Q. How do I set up a digital import of content from Digital Commons, DSpace, and other external repositories?


The benefit of using a digital import profile for content from Digital Commons, rather than a discovery import profile, is that a digital import profile lets you see and manage the individual titles in Alma. A discovery import profile sends the content to Primo, but you can't find it in Alma.

We'll use Digital Commons as an example.


SUNY Harvest URL for DSpace
SUNY Harvest URL for SOAR

Set up Remote Digital Repository

Ex Libris Documentation: Managing Remote Digital Repositories 

  • Go to Configuration Menu > Resources > Record Import > Remote Digital Repositories
  • Select Digital Commons OAI DC format

General Information Tab:

  • Your base URL should look something like https://digitalcommons.cortland.edu/do/oai . Enter it in the base URL box and click the connect and edit button. The default metadata prefix is qdc.
  • Once you click on the Transformer rules tab, you can save and test the connection:

digital commons test

  • Choose first or random record, and potentially also the specific set to test against, then click on the Test button.

test digital commons

  • If you've set it up correctly, you'll see status = Passed, and you'll see the source record and the imported target record code:

passed test

  • For the source record and target record, you can mouse over the fields and/or drag the box open further by using the diagonal lines in the bottom right corner. 

Transformer Rules Tab:

This is where you tell the system how you want the data to be managed, and what link you want to use for your representation in Alma/Primo.

  • Ex Libris recommends that "that the remote system metadata feed passes only the record ID of the remote digital record rather than a full URL to its delivery. This allows greater flexibility, should the digital system's base URL change in the future."
  • The dc:identifier field is usually the source of your link to the content in Digital Commons. When you test your connection as described above, you can look at your original metadata to see what links are being used, and where they fall in the field order.
  • To tell the system which field you want to use for linking, look for the target field Linking Parameter 1 and click the three dots to edit it. If the default field for linking is header:identifier, you want to change that to dc:identifier.

source field

  • In the screenshot above, the representation number is the number in order of the links that you want to create for your future collection item. Leave it at 1. For the dc:identifier, field order = 1 is the landing page in Digital Commons. Field order 2 seems to represent the actual item (PDF, document, image, etc.). If you have metadata loaded in Digital Commons for items without an item attachment, and you want those in Primo, you need to pick the landing page.
  • You can set up separate linking parameters, 1 and 2, for the landing page in Digital Commons and for the direct link to the item. You identify the parameter at the bottom of the edit screen, in the Target Field section:

target field

Delivery Tab:

This is where you tell the system which link parameter you want to use in which case.

  • For example, in this case, the object template is going to the landing page in Digital Commons and the thumbnail template is going to the actual object. If you don’t want to use an actual thumbnail, you may want to use blank/white one, otherwise it will use a default template.

digital commons delivery

  • Note that if you'd like to use the Alma Viewer to both preview the remote content in a Primo VE full record and see the content in a viewer, you need to check the "Embed in Alma Viewer" checkbox.
  • Also note that if you don't like the way that the delivery link is being formed after you run your import profile, you can change it here and you don't need to run the import profile again.

Set up a Collection to Receive the Records

For general information about working with Collections, including roles needed, see How do you manage collections [not e-resource collections] in Alma/Primo? 

Before you set up your import profile, you need to create a collection to use as the destination for the records. 

Collections are managed in Alma via Resources -> Manage Inventory -> Manage Collections

How to Add and Edit a Top-Level Collection in Alma

  1. From Resources -> Manage Inventory -> Manage Collections, click Add Top-Level Collection
  2. Fill out the required fields. The Title and Name of the collection should be the same, and the Name of the collection must be unique among all top-level collections.
  3. Click Save to finish and come back later, or Save and Continue to save your new collection and open the Collection Resource Editor page and add more information for the collection.
  4. To Edit: Go to Resources -> Manage Inventory -> Manage Collections, Click the ellipsis next to the collection you want to work in and select Edit

Create Digital Import Profile

Ex Libris documentation: Creating/Editing a Digital Import Profile

  • Go to Alma, Resources->Import->Manage Import Profiles
  • Click the plus to add a new import profile and select digital (if you don't see that option, make sure that you have digital collection manager roles):

digital import profile

  • On the next screen, uncheck Network Zone. Note that almost every time you touch something on the page it will recheck Network Zone, so keep an eye on this checkbox. Put a checkbox in the Remote box. Use whatever name you'd like. Pick the remote digital repository instance that you set up, Digital Commons in the example below. This will populate the OAI Details section at the bottom of the screen. Make the import protocol OAI and not upload files.

import profile details

  • At the bottom of the screen click the Connect and Edit to make sure that your import profile will work as expected:

oai test

  • Once you've successfully connected, you'll see external information about the collection, such as earliest date stamp, collection name, etc. You can pick the set that you want to bring into your collection, or leave the default to bring in all sets:

choose your set

  • Note that if you want to reimport all of your data in the future, you'll need to set the harvest date back to the earliest start date, or you'll only get content that's been added since the last time that you harvested. This is set up this way so that you can run automatic harvesting.
  • On page 2 of the profile details you can set up norm rules and filters. Leaving the default settings won't hurt anything.
  • Page 3 gives you options for how you want to handle matches when you bring content into the system more than once, either manually or by automatic harvesting. Leaving the defaults is fine.
  • Page 4 gives you the option to suppress the records from discovery, which you probably don't want to do. You also want to leave the default of not publishing to OCLC.
  • On page 5, pick the collection that you set up to house these records, and pick the library where you would like this content to live:

pick collection and library

  • Once you hit save, go to the import profile list and choose "run" to import your content:

run import profile

Expected Results:

If everything has gone smoothly, once the job is finished you'll be able to go to Resources -> Manage Inventory -> Manage Collections, open your collection, and find the titles from your remote repository:

collections example

SUNY Harvest URL for DSpace: https://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/oai/request
You'll pick your specific collection in your import profile

  • The default link parameter settings in the remote repository only pull out the record id. You'll need to use https://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/handle/$$LinkingParameter as your delivery URL
  • The import needs to use the oai_dc format to work

SUNY Harvest URL for SOAR: https://soar.suny.edu/oai/request 
You'll pick the appropriate collection in your import profile


  • Last Updated Jan 05, 2021
  • Views 107
  • Answered By Michelle Eichelberger

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