Named Users FAQ

October 12, 2021

Overview

"Named Users" are active users records in Alma that have been assigned any role that can log into Alma. This includes all roles except Patron, Instructor, and Trial Participant. Alma pricing is based on a metric that counts titles, e-journals, and Named Users, and CARLI's Ex Libris Alma license permits us 2162 Named Users across all 89 I-Share institutions and the CARLI Office staff. To keep our total number of Named Users under that contractual limit, all I-Share institutions should review Named Users in their IZ and eliminate any that are not needed.

The Named Users count has nothing to do with the number of patron records you have, nor does it have anything to do with whether your staff logins are managed internally in Alma or externally via a SIS update, nor is it impacted by what system, if any, your institution may be using to manage single sign-on authentication for your staff and patrons.

I-Share institutions should use the Staff Login Report in Alma and the Analytics reports to review their Named Users. Once you have identified Named User records that are longer needed in your institution’s Alma, Deactivate the user record or remove the staff roles from the user record.  For our initial reduction project, please complete your first review by December 1, 2021. While there is not a specific limit of Named Users for each I-Share institution, CARLI is currently exceeding our contractual shared limit of 2162. On an ongoing basis, each I-Share institution should conduct this review and cleanup at least once per year according to the Best Practice Recommendations for Named Users in I-Share.

CARLI I-Share Named User Documentation

CARLI’s Named User documentation is linked on the User Management page.
Best Practice Recommendations for Named Users in I-Share
How to Identify Named Users
How to Deactivate Named Users
Best Practice Recommendations for Creating Generic Shared User Accounts in Alma for I-Share
Best Practice Recommendations for Back-Up Admin Accounts in Alma for I-Share Institutions using Single Sign-on
CARLI Named User Management video - 24 minutes, recorded Sept. 1, 2021 - an updated version of the August 26 Office Hours presentation on Named Users

Announcements

Named User Reduction Progress

Goal: 2162 Named Users for all I-Share institutions and CARLI staff

Aug. 17, 2021: 4322

Sept. 1, 2021: 4287

Sept. 9, 2021: 3117

Oct. 12, 2021: 3584 (includes 534 new, temporary users for IHLS staff assisting with the Alma Title Count Reduction Project)

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Named Users

number of named users

Q: How many Named User should my institution have?

A: We do not have a specific number of Named Users per institution.  Our Alma contract and pricing are based on aggregate totals across all 89 I-Share institutions and the CARLI Office staff.  Every I-Share institution should have as many Named Users as they need to operate their library securely, but should have no more Named Users active than they need at any one time.

carli_ and exl_ Users

Q: Should we disable the users belonging to carli?
Q: We have several CARLI staff as named users in Alma, almost more CARLI staff than our Library staff. Are we to keep those accounts?
Q: Do CARLI accounts that are in my Alma instance counted as a separate staff account in another institution? I think we have more CARLI accounts than our library named accounts.
Q: How would be know if a "Staff" user is CARLI and not something we no longer need? Will all CARLI users say CARLI?

A: All CARLI staff users' Primary Identifiers will begin with carli_ and the Last Name field will contain CARLI or (CARLI Account). Do not edit or deactivate carli_users. CARLI staff will be working on named users that begin with carli_ to Deactivate the individual CARLI staff accounts for each staff member but will leave them in all IZs so that they will no longer count as Named Users. CARLI staff may need to temporarily reactivate and use the previous carli_ accounts in future for specific testing. CARLI will add one new active Named User account called carli_admin that all CARLI staff will share.

Do not edit or deactivate users whose Primary Identifier begins with exl_ as those are used by Ex Libris and are not counted towards the Named User Total.

admin User (Alma Administrator)

Q: What if we can't see an admin user (Alma Administrator) listed?
Q: I see the "Alma Administrator" account that was ExLibris. Are we supposed to be able to use that Alma Admin one or is that for ExLibris?

A: Do not edit or deactivate the "admin" user or change its password. The "admin" user is a superuser account reserved for use by CARLI staff as a back-up account.  If you do not see an "admin" user named Alma Administrator, please contact .

Test Users

Q: We have a prodAlma_XXX and a testAlma_XXX. Can we deactivate those?
Q: What about the test account from when OpenAthens was activated?
Q: For the testAlma accounts, do we need to delete it completely or just remove the User roles?
Q: Should we disable the users belonging to testing?

A: CARLI recommends that testAlma_XXX and prodAlma_XXX user accounts are Deactivated at the user record level and edited to have a Purge date set on the user record so that they will be safely purged from the system.  These two accounts were specifically created for the migration data review and are no longer needed. User accounts should should not be Deleted.

CARLI recommends that any other test users that you created in your IZ should be Deactivated at the user record level and edited to have a Purge date set on the user record so that they will be safely purged from the system if you do not need them anymore. 

CARLI encourages I-Share libraries to use one of the CARLI Alma Sandboxes for future user testing whenever possible. 

Back-up Accounts for When Single Sign-on Authentication is Not Working

Q: We have a Test Auth and an ITHelpDesk (I'm guessing that is an IT account at my institution). Can we keep those?
Q: Can we keep one test account for when OpenAthens goes down?
Q: If we use SAML to login to Alma, do we need to work with IT to create accounts that work with Alma, or use a different URL without SAML to login?

A: CARLI recommends that each institution using single sign-on have one or at most two shared back-up accounts that can be used to log into Alma if your single sign-on authentication system goes down and your staff are unable to log in to Alma.  These back-up accounts are Alma Internal accounts so to use these accounts, you will need to use a different URL to access Alma from the one you use when you typically log in with your campus single sign-on credentials, see CARLI's Logging into Alma - Which URL to Use? page for more information.

When Individual Accounts may be preferred over Generic Accounts

Q: It is helpful for us to keep track of the work that individual students are doing in Alma, to see who is making mistakes and may need more training. Can we keep individual accounts for them?
Q: Would it be better to have a specific user role given to a student worker as needed or to have a generic account that has numerous roles?

A: Generic, shared accounts are most appropriate for small sets of limited staff roles. If a staff member or student worker has specific tasks, more advanced roles, or tasks that require tracking, a generic account may not be appropriate for them.  See also CARLI's Best Practice Recommendations for Creating Generic Shared User Accounts in Alma for I-Share.

Cautions when Using Generic Accounts

Q: When you say that people shouldn't login on more than one computer at a time- do you mean to just be logged in on computers in two separate spaces, such as both a personal desk and a reference desk? Or do you also mean not being logged in on two separate tabs on the same computer? Many library offices nowadays have computers with two monitors. For example, having two tabs in Alma open at the same time for the sake of comparing to cataloging records.
Q: I'm curious what will happen with shared general accounts if two people log on at the same time. Currently to have 2 sessions of Alma open simultaneously on the same account you have to use different browsers or incognito mode.
Q: Would need to have 2 general accounts if we need two computers to be using fulfillment at the same time?
Q: For generic accounts, should we change login passwords as students leave? Any other security best practices?

A: When thinking about creating a generic shared account, be aware that you may need more than one.  Avoid situations where two or more users might be logged into a single shared account from two or more different workstations simultaneously, for example, two different computers at the Circulation desk.  If more than one user is logged into Alma on the same user account and they may be editing the same data or records, data loss may occur.

Changing the password on shared accounts with every semester, or whenever workers turn over, is recommended.

Deactivating a User Record Vs. removing staff roles from a User record

Q: For student workers you want us to deactivate, not delete?
Q: Can we delete a student role if we know they are not coming back as student workers but still are patrons?
Q: You said to deactivate roles rather than deleting (removing) them. If we have student workers and other employees who have left our employment (and aren't coming b
ack), why wouldn't we want to remove (delete) the roles?

A: Previously, CARLI believed that disabling staff roles was sufficient to remove a user as a Named User from the Staff Login Report.  Our understanding now is that disabling the staff roles is not enough; the user must be Deactivated or the staff roles must be removed.  Here are a few scenarios and recommended actions:

  • If the staff user has no affiliation with your institution, is no longer employed by the library, and does not need the Patron role (meaning they do not retain any borrowing privileges), then Deactivate the user record and set a Purge Date on the record.
  • If the staff user is no longer employed by the library but does need the Patron role because local policies allow them to retain borrowing privileges, then remove all roles but the Patron role on the user record leaving only the Patron role.
  • If the user is a student or temporary worker who is not currently or no longer employed at the library but is still affiliated with your institution, then remove all roles but the Patron role on the user record leaving only the Patron role.

Do not Delete a User Record

Q: Can you clarify between what "Delete a user" vs "Purge a user" means?

A:If you search for a User Record and click on the ellipsis button (Row Action menu), you will see an option to Delete the user record. DO NOT DELETE the user record. Deleting the record will remove it and the history of what actions that user has taken in Alma and affect statistics in Analytics.

Purging a user is a specific action that can be taken on Alma user records after the record's assigned Purge Date has passed.  CARLI will be providing more information on purging--which is an ongoing and essential part of good database maintenance and data stewardship--in the near future.

User Record History when Deactivating

Q: Will deactivated a user's trail within Alma be completely erased? Where it would have noted that they created an invoice or added a note it will now be blank?

A: No, Deactivating the user record should maintain its history and linkages in Alma.

Contact Users

Q:Who are the "Contact" users? We have one that says it is "internal" and job description is "Product Support Specialist".

A: Contact users are related to Vendors and have no roles assigned, so they don't count towards Named Users.