July 2023 Libraries search updates

We transitioned to Primo VE, the new version of Primo (the discovery platform that underlies Libraries search), on July 17, 2023. Changes and known issues are documented here.


Primo is the discovery platform that underlies the catalog and article search for all U of M libraries. In the Twin Cities, it’s known as Libraries search. The Crookston, Duluth, and Morris campus libraries use other names. 

Primo VE is a version of Primo specifically designed for libraries using Alma as their library services platform. Primo VE simplifies and optimizes the management of Primo by bringing back-office management functions inside the Alma platform. Primo VE has come into wide usage among Alma users over the past few years, and most Primo/Alma customers now use Primo VE.

The University of Minnesota has used the older “back office” version of Primo (Primo BO) since originally implementing Primo in 2008. Primo VE offers several advantages over Primo BO for Alma libraries: unified back office management of Primo and Alma, real-time discovery updates for Alma-managed resources, and streamlining of publishing and interoperability processes between Primo and Alma. Primo VE is also required for some products and features to improve the access and delivery experience that we plan to implement in the near future.

We went live on Primo VE on Monday, July 17, 2023. Although users will not see extensive changes in Primo, there are several minor changes that library staff should be aware of.

Search results

Libraries search results include all of the following by default:

  • Physical items owned by any U of M campus library (Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, or Morris). 
  • Online articles, ebooks, ejournals, streaming audio, streaming video, and databases available to the Twin Cities campus
  • Free and open access articles, journals, and ebooks.
  • Records from other University of Minnesota repositories, including: University Digital Conservancy & Data Repository for U of M (DRUM), UMedia, University of Minnesota Archival Collection Guides (ArchivesSpace), and Digital Well (Morris campus institutional repository).

This is different from our previous version of Primo, which did not include physical items owned by all campuses in the default search scope.

Reporting issues

In the lower right of every page in Libraries search, you will see a "wrench" icon:

Wrench icon in Primo VE that brings up a menu where users can report problems.

Clicking the icon brings up a menu where you can choose to report a broken link or another issue.

Report an issue tool in Primo

Submitting an issue through this tool creates a TDX ticket through either eresolve@umn.edu (for broken links) or almaprim@umn.edu (for other issues).

Journal search

Journal search (formerly labeled E-Journal Search) now includes both electronic and print journals. Previously, print journals were only included when the electronic journal was also available.

The results of Journal Search showing both electronic and print journals.

Material types

  • Theses/Dissertations is a new material type comprising all resources that formerly had material type Thesis or Dissertation. They're now combined into a single type to improve consistency across data sources.
  • Government Documents is now a secondary material type. This means that Government Document is assigned to a resource in addition to its primary type (such as book, journal, or conference proceeding). The primary material type is displayed in search results, but the secondary material type appears in the Material Type facet, where it can be used to limit to or exclude resources of that type.
  • Microforms is a new secondary material type. Like Government Documents, it can be used to limit to or exclude microforms from search results.

To exclude resources of any type from your search results, mouse over it in the Material Type facet, and click the slashed-checkbox icon that appears when you mouse over.

"Exclude This" checkbox in Material Type facet 

Search by library barcode

In the Advanced Search panel, there is now an additional tab labeled Search by Library Item Barcode, where it's possible to search for a record in Primo by the U of M barcode on a physical item.

The results of using Search by Library Item Barcode in Primo

Availability facet

The Availability facet now includes Physical Items, which can be used to limit search results to only physical items held by a U of M campus library. Items are included in this facet whether or not they are checked out (or otherwise not immediately available).

Previously, the Available on shelf facet offered similar but not identical functionality. It limited results to only items actually on the shelf in a library (excluding checked-out items).

The list of choices in Primo's Availability facet

Library facet

The Library facet includes libraries from all U of M campuses.

A typical list of values in Primo's Library facet, including libraries from all U of M campuses

Previously, Primo had separate facets for Library (Twin Cities) and Other Campus Libraries.

Faster updates between Alma and Primo

In most cases, resources newly added to or activated in Alma will appear in Primo within 15 minutes.

Changes made to existing Alma records are also reflected in Primo within minutes (if not immediately). 

In the previous version of Primo, there was a delay of anywhere from 6-12 hours between the time at which changes were made in Alma and those changes were reflected in Primo.

Online Access and Get It menus

The Online Access and Get It menus have a slightly different look and feel, with more visual differentiation between menu elements.

In the Online Access menu, notes about who can access a resource are now preceded by a shield icon. Other notes are preceded by a sheet of paper icon.

The Online Access menu for an article in Primo

In the Get It menu, details about specific items such as material type and barcode are hidden by default, but can be expanded and hidden again by clicking the arrows at the right.

Get It menu with item details hidden

When item information is expanded, the Get It menu looks like this.

Get It menu with item information expanded

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2023 6:46 PM