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.

Creating a Purchase Order Line (POL)

Creating a POL - Any Material Type


Create a New Order

  1. Create a new order
    • From the search results or the bib record, click Order from the row action item list
    • From the Metadata Editor, click the Create PO Line and Exit icon
  2. Fill out the PO Line Owner and Type screen
    1. Choose a Purchase type (like Print One-Time order) and POL Owner from the drop-down menus.
    2. If your library is using Purchase Templates, choose that here. Purchase templates pre-populate fields in the order, such as fund or provenance notes.
    3. Generate barcode using sequence. If you’re not using pre-printed barcode labels for a material type, you may want to have Alma generate barcodes for you to save time.
    4. Assign inventory manually. The default setting is for Alma to automatically create holdings and items records as part of the ordering process. For some Purchase types, you can choose to Assign inventory manually and interrupt that process. Discuss in your library when you might want to do this.
  3. When you’re done, click on Create PO Line in the upper right
  4. Alma will let you know if other orders exist for this title. Click Confirm to continue.


Fill out the PO Line Details

Once you’ve created the PO Line record, fill in the PO Line Details page. Most of the fields will either let you choose from a drop-down menu or type in information. You can review extensive reference lists on these fields at, but let’s go through a couple of less obvious choices.

Required Fields. Alma only requires a Materials supplier (vendor), price, and quantity to create an order. Discuss at your institution what other fields should be required, such as reporting codes for fund tracking.

Funds section. You do not need to identify a fund at the time of the order, but it can help to track encumbrances during the fiscal year. Click + Add Fund, search for the fund name or find it in a list, then choose what percent of the total price should be taken from this fund. In this way, you can split the cost of materials between departments or libraries at your institution.

Acquisition methods:

  • Purchase - order will be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory) Note: this is the only Acquisition method that results in a purchase order being sent to the vendor
  • Purchase at Vendor System - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory); use with direct ordering such as from Amazon/independent booksellers/publishers
  • Purchase - Without letter - no letter to the vendor is needed, but an invoice is expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory). This means no email or EDI order is sent to the vendor.
  • Approval Plan - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory)
  • Gift - order will not be sent to the vendor, no invoice expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
  • Depository (for government depository items) - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
  • Exchange (i.e. received on exchange) - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
  • Technical - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional).
    • Use technical for any order that does not need to be sent to the vendor and that does not fit into the other categories.
    • This can be used for membership payment, series standing order payment, payment of materials sent on exchange, etc.

Description tab. This provides a basic bibliographic reference on the Description tab. If you’ve ordered from a bib record, Alma auto-populates this information.


Save and/or Place the Order

When all of the order information is added, complete the POL by choosing how and when to place the order:

  • Order Now, which immediately sends that single order to the vendor, and it becomes a purchase order of one order line (than one copy of the title on that order line)
  • Save the order and come back to it later
  • Save and continue to package the order with others and send to the vendor as a single Purchase Order. POLs need to have some of the same order details to be packaged together, including the vendor and purchase type.
    • Auto packaging: Alma will automatically collect all the POLs with the necessary values in common, package them into a PO, and send them to the vendor
    • Manual packaging: you can manually package together the POLs you want to send as a group to a vendor. This might be useful for approval orders that do not have an order load so they can all go on a single purchase order and then be invoiced together easily.


How to Create a One-Time POL for a title with Multiple Volumes

To place an order for a Print/Physical Book - One Time title with multiple volumes so the volumes can be received on the same holdings record:

  1. Perform an All Titles repository search in the NZ
  2. Click Order from the correct bib record
  3. PO Line Owner and Type screen opens
    1. PO Line Type: Print book - One Time
    2. PO Line Owner: [select the ordering Library]
    3. Click Create PO Line 
  4. Purchase Order Line Details screen opens
    1. Click Delete from the existing Holdings/Item Record ellipses
    2. Click Add Location
      1. Change the item number form 1 to the number of items to be received
      2. Change the location to the location used for ordering
      3. Click Add
    3. Continue filling out the POL based on the library’s acquisitions workflow.
    4. Click Order Now (or Save and Continue if the library workflow uses the PO packaging overnight job for new orders)

When the item is ready to be received there will be X number of items to be received from the One-Time tab:

  1. Go to Acquisitions>Receiving and Invoicing>Receive
  2. Click on the One-Time tab
  3. Search for the POL
  4. Click Manage Items from the ellipses of the POL being received
  5. The number of items from the POL be ready to be received. Only receive the item(s) that have arrived. The one-time POL will remain under receiving until all items have been received.



Creating an Order without Using Funds

To create an order without allocating funds, you have two options:

  • Use the Gift procedure as described on the Libguide page titled Gift Acquisitions.
  • Use the "Technical" Purchase type.  With this type you can still add a price, if you wish, and then use Reporting Codes to to associate with "funds" without creating an fund infrastructure. 


Technical Purchase Type

From ExLibris Knowledge Center: 
Relevant for service subscription orders without inventory or items that have migrated from an external system. Often used for multi-part orders where you pay once and receive multiple resources.

If you are ordering multi-part serials, it is recommended that you have one, main PO line (with fund information) for the subscription and an additional Technical PO line for each item that you are to receive at a different interval. You then associate each Technical PO line with the main PO line.
If you are working with a mixed print and electronic order, it is recommended that you have one, main PO line (with fund information) for the electronic inventory and an additional Technical PO line for the printed material (so that you can receive this material). You then associate the Technical PO line with the main PO line.
  • The behavior of this method is identical to that of the DepositoryExchange, and Gift methods, with the exception of its display in a report.
  • Pricing and fund information are not mandatory for this method.

IZ Import Profile for New Orders

To create a new order import profile for physical bib records that will go into the IZ:

  1. Go to Resources>Import>Manage Import Profiles
  2. Click Add New Profile
  3. Select New Order
  4. Click Next
    1. Use Network Zone: uncheck the box
    2. Profile Name: [name the set - mandatory]
    3. Description: [optional]
    4. Originating System: [select the vendor]
    5. File pattern: 
      • GOBI UTF-8 uses .ord files
    6. Import Protocol:
      • Upload Files
      • FTP - 
        1. Fill out the FTP Information at the bottom of the screen provided by the vendor for server/port/username/password/input directory
        2. Scheduling: [configure if using FTP]
    7. Crosswalk:[No]
    8. Physical Source Format: Binary
    9. Encoding Format: UTF-8
    10. Source Format: MARC21 Bibliographic
    11. Target Format: MARC21 Bibliographic
    12. Status: Active
    13. Scheduling: [configure if using FTP]
    14. FTP Information: [if using FTP]
      • Get information from the vendor to populate:
        1. Server
        2. Username
        3. Password
        4. Input directory
        5. If full path is required to be used
      • Fill out the FTP information
      • Click Test Connection to make sure it works
  5. Click Next
    1. Filter Out Data Using: leave blank
    2. Correct Data Using: MARC21 Bib normalize on save
    3. Handle Invalid Data Using: MarcXML Bib Import
  6. Click Next
    • Match Profile
      1. Match by Serial / Non Serial:  Yes
      2. Serial and Non Serial Match Method:
        • Unique OCLC Identifier Match Method if the 035 includes (OCoLC)
        • 035 (other system identifier) match method if the 035 does not include (OCoLC)
        • ISSN/024/035 Match Method and ISBN/024/035 Match Method if no OCLC number is included
    • Match Actions:
      1. Handling Method: Automatic
      2. Upon Match: Merge
      3. Check the box for Single match - match only record with the same inventory type (electronic/physical)
      4. Merge Method: SUNY Overlay All But Local Fields
      5. DO NOT USE: Do not Override/merge a record with a lower brief version. This causes errors and will not update bib records with the same brief level
      6. Do not override/merge record with an older version: Disabled
    • Automatic Multi-Match Handling - Preferred record: Record with the highest brief level
    • Handle Record Redirection - Canceled Record: Delete
    • No Match - Upon no match: Import
  7. Click Next
    1. Synchronize with OCLC: [choose to Publish Bibliographic records or Don't Publish]
    2. Condition: Unconditionally
  8. Click Next
    • Inventory Operations: [Select the correct inventory]
      1. Electronic - electronic only
      2. Mixed - electronic and physical 
      3. Physical - physical only
    • Form populates based on the inventory operations chosen
      • Fill out the rest of the import profile based upon the import profile for the vendor
  9. Click Next
    • Fill out the POL information based on where the POL is in the MARC record from the vendor
  10. Click Save
  11. Click Edit from the ellipses of the import profile that was just created to Map funds and locations if those boxes were checked when creating the New Order Import Profile