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Page 1+ Alma & Primo Guide

This LibGuide provides material to support college library staff with using Alma & Primo.

Training Basics in Alma

This section includes generic and college-specific training materials on Alma and Primo to provide a central place where libraries can share and reuse material as appropriate for their college.


Shared Staff Training Policies, Standards, and Documentation

Training Materials - Documents

Training Materials - Websites

Training Materials - PowerPoint

Training Materials - Videos

Training videos provided by Centennial College. 
The first three videos correspond with the PowerPoint presentations above - they have been given the same names as the PowerPoints. 
The last video is a walkthrough of SIRSI vs Alma - there is no corresponding PowerPoint.

These Quick Reference Guide Templates can be used for providing instructions for tasks in Alma when users may not want to access/search for instructions online. You can print them out and laminate them for ease of use at your Circulation Desk for example. 

Note: Harvard has produced detailed guides and training information, but these do not include the Network Zone, contain Harvard procedures and policies which may be different from the Page 1+ and could be out of date.

Stay tuned… more detailed training information is coming soon!


Last updated: 06/29/2022

Shared Student Training Policies, Standards, and Documentation

We have provided a customizable PowerPoint which covers the basics of searching in Page 1+ (Primo VE). This PowerPoint is intended to be made accessible to staff who are training students on the new Alma system or to be made available directly to the students themselves. 

The information in this PowerPoint is also reflected in the other tabs in this section. 

Searching can seem like a daunting task, especially when faced with a new system! But don't worry we have included 5 easy Tips & Tricks for you to use when you want to find those perfect results quickly. 

  1. Start with a Simple Search
    • Keep it simple - this might seems silly but it's truly the best way to start your search! Start by searching just for the topic, person or place that you need information on. Your search may look like this:
      • administering medicine
      • health children
      • bridge construction
  2. Add More Search Terms
    • I know, I know, we said keep it simple. But hear us out. You begin with a  simple search, evaluate the results you receive, and then determine how you can make the search words more precise so that you can eliminate unnecessary or irrelevant results.
      • Start with: children
      • More Precise: children education
      • Even More Precise: children education Toronto
  3. Use Words from your Discipline
    • Your discipline may be one that relies heavily on specific terminology unique to that field of study (like keywords found in your textbook), take these words to make your search more descriptive. 
      • Not ideal: problems with the heart
      • Better: heart disease
      • Even better: cardiomyopathy 
  4. Use ONLY Important Words or Concepts Rather than an Entire Sentence
    • Pick out the most important words in your search and only them, this allows the system to get to the heart of what you are looking for. By eliminating unnecessary language more precise results can be retrieved.
      • Not ideal: what are the violent video games that children play?
      • Better: violence video games children
  5. Phrase Searching
    • Your library may allow for phrase searching, which is when you use quotations (") to find the EXACT phrase that you have typed into the search bar. Use this feature with caution - this feature only works when searching complete words. 
      • a phrase search of "teacher education" will find results with the phrase teacher education in it

Common Features for Search Results


Pinning allows the user to "Pin" or save specific records or to "Save Query", allowing whole searches to be saved. By saving either a record or a query the user can revisit it at a later date by visiting "Saved Pins" in their user profile. 


A "Permalink", short for "Permanent Link" is a stable URL that is intended to remain unchanged for an indefinite amount of time. This means that the resource or record will remain in a fixed digital location for extended periods of time allowing users to revisit the search in the future. It is always recommended to use Permalinks rather than common URLs or Hyperlinks for ease of access, especially when multiple parties are involved. 


The "Citation" option on records allows you to generate quick and accurate citations for the materials that are being accessed. Often times the Citation feature offers the most common types of citation (APA or MLA) in their newest edition. 

Find Sources Citing This

This feature allows users to find other materials that have references, or cited, the resource they are looking to use, this can be useful when looking for similar resources or other reliable sources. 

Find Sources Cited in This

This feature allows users to find resources that are cited in the record that they are choosing to access, this can be helpful in finding similar resources or other reliable sources. 

Types of Resources

When viewing results it's important to keep in mind what kind of resources you are accessing. You can usually decern the resource type by the very top line of text in the brief record. 
Common types of records include:

  • Books (Physical Resource)
  • E-Books (Digital Resource)
  • Articles (Physical or Digital Resource)
  • Video
  • Etc.

Some other features that you may notice in the Brief Record of search results are as follows: 

  • If the resource is "Peer-Reviewed" - meaning that it is suitable for academic use
  • If the resource is "Open Access" - meaning the resource is free to access
  • Where, How and If the "Full Text" of the resource is available - either in a digital or physical capacity

Searching Steps


Conducting the Search

Conducting a search is when you use either the "Basic Search" or the "Advanced Search" bar to search for and retrieve results to a query you have input. 

General Topic Search

A General Topic search is when you conduct a search looking for a specific topic, be it a person, place or thing. For instance, you may search the topic of "cats" or "mushrooms" in a topic search. This will provide you with broad results on the topic you have searched since there is no specificity in the search that you conducted. For instance, doing a topic search of "cats" may bring back results like "the evolution of the house cat", "proper care of cats in condo living", or "the hunting practices of large cats". Topic searching is great if you are not quite sure what you are looking for in your search as it exposes you to a plethora of options. 

Known Item Search

Known Item searching is when a user already has a specific resource in mind, this could be a resource they have accessed before or one they are accessing for the first time. Usually, a Known Item search is conducted to gain access to the item in question, find its location or availability, or to check the particulars of the resource (such as author, release date, etc.)


Reviewing Results

Reviewing results occurs once you have conducted your search. Essentially, you look at the results that your search has returned and you determine if the results are what you are looking for (content, age/newness, length, medium type, and so forth), if they are you can start using the results your search has provided. If not you can look at your search and reassess the word you have used and the order they are in to try and retrieve better results. 


Refining Results

Refining results goes hand in hand with reviewing results. Once you have conducted your search you will have the option to "refine" or "tweak" your results. This means adding limiters to the search results to provide you with results that are more specific to what you are looking for. When refining a search you can add limiters based on topic, item location, author or creator, resource, type, collection, language and so much more. Refining results allows you to narrow or limit your search results so you can more easily locate the resource that is just right for you.