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Choosing the Right E-collection from the Alma Community Zone (CZ)


When your library purchases an electronic subscription or finds a useful free/open access collection, you may activate the e-collection in your institution zone. This web page introduces procedures and tips for selecting the best Alma Community Zone e-collection.

Step by step How to activate an e-collection instructions are available on a different CARLI web page.

Last updated 5/22/2023.

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  • Gather as much information as you can on your library's new or changed e-resource subscription from acquisition documents or colleagues.
    • If purchased via  CARLI Selection System check there for more information.
      • Note: if you do not have a CARLI Selection System account, check with your colleagues to identify who has an account at your library or email to ask about a read-only CARLI Selection System account. 
    • If an EBSCOhost resource, check their EBSCOhost Database Short Names List to identify the short name for your subscription. The short names are usually in the linking information for the Alma e-collection.
    • If a ProQuest resource, check their database listings (scroll down to "Products A-Z" section) to get official name for the e-resource.
    • If an Ovid resource, see "Ovid Collections KBART" for their e-collection codes that may be in Alma Electronic Collection names.
    • For other vendors, check their administrative or sales web sites for the official name(s) of your new or changed e-resources.
  • Determine which type of Alma e-collection you are looking for.
    • Selective Package - e-collection where the library buys only some selected full text titles. Example: Ovid Journals.
    • Aggregator Package - e-collection including 100% of the full text titles at the time of purchase and also going forward.  Example: "JSTOR Arts & Sciences I."
    • Database - indexing only with no full text titles. In the CZ, these e-collections have _zero portfolios_. Example:  MLA Bibliography.
  • Note:
    • Aggregator and selective packages are activated at the collection level.
    • For selective packages, only some portfolios are activated dependent on your library's purchase history.
    • For both aggregator and selective packages, title availability is determined only by the provider/publisher and may change at any time.
  • You can also refer to the CARLI webpage Alma Community Zone (CZ) Electronic Collection IDs that lists products from the Selection System and their corresponding information in Alma to help identify the correct Alma collection(s) and portfolio(s).
  1. Log into your Alma institution zone (IZ). Check your "User Details" Roles section. Make sure you have these roles active:
    • Electronic Inventory Operator
    • Electronic Inventory Operator Extended
    • Repository Manager
    • CDI Inventory Operator (if need to edit CDI settings)
  2. Look up the e-collection by "Electronic Collection Name" or "Keyword" in the  Community Zone.

Look up 1.gif  orLook up 2.gif

3. Compare the name and number of portfolios for any Aggregator or Selective packages in the CZ with your library's chosen e-resources. If possible, compare the title list obtained from the vendor with the CZ e-collections title list to find the closest possible match.

You can export the portfolios list from a CZ e-collection without activation to match against your library's entitlements list.

Look up the e-collection in the CZ and click on "Portfolios."

CZ Portfolio list 1.gif

4. You may examine the list of portfolios/titles by exporting the list from the CZ. Click on the "Export" icon to create a list in MS Excel. 

CZ Portfolio list 2.gif

"Extended Export" yields the most information. Excel "All Fields" has more information than "Current View."

CZ Portfolio Export.gif

The exact number of portfolios may not match the number of titles because of title name or ISSN/ISBN changes. However, a discrepancy of more than a few titles should be investigated.

5. See tips on facets, consortial versions, linking URLS and other e-collection details on this web page to assist in selecting the best matching e-collection.

You may be able to narrow the Electronic Collection name search results down using one of the interface facets on the left-hand side of the screen. If your library has purchased the e-collection from Gale for example, you would click on "Galegroup" to show only that one result from your search. If the e-collection is a periodicals package, you would select "Journal Package" to show only those results.

Facets Ex1.jpg

Similarly, you can select the Selective, Aggregator or Database type e-collection as appropriate.

Facets Ex2.jpg

Do not select Alma CZ e-collections that include U.S. or international library consortia/organizations in the e-collection's name.


  • BACON (French)
  • Bibsam (Swedish) 
  • CAUL (Australian) 
  • CAUL/CBUA (Canadian
  • CRKN (Canadian) 
  • COUPERIN (French)
  • JISC (UK)
  • KB+ JISC (UK)
  • LIBER (European)
  • Lyrasis (U.S.)
  • NERL (U.S.)
  • NKRC (Asian)
  • OhioLink (U.S.)
  • Orbis Cascade (U.S.)
  • SCELC (U.S.)
  • VIVA (U.S.)
  • ZBW (German)

The collection or portfolio linking information may assist in narrowing down choices. Examine the "Linking" tab in the e-collection's "Electronic Service Editor" or for portfolios, in their "Linking" tab.

For example, sometimes the linking URL or linking service parameter shows the EBSCOhost short name:
 Linking Tab.jpg

"db_host=bsh" matches with the EBSCO short name 'bsh' for "EBSCOHost Business Source Elite."

You can use the CZ activation usage information to see which of similar e-collections has been most frequently activated in North America. For example:

Pick example 2.gif


If there is no matching CZ e-collection, consider creating a local e-collection in your IZ. For more information see "Adding a Local Electronic Collection" on "Managing Electronic Resources."