Child pages
  • One-Time Orders 1: Order creation - 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These materials are now archived and may contain outdated information/past practice - do not use as-is.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 February 2019.

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

Handouts, resources and display documents for the class

Handout – Vocab handout (google doc)

Handout – One Time Orders Pt 1 Handout - 1 pager.docx (word doc)

Display on screen –  One time orders Pt 1 practice exercises to display.docx (word doc)

List of Fall HUP titles : HUP fall titles.txt 

  • These titles should not be in the sandbox yet, so they could be used as examples for bringing in a record from Metadata Editor and placing an order.
  • Please either cross off ones that have been used, or remove them from the list, as they are used in classes.

Pre-reading and reference documents for the class

Outline for the class and links to related documentation

Outline of topicsLinks to related documentation
Overview of Acq workflow

POL, PO and PO Line Owner concepts


Walk through a straightforward OT order, using existing bib in Alma


and/or using search external resources option

Place an order


As you place order, remember the Vendor concepts

As you place order, remember the Fund concepts

Submitting the order

Seeing what the completed order looks like

Finding out what goes into review and why

Concept of templates

Using One-Time Order Templates

Script for the class


Welcome to One-Time Orders part 1. My name is ..... (and our facilitator/s in this class is/are... ).

This class will build on concepts from the Searching Vendors, Invoices and Funds for Selectors and Acquisitions Staff class and any Items & Holdings or Cataloging class you've taken. We will cover order placement, submitting an order, and using order templates. 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 primary role(s).)


Class overview

Today we will cover the steps and new vocabulary terms related to placing a one time order, and then take a break so you can try out placing an order.  After that, we will review One Time Order Templates, and take another break for you to practice.

Overview of One-Time Orders

**Option for students: think of a one-time (monographic) title you would like to work with throughout training – you can order it today, receive & pay invoice for it in the One Time Orders Pt. 2 class, if you'd like...

We are going to begin by reviewing the basic components of the Alma Acq workflow.  Those are: purchasing, receiving (physical titles), activation (electronic titles), and invoicing.

  • Please note that Alma has a stage of ordering (and invoicing) called In Review – orders and invoices will go into this stage when information is either missing or wrong, according to Alma. Staff will need to review materials in review daily.
  • Alma uses new vocabulary and gives you lots of choices about how to place the order – order now, order with auto packaging, order with manual packaging. 
    • The key definitions for these new vocab terms and choices are on your Vocab handout.  We will refer to this document during this class.

I also want to review the concepts of One-Time Orders vs. Continuous Orders.

  • The Acquisitions and Serials Working Group (ASWG) recommends using one time when you are ordering something that would have one item. Otherwise adding additional items can be cumbersome, especially during the receiving process.  For cases where you are ordering something that would have more than one item, the best practice would be to select a continuous order type (and there are two classes available for continuous orders, Part 1 and Part 2, just like for One Time Orders).

    • (If Trainer would like to share more detail) Take the example of a one-time order for a backfile of 10 serial issues: If I chose one-time, I would have to receive the one item in the receiving list, and then go into the list of items to manually duplicate and create items for the remaining 9 issues. However, if I choose Alma print journal subscription (which is a continuous order type), I could just receive all 10 items in the receiving list and then manually close the order.  

POL, PO and POL Owner concepts

  • Let's begin by getting familiar with three new terms: Purchase Order Line (POL), Purchase Order (PO) and POL Owner.
    • (Trainer: bring up a monographic order of your choosing in Alma; one example is HUP title Nefertiti's face, MMSID 990151705720203941
    • Looking at the multiple orders for this title, let's review these terms – and note they are on your Vocab Handout, right at the top of the page that starts with the heading: Orders.
      • A Purchase order line, or POL is an individual order for a title (could be multiple copies of same title)
        • There is a reference document available which lists all the status a POL could be in (POL Statuses)
      • A Purchase Order or PO is what is sent to the vendor.
        • A PO could include 1 POL or more than one
        • For orders created after Alma goes live, the PO number and the POL number will be different numbers
        • It is possible "package" (meaning collect together) POLs into PO, either manually or automatically.  I will explain this in more detail shortly.
      • The POL Owner is the unit responsible for creating the order
        • These are called "libraries" in Alma.
          These control the bill to/ship to info 

          (Trainer: Display the drop down of location options at the top of the Alma Screen. Write the categories below on the board, and have folks help identify each category)

          One kind of POL owner relationship is:

          1 ordering unit :1 library collection

          Trainer ask:
          Which location in the Sandbox represents this kind of relationship?

          SCH Tech Serv orders for SCH collection

          A second kind of POL owner relationship is:

          Many order units : 1 library collection

          Trainer ask:
          Which location represents this kind of relationship?

          Wid Judaica
          Wid Slavic 
          Wid Middle East order for Widener collection

          A third kind of POL owner relationship is:

          1 consolidated ordering unit : many library collections


          Trainer ask:
          Which location represents this kind of relationship?


          ITS at 625 orders for Wid, Lam, Fal, Cab, Des, Div, etc



Placing a straightforward One-Time order 

Let's walk through placing a straightforward order so we can see how these concepts play out.

Two things to keep in mind here: first, once I show you all the steps, I'm then going to show you how to create One Time Order templates, so you won't have to do all these steps every time!  Second, after I show you placing an order, we will break for practice time so you can practice placing an order.

Finding the bib

  • Typically, we are either placing an order on a bib that exists in Alma, or we need to bring a bib in.
  • Let's start with a title that has a bib in Alma already.
    • We're going to do an ALL TITLES search so we can get a sense if there are any bibs for this title in Alma (you may remember from earlier classes that a physical titles search will only show you bibs that have physical items attached).
      • It is helpful to have the Expand physical & electronic drop down set here, so you can see more details about what is linked to the bib.
    • Let's search for (Trainer pick a monographic title that has orders attached – Nefertiti's face can be used here)
    • There is a shopping cart that's green if there are orders attached to the bib.
      • If you click on the number next to the cart, (it's a hyperlink) you can view the orders associated with this bib.
        • You may remember that in Alma there is a difference between viewing and editing – if you are viewing the order, you aren't able to make any edits.
        • Clicking here (Trainer click here) allows you to VIEW existing orders (open or closed) – but not to PLACE an order. 
          • You may recognize that this is the screen we were on when we were talking about the PO and POL concepts.
        • If you want to place an order, you need to go back a screen, using the back arrow within Alma (not your browser Back button) and click on the ellipsis menu: Order option.
          • Note that if you place orders often, you may want to customize your display so that Order is one of the buttons, so you don't have to click on the ellipsis.
            • I'll show you that quickly now:  click on the gear icon, click "show all" .
            • In the Action Order column, drag the Order option up to Button 1 or 2, and click save.
            • You can see that Order is now one of my action buttons.
              • You can also see that my gear icon has a green circle on it.  If I hover over it, I see that the green circle indicates that I have "customized" my view.
              • I can go back in and click on "Restore list defaults" at any time to go back to the default display.
    • When I click order, I land on this screen to start placing my Purchase Order.  
      • Remember what this screen looks like – we will see it again in a moment.
  • Let's back up for a second, and try out the other common scenario, when I have to order a title that does NOT have a bib already in Alma.  
    • First I would do a search in Alma for a bib.  I'm going to use a children's book title, since Harvard doesn't collect many of these, so it's a good bet there won't be a bib in the catalog.
      • (Trainer: search Alma for "Poem in your pocket")
        • There are no results in Alma.
      • So I need to find a bib to bring into Alma.  
        • I will use the Search external resources option – which lives under Resources.  You can star it to add it to your quick links bar if that's useful.
        • And note that I am going to review the process of bringing in an external bib quickly, because it is also covered in the Cat 1 class.
      • When you click on Search External Resources, this will open the Metadata Editor – and you will be doing a Z39.50 search, which you may know well from Aleph.
        • In the Search Cataloging Profile drop down, select WorldCat & Library of Congress.
          • Enter the title.
          • Click Search.
            • Note at the top I got 82 results....and unlike the rest of Alma, there are not lots of ways to sort or refine your results, I would just have to scroll thru them.
            • So it's really helpful to include as much detail as possible in your search.
            • We can go back and do that by clicking "refine search"
          • Let's add an ISBN for this title, and a publication year (9780307979476; 2015)
            • Now I got 6 results.
            • I can click View to see the bib record in more detail.
              • Once I find the one I want, I click import.
              • note: there may be some alerts when you import if Alma detects missing or incorrect info/coding.  Alma has different colors of alerts (blue: fyi; yellow: pay attention; red : danger!)
    • Now that I have imported the bib, I'm not worried about updating the bib right now – I just want to place my order.
      • Alma allows you to do this pretty easily.
        • In the top, you'll see a blue shopping cart, which is the icon to begin placing your order.
        • Clicking on this one icon will do several things at once:  it will save and release the bib, it will check for dupe bibs and offer options to do cleanup, it will check the bib for any errors or missing info, and it will land you on the page to start placing your order.
      • Let's click on the shopping cart.
        • And notice – we've arrived at the same screen we saw a few minutes ago, when we were going to start placing an order for a title that had a bib in Alma.

Completing the PO Line Owner and Type screen

We need to fill in the info on this first page before we place our order details.

  • First there is the purchase type drop down.
    • This is context dependent – Alma suggests something based on data in the bib record. (These are the 2 main ways Alma tries to help you, context-based display/suggestions and listing your recent selections), 
    • Notice there is Print book One Time and Physical item One Time.  Use physical item one time for anything physical that is not a book – a cd, dvd, etc)
  • Next is the PO line owner drop down.
    • Remember: this is asking, who is responsible for creating this order?  It's not asking where the book is going to live.
    • Let's select ITS at 625.
  • Next field is Load from Template.
    • This is the second topic in today's class, creating and using Order Templates – we'll cover that next.
    • And you can see on your Vocab handout, all the order fields that can be saved in template.
  • Generate barcode using sequence – this is just saying the system will assign a system barcode in sequential order (alma4066, alma4067, alma4068).
  • Last field to enter before we can move forward: Assign inventory manually?
    • Remember, inventory means "holdings and items" in Alma
    • Both are created automatically during 1 time orders (which is quite different from Aleph!)
      • this section is asking, do you manually want to say where the holdings and items attached to this order will live, because it's not going to live where the PO Line Owner is located? If yes, you will check the box. 
      • Or, if the POL owner is part of the same collection where this item will live, you can let the computer assign the inventory – you don't need to do it 'manually'.
  • Let's check off the box, because the PO Line owner is ITS at 625, and we don't have a collection here, and I will be able to manually say where this book will live on the next screen.
  • Click on Create PO line.
  • Click confirm on the next pop up because, that's correct, we don't want the computer to create inventory (holdings & item) for us, we will that manually on the next screen.
    • You will see a blue alert that a new POL is created, and we need to review it.
      • Right now the PO is in "Review stage", basically meaning not done yet stage, because info is either missing or not correct.
    • If you created the order in error, you can click Delete at the top of the screen.

Completing the Purchase Order Line Details page

This is a familiar layout for a page in Alma – details at the top of the page with TABS with additional info – dog eared or colored tabs means there is content on that tab.

  • We will focus on summary tab in placing our order
  • Required fields are marked with red *
    • if you needed to assign inventory manually, we need to click "Add loc" (if you forgot on last screen, you can also edit the item's location here)
      • note: this field is required, but * is hidden behind the "Add Location" drop down!
        • Click on the arrow to drop down your options.
        • Recent selections will be at the top.  You can also start typing in the box; typing the collection code is more effective than typing a library's name.
          • Let's select LAM Gen or LAM Farns here.
          • while you are here, you can add item policy, it's not required, but will be needed later.
            • Let's select 01 for Regular loan.
    • Once I enter this info, Alma will refresh automatically, and then the "inventory" for Lamont library will display at the top.

Let's go through fields in order of going down the page.

The next required field is the vendor.  Just like when selecting the collections of Lam, Wid, Sch, we want to use vendors that are fully set up in the Sandbox, so we'll have ability to see the full range of options and edits.

  • To select a vendor, you can click on the clock to see the most recent selections you've made.  You can also click on the list to search.
    • As you may remember from the Searching Vendors, Invoices & Funds class, vendor codes have changed during migration, so you want to search by All or Name rather than code; and you want to select the right Vendor Account Code that maps to your bill to/ship to info and has the right method for sending the order (EDI or not, etc).
      • I'm going to walk thru searching for a vendor account record here, since you may not have recent selections appearing yet.
        • I'm going to search by ALL, and enter Yankee.
        • I get a long list of choices – I want to focus on the Account Code column, and select the account for Lamont (LAM01).
        • One note here: there is a default claim period set in the Vendor Account record.
          • Unlike Aleph, Alma will automatically put POLs into a claim list based on defaults in vendor account record.  We will need to figure out locally what we will do with items in this Claims list.
            • Note that you can change the date here (such as if you were ordering a book pre-publication), and that will trump whatever date period is in the vendor account record.
  • Next required field is to add the price.
    • A few notes here: 
      • you have to enter price before you enter the fund!
      • don't use commas if you have an amount over 999.00, Alma doesn't like them
      • You'll need to click somewhere after entering the price (same when adding the fund). This will allow Alma to record what you have entered, before you move on to click to do your next task.
  • quantity for pricing is also required – this is only for billing purposes, has nothing to do with # of item records
  • Next we need to add a fund.
    • Note that this is also a required field, but like Add Location, the red asterisk is hidden behind the drop down.
    • Just like with selecting a vendor, you have the option to view recent selections (by clicking on the clock) or to search the list of funds.
      • like you saw in the Searching Vendors... class, defaults to displaying active funds from current FY
      • You may remember the ways to search funds from Finance class – by name, by portions of the string, etc.
        • I am going to search ALL and enter "thomas lamont".  I get 2 funds, and will select the one with the 37260 activity.
          • Clicking on the fund in the list adds it to the order info; you will still need to click "Add Fund".
    • The percent field defaults to 100% of the cost, and we can edit this if needed
    • Once you click add fund, you will see the fund appears.
    • can delete the fund with the ellipsis menu

Now we are on the final section of the Summary tab for placing this order, called PO Line details

  • Note that most of these fields are not required, but best practice is to fill out the following fields.
  • Acquisitions method (purchase, gift, etc)–there are definitions of each in documentation (also listed below for Trainer reference) – please note that only the one called Purchase sends out an order to the vendor via EDI or email.  All the rest do NOT send out an order!
    • Purchase - order will be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory)
      • NOTE: this is the only Acquisition method that results in a purchase order being sent to the vendor
    • Purchase - Without letter - if no letter to the vendor is needed, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory)
      • This means no email or EDI order is sent to the vendor
    • Approval Plan - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information mandatory)
    • Gift - order will not be sent to the vendor, no invoice expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
    • Purchase at Vendor System - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice expected (Pricing and fund information  mandatory)
    • Depository (for government depository items) - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional)
    • Exchange (i.e. received on exchange) - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional) 
    • Technical - order will not be sent to the vendor, invoice not expected (Pricing and fund information optional)  
      • Use technical for any order that does not need to be sent to the vendor and that does not fit into the other categories
        • This can be used for membership payment, series standing order payment, payment of materials sent on exchange, etc.

  • The material type will be recommended based on the data Alma has detected
  • The reporting code is the object code from Aleph, can start typing in 703... and the select the correct code.
    • note: the documentation explains other fields on this Summary tab, and all the other tabs, for your reference


Completing the POL

Now, let's complete the POL.

 You have 3 choices about how to place your order.  You can see these outlined on your Vocab handout.  (You can also just "save" if you are going to lunch)

  • Order Now

    Save and Continue

    --sends the POL to vendor right then 

    --creates PO # which is different than POL # 

    --can use this option all the time if you want

    1. with Auto packaging: 
    --Alma will collect, automatically, all the POLs that have the necessary values in common 
    --Around 5pm each night, Alma will those off to the vendor 
    (like the Aleph "order list" for anyone who used that 

    2. with Manual packaging: 
    --You can check this box, and you can manually "package" (collect) together the POLs you want to send as a group to the vendor on one PO 
    --This approach might be useful for approval orders that have no order load; manually packaging them together onto one PO means you can call up all those titles to populate the invoice for payment, it will automatically list the individual POLs on the invoice for you


    • Please note: if you want to be able to receive or pay an invoice for this title later in training, you will want to choose Order Now.

    • Important note: when PO is Saved (even if you didn't Order Now or Save and continue), it creates an encumbrance transaction.  This is a big and notable difference from Aleph.

      • the encumbrance is created merely by hitting save. When one "saves" an order, it goes into review; which means orders that are in review and that have a fund and a price entered, represent open encumbrances on funds

    • Note: staff will receive an Order notification emails whenever they use the Order Now command. We cannot turn these off.

      • You will also get an email  if it was an unsuccessful process, and that email will look like this (Trainer show image on screen): 


After you click Order Now, you will see a confirmation message.  Click Confirm.

Then you will land on the POLs in review page!!!  (huh?!)

  • Alma is essentially saying, that order that you just placed went through, but let's talk about the other orders you've tried to place that have NOT yet gone thru.  (Thanks, Alma!)
  • If you'd like to see if you order went through, search the title, and note the order status
    • Status will be Sent for ones that have been sent.
    • Not sent statuses include: Ready, In Review, Auto packaging, etc
    • Here is what an emailed order looks like to a vendor (Trainer show image on screen) : 

Practice time (show instructions on screen): Now it's your turn to place a One Time Order.

POLs and POs in Review

Let's quickly look at POLs and POs in review before looking at Order Templates.  It will be important to check on POLs and POs that go into review on a daily basis.

Here is how you can navigate to find what's in review.

  • Using the top menu bar, there is Acquisitions > Purchase Order Lines > Review or Purchase Orders > Review
    • Another option is the Task List widgit – or Task List in menu: Check POLs in review
  • For PO Lines, there will be 3 tabs – If you were the last person to touch the POL, it will show up on the Assigned to Me tab.  There are also Unassigned and Assigned to others tabs.
    • Facets on the left show some detail as to why but it can be more helpful to click "Edit" to see the alerts at the top
    • You'll need to fix any issues, then click Order Now
  • For POs in review, you will notice there are no tabs.
    • These are not assigned to anyone, and it can be hard to figure out what the problem is.  The Reporting & Analytics WG working on a standing report/widgit so we can easily see & review these.
      • The facets on the left can be helpful to narrow the results down, and you can also sort the columns.
        • A note about migrated orders: A large number of Aleph orders migrated as "In review" because they did not have values or associations that Alma recognized. These do NOT represent orders waiting to be sent to the vendor. LTS is investigating ways to clear these out of the POL in Review list.

One-Time Order Templates

Order Templates can be really helpful to streamline work.  If you look at your Vocab handout, you can see the list of fields you can save in a template.

  • Note that templates only save info from the PO Summary Tab.
  • There is also no required naming convention for templates.  
    • It will be important use a naming convention to clarify what is set
    • You can see these have the following naming convention: (Trainer write on board) POL Owner / Inventory Location / Vendor / Order type

Navigating to templates as well as editing/saving/deleting them is a little like entering vacations days in PeopleSoft (all days partial days?) – not exactly intuitive or straightforward.

  • One way to access a template to use is when you are starting to place an order -- we saw this earlier.
    • On the POL starting screen, in the Template drop down, you can select template to apply to your order
      • Note: both OT and CO template types appear – so be alert about which ones to choose.
    • Once you pick one, you could edit the order details, and then click on "Save as Template" and give this template a new name of your own.

  • Another way to create a template is that you can open any past order (yours or someone else's, one that's sent or in review – not auto packaged ones, it seems) and Save as template.
    • Let's try this now.  We will do an all titles search for We Forgot Brock, click on shopping cart to view orders, then click Edit (not View!), then click "Save as Template" at the top of the screen. 
  • Regarding permissions and tempates: Note that anyone can CREATE public templates (but best practice is to only do this if you have a widely applicable template!) 
    • Only certain roles can Edit or Delete Public Templates
    • Anyone can create, edit and delete their own private templates
  • Let's click Save as Template here.
    • Type in a name here, like ITS 625 / LAM / YANKEE / OT Print
    • select No for public template
      • Note here that if you click on the Existing Templates drop down in this menu, and select an existing template that you have permissions to delete, once you select it, the delete button will appear.

Whether you assign inventory manually as part of your template will depend on your local workflows and what kind of POL owner relationship you are working in.

Practice time (show instructions on screen): Please try finding and creating order templates. 



Please note that there is excellent Acquisitions documentation related to the topics covered in this class.  The link to access all of these is on your one-page handout – they are all listed on the One Time Orders Pt. 1 class materials page.


In the next day or two, you'll receive an email that includes an evaluation for this class. Please take a few moments to fill it out - your feedback will help us improve this class and will help me improve my training skills. 

If you have any questions, use the LTS Alma Support form in the Notifications wiki to submit them.

Is everyone signed up for the next class in their sequence, or would you like more information about that class?  

Thank you for attending today's class.

  • No labels