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Using preferred terms and local authorities (preferred subject terms)

Use Case

As a user, I have the expectation that subject headings in a library’s search system will be current and not use outdated language (e.g. illegal alien, manic-depressive illness).


Modify metadata configuration to manage subject headings locally, create local subject headings for LCSH and FAST, and allow the “Authorities Preferred Term Correction” (PTC) job to update records.


Configuration time: 10 min
Configuration difficulty: Low
Changes Live in Primo New UI: usually 24 hours (post-PTC job)

System Specs
• Alma


Go to Alma>Configuration>Resources>Cataloging>Metadata Configuration
Under Authority Vocabularies, click on the toggle for FAST and Library of Congress Subject Headings to “Manage Locally.”

  • In Alma go to Resources>Cataloging>Open Metadata Editor
  • Go to File>New>FAST

For this example, we’ll use Noncitizens (our preferred term) to replace Illegal Aliens. Fill in the two fields below for 150 and 450

150 $$a Noncitizens
450 $$a Illegal aliens

Save your changes. Repeat the above step for Library of Congress Subject Headings (File>New>Library of Congress Subject Headings). You won’t see changes until around 24 hours after the Authorities – Preferred Term Correction job has run. You can confirm if your subject headings were replaced by finding this job and clicking on …> Report

Note: You may still see the old subject headings in SEARS subject headings. This vocabulary is not controlled or linked by Alma, so it can’t be overwritten with this method.

(Special thanks to Fabiana Tonding at the ExL Helpdesk)

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