Policy: Alma Network Zone


This policy sets out principles regarding working in the Network Zone that Alliance members must follow. When there are no specific policies, libraries should act in line with these principles. The Alma Network Zone as a shared bibliographic environment provides a foundation for collaborative work, both in terms of collection development and cataloging. Duplicate records undercut the usefulness of the shared cataloging by causing problems with record loading and other functions. Since records are shared, the OCLC number cannot be changed; rather, inventory is moved to the desired record. All bibliographic records should reside in the NZ, with noted exceptions, in order to enable collaboration and sharing of information.


  • The Alma Network Zone (NZ) is the shared bibliographic environment of the Alliance, whose goal is to have bibliographic records, brief or full, residing there with direct and related inventory
  • Libraries must avoid adding duplicate records (with the same OCLC number in 035 $$a) to the NZ.
  • Libraries must not change the OCLC number in existing NZ records.
  • To encourage future collaboration and minimize record duplication, all brief bibliographic records for newly-acquired items added to Alma will be created in or imported to the Network Zone. As a reminder:
    • Always search the NZ first before creating a new brief record.
    • Avoid adding duplicates when performing batch imports such as vendor EOD record loads.
  • The following are examples of records that should not reside in the NZ:
    • personal-copy course reserves
    • titles borrowed on ILL from outside the Alliance
    • inventory control of equipment
    • host bibliographic records for bound-withs
    • suppressed bibliographic records
    • vendor record sets that the library is not allowed to share
    • placeholder records for acquisitions data (e.g., membership payment information, operational subscriptions)

Additional Rationale

There could be rare cases when brief bibliographic records created to track inventory locally are allowed to reside in the IZ rather than the NZ at the member library’s discretion. Criteria to consider when making this decision include: do the brief records contain the minimum elements required for in-process brief bibliographic records, or would addition to the NZ negatively impact member libraries” ability to upgrade and maintain records. Excessively brief records may make it difficult to identify and select a resource and they may inadvertently hide relevant material in Primo search results, negatively impacting our users.


Current status: Approved

Written by: Bibliographic Mandates Review Group

Approved by: Collaborative Workforce Team on 03/08/2016; Technical Services Working Group on 02/16/2016; Shared Content and Technical Services Team on 2/11/2021

Last updated: 02/12/2021

Nature of last update: revised policy