Non-serial E-Resources in Alma: Best Practices for Local Collections


The information and best practices presented in this document are meant to assist libraries as they create and maintain local electronic collections in their Alma Institution Zones (IZs).

This document assumes that you have already made the choice to manage these records in the IZ vs. the CZ.  If you have not yet made this decision, please consult Non-Serial Electronic Resources in Alma: Community Zone vs. Network Zone.

Local electronic collections vs. standalone portfolios

Whenever possible, portfolios should be added to local electronic collections. Even e-resources that are not sold as collections can be maintained more easily if they are in a local electronic collection, as long as they are from the same provider, have the same license conditions, and share the same base url.

Advantages of using local electronic collections

  • Batch maintenance functionality in Alma is much easier to perform on portfolios in electronic collections.
  • Portfolios in electronic collections display more nicely in Primo and Alma, with collection names.
  • It’s easier to report on portfolios in electronic collections using Analytics.
  • Portfolios in electronic collections have the ability to inherit settings at the collection level (proxy, activation dates for trials, etc.).
  • URL export via the Alma “extended export” to Excel is only possible when portfolios are part of a local electronic collection. Standalone portfolios do not give you this option or the data when you do an excel export.

Creating local electronic collections

  • Create a local electronic collection at Resources > Create Inventory > Add Local Electronic Collection.
  • Electronic Collection Description tab > Internal Description field is a good place to note the batch marker to be used in portfolios (see below) and other basic information for staff managing the collection. The Notes tab is a good place for more detailed information.
  • Use full names and not abbreviations when naming local collections.  This provides user-friendly labels in Primo and helps staff in Alma as well.
  • NOTE: In Primo the individual titles in the collection will display the Electronic Collection name, not the Interface name. 
  • The local collection record in Alma does not get published to Primo. Instead you can link a MARC bib that describes the collection as a whole in the Additional Info tab > Additional descriptive information field.
  • For more information about creating local electronic collections, consult the Alma documentation.

Adding portfolios to a local collection

For single records, either:

  • Create one portfolio at a time from within the collection record
    • Edit Service link, Portfolios tab, use the Add Local Portfolio button.


  • Create a portfolio while manually cataloging the resource (Alt+o in the Metadata Editor)
    • Click on Part of an electronic collection for portfolio type, then search for the collection, and then select it. Then you can add the URL and edit other fields.


  • Edit an existing portfolio and select “Attach to an electronic collection”.

For batches of records, either:

  • Use a set of existing portfolios
    • From within the collection record, Edit Service link, Portfolios tab, use Add Set button.
    • Note: An existing portfolio cannot be edited to add it to a collection. Instead, it must be put into a set in order to use the Add Set function.


  • Use an import profile
    • Create separate import profiles for each collection (this also allows you to schedule each import to run automatically and pick up records). Choose Electronic Inventory and use the Part of Electronic Collection option on the Inventory tab of the import profile configuration.

For more information on adding portfolios to local electronic collections, see Alma documentation.

Best Practices for using local electronic collections 

Remember that if a provider does not allow you to share metadata for the resources in a collection, the records should not be loaded to the NZ.  Add them to the IZ instead.

Bibliographic records with OCLC control numbers

  • Bibliographic records with OCLC numbers must be loaded to the NZ with import profile settings aligned with Alliance policies.
  • When batch loading records to the NZ:
    • Import Profile setting: Upon Match, “Use NZ record” rather than overlay or merge for OCLC records. If no match, Import to NZ.
    • It is not necessary to edit OCLC records in MarcEdit or use normalization rules (for example, to make the records Provider-Neutral) because the OCLC WorldCat record should eventually replace the imported record, eliminating those edited fields.
  • Cataloging resources individually

Bibliographic records without OCLC control numbers

  • If your bibliographic records do not have an OCLC number in the 035$a field, please see the Alliance policy on the use of OCLC and record identifiers for your options.
    • It is permitted to load records without OCLC numbers to the Institution Zone (IZ) only, and not to the Network Zone.  
    • Optionally, members may later add OCLC numbers to the records and then link them to the NZ.
  • If you add these records to the NZ, use MarcEdit or Alma norm rules to remove any provider-specific fields to comply with the Alliance’s Provider-Neutral Records Policy.
  • All local fields must go into Alma local bibliographic extensions.

Batch markers for individual titles in local electronic collections

  • Batch markers can be used as a search key to create Alma sets. For instance, you need a reliable way to create a set of portfolios in order to add them to a local collection in bulk.
  • Batch markers in Alma can be put into portfolios in the Internal Description field and/or in bibliographic records using an Alma local bib extension (MARC 955 or a field in the MARC 962-971 range).
  • Adding batch markers can be done using the Change Electronic Portfolio job if you have a search key (or keys) to create an Alma set.


Written by: SILS NSERM Task Group on 5/14/2014

Last updated by: SCTS Cataloging Standing Group on 11/07/2022

Nature of last update: split into best practice and FAQ, updated to reflect current Alma functionality