Related product I-Share

CARLI Recommendations on Local Fields in Primo VE for I-Share

Revised: September 12, 2023

Local Fields Overview

Local Fields for Primo VE are additional MARC bibliographic fields—beyond the default fields that are preconfigured in the system—that can be configured to display and be used for search and faceting.  I-Share institutions are able to set up Local Fields for Primo VE in their Alma IZs, but in our shared consortial environment, Local Fields have effects beyond just your local Primo VE instance. 

Local Fields in Primo VE can be created by two methods: the MARC21 Fields Method or the Normalization Rule Method.  For more details on these two methods, see below.

Current Concerns for Local Fields in the I-Share Environment

In a shared Primo VE network environment such as CARLI's, Ex Libris documentation strongly advises against individual Institution Zones (IZ) using the Local Fields Normalization Rule Method unless those Normalization Rules are coordinated and identical across the consortium in every IZ and the Network Zone (NZ). CARLI staff are investigating further to understand the full extent of this recommendation, but early tests suggest that if the Normalization Rules are not coordinated and identical, users may see record data differently depending on how and where they search.

Even with the Local Fields MARC21 Field Method (see the "How to Create Local Fields" section below on more information about this method of creating Local Fields), Ex Libris documentation recommends that consistent usage of Local Fields across IZs is desirable so that a user does not experience changing display data when switching search scope or when switching between their local Primo VE view for their institution and the Primo VE Union View.

CARLI's Current Recommendations on Local Fields for I-Share Institutions

I-Share institutions can set up and configure Local Fields in Primo VE for display, searching, or facets by using the MARC21 Field Method.

If an I-Share institution has a MARC bibliographic field that you would like to display that is not possible using the MARC21 Field Method—that is, outside of the set 009, 09X, 490, 5XX, 69X, 9XX, or a field within that set that requires conditional logic—contact so that we can maintain a list of such fields for future consortial consideration.

I-Share institutions SHOULD NOT configure any Local Fields for Primo VE using the Normalization Rule Method until CARLI has a better understanding of how this method affects the record data that users can view in Primo VE in our consortial network environment. 

If your institution has already used the Normalization Rule Method to create Local Fields, please notify at so that we can work with you to consider and test consortial implications.

CARLI's Future Plans for Local Fields

With the help of the CARLI Discovery Primo VE Committee, CARLI plans to configure a set of common fields for display that will be distributed from the NZ to all I-Share IZs in Local Fields 51-100 before the end of 2023. It is possible that not all 50 fields would be distributed at once; CARLI would roll out and distribute field in batches as they are identified. Once these consortial Local Fields have been distributed, an I-Share institution could choose to set the field(s) for display in their Primo VE. CARLI will create and provide instructions for this configuration.  If you have any suggestions for Local Fields to be configured consortially, please submit them to the CARLI Discovery Primo VE Committee or to for consideration. Thank you!

How to Create Local Fields for I-Share Institutions

Local Fields in Primo VE can be created by two methods--the MARC21 Fields Method or the Normalization Rule Method--but as discussed above, I-Share institutions should use the MARC21 Fields Method.   The Ex Libris documentation Managing and Displaying Local Fields for Primo VE describes all possible options for how to create Local Fields, but a straightforward overview of the process using the MARC21 Fields Method is as follows.

You will need to role of Discovery Admin to create local fields using the MARC21 Fields Method:

  1. On the Manage Display and Local Fields page (Alma Configuration Menu > Discovery > Display Configuration > Manage display and local fields), click on the "Add field" link.
  2. Select "Add local field" from the Add field drop-down list.
  3. The Define a Local Field page will open.
  4. Choose the Field to edit from the dropdown list and input the Display label you wish to use.
  5. In the "Local field details" section, check the boxes to choose the options you want for this field. (See Step 3 in "Adding a Local Field" for descriptions of these options).
  6. In the "MARC21 Fields" section, click Add MARC21 Fields to choose the MARC field(s) from the available list (009, 09X, 490, 5XX, 69X, and 9XX) that should make up this Local Field. You may choose one or multiple fields. Note: if the field you wish to use is not listed here, that means it cannot be configured using the MARC21 Fields Method; please contact NOTE: DO NOT configure the "MARC21 Normalization Rules" section below it containing the "MARC21 normalization rule for display"; leave that default rule unedited.
  7. Click Save to create the local field and to return to the Manage Display and Local Fields page.
  8. Back on the Manage Display and Local Rules page with the list of local fields that have been configured, click the "Apply rules" link in the upper right.
  9. Now that the Local Field has been established, you now need to configure it to display in the Brief or Full record views, and/or add it to the Advanced Search page, and/or add the Facet to display in the search results, depending on what you would like to use the field for:

How toAdd a Field to a Display Line in the Brief Record – This procedure allows you to add the local field to a display line in the record's brief record section.

How toConfigure the Details Service to add the field to the Full Record – This procedure allows you to display the local field in the Details section on the full record display page.

How to Add a Search Index – This procedure allows you to add the local search field on the Advanced Search page. You must have checked "Enable field for search" in the field definition.

How toAdd a Local Facet – This procedure allows you to add the local facet on the Brief Results page. You must have checked "Enable field for facet" in the field definition.


Additional Facts about Local Fields

Primo VE comes pre-configured with a set of MARC bibliographic fields for display, search, and facets.  

  • Most but not all of the fields are set to display automatically.
  • Most but not all of the fields are set to be searched automatically.
  • Some of the fields are set to be used as facets automatically.

See Primo VE Default Display Fields for a list of fields that are configured in Alma/Primo VE by default, which fields display in Primo VE by default, and which fields are configured but need to be turned on to display.  The Ex Libris document Mapping to the Display, Facets, and Search Sections in the Primo VE Record details the mapping of MARC bibliographic data for display, searching, and faceting in Primo VE.

An IZ can have up to 50 Local Fields (01-50). As a consortium, CARLI can distribute up to 50 more Local Fields from the NZ (51-100), for a total of 100 possible Local Fields.

On the Alma Configuration Form I-Share libraries filled out in Fall 2019, some institutions listed specific local fields that Ex Libris staff set up during the creation of our test Alma/Primo VE instances.

Local Fields. vs. Local Extensions

Local Fields should not be confused with Local Extensions, which are a set of fields (09X, 59X, 69X, 77X, 78X, 9XX) that can be applied to bibliographic records in Alma to indicate local IZ data in a shared network bib record.