Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

About Sets

Sets are collections of records in Alma. They can be created manually, as a list built up item by item by the user, or dynamically, in which case the set is a saved search query whose results are determined each time the search is run.

Sets do not have a size limit.

There are two types of sets, in four basic categories:

Types of Sets

  • Itemized sets are manually created, static sets of individual items called members
  • Logical sets are the results of a saved search query, and are created dynamically each time the search is run

Categories (type of item in the set)

  • Acquisitions sets: PO Lines & Vendors
  • User sets
  • Reading list sets
  • Resource Management sets: All Titles, Authorities, Electronic Collections, Electronic Portfolios, Electronic Titles, Physical Items, Physical Titles (Not in use at Harvard: Digital Files, Digital Collections)

What are Sets Used For?

In addition to just being a list of things, sets are used to identify a number of records to be manipulated at the same time (e.g., publish metadata in bulk, move a group of records, or run jobs/processes).

You might create a set to:

  • Add a note or field to a group of titles or items in a particular collection
  • Withdraw items in bulk
  • Initiate a work order for a group of items that are entering the same workflow (such as for a digitization or preservation project)
  • Update the status of a group of orders
  • Save the results of a reference question that gets asked frequently or on a regular schedule (at the beginning of the same class each semester)

Some of this work is completed by a job (or batch process) that requires creating a set of records to run the job on. → Read more about Jobs and Batch Processes and their parameters.

Sets and jobs are both accessed under the Admin menu, in Manage Sets & Jobs; there are three possible views of sets:

  • My Sets: all of your sets, both private and public
  • Public Sets: all public sets, from all users

Creating and manipulating an Itemized or Logical Set

Itemized Sets (static)

Itemized sets are manually compiled collections of individual items (called members). Itemized sets may even include references to deleted records, which makes it possible to perform operations on those records, such as republishing them to Primo.

Creating an Itemized Set

  1. Go to Admin >> Manage Sets and Jobs and click on Manage Sets
  2. Click on the My Sets tab
  3. Click on Add Sets, then choose Itemized Set
  4. Add a General Description for your set:  
    1. Set Name (REQUIRED) must be unique and useful for finding your set in a list
    2. Description does not display in the lists of sets; adds context about what is in that set and why
    3. Note does not display; use for any additional notes about that set
    4. Set Content Type (REQUIRED) is the type of records that will be in your set; this will limit what can be done with the set and determine the search bar you see when you want to add items to your set 
      A set can only contain one content type
    5. Private - Sets default to Yes when created; toggle a set to No to share it with other Harvard users
    6. Active - This doesn't seem to affect much, but leave it set to Active
  5. Add Contents to Set. You can add contents to an itemized set in two ways:
    1. Add Contents from File to Set: upload a file containing identifiers to populate the set. Files must be text (.txt or .csv) or Excel (.xls or .xlsx), and should contain one column with the correct header at the top. You can only upload a file to create a set once - after that, you can only add individual items to the set, or create a second set with a file and combine the sets (see instructions below). 
      1. It is also possible to add the results of an Analytics report to a set.
      2. See the Ex Libris KnowledgeBase for a complete set of content types and headers.
    2. Add Members to Set: perform repository searches to select individual items (members) to add to the set.  
      1. Search with the primary and secondary search fields, then limit by the facets on the left.
      2. Select items by clicking in the tickybox to the left of the title.
      3. Once you've selected the items you want from a page of results, click Add Selected. (warning) Do not go to the next page of results until you've added items from that page - Alma can't add from multiple search results pages at once.
      4. When you're done adding members to the set, click on Done. This saves your set and returns you to the Manage Sets page.
  6. You can Save your set without adding contents first by clicking Save. This returns you to the Manage Sets page.

Viewing, Removing, or Adding Members to an Itemized Set

To view members of a set, go to Manage Sets and click on the row action items list (the ellipsis) for the set you want to see. Click on Members, and Alma will display the contents of that set.

To remove members of a set:

  1. View the contents of the set (see above)
  2. Click on the tickybox to the left of each item you want to remove
  3. Click on Remove Selected at the top
    OR
    If you only want to remove a single item, just choose Remove from the row action items list for that item
  4. Click on Done to save your changes

To add members to a set after you've saved it:

  1. Go to Manage Sets and click on the row action items list for the set you want to add to
  2. Click on Edit
  3. Click on Add Members to Set
  4. Search the repository and add items to the set
  5. Click Done to save your changes

Editing Item Set Details

You can change any of the details in the General Description of your set at any time, including the set name. Click on the row action items list for the set you want to edit, then choose Edit and make your changes. Click Save when done.

To share your set with other Harvard Library users, change the Private setting from Yes to No.



Logical Sets (dynamic)

Any time you save a search query in Alma, you create a logical set; these can be created more directly from the Manage Sets page. Logical sets are repopulated dynamically every time you re-run the query.

Note: You cannot save individual items to a logical set, but you can turn the results of a logical set into an itemized set (see below) and then add individual items to that. Once you change a logical set to an itemized set, it becomes static permanently; you cannot change an itemized set to a logical set.

Creating a Logical Set

  1. Go to Admin >> Manage Sets and Jobs and click on Manage Sets
  2. Click on the My Sets tab
  3. Click on Add Sets, then choose Logical Set
  4. Add a General Description for your set:
    1. Set Name (REQUIRED) must be unique and useful for finding your set in a list
    2. Description does not display in the lists of sets; adds context about what is in that set and why
    3. Note does not display; use for any additional notes about that set
    4. Set Content Type(REQUIRED) is the type of records that will be in your set; this will limit what can be done with the set and determine the search bar you see when you want to add items to your set 
      A set can only contain one content type
    5. Private - Sets default to Yes when created; toggle a set to No to share it with other Harvard users
    6. Active - This doesn't seem to affect much, but set it to Active.
  5. Click Next
  6. Perform a repository search to populate the set.
    1. Simple search: Search with the primary and secondary search fields, then limit by the facets on the left until you have the precise search you want.
    2. Advanced search: Use an advanced search for more precise searching.
  7. Note that you can search the Community Zone, which makes logical sets in the CZ useful as a collection development tool, to find what new materials other Alma institutions have that Harvard doesn't yet.
  8. When your search is fully refined, click Save. You can update a saved search, but save-as-you-go isn't helpful in this process.


View Results

To view the current results of a logical set, go to Manage Sets and click on the row action items list (the ellipsis) for the set you want to see. Click on Results, and Alma will display the contents of that set.


Editing Item Set Details

You can change any of the details in the General Description of your set at any time, including the set name. Click on the row action items list for the set you want to edit, then choose Edit and make your changes. Click Save when done.

To share your set with other Harvard Library users, change the Private setting from Yes to No.


Changing a Logical Set Query

  1. Go to Manage Sets and click on the row action items list for the set you want to add to
  2. Click on Results
  3.  Change the elements of the query that you want to change using the advanced search form at the top of the results list.
  4. Click on Search to re-run your search with the new criteria.
  5. When you're happy with your search, click on Save Query
  6. Change the title, description, or note to reflect the updated query on the Set Details screen
  7. Click Save to save your changes

 

If you change the query on your set, it overwrites the previous version. If you want to keep the first query and create a new set with a slightly different version of that query, choose Duplicate from the row actions item list. That creates a copy of the first logical set, which you can update with different criteria or search terms.


Converting Logical Sets to Itemized Sets

If you have a perfect set of results in a logical set, you can capture it as an itemized set. This allows you to (DO WHAT, EXACTLY?) This is effectively a "Save As" function - it will retain your original logical set and create a snapshot of the current results as a new itemized set.

  1. Go to Manage Sets and click on the row action items list for the set you want to itemize
  2. Click on Itemize
  3. The system adds the word "itemized" and the date to the Set Name. If you want to customize the set name further, do that on the Set Details screen
  4. Click Submit, then Confirm to submit an itemization job to convert your set
  5. A small set will appear in the Manage Sets list almost immediately. A large set will take time for the itemization job to run, and then will appear.

Combining Sets

You can combine two sets of the same Content Type into a single set. Again, this is a "Save As" type of function: the process will create a new set that is some combination of both sets.

  1. Go to Manage Sets and click on the row action items list for the set you want to itemize
  2. Click on Combine
  3. The system adds the word "combined" and the date to the Set Name. If you want to customize the set name further, do that on the Set Details screen.
  4. The set you start with is called the parent set. At the bottom of the screen, choose the set you want to combine the parent set with, and how.
    1. AND creates a new set that includes only the members in common between the two sets (In Set 1 AND in Set 2)
    2. NOT creates a set that includes members that are in the parent set and not in the second set (In Set 1 and NOT in Set 2)
    3. OR creates a set that includes all of the members of both sets (In either Set 1 OR in Set 2)
  5. When you click on the list of sets to combine with, it will only display sets of the same content type, both yours and any public sets. Search for the second set by name or by your Alma user ID.
  6. Click Submit, then Confirm to submit an itemization job to convert your set
  7. A small set will appear in the Manage Sets list almost immediately. A large set will take time for the itemization job to run, and then will appear.

Filtering Sets

Sets can be filtered by using Alma indication rules. Indication rules do not modify data. They are solely used to read MARC bibliographic records that are part of a set and filter records out based on conditions. 

  • Indication rules can be written by any staff member with the Cataloger role.
  • Before you write a new rule, review existing Indication Rules.
    1. Go to Admin > Manage Sets.
    2. Choose any Titles set you've created. (You're not going to actually filter it, just use it to get to the next screen.)
    3. From the row action item list icon, choose Filter set.
    4. On the next screen, scroll down to the Indication rules drop-down and click to see all existing rules.
      1. If the rule you want to use is there, use it.
      2. If the rule you want to use doesn't exist yet, you'll need to write it following the Ex Libris directions.
    5. Click Cancel in the upper right to cancel this action.


Example of an indication rule, from Ex Libris documentation


Indication Rules and Filtering Sets


For instructions on how to write indication rules, please visit the Ex Libris documentation on Working with Indication Rules.

  • Rule naming best-practice: Name the rule with your unit's 3-char abbreviation followed by a title summarizing what the rule does. 

For information on how to filter a set once an indication rule has been written, please visit the Ex Libris documentation on Filtering Sets

  • Filtering best-practice: Refine the original set as much as possible before applying the filter, so that the original set is not larger than it needs to be. This helps the filtering job run faster and keeps the jobs queue clear.