Skip to Main Content

Alma Acquisitions Resource Guide

This guide covers all aspects of the Acquisitions process, which includes setting up funds, ordering, receiving physical items, activating e-resources, and invoicing. This guide also covers Serials patterns and arrival/check-in.

Real-Time Ordering


Alma supports real-time ordering by enabling vendors to integrate their ordering system with Alma's repository and ordering features. Real-time order data is sent automatically to Alma from the vendor's system using Alma's APIs.

Real-time ordering speeds up the availability of resources, increases the efficiency of integrating records, reduces the drawbacks of manually overlaying or merging records, and enhances data enrichment in Alma.

After all details of set-up is complete with the vendor and in Alma, the workflow entails:

  1. Library staff searches for items in vendor's system, and sends items to shopping cart.
  2. Library staff enters all relevant ordering details in shopping cart (fund code, library location for item etc.) in the vendor's system. 
  3. At checkout, the vendor sends the shopping cart data to Alma using the Create PO Line API
  4. Alma attempts to match the bibliographic data using standard identifiers. If no match is found, Alma creates a brief record for the bibliographic record for the order. 
  5. Alma responds with the newly created PO line number to the vendor. 
  6. The PO line is processed in Alma if an order requires manual review, and Alma will send it to the "In Review" task list for library staff to work on. 


Setting up a Real-Time Ordering API


Required Configurations In Alma

  1. Set a default metadata template by opening the Metadata Editor > Template > choose the template you want to define as a default > right click and select Properties > check as default. 
  2. Create a New Order API integration profile in Alma.* 
  3. Create an API restriction profile in Alma for the vendor that you're integrating with.*
  4. Community Zone electronic collections that will be used to order E-books need to be activated to allow E-books to match electronic portfolios in the CZ
    • Activate CZ electronic collections if they are not already activated prior to placing E-books order using new order APIs

* A library staff member with the role "General System Administrator" can edit the Integration Profiles page in Alma Configuration. Please submit a Helpdesk ticket for API set up if you do not have Administrator access to Configuration or simply want assistance setting up Integration Profiles. 


Required Configurations in Ex Libris Developer Network 

FLVC will create an API key in the Developer Network to send to the vendor. The key will have the applied API restriction profile previously configured in Alma. 


Information Library needs to provide to vendor 

  • The libraries that will be assigned to the PO line. Supply a list of possible owning library codes to the vendor. 
  • Fund codes that will pay for the resources. 
  • Ask the vendor if there is additional information they need. 


Best Practices

  • If your institution has access to a premium sandbox, consider testing the API in the sandbox first before setting up in Alma Production. FLVC can create an API key in the Developer Network that only functions in the sandbox environment. 
  • Place a very small initial order to make sure mapping works properly.
  • Submit a Help Desk ticket to request the creation of an API key, and we are also happy to configure the New Order API and API Restriction Profile in Alma for you. Email to inquire about setting up Real-Time Ordering with a participating vendor in Alma.