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This is the first section of the Cataloging module of the Alma Overviews course. The video is at the top of the page, followed by the script.

Thanks to Gayle Fischer of the Training Working Group for the script and Michael Beckett of ITS for producing the video.

NOTE: After this video was recorded, the setting for automatic release of records was changed to 4 hours (from 7 days).


My name is Michael Beckett, and I'm going to lead through this brief overview of the Alma Metadata Editor. Thanks to Gayle Fischer and the Alma Training Group for creating the script for this video.

The Metadata Editor is designed to facilitate streamlined cataloging of bibliographic, holdings, and authority metadata. 

In this video, we will cover:

  1. How to launch the Metadata Editor
  2. An overview of the Metadata Editor’s 3 panes
  3. An overview of dropdown menus and toolbar icons
  4. Split Editor
  5. And finally, how to release records and why it is important.

Launching the Metadata Editor

There are at least two ways to launch the Metadata Editor:

  1. From the Alma persistent menu
  2. From a list of search results

To launch the Metadata Editor from the Alma persistent menu, go to:

  1. Resources
  2. Then, under Cataloging, go to:
  3. Open Metadata Editor

This will bring up the Metadata Editor without a record open for editing.

To launch the Metadata Editor from a search:

  1. First, enter a query in the Alma persistent search bar
  2. When you find a record you want to edit, click on the Edit Record button
    • Note that Edit Record may not appear as one of your first two default buttons.
      1. First, check that your location is set to Tech Services.
      2. You can also click on the More Actions (or ellipsis) button for more options.
        1. To rearrange your button preferences, click on the gear icon
        2. Drag and drop to change your preferences for Button 1 and 2.
  3. After clicking on Edit Record, you will have a bibliographic record open for editing in the MDE.

MDE Panes, or Working Areas

Next, let’s briefly review the 3 panes in the Metadata Editor.

The Left Pane contains tabs for Templates, Records, and Rules

  • The Templates tab allows you to create new records or override existing data based on a template.
  • The Records tab is where you will find all of the records that are currently open and locked for editing by you. Note that this includes Dublin Core, MARC bibliographic, name authority, and MARC holdings records.
  • The Rules tab contains private and shared rules for normalization, merging, indication, brief record level, and authority headings.

The Lower Pane also contains three tabs, which provide additional assistance for editing a record

  • Info provides definitions for each MARC tag. Simply click on a field in the open record to refresh the embedded page in the Info tab.
  • Alerts lists record errors and warnings. Text in a yellow box is a warning—the record can be saved in this state. Text in a red box is an error and will have to be fixed before you can save the record.
  • The Linked Data tab uses the resource described in the MARC record as its subject to provide additional data

Finally, the Main Pane is where you create and edit records.

The header provides information about the type of record, whether you’re working on it or it’s locked by another user, the MMS ID, and brief information about the creation and edit history of the record.

Main Pane Dropdown Menus and Toolbar Icons

Now I will briefly describe the dropdown menus in the Metadata Editor. For more information  about specific actions, please consult the Metadata Editor wiki page or Ex Libris documentation, which you can find by clicking the question mark icon in the upper right corner and selecting Help For This Page.

File contains options for creating, saving, duplicating, releasing, and deleting records.

Edit contains helpful record editing functions, such as adding and removing fields, Split Editor, and the form editor.

And Tools has many important options for working with records in Alma, such as Search External Resources, Browse Shelf Listing, and others.

Additionally, the Metadata Editor has a toolbar, which is arranged so that similar actions, represented by icons, are grouped by vertical bars. These icons are:

  • Save
  • View: Inventory (which includes, among other things, Holdings records) and Bibliographic Record (When you open holdings records in the Metadata Editor, this icon will allow you to view or edit the linked bib record)
  • Add: Holdings, Item, Portfolio (which is for e-resources), and Representation (which is not configured for Harvard)
  • Create PO Line and Exit
  • Delete Record
  • Split Editor
  • Full Screen
  • and Exit

The Split Editor

The Split Editor separates the main pane into two windows, allowing the side-by-side editing of two records or the display of other screens from menu operations, such as Browse Shelf Listing[GF5] , Find Matches, etc. 

To open or close the Split Editor:

  • Press F6
  • Go to Edit, then Split Editor
  • Or use the Split Editor icon on the Metadata Editor toolbar.

Releasing Records

Finally, we will cover the topic of releasing records in Alma.

When you open a record in the Metadata Editor for editing, the record will remain locked and listed in your Left Pane under the Records tab, even if you exit the Metadata Editor or sign out of Alma.

Records remain locked until you specifically release them or the record lock expires after 7 days. The seven day limit is a Harvard-defined setting. (NOTE: This setting was changed to 4 hours after this video was recorded.)

The recommended best practice is to always release your records when you are done viewing or editing them.

There is an option to Save and Release if you want to save changes. Otherwise, just release the record.

You can also release all of your records from the Left Pane by clicking on the folder heading for each type of record. Alma will release all records under this heading. However, it will not save your changes, nor will it warn you to save changes before releasing.


Related Alma Wiki Pages

Resource Management (incl Cataloging) section

Resource Management Training Materials

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