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  • Fulfillment 2 - Class Materials and Script

Spring 2019 Update

The scripts and training materials in this section were used by Alma peer trainers & facilitators during the active Implementation project phase (April 2018 - June 2019).

These materials are now archived and may contain outdated information/past practice - do not use as-is. This content was last updated December 2018.

For current Alma training, please visit the Learning Alma - for Staff and Managers page.

Requests & Items Topics

Harvard Staff Documentation

Ex Libris Training & Documentation


Work Order: An internal library request to route physical materials for internal processing. A work order sends an item to a work order department (marking it as not available on the shelf), where it can be managed according to internal statuses. Both departments and statuses are configurable and can be used to manage tasks according to a library’s local needs.

Fulfillment includes areas related to circulation, patrons, pick lists, resource sharing, course reserves, and billing.

Class Prerequisites

  • Introduction to Alma
  • Searching and Sets
  • Fulfillment Class 1: Loans and Patron Records

Optional Follow-up Classes

  • Items and Holdings
  • Cataloging 1

For Trainers and Facilitators

Trainers: Before class, prepare a set of five examples for use by each trainee. For each trainee, create a bogus patron, find two searchable titles with Widener holdings that can be requested or marked missing, one Widener barcode that can be requested, and one request ID. For each class you teach, fill out your own copy of Fulfillment 2 examples template.

Facilitators: Make sure that upon arrival each trainee signs in and takes one class handout and one examples sheet. Tell each trainee as they sign in to remember the letter next to their name so they know which examples are for them.



Fulfillment 2 Handout

Class Script


Welcome to Fulfillment 2. My name is ..... and our facilitator/s in this class is/are... .

This class covers fulfillment-related dealings with item records, patron requests, pick lists, hold shelf, claims returned and lost. It builds on what you learned in Search and Sets and Fulfillment 1. As we work, you can follow along with me as I demonstrate, or wait until each practice break to try it yourself.

A few notes:

  • Alma went live on July 3rd and, as expected, we're learning new things about it as staff work with real data in the system. Everyone is continuing to learn Alma, and will have the support they need to do so.

  • We are training on the tool of Alma, and while there is usually more than one way to do anything in Alma, we will show you one verified or preferred way to do tasks. Once you've learned the best practice, we encourage staff to discuss local procedures and workflows in your units.

  • We also encourage everyone to come together in Learning Circles - either cross-functional within units or on the same functions across units - to discuss how the implementation is going and how the new features and workflows in Alma might change work at Harvard.

  • Please continue to use the LTS Alma Support form to ask questions and report issues with Alma data, workflows, or roles & permissions. Asking these questions, and working groups providing answers, is an important part of everyone learning more about Alma. You can find the link in the Notifications widget in Alma, along with the link to Alma documentation on the LTS wiki.

  • You have a 1-page handout that contains a link to the Alma sandbox, the wiki page for this class, and a few other useful links. (If there are other handouts, describe them.) The script and all materials for this class are available to review on the wiki, and will continue to be updated with any changes in procedures.

Some quick logistics information: 

  • The nearest bathrooms & water supply are:
    • Lamont rooms: Restrooms are gendered by floor. Lamont 310 is on a men's room floor, Lamont B-30 is on a women's room floor.
    • 90 Mt Auburn: Two restrooms are on the opposite side of the building on the basement level, water is in the kitchenette and in a fountain by the restrooms
    • 625 Mass Ave: Restrooms are at the opposite end of the building on the 3rd floor, by the water fountain
  • Please ask questions when they come up; I will also pause between sections for questions and to make sure things are clear.

Let's start by introducing ourselves. (Go around the room and ask everyone to share their name, library/unit, and how this class relates to their work.)

Now, if you haven't already, please log in to Alma.



  This training covers Fulfillment-related use of item records. There’s a separate Items and Holdings class as well as a reference section of the Library Technology Services (LTS) wiki covering items and holdings.

 View an Item’s Loan Status

 As covered in the Alma Searches and Sets and Fulfillment 1 classes, a search using “Physical Titles” displays results as titles or bibliographic records, whereas a search using “Physical Items” displays results as individual item records, i.e., individual library-owned copies of books or media.

To determine the Loan Status of a specific item, you’ll be looking at item records. There are three ways to do that.

  • You can look at a patron’s account and select a specific item loaned to them.
  •  You can do a search by title, then select a specific item record.
  •  You can look up the item by its unique barcode.

 Since we’re viewing and not editing, we can all do the same search at the same time. Follow along on your computer.

  1. In the persistent search bar, search for the title you want: All Titles > Keywords > type Personal Knowledge : Towards
    1. In the results list, the first title should have 3 holdings, which appears Physical (3)
    2. If not, check that Sort by and Secondary Sort by are both set to Rank
    3. Click on the ellipsis (...) or “More actions” button, then select “Items”
      1. Depending on whether you customized your results list, “Items” might be its own button. If you did customize your display, the gear icon just above the results list will have a green dot.
      2. Review the “List of Items” results and note there are 4 barcoded items.
      3. Note the “Process Type” field, which indicates if item is on loan, in transit, etc.
        1. If the Process Type field is blank, the item is NOT on loan
        2. If the Process Type field doesn’t appear as a column, clear on the Gear icon to the upper right and put a check next to “Process Type”, then click “Done”
        3. For the item whose process type is Loan, click on that “Loan” link
        4. This is information about an item that is on loan, including the borrower, the loan date and the due date.
        5. Click on the back arrow to the left of “On Loan Item”


View an Item’s History

I’ll read the following steps; please follow along on your own screen.

  1. From the persistent search bar: Physical Items > Barcode > enter HN65Q6
  2. Click on the Barcode link to go to “Physical Item Editor” or select “Items” from the ellipsis (...) or “More actions” button
  3. Click the “History” tab
  4. Notice that there are three areas or Report Types that display, each with a radio button
    1. Item Changes. This is the default view we’re looking at.
      1. Displays “new value” and “old value” of items
  5. Click on the Holdings Changes radio button
  6. Click on the Fulfillment Activities radio button
    1. Loans and returns display here: where it happened (desk name), who did it (operator), borrower name, borrower ID

 You won’t actually be able to edit an item record if your current location isn’t the one that owns the item, or if you don’t have adequate permissions. But you can view an item’s history.


Mark an Item as Missing

  • This workflow should be used when a patron walks up to a desk to indicate an item is not available.
    • There are other methods of marking items missing for other workflows.
  • You can only change the missing status for items owned by the library you’ve selected under current location
  • “Missing” status is for items not found on the shelf whose whereabouts are unknown
  • “Lost” status is no longer a default “terminal” status to indicate that missing items cannot be found


  1. Search for an item in the persistent search bar: Physical Titles > Title > enter example#2
    1. In the results list, find the title you’re looking for and click on the ellipsis (...) or “More Actions” button and select “Items”
      1. Depending on how you customized your results page, “Items” could be its own button
      2. For the item to be marked missing, select the ellipses (…) or “More Actions” button and “Toggle Missing Status”
        1. If you don’t have permissions for the item’s owning location/library, you won’t be able to mark its items missing.
        2. In the list of items, under “Process Type” column, item is now “Missing”.
        3. Now let’s change it back. Select “Toggle Missing Status” again for that item.
  • You must be looking at a list titled “List of Items” to mark an item missing.
    • If you find yourself in the Physical Item Editor, click on the “View All Items” link to return to a “List of Items” screen.
    • If an item is available (i.e., if it is not on loan or in transit) you will see the “Toggle Missing Status” option.



  • In this section we cover patron requests for physical items.
  • The concept of requests in Alma is fairly broad and includes requests to acquire or purchase a physical or electronic resource, requests to bind an item, work orders, and resource sharing requests.
  • Requests are entered into Alma before they’re filled.
  • Alma uses many request types.
    • In addition to patron requests, there are lending requests, binding requests, move requests, etc.
  • Your class handout contains a link to documentation about requests

Most patron requests for physical materials come to a library via HOLLIS and will have been placed by the patrons themselves.

Customize Your Results List: Make Request a button

 Because we’ll be placing requests in this part of the training, and to show you how to customize your list view, here are instructions to move the “Request” from the “More actions” drop-down list to its own button.

  1. Click on the home button, which is the Harvard shield in the upper left.
  2. In the persistent search bar, click in the empty text field. You should get a drop-down of your recent searches. Redo a recent one.
    1. You want to be viewing a search results page.
    2. On a “results” list page, look at the Gear icon.
      1. If there’s a green dot in the Gear icon, you’ve customized your list.
      2. If so, click on the gear icon, scroll down and select “Restore list defaults” to remove customizations.
      3. Click on the Gear icon (again, if you just did that).
      4. Click on the “Show All” link to expand the view.
        1. On the right, you’ll see Button 1 and Button 2.
        2. Drag the “Request” button up into Button 2 position.
        3. Click Save.


Request a Title for a Patron

Reminder: best practice for requests in Alma are title-level requests. In Aleph, all requests are item-level.

  • Required fields for a request will have a red asterisk next to them.
  • If multiple volumes are available for a title, the Description field will have a red asterisk, so you must select the volume to continue.

Now, let's request something for a patron.

  1. In the persistent search bar, select All Titles > Title > enter example#3
  2. On the search results page, click on any “Physical” link to display info about the libraries holding this title
  3. Click on the “Request” button. 
    1. If “Request” isn’t a button, click on the More Actions button and select Request.
    2. In the “Request type” field, select “Patron physical item request”
    3. Scan or manually type example#1 into the “Requester” field.
      1. There must be at least one circulating item with a barcode, otherwise, an error alert appears in red above.
      2. Add any special instructions or comments about the request in the “Notes” field
      3. Select the pick-up location
        1. If there are errors in entered fields above, no locations will appear.
        2. If you type in a patron ID then click elsewhere without pressing Enter, Alma hasn’t registered the patron ID.
        3. Campus is a setting not currently used by Harvard, so click on “No Campus” to get a list of potential library pick-up locations or click on a library already listed.
        4. In this case, select No Campus: Widener Library.
        5. Input any Additional Request Attributes, if needed. They’re optional.
        6. Click Submit to place the request.
        7. A message box at the top of the page will confirm the request was successfully submitted and displays a request ID.


You could locate a request by book under FULFILLMENT > Monitor Requests & Item Processes, but your current location would have to be the home library of the requested item.

 You can also look up requests from the patron’s record. Do the following.

  1. From the persistent search bar, select Fulfillment > Manage Patron Services > type example#1
  2. From the resulting “Patron Services” page, select the “Requests” tab.
  3. Now click on the Request Type to see options for narrowing the list.
  4. Click on Task to see other choices.
  5. Click on the Gear icon and scroll down to see what other info is available, such as call number.
  6. In the persistent search bar, select Physical Item > Barcode > type example#4
  7. Locate the specific item you want in the results list
  8. Click on the “Request” button for that line
    1. Or select it from the “More Actions” drop-down
    2. Select the request type “Patron physical item request”
    3. Select “Requester”. Type in example#1.
    4. Add any special instructions or comments about the request in the “Notes” field
    5. Select the pick-up location
    6. Complete the additional request attributes as needed (optional).
    7. Click Submit to place the request.
      1. A message box at the top of the page will confirm the request was successfully submitted and displays a request ID.
      2. Copy the request ID because we’ll use it in the next exercise.


Request a Specific Item for a Patron

  • There may be an occasional need to request a specific item—a Harvard-owned copy of a title—instead of making the request at title level.
  • Generally, best practice is to make title-level requests whenever possible, but if you do need to make an item-level request, here are the instructions.
  • Patrons aren’t able to place item-level requests in the public catalog.
  • If a title has multiple volumes, however, the patron will be required to specify the volume(s) they want.

Let's create an item-specific request for a patron:

  1. In the persistent search bar, select Physical Item > Barcode > type in example #4
  2. Locate the specific item you want in the results list.
  3. Click on the Request button for that line, or select it from the Row Action Items list.
  4. Select the request type Patron physical item request
  5. Select Requester - type in example #1
  6. Add any special instructions or comments about the request in the Notes field
  7. Select the pick-up location
  8. Compete the additional request attributes as needed (optional).
  9. Click Submit to place the request.

A message box at the top of the page will confirm the request was successfully submitted and displays a request ID. Right now, highlight and copy that request ID because we'll use it in the next exercise.


Locate a Request

 A request ID is long but it lets you track a specific request over time without having to search for it other ways.

  • Alma doesn’t generate an email confirmation to the patron when a hold request is placed at a Circulation desk.

To search for a request by Request ID:

  1. In the persistent search bar, select Requests > Request ID >paste the request ID you just copied
  2. You’d note a Requests ID number if you wanted to track a specific request without having to search for it in the following ways.

To search for a request by Title:

  1. In the persistent search bar, select All Titles > Title >type Plagiarism and Originality
  2. If a title has requests, they will appear as a number next to Requests in the results record
  3. Click on the number to see the requests

To search for a request by Requester:

  1. From the menu bar, select Fulfillment > Manage Patron Services
  2. Type in ID 50454321
  3. Select “Requests” to see requests for a given patron

Search for a request in the Monitor Requests and Item processes menu:

  1. From the menu bar, select Fulfillment > Monitor Requests and Item Processes
  2. Use the filters on the left to limit the list of requests by Process Type, Pickup location, material, workflow step etc.

Modify a Request

 Alma allows staff to make changes to a request, for example, to the pick-up location.

  1. From the persistent search bar, Requests > Request ID > type example #1
  2. Click on the ellipsis (...) or “More actions” button and select “Edit” from the drop-down list for the request that needs to be changed.
    1. Depending on how you customized your results page, “Edit” may be a button
  3. The change we’re going to make is to add text into the Note field.
    1. Note that you can’t change the “Request type” or the “Requester”
    2. Don’t be thrown by the fact that the edit page is named “Create Request”
  4. Click “Submit” to save your changes.

 To change the date on which a request expires, select “Update Expiry” from the More Actions drop-down menu instead of “Edit”

The Priority on a Request

  • In Alma, library requests, such as move requests and work order requests, take priority over patron requests.
  • So Alma controls the priority of requests automatically.
  • The request priority for each item in the queue determines which request in the queue is active.
  • Patron requests are fulfilled by the order in which they were created.
  • The priority is relevant for requests only before their workflow processing has started.
  • A Fulfillment policy setting exists that would change priorities for a group, but this is for future use.

Delete or Cancel a Request

  1. From the persistent search bar, choose Requests and Request ID as your search type, then paste in the search ID again.
  2. Choose “Cancel” from the ellipses (...) button drop-down list, or right-click anywhere on the item record
  3. Choose a reason for the cancellation from the drop-down menu.
  4. Add a note if more explanation is needed than the reason given from the drop-down menu.
  5. The “Notify User” option is checked.  The user should usually be notified so leave this box checked.

Process Pull/Pick list

  • The Pick List updates in real time and can be printed at any time, including more than once per day, if desired.
  • You can print a report with all items or you can print slips individually.
  • You can export the list to an Excel spreadsheet.
  • In Alma, there’s no distinction between “Not on Shelf,” “Lost,” or “Missing”—so when you see “Missing” below, you can assume it means “not on shelf”

 For this section, please watch the screen. Because practices will be set locally for retrieving materials, what I show you will give you some familiarity with generating pull lists for various workflows and requests.

  1.  We start by verifying that our location: Widener Library – WID Circulation.
  2. From the main Fulfillment menu, choose “Pick from Shelf”
    1. The list displays items that were requested by a patron or department.
    2. Choices may be narrowed down using the facets on the left
  3. Click “Print Slip Report”
  4. The resulting dialog box gives me 3 choices for what to do with the results: print them, email them, or download them as a file.
    1. If I wanted to print the results directly, I’ll click the “Printer” radio button.
      1.  This asks me choose the printer.
      2. But I don’t actually want to print now so I’ll select “User”
    2. If I wanted to email the list to someone, I’d enter a staff name, then click “Send” 
      1. The user you are sending to has to be on the “include” list for that specific Pick List
    3.  Today I’m going to get the results in a file so I’m selecting Excel and clicking “Download”
      1. In this next dialog, I’m choosing to “Open with Excel” so I click “Open”
  5. I now have a pull list for Widener.
    1. Work remains to simplify the lists with fewer columns, ones I would need for pulling, for example, title, call number, description.
  6. Once you have a list, either printed or electronic, the items can be pulled.
  7. After books are retrieved from the stacks, I’ll select “Return Items” from the Fulfillment menu like this and scan the books.
  8. Local workflows will determine how to transfer materials or place items on hold shelves 

Marking Items Missing on a Pick List

Before marking an item missing, go through all local procedures to confirm the items aren't found in the stacks, reshelving area, etc.

To mark an item on the Pull list as missing:

  1.  From the Fulfillment menu, click “Pick from Shelf”
    1. If the pick list is fairly short, you can scroll through the list; for longer lists, use the facets on the left to limit what’s being viewed
  2. As an example, I’ll click on “Mark as Missing” for one item’s record.
    1. Once you mark the item as missing, an alert will pop up: “Note that if there are multiple items attached to the holdings, they will all become missing. Are you sure you want to mark the items as missing?”
    2. In fact, this only marks the items on that holding at your current location as Missing, not every holding for all Harvard libraries.
  3. I click “Confirm” now and that moves the request to the holding at the next available Harvard library, if any. Alma handles this automatically.
    1. If there are none, the patron receives an email informing them the request was not filled.

If the item is available at other Harvard libraries, you have the option to click on “Skip Location” instead of Missing to push the item to the next holding.

Best Practice: when an item is genuinely Missing, click on Mark as Missing and not Skip Location. If you select Skip Location, you would then need to go back and mark the item as Missing

An Exception: You might use Skip Location to create a work order. For example, you have a pulled item in hand that needs preservation work and there are available copies at other Harvard libraries.

  1. Choose Skip Location to move the request on to another copy.
  2. Create a Conservation Care work order for the item in hand as soon as possible.
  3. Once you initiate the work order, that item status will change to Not on Shelf/unavailable.

Depending on the circumstances, some libraries may generally allow a book needing some preservation work to circulate to a requesting patron. You can then create a Work Order after that item has been checked out, and when the item is returned, it will be routed to the Conservation department for work before being sent to fill any other patron requests.


Hold Shelf

Alma Fulfillment has two hold shelf options: Expired Hold Shelf and Active Hold Shelf.

 Follow along with me here in viewing these Fulfillment options. As always, we’ll verify that our current location is Widener Library – WID Circulation.

Active Hold Shelf

 Click on Fulfillment > Active Hold Shelf

 This menu option allows you to view all items currently on your location’s hold shelf. You can delete requests and update Hold Shelf expiration dates from this screen.

Expired Hold Shelf

Click on Fulfillment > Expired Hold Shelf

The list contains items that are currently on the hold shelf but have expired.

We will all use local procedures to determine which items on the Expired Hold Shelf are genuinely expired

  • For example, some libraries may check the date on the hold request slip.

Alma sorts items on the Expired Hold Shelf into four tabs and these can’t be combined.

  • Activate each of these tabs as we continue.
  • Reshelve displays all expired requests for items belonging to the current circulation desk and for which there is no other request in the queue.
    • To reshelve an item, you could click the Reshelve button to the right
    • To reshelve multiple items, you might select the check boxes for the relevant items and click the Reshelve link above
  • Send to Circulation Desk lists all requests for items belonging to a different circulation desk in the same library, or that are requested for pickup at another desk within the same library.
    • For most locations, the Harvard Depository is considered to be another Circulation Desk at that location, so this is where expired HD holds will show up.
    • To send an item to another circulation desk, click the Transit button to the right
    • To send multiple items, select the check boxes of the relevant items and click the Transit link above.
    • The Ful Transit Slip letter (letter code: FulTransitSlipLetter) is printed and the item is put in transit.
      • We’re looking to change Alma settings so that full-size transit sheets do not print.
      • Instead libraries would use either no slip or the intra-library transit slips currently used by Lamont and Widener.
  • Send to Library: Lists all requests for items that belong to a different library or that are requested for pickup at another library.
    • The instructions are the same as for “Send to Circulation Desk” we just covered
  • Activate Next: Activates the next request in the queue, which cancels the first request and makes the item available to the next requester.


If you do rely primarily on Alma’s Expired Hold Shelf function, you’ll go through each tab (listed above), check all items you want to move along, and then click the specified action (e.g., “Activate Next”) on the right side

Best Practice: for the sake of accuracy it is probably better to only check books on this screen that are in hand

If you rely more on pulling expired items based on hold slips in each book, you’ll likely want to check the Expired Hold Shelf function to catch any expired requests that your physical pass didn’t locate.

As with returned loans, you’ll physically route all items based on their destination


Resource Sharing

 Access Services staff will be trained locally for resource sharing workflows.

 In Alma—but not in HOLLIS—items obtained through Interlibrary Loan and BorrowDirect will be searchable. They’re suppressed from finding in HOLLIS but will show up in a title search in Alma.


Processing Incoming Materials from Bins

Libraries will process all items arriving in green bins or red bins the same way.

  1.  Verify that your current location is Widener Library – WID Circulation.
  2. From the Fulfillment menu, choose Returns Items
  3. Scan in the barcode of each item, one by one.


Claimed Return & Lost Items

 The steps for marking an item either “Claimed Return” or “Lost” differ only by which status is selected.


Change Loan Status to Claimed Return

  1. Verify that your current location is Widener Library – WID Circulation.
  2. From the main menu bar click FULFILLMENT > Manage Patron Services
  3. Type in example #2
  4. From the Loans tab (the default), select “All Loans” from the Loan Display drop-down menu
  5. Click the ellipsis (...) or “More actions” button for the first item and select “Claimed Return”
  6. Add note as needed and click “OK” to complete

In order to undo the change and remove the fee, click the ellipsis (...) or “More actions” button for the item and select “Found Item”

Note: When items are at Lost status, there is no way in Alma to mark it as “Claimed Return.” You would have to select “Found Item” for it, then change it to “Claimed Return.”


Change Loan Status to Lost Manually


  1. Verify that your current location is Widener Library – WID Circulation.
  2. From the main menu bar click FULFILLMENT > Manage Patron Services
  3. Scan/Type patron ID and click “Go”
  4. From the Loans tab (the default), select “All Loans” from the Loan Display drop-down menu
  5. Click the ellipsis (...) or “More actions” button for the item and select “Lost”
  6. Click “OK” to confirm the replacement charge

In order to undo the change and remove the fee, click the ellipsis (...) or “More actions” button for the item and select “Found Item”

As currently configured, the replacement fee is fixed and not optional.

Any final questions?




That’s it for this class. If you'd like to learn more about working with items, you may want to take Items and Holdings 1 (and possibly 2), and possibly Cataloging 1.


After today, you’ll receive a link to an online evaluation form with 12 questions. It should only take a few minutes, and will help us improve these sessions and also to create long-term trainings for the future.

Thank you for attending Fulfillment 2, and remember to submit any questions you have about Alma via the LTS Alma Support Form.


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