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Access Services: Batch Withdrawal Instructions

This guide will demonstrate how to create a text file of barcodes or other numerical identifiers, to use that file to create a static set of records on Alma, and run a batch job to withdraw holdings
Tags: Alma, Batch changes, Cataloging, Itemized sets

1. Creating a Text File of Numeric Referents (Barcode, MMS, OCLC#)

An itemized set is a static collection of individual records in Alma. It can be created either from a saved Alma search or a text file with numeric identifiers such as barcodes, MMS numbers, ISSN/ISBN, or OCLC numbers. This guide is for creating a set from a file.


The file must be a text file (.txt or .csv) or Excel file (.xls or .xlsx) and have the correct header at the top of the column for the data to be read. All other information in the file is disregarded. If the Excel file has more than one column, it utilizes the first column of data that has a valid header type. 

Common Headers to use (in bold):

  • Physical Items
    • Item ID (or PID or Item PID)
    • Barcode
  • Physical Titles
    • PID
    • ISSN

    • ISBN

    • OCLC number


You can create your list either by exporting a set of records from Alma and then extracting the identifier column you need, or by creating a file by scanning barcodes into a plain text file. The former is useful when you can't narrow your search specifically enough to create a saved query that contains the records you want to change and only the records you want to change. 


To create a list from a set of items, open a plain text file in Notepad or Wordpad, and enter the relevant header on the first line, and then scan each identifier on its own line (you can also use Excel, making sure to save as .xls/.xlsx)


Save the file as txt file with a name and in a location that you can remember!





2. Creating an Itemized Set on Alma

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.

An itemized set is a static collection of individual records in the repository. Itemized sets are created on the Manage Sets page  (Admin > Manage Jobs and Sets > Manage Sets): 

Navigate to Manage Sets


To create an itemized set:


  • On the Manage Sets page, select Add Set > Itemized.

Add Itemized Set

The Set Details page opens. Set name and Content type are the only required field, but adding a description of the set and any relevant notes is valuable if the set is going to be used by multiple people.  Notes can include links to instructions or instructions themselves.  Set the Content type to Physical Items.

Note: Leaving the set Private will make it accessible only to the creator, so you may want to set this setting to "no". You'll want to leave the set as Active if you want to use it for a manual job, such as adding or changing information on item/holding/bib records.

  • To create a set from an external list, under Add Contents from File to Set, select "From file" and then browse to the selected file:  




Note: The imported file must be a text file (.txt or .csv) or Excel file (.xls or .xlsx) and have the correct header at the top of the column for the data to be read. All other information in the file is disregarded. If the Excel file has more than one column, it utilizes the first column of data that has a valid header type. 



  • Click on Save to create the set. You will be taken back to the Manage Sets page and receive a confirmation email once the set is created. You can then search for the set in the list of public sets:


Search for set name in Public Sets

3. Running a Holdings Change Job on a Set of Items

Alma comes with various types of "jobs" already available, ie, "canned" jobs. You can also create custom jobs. In order to change the Library/Shelving location on a batch of titles, you'll use the Change Holding Information job.


  • This job will be run on the set of records to be withdrawn, and it will:
    • Change the Library and Shelving location to Main Withdrawn
    • Add a |x note to the end of the 852 field:  |x wdn;AccSer


  • Navigate to the Run a Job page (Admin > Manage Jobs and Sets > Run a Job


Navigate to "Run a Job"


This will take you to the full list of possible jobs:

Selecting a Job to run


You can search for a Job by Description or by Name 

  • Search for the Name "Change holding":

Search and Select the Appropriate Set


  • Select the appropriate Job and hit Next in the upper right. This will take you to a page where you select the set on which you want to run the Job.

Select a Set


  • You can again search by Description or Name. Search for your set, in this example, "Access Services", select the appropriate set, then hit Next:

Select your set by Name

  • This takes you to the Enter Task Parameters page, where you choose the rule that will make the changes to the set of records.

Task parameters

  • On this page you'll check the tick box before Correct the data using normalization rules
  • Using the pull-down menu, you'll select the rule "Access Services Batch Withdrawals" 
  • Leaving everything else blank, hit Next


This takes you to the Review and Confirm page, where you can make sure you selected the right parameters

Review Selections and Confirm Choices


Make sure that the page has true in front of the Correct the data... option (otherwise Alma will happily run the whole job, tell you it all went swell, but nothing will change. And then you might have to take a bit of time figuring out why the job didn't work. Not that I ever have this problem, or anything.)

  • If your option says true and you have chosen the correct parameter, take a deep breath and hit Submit
  • When the Confirmation Message pops up, hit Confirm

Confirmation Message


This will take you to the Monitor Jobs page, where you will see your job in the listing:

Monitor Jobs page


  • You can refresh this page to see the progress of your job -- if the run takes long enough. If it's a small set, it may run fast enough that when you refresh, it falls off the page. It's then available on the History tab, where it will also show you any Reports/Events. You can export these, but they don't give much additional information. Exporting the Events will let you see the full text of the note, though.
  • Whoever submits the job will get a confirmation email of the results

Email confirmation of job results


Note: On the final test of this job, I got a Report of "Completed with Errors". In checking the test record, all the changes were as desired. The actual error message wasn't much help, but as the job did complete as desired, I ignored it. Let me know if it continues to throw errors and I'll see if I can track it down.


  • You can go to the Manage Sets page to retrieve your set and spot-check that the Library/Locations were changed and the withdrawn note added:

Manage Sets page


From the resulting page, you can search for your set by Name, and then use the menu on the right to pull up the members of the set:

Retrieving Members of Set

  •  After you have confirmed that the job ran correctly and all the desired changes were made, you can delete the set using the same menu that you used to see the members of the set. If you want to maintain the sets as you go, I'd suggest keeping a consistent Name and adding the date the job is being run.