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The basic steps for importing /loading records into Alma is:

  1. Get or create the file of records to import.
  2. Validate the file as thoroughly as possible.
  3. Use the generic existing load profiles (more below) or  or work with LTS for a vendor-specific or project-specific profile.
  4. Run the load.
  5. Check the results.

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Guidelines

In addition, these guidelines should be followed for every type of record load:

  • Harvard should not accept records from vendors or partners that have redistribution restrictions. See the Harvard Policy On Records.
  • The encoding and validity of records should be confirmed prior to load.  See the requirements for Import Profiles. 
    • For MARC files, use MARCedit to validate and edit records before loading.
    • For Excel/CSV files, confirm correct column headers are used and that data is as clean as possible. If necessary, convert Excel to MARC and validate using MARCedit.
  • Files should be named in a consistent manner for each load.  We suggest one of the following conventions:
    • [librarycode]-[vendorcode]-[invoice#].mrc 
    • [librarycode]-[vendorcode]-[YYYMMDD].mrc
    • It is okay to append suffixes as well for multiple files received in a day, e.g. wid-weinberg-20180545b.mrc
  • No more than 500 records should be loaded in a single batch. 
    • If your vendor file is larger than this and is in the MARC binary format, you can use the MARCedit Split tool to break it into smaller files. 
  • After a set is loaded, the records should be checked to ensure:
    • That bib validates in Alma (Tools > Validate)
    • That holding validates in Alma
    • That item was created and can be re-saved without errors

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If you are working with a MARC file, use MARCedit to validate the data you're working with. If needed, download MARCedit from https://marcedit.reeset.net/ and, for Windows users, choose the 64-bit Windows/Non-Administrator version.

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While you can convert the Excel file to a MARC file using MARCedit, this isn't necessary unless you want to use MARCedit to validate your records. Otherwise, just use the Excel file as-is.

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Loading on Sandbox

  1. Log Into Alma Sandbox

  2. Go to Resources >> Import

  3. Search for generic to locate Staff Generic Profile 1 (for MARC records) or Staff Generic Profile 2 (for Excel/CSV files).your profile, e.g.
  4. Choose Run from the row action item menu.
  5. Click on Select File and find the file you saved, either MARC or Excel/CSV.
  6. Fill in the Label and Notes fields. These will show up after the load in the Monitor & View Imports >> Job History >> View File Details page. 
    • Best Practice: Alma already captures a history of the file name and user who loaded the file, so use the Label and Description to help you keep track of what you loaded. For example, you could include invoice number, date of vendor shipment, box number, etc.  Click on View file details from the row action item menu to see the label/notes details.

  7. Click Add. Confirm that the correct import profile and file are listed in the import screen.
    1. In some cases Alma will not be able to use the file and it will give this error: Failed during parsing record
    2. If this occurs, return to MARCedit and run the file through the MARC validator tool. You can Remove Invalid Records for troubleshooting purposes to identify the cause of the problem. 
    3. MARCedit may not catch all errors that prevent a file being parsed by Alma, such as the presence of duplicate LDR fields.
  8. Click Submit.

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  • Click Refresh to see progress. If you have a large job or your job is queued after another import, you may want to copy the Job ID and return to this screen later.
  • Alma will send you a confirmation email with a load report once the job has completed. View an PDF example confirmation email from Alma.

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