Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata
One of the most common actions in access services is searching in ALMA; to see if an item is in our collection, to look up a patron, to see a book's history, to make sure all equipment has been returned, etc. There are several different ways to search items and patrons in ALMA, and each different way will give staff access to different information and tools. Below are the most common ways ALMA's search function is used by circulation staff.


Searching Items in Our Collection:

Return/Due Dates, Current Borrower, Loan Status

  • Try using 'Barcode' or 'Permanent Call Number' to search with 'Physical Items' selected.



  • The result will get you a listing of the items under that title. The most helpful information included in this listing is barcode, process type, due date, and status. 



  • Clicking on the 'Process Type' option will give you information about who currently has the item, when it was checked out, and where it was processed.

Requests/Work orders

  • After searching the item under 'Physical Items' and locating the correct title, notice the 'Requests' field. The number next to the field will say how many requests are currently attached to that title.
    • Note'Work Orders' will appear in the 'Requests' field.



  • Clicking on the number in the 'Requests' field will bring you to the request information, which lists the requester, the creator of the request, the pickup location, request date, etc. 
    • Note: Requests can also be canceled on this page. 




To learn how to place a request/worker order, please see: Damaged Items 


Item History, Item Notes (for storage/caiasoft)

  • After searching the item under 'Physical Items' and locating the correct title, notice the '...' to the right of the listing. Clicking on it reveals more actions, one of which is 'Items'. 



  • Clicking on 'Items' will open the Physical Item Editor, which shows citation and holding information, and a 'Notes' and 'History' section. 



  • The 'Notes' tab can be used to find an item's location in Storage. In the 'Fullfillment note' field, the item will either have a location string or the word 'caiasoft' to indicate the next steps to finding its location.



  • The 'History' tab can be used to see when an item was last returned, which is useful to verify a patron's claim of returning an item or locating a potentially misshelved item. 
    • Note: the 'Item changes' report type will say when the item was last handled and by whom. 'Fulfillment activities' will say the nature of the change.



Volume/Year in a series

  • If there is a holding with multiple items that you must compare, try searching 'Physical Titles' by 'Title' or 'Permanent call number'.



  • Results will get you listings under that title, grouped by holdings. At first glance, the only immediate information given is a 'Requests' field and the 'Physical' field at the bottom, which lists the number of holdings. 




  • Clicking on the 'Physical' field will reveal the holdings, which includes information on the library, location in that library, call number, and item availability. For a more detailed list, the 'Items' button at the bottom should be selected.



  • A list of the specific items in the given series will open and provide information that now includes each items' year or volume, description, and status.
    • Note: We use Physical Titles searches at the end of the night to quickly check that laptops and laptop equipment are returned. It can also be used to quickly check the holdings of a journal series, for example.



Physical Title and Physical Item searches have overlap in functionality. If you are searching for a specific edition of a book or one part of a series use Physical Title, because it allows you to quickly look at holdings to compare location, availability, and year/volume of books in a same series. Otherwise, default to Physical Item, as it gives you more immediate information about a single book and you can navigate to holdings from it if needed.

Course Reserves

  • When logged into a library, change the search category to 'Courses'
  • Courses can be searched by 'Course Code', 'Instructor Name', 'Year', etc  
    • Titles can also be searched by selecting the 'All' option


  • If the item is on reserve, it will provide the course number, name, and instructor


  • If specific course information is unknown, course reserves can be searched in bulk. Open 'Fulfillment'→ 'Courses'


  • A list of courses will appear, similar to the 'Courses' search. 
  • Courses can be filtered by 'Facets' to narrow results.



To learn how to add a physical reserve, please see: Physical Reserves


Quarantined/Special Status/Advanced Searches

Sometimes items have special statuses or holdings, and normal searches are not helpful. 'Advanced Search' can be used to located items with special statuses.

  • While signed into a library, click the magnifying glass icon to the left of the search bar.


  • To search for quarantine items, two search queries are needed. 
    • First: 'Physical Item'→ 'Temporary Physical Location', 'Equals', 'Quarantine'
    • Second: 'Physical Item'→ 'In Temporary Location', 'Equals', 'Yes'



  • Click 'Search' and all the items fitting the 'Advanced search' criteria will populate a list.


To learn how to put something into quarantine, please see: Quarantine Processing for COVID-19 Procedures


Searching Resource Sharing:

A borrowing request search results in a list of items the University is borrowing from other institutions, through ILLiad and Resource Sharing. This records on this list defaults to 'Active' loans, but other completion status loans can be searched if needed. Information listed in a Borrowing Request record includes title, ILL transaction number ('TN'), barcode, borrower information, lending and due dates, etc. Common uses of Borrowing records is changing a hold request from pick-up to office delivery, which can be done by editing the record.

  • Change the search terms to 'Borrowing requests' and try searching by 'Title' or 'Author'


  • A list of borrowed materials will populate and will list citation information, requester, due date, pickup location, etc. 



  • Borrowing requests can also be filtered  by going to 'Fulfillment'→ 'Borrowing Requests'. 



  • Borrowing requests listed can then be filtered by 'Facets'.



Searching Users:

User searches display name, account type, user group, status, and expiration date of a patron and if that patron has any active blocks. Clicking on the name of a patron will open the patron's records, which includes personal information, any fines/fees, and the patron history.

User Information

  • Change the search terms to 'Users' and try searching by 'Last name' or 'Email'


  • A list of users matching the search terms will populate and give basic information of the users.


  • Clicking on the name of a specific user will open that user's detail page, which has multiple tabs of useful information including: contact information, fee/fines, campus status, proxy information.



User Loans

  • To view the loans under a patron's account, click the 'Manage fulfillment activities' link on the right side of the 'User Details' page.


  • This will open a list of any current loans, recent returns, and requests under a patron's account, if any.



  • No labels