Alma Brief Record Level Configuration

This document describes the current configuration and default Brief Record Level rule being used in the Alliance NZ account.

Associated Alma online help page: “Working with Brief Record Levels


Beginning the June through August 2016 releases, Alma changed the levels of brief records from a binary setting (“brief” or “not brief”) to a system supporting ten levels of “briefness” (often referred to in MARC21 as level of “fullness” or “Encoding Level”).

Setting the Default Brief Level Rule

In the Alliance NZ account, go to: Alma > Configuration > Resources > Cataloging > Metadata Configuration, and click on the active profile “MARC21 Bibliographic”. Then go to the Other Settings tab where the default Brief Level Rule can be selected from the dropdown list of brief level rules present in the NZ account:

Other Settings tab

Note: Import profiles created and used in an institution’s account (the account each library uses for normal day-to-day work) are able to use the Brief Level Rule created in the NZ account.

Alliance Default Brief Level Rule

The initial Alliance default brief level rule was given the name “OCA Brief 2016a” with the expectation that it would be modified in the future, so the use of the year of the rule plus a letter qualifier will allow multiple iterations of the rule in a given year while allowing old versions of the rule to be retained.

The rule “OCA Brief 2016a” is written to implement the following hierarchical logic based on value in the Leader byte 17 “Encoding Level”:

Brief LevelLeader/17Description
10blankFull level
09 I*Full level input by OCLC participants (uppercase ā€˜iā€™)
09L*Full level input added from a batch process (future: use ‘M’ instead)
081Full level, material not examined
074Core level
06K*Less-than-full input by OCLC participants
06MLess-than-full added from a batch process**
052Less-than-full level, material not examined
057Minimal level (OCLC Bib Formats: OCLC participants cataloging online at Minimal level, use K.)
048Pre-publication level
033Abbreviated level
025Partial (preliminary) level (and other codes, e.g., u & z, as encountered and appropriate)
01JDeleted record

Using the Alliance Brief Level Rule in the IZ

Import profiles created and used in an institution’s account (the account each library uses for normal day-to-day work) are able to use the Brief Level Rule created in the NZ account (“OCA Brief 2016a”).

Import profiles that load records into an institution’s IZ (i.e., have “Use Network Zone = No”) will use the default Brief Level Rule set as the default within that institution’s IZ configuration.

  • If a library loads records to the IZ, it will assign a level based on the institution’s brief rule.
  • If a library links an IZ bib to an NZ bib, the record will have the brief level assigned by the NZ brief level rule.
  • If a library shares an IZ only bib with NZ, the record will reflect the IZ brief level until the NZ record is updated. After it is updated, the NZ brief level rules will be applied to the record.
  • If a library uses the Copy to Catalog from the NZ, the NZ brief level is retained.
  • If you search in Alma Sets in the IZ and NZ, you can successfully search for the records by the corresponding brief level.

The NZ Brief Level Rule “OCA Brief 2016a” is not available in the IZs as an option in the dropdown list of rules available as the default Brief Level Rule. Libraries will need to copy the OCA brief rule in order to use it as their local brief rule.

However, the NZ Brief Level Rule “OCA Brief 2016a” is present in the Metadata Editor (in the “Brief level rules” list). Members can duplicate the NZ rule (it is recommended to name this copy “Copy Of OCA Brief 2016a”). The copy will then be available in the dropdown list of options for the default Brief Level Rule (see the “Setting the Default Brief Level Rule” paragraph above.)

FAQ on Brief Level Rule in IZ

Do we need to run the Identifying Brief Level job after we change the default to the NZ’s brief level rules in our IZ?

Yes, you will need to run the Brief level job if you change your local brief level rules. When you change the rule in Alma, you will see a pop-up confirmation box that indicates you’ll need to run the Brief Level Job. You will just have to create a set of all the unlinked records in your IZ, and then you can run the job on that set.

If you attempt to change the Brief Level Rule default during July, you will be prompted by the following warning message regarding recalculating brief levels: The brief level rule will be changed to drools/BriefBasedOnLDR.dslr. This new rule will now be used to identify a record's brief level. Do you want to continue? Note: To recalculate the brief levels for all the records in the repository based on the new rule, you must run the Identifying Brief Level job (Administration > Manage Jobs > Run a Job)

Just for a little background (in case it’s useful), as part of the July 2016 Release implementation, ExLibris calculated the brief level of our catalogs based on the rule that we had set as the default. If we did not choose a brief level rule locally, a default one was chosen for us that simulated the old two-level (brief/not brief) approach (see drools/OldBriefRule.dslr or drools/OldBriefRule_Unimarc.dslr).ā€‹

Will running the Identifying Brief Level job have any unforeseen pitfalls?

The biggest concern is ensuring that brief levels have been assigned appropriately after the job runs. This can be done by creating logical sets based on brief level, exporting the sets in .mrc format (using the “Export Bibliographic Records” job), and using a tool like MarcEdit to scan the LDR/17 values for adherence to the brief level rule used.


Software: Alma

Written by: Bob Thomas, Milly Williams

Document History:

  • Updated 12/22/21 to reflect re-testing of brief level assignment behavior when linking/sharing records to NZ.
  • Updated Alma path information, incorporated 8/2016 testing results into documentation, updated contact information
  • FAQ re: IZ written by Milly Williams and added on 08/12/2016
  • After the Alma August release testing occurred in production of remaining functionality. Updates are provided above with the results of testing and labeled “update after testing.” Milly Williams performed this testing and wrote the results (added 08/09/2016)
  • First version written by Bob Thomas on 6/28/2016