sessions with Ex Libris. Day one of each session covers technical services workflows; day two covers configuration and fulfillment workflows. Four sessions were held during Fall 2019. Six sessions have been scheduled for January and February 2020, and registration is now open for these sessions: January 14-15 @ Northern Illinois University; January 16-18 @ Parkland College; February 4-5 @ Monmouth College; February 6-7 @ Harper College; February 25-26 @ Lewis and Clark Community College; and February 27-28 @ Heartland Community College.
Answer revised 12/23/2019

When we receive our test environments, will they contain sample data or my library's actual data?

CARLI: Alma test enviroments were delivered to libraries in November 2019. Your test environment contains your library's data as of the date that they were extracted from Voyager.
Answer revised 12/23/2019

How much of my library's test environment data will be retained over the production migration?

CARLI: In addition to your institution's configuration and integration details, the following types of data will be retained from the test environment to your production environment:

  • Libraries
  • Locations
  • Vendors
  • User records of Record Type "Staff" (not to be confused with any "Staff" or "SS" user groups)
  • User records of Record Type "Public" that have Alma staff roles assigned.
  • Analytics reports

Other data, such as patron user records, bibliographic and inventory records, and acquisitions data will be refreshed from your extracted Voyager data.
Answered 1/10/2020; Revised 1/28/2020

My library uses a link resolver product other than the CARLI-supported SFX. Will my library be able to migrate link resolver data into Alma & Primo? Will there be a cost for this migration?

CARLI: CARLI has contracted for each I-Share institution to migrate their e-resources data into Alma. This includes link resolver data from sources such as ProQuest 360 Services and EBSCO Full Text Finder. There will be no additional cost for that migration. Alma's data and link-resolving services will be comparable to that in the 360 products. Each library will need to decide whether to continue using these services after migrating to Alma.
Answered 3/15/2019; Revised 1/28/2020

Will my library be able to use functionality in Alma that we didn't use in Voyager (e.g., course reserves, acquisitions)?

CARLI: Yes! Alma is a unified resource management system, which will allow I-Share libraries the ability to manage their print and electronic resources and services in a single environment. After migration, libraries may begin using workflows that they previously used other systems to manage. Libraries do not need to implement any of these new options on Day One in Alma; instead, libraries should prioritize the workflows that are currently in use.
Answer revised 12/23/2019

What are the system requirements for Alma? Will my library need to buy new hardware (e.g., barcode scanners, workstations, printers, etc.)?

CARLI: Alma and Primo VE are cloud-based solutions, which do not require specific hardware to run local clients. Institutions will need workstations that meet local system requirements and use an updated web browser on a display of at least 17 inches. You may wish to review Ex Libris' recommended display and browser specifications.

Printing from Alma may require new configurations. As a cloud solution, Alma is not designed to printing directly to a workstation or network printer. Institutions may choose to invest in printers that have dedicated email addresses for printing notices or charge receipts. Libraries may also have print jobs sent to their email software and then print to attached printers. Libraries and their technical support teams should review Ex Libris' technical requirements for printing.

Alma does not have any requirements for specific types of barcode readers. Most common point-of-sale model barcode readers should effectively scan library barcodes, which are typically CODABAR or Code 39 barcode symbologies.

Libraries and technical staff may view the complete list of Ex Libris' technical requirements in the Ex Libris Knowledge Center, which is open to use without a login credential.
Answer revised 3/15/2019

What is Alma Mobile? Is it included with the Alma service? What kind of devices are supported?

CARLI: Alma Mobile is included in the Alma service as a way for library staff to extend Alma functionality away from fixed service points. For more information, refer to the Introduction to Alma Mobile page in the Ex Libris Knowledge Center.
Answered 4/18/2019

We are a CARLI member institution, but we don't currently use I-Share. What would it cost for us to move to I-Share on Alma, and when could we make that move?

CARLI: CARLI does not yet have Ex Libris Alma Primo pricing or I-Share assessment estimates for libraries that are not currently in I-Share. We anticipate being online with Alma Primo in mid-2020 and our current expectation is that we would gather that pricing data in 2021 and potentially open applications for I-Share participation in 2022.
Answered 3/21/2019

What is the difference between the Sandboxes and my Institution's Alma Environment?​

CARLI: Your institution's Alma Environment contains your migrated Voyager data and link resolver data (if provided), as of August 2019. The URL will have the form This is the "test load" data that was provided to Ex Libris, and along with your migration and configuration forms, used to establish your Alma Environment. This URL will continue to be your permanent URL to access Alma even after June 24, 2020 when we go-live on Alma with your production data loads.

The Sandbox environments are five Alma/Primo VE instances that contain generic data provided by Ex Libris. Each URL starts with https://sandbox... They do not contain any real data from any I-Share institutions even though each Sandbox is named after one of our 5 Vanguard sites due to Ex Libris naming conventions. These Sandbox environments are available for all libraries to test different user roles (using the pre-configured user and user role combinations shared via the "Directions and Best Practices for Sandboxes" document referenced below), configuration options, and a place to safely "play" with test metadata, especially after go-live in June 2020.  "Directions and Best Practices for Sandboxes" have been shared along with access URLs and logins via the Alma Primo VE contacts email list, at in person training sessions, and via your library's Box Folder.

It is important to note that when you login to, this is your institution's Alma Environment, not a Sandbox. Changes to configurations will persist between the test phase (now through May) and go-live. Changes to data will not persist between test and go-live as all data will be reloaded prior to June 24, 2020.

How can I sign up for System Status Alerts for Alma and Primo VE

Your library’s Alma instance is hosted on the ExLibris "NA06" environment, where the NA stands for the North America. If you wish, you and other library staff can sign up for System Status alerts for that environment here:

Discovery Services

Where can I find more information about Primo VE? I understand it will be the public interface for the catalog, but is it also a discovery interface? Is there an extra cost for libraries to use Primo VE as a discovery interface?

CARLI: A good place to start reviewing Primo information is the Primo VE area of the Ex Libris Knowledge Center. Primo VE includes access to the Primo Central Index (called the Central Discovery Index as of Feb. 2020), which makes Primo a fully-implemented discovery service. This service is included in CARLI's Alma & Primo VE contract, and as such, will be covered by your library's I-Share assessment.
Answered 4/18/2019; Rev. 1/7/2020

What are the future plans for VuFind? Could my library continue to use VuFind after switching to Alma?

CARLI: CARLI will not provide a VuFind interface to Alma. This is a major change that came late in our selection process as Ex Libris has changed the implementation of Primo. The new Primo, called Primo VE, uses the same configuration tools as Alma and also provides real-time item status information from Alma to Primo VE. Ex Libris is now bundling the two products and so our purchase of Alma includes Primo VE and Primo VE includes the central knowledge base of e-resource content that was previously provided through (old) Primo. VuFind does not and would not provide this e-resource content linking that will be available through Primo VE, so for that and other reasons, we will not be putting VuFind on top of Alma.
Answered 2/21/2019; Rev. 1/7/2020

My library uses a third party discovery service (e.g., EDS, Summon). Will we be able to continue using that service after migrating to Alma?

CARLI: I-Share libraries that are currently using third-party discovery services primarily chose those products to serve as alternatives to VuFind and/or the Voyager WebVoyáge catalog interface so that they could integrate e-resource discovery with their catalog search results. E-resource discovery was not an option in VuFind or WebVoyáge, but it is an integral part of Primo VE. We would strongly encourage libraries using third-party products to re-evaluate them in comparison to Primo VE, in terms of functionality, cost, and the ongoing effort your library staff would need to invest in the support of third-party products.

Primo VE will serve as the standard interface to the I-Share union catalog and the individual member institutions’ catalogs. Primo VE also serves as an e-resource discovery service. It makes use of a central knowledge base of e-resources and will take advantage of the e-resource management work you will do in Alma by presenting your users with access to the materials licensed by your library and CARLI. Also, the ongoing effort of making sure a third-party service is working with Alma will require more of your attention than it has with Voyager as Ex Libris performs monthly software updates to Alma and Primo, and all customers receive these software updates on this same monthly schedule. Also, the Primo VE product is included in the price CARLI will be paying for Alma and is not a cost that can be split out for libraries that choose not to use it.

Alma is designed to be an open product and has API’s that can be used to provide access to and from other discovery products. If after considering Primo VE, your library wishes to stay with another product, we encourage you to quickly begin working with the vendor of that product for advice on integrating it with Alma and to be prepared to do a considerable amount of product integration work and testing during the early spring of 2020 so that you are able to be ready for a June 2020 Alma deployment.
Answered 2/21/2019

What is the Ex Libris Central Discovery Index (CDI)?

The Central Discovery Index (CDI) is a searchable database of citations collected from scholarly e-resources including journal articles, e-books, legal documents and more. They are harvested from thousands of primary and secondary commercial publishers and aggregators, and from open-access repositories. CDI is also a relational database between citations rather than just an aggregated list of abstracts or citations. This enables linking features like those between a book review and the book in question or a book chapter and the entire book. By default, CDI will try to display at the top of the results list material where the full text is available for your users based on your local subscriptions or subscriptions that CARLI provides to members of the consortium. 

 For more information, see:

PPT slides

The Ex Libris Central Discovery Index (CDI) - An Overview.
February 27, 2020 Office Hours
Answered 1/7/2020; Rev. 11/24/2020, 7/23/2021, 02/02/2022

I want to embed links to Primo VE in various indexes and full text resources. What’s the base link resolver URL for my library’s Alma instance?

This is the URL given to database vendors and often filled in the interface admin module for Open URL link resolving from citations. If you were an SFX library, this was*** where *** is your library’s three letter code.

Complete documentation can be found at on the Configuring the Services Page for Primo VE.  Below are the correct element configurations for I-Share libraries:

  • Primo_domain – Specify the domain for your Primo server = (where xxx is your library's three-letter I-Share code in lowercase)
  • Alma_institution_code – Specify the institution code defined in Alma = 01CARLI_XXX (where XXX is your library's three-letter I-Share code in UPPERCASE)
  • view_code – Specify the code that is defined for your view on the View Configuration page = by default this will be 01CARLI_XXX:CARLI_XXX (where XXX is your library's three-letter I-Share code in UPPERCASE) unless you have created another view
  • Final base URL looks like this:

Please note that the string must end with a question mark (?)
Answered 1/7/2020

What are some other libraries outside of I-Share that are using Primo VE?

Primo VE is a separate application from Primo Classic. CARLI I-Share libraries are implementing Primo VE, not Primo Classic.  When viewing other libraries' catalogs, one way to determine if a Primo catalog is Classic or VE is to look for "primo-explore" in the URL. If you see "primo-explore" then it is Primo Classic and any customizations made to that catalog are likely not applicable to the CARLI I-Share implementation of Primo VE. For example, Northwestern University uses Primo Classic, not Primo VE.

There is a list kept by ELUNA of sites using Primo VE and Primo Classic. (Please note that this list may not necessarily be up to date.)

Some other consortia that recently went live with Alma and Primo VE are:

Answered 1/7/2020

I'm getting zero results when I conduct a search in Primo VE with the WorldCat API search slot. How do I fix this?

CARLI: Check that the correct WorldCat API has been input into Alma here: Alma Configuration > Discovery > Search Configuration > Search Profiles > Other Indexes tab > WORLDCAT_API. If the API key is not correct, edit it to fix it in Alma, save, and try searching Primo VE again. If the API key is correct as far as you know, you will need to check with OCLC to make sure that you have the correct API key information and that it is current, valid, and has the proper permissions.
Answered 2/4/2020; Rev. 2/20/2020

I'm getting no results when I conduct a search in Primo VE with EBSCO API search slot. How do I fix this?

CARLI: First, make sure you are logged into Primo VE.  Second, check the string of EBSCOhost database codes that are configured in Alma to look for and remove and codes for unlicensed databases. For more information, see CARLI's page Primo VE and the EBSCO Databases.
Answered 2/4/2020; Rev. 2/20/2020

Does Primo VE’s “Everything” or “Articles” searching include EBSCOHost database indexing or the EBSCO API searches?

“Everything"  or “Articles”  do NOT include the results of the EBSCO API searches regardless of whether the user is logged in or not.

The Primo VE Central Discovery Index (CDI) does NOT include _indexing _ from EBSCOHost databases. However, CDI does contain citations from many of the same journals, conferences, newspapers, etc. that are indexed in your library's EBSCOHost databases. Many are also indexed in other vendors' databases that do feed their info into CDI either via your IZ active e-collections, free indexes like ERIC or Medline or Ex Libris' harvested information from publishers and open access repositories. Regardless of the source of the citation, Primo VE will connect to _full text_ in EBSCOHost databases.

Answered 5/22/2020

In the Primo VE search box, what are the search options that I see in the dropdown on the right side?

Ex Libris created a set of default search slots when they set up Primo VE.  All I-Share institutions should have:

  • Everything - Blended search of all physical/print, electronic, and digital records in your IZ and your institution’s Central Index profile
  • Library Catalog - Searches all physical/print, electronic, and digital records in your IZ
  • Articles - Searches all records belonging to your institution’s Central Index profile
  • All I-Share Libraries - Searches all physical/print, electronic, and digital records in this IZ; all physical/print records in the CARLI NZ; and all physical/print records in any other I-Share institution’s IZ whether or not records are linked to the NZ.

Some I-Share institutions will have:

  • Course Reserves - Defined if requested on Alma Configuration Form. This can be added later if desired. (Course Reserves may need to be configured in other areas to be fully functional.)
  • EBSCO API - Searches EBSCO. For more information see CARLI's page Primo VE and the EBSCO Databases
  • WorldCat API - Searches WorldCat. Defined if valid WorldCat credentials were provided on the Alma Configuration Form. Can be added later if desired.

Answered 2/20/2020

Will Primo VE Permalinks change between the Test and Production/Cutover loads? We need to update our webpages/LibGuides with links into Primo VE.

We’ve heard from several libraries who have direct links to individual items in their VuFind or WebVoyage catalog, or have links to specific searches for predefined terms, that they use on library webpages or LibGuides.  The Permalinks you see in Primo VE during the Test Phase WILL CHANGE after the data are deleted and the fresh extract of your Voyager data are loaded into Alma and Primo VE for the production/cutover load. Therefore, DO NOT copy any Permalinks from Primo VE at this time. Wait until after we are live on Alma and Primo VE to copy Permalinks for updating your webpages and LibGuides.

However, predefined URLs for SEARCHES will persist, so it is ok to begin updating those now. In Primo VE, simply do the search—you may want to use the Advanced Search options or use a specific search slot—add any facets you desire, and once you are retrieving the search results you’d like, copy the URL from your web browser.

Answered 4/16/2020

Can I make a search box for Primo VE to put on my webpage?

Yes, see the information posted here.

Answered 4/17/2020

Acquisitions and Serials

The timeframe for going live, Summer 2020, looks to be intertwined with the timeline for my library's fiscal year close. What approach do you recommend for doing both?

CARLI: We will keep Voyager and our reports environment available for at least several months after the anticipated Go Live date in June 2020. We anticipate doing a lot of planning as to how best to meet the Go Live date as well as our libraries’ needs to close out the fiscal year. This is something we will be planning in collaboration with the membership over the next several months.
Answered 2/21/2019

My library's Voyager Acquisitions client has a lot of old vendor data that we don't want to keep? Can I just start over with new vendors in Alma?

CARLI: CARLI has contracted with Ex Libris for each library to migrate their acquisitions data in full, so there is no additional cost for you to do so. There is also no requirement to migrate your acquisitions data if that is your preference; you may opt out now or later without penalty. However, a library may not opt in to migrating acquisitions data later without probably incurring costs from Ex Libris. You should choose the approach that works best for your operational needs and institutional data retention requirements.

If you choose to migrate acquisitions data, all existing data in Voyager will be migrated. Because of the dependencies among vendors, orders, and funds, it is not possible to migrate only one type of data but not others (e.g., migrate orders but no vendors). The migration process provides ways to declare older fund, order, and invoice records as closed.

If you choose to not migrate any acquisitions data and start over from scratch in Alma, you may still have some database maintenance to perform to prevent associated data from migrating.
Answered 3/15/2019

Cataloging and Resource Management

My library performs routine authorities maintenance of name headings for our bibliographic records. Should we continue to perform this maintenance prior to the move to Alma? Will our efforts affect the Network Zone record?

CARLI: When we go to Alma, we will have a Network Zone that takes over the function of the union catalog. In Alma, the Network Zone is built using a first-in premise. That is, the first copy of a record that gets added becomes the "master record." This master record is a shared bibliographic record that will be linked to your local records in your Institution Zone. Linked institution and network zone records will be updated automatically when updates are made to either version; institution zone records may also have local fields to preserve locally-relevant bib-level data.
While we're still in Voyager, there remain benefits from continuing to improve bib records. Updating headings in bib records improves access to records and resources in both your library's catalog and the I-Share union catalogs. 
The I-Share Network Zone in Alma will be created by using the existing I-Share union catalog database (i.e., the resources found when searching All Libraries in VuFind 0.6). Since the union catalog in Voyager is updated by each library's improvements to bib records, libraries should continue current authority maintenance up to the time of migration. 
Answered 3/15/2019; revised 5/23/2019; revised 1/24/2020

We are trying to prioritize our catalog data clean-up efforts in advance of migration to Alma, but we see that there are many records and projects needing attention. What is the most critical clean-up we should perform?

CARLI's Technical Services Committee has reviewed and prioritized the different clean-up projects into the order that will provide the best data moving forward. It's best to start at the top of the list and move down, even if you see that a project listed lower may have a higher record count. If your time and staff are limited to choosing only one project, then work on the project to resolve conflicts when item records have permanent locations different from the location in the MFHD.

Answered 4/19/2019

Will records suppressed at the time of the migration come over as suppressed or will they potentially be converted as unsuppressed?

CARLI: The Alma migration process respects the existing state of record suppression. Bibliographic and holding records that are unsuppressed in Voyager will be unsuppressed in Alma. Records that are suppressed in Voyager will be suppressed in Alma.

If suppressed bibliographic and holdings records are included on a library's "P2E" list, the library will have to specify on the migration form survey whether to create electronic portfolios, packages, or databases for those records during migration. How you answer these questions will affect the state of suppression, as described on the migration form survey.
Updated 3/27/2020

My Voyager bibliographic records now contain a 959 field with the bib ID. How did these fields get added and why? Do catalogers need to manually add this field to records we add or replace?

CARLI: CARLI staff have added the 959 field to bib records in most* I-Share databases as a way to preserve the Voyager bib ID through migration into Alma. The migration process moves the bib ID from the 001 field into the 035 when the record is first added to an Alma institution zone (IZ). Then, IZ records are linked to the network zone (NZ), and the NZ bib becomes the record seen in institutions, and only fields designated as local extensions will still be preserved for the IZ record. The 959 field is a local extension that can be searched separately in Alma. CARLI believes that libraries will want to keep track of the Voyager bib ID for testing the accuracy of migration, but also for coordinating upkeep of reports and/or links from external sites, such as LibGuides.

I-Share library catalogers do not need to manually add this field to new record or to records being replaced. Once CARLI finishes its first pass, adding 959 data to all databases, we will implement a routine to scan databases for records that do not have the 959 field and add the field to those records. We hope to do this on a weekly basis up to the production migration in May 2020.

(* As of 1/9/2020, 84 databases have been updated.)
Answered 1/9/2020

What is the most efficient way to add 959 fields to bulk-imported catalog records or, do we really need to add 959s to all of our records?

CARLI: CARLI staff will add 959s to records before the final extraction- there is no need to change your process at this time.
Answered 2/4/2020

What fields can I use for local data?

CARLI: In planning for production migration, you can set aside the 09X, 59X, 69X, 950-955, 96X, 97X, 98X, 99X ranges for your local data. We advise against making the 77X/78X fields as local. You will also have to make sure data are moved to these fields prior to migration, if the data are currently in other fields (i.e., 650, 541, etc.).
Answered 2/4/2020

What is the Physical to Electronic “P2E” Process?

CARLI: Alma is a Unified Resource Management System:  it can manage electronic resources side-by-side with print resources, without imposing the typical bibliographic-holding-item record structure onto e-resources. If there are MARC bib and holding records for electronic items in your Voyager database, the P2E process will convert these data (and any associated orders) into records that are more appropriate to electronic workflows (e.g., licensing, activation, access terms, etc.).

CARLI has run a report that identifies what we believe to be the bib records for e-resources you currently have in Voyager.  By July 9 your library will have indicated which of these records represents a portfolio (title level), package (group of portfolios), or database and sent the file back to us as described in the P2E Video. Then, during migration, the P2E process transformed the MARC records into active e-resource inventory (portfolios, packages, or databases). If these records have associated purchase orders, those will have also been transformed into e order types during the process. This will also result in these resources being presented as e-resources to your patrons in PrimoVE. More information on P2E and the deadlines associated with it can be found on the main Alma Primo VE page.
Answered 6/25/2019; revised 1/21/2020

Network Zone

What e-resources will be active for all libraries in the Network Zone (NZ)?

CARLI staff will activate all CARLI licensed databases and ebooks and selected free/Open Access collections in the NZ.  More information on current and planned NZ collections is on CARLI website.


Voyager provides back-end reporting capabilities via Oracle and ODBC. Will we have a similar reporting interface for Alma?

CARLI: Alma will include the Oracle Business Analytics service for data analysis and reporting. Because of the differences between client server and cloud hosted architectures, the functionality is not the same was with our current reporting setup. This is standard in Alma for all customers.
Answered 2/21/2019

If I have created reports in the Analytics area, will those reports be saved over the production migration?

CARLI: Yes, objects that you create in Analytics will be preserved over migration.
Answered 1/28/2020

Alma Configuration

What is the "Resource Sharing Library" and do I need to configure it?

We currently think that at institutions with only one Alma library, or, at institutions where resource sharing is integrated into one of the existing library's workflows rather than being a separately located campus department, those institutions will most likely NOT end up using the "Resource Sharing" library that Ex Libris adds by default to each Alma environment. (The Resource Sharing library should NOT be deleted, however, even if it ends up not being used).
We'll be doing some more testing of resource sharing workflows in December/January, and will have more information about the pros/cons of using that separate Resource Sharing library as a part of workflows.
For now, you do not need to set configurations for the Resource Sharing Library (it would not be harmful if you did, but it's likely to be unnecessary work).
Answered 11/21/2019

If you have questions not represented here, please consult with your library's Alma/Primo Liaison and submit your questions to .