Q. How can we add thumbnail images to books and videos that are showing the default icons in Primo?


Primo VE attempts to find thumbnail images for books and videos mostly via Syndetics (owned by ProQuest, which owns Ex Libris) and sometimes via Google Books. But sometimes those strategies fail. So what can we do?

Thumbnail Templates

Alma allows us to create thumbnail templates. In other words, we tell Primo VE to look for certain patterns in the MARC record, and if it finds a match, it uses the data in that MARC field to construct a URL that should point to an image.


For Kanopy videos, we have configured a custom thumbnail template. If you find that a Kanopy record in OneSearch lacks an image, you can ask a cataloger to add one. The cataloger would add an 856 field (first indicator 4, second indicator 2) to the WorldCat record on the following model, where 5324525 is the Kanopy identifier: https://www.kanopy.com/node/5324525/external-image . The cataloger would replace the master record and then export the record to the Alma NZ, and within 15-20 minutes, the cover will show in OneSearch.

Local thumbnails

For cases when we want to host an image locally, we have configured a template to allow us to use our own image. In brief, we would find an appropriate image, name it according to the Alma MMS ID and upload it to a publicly accessible web server. We would then create a local 956 field (i.e. local extension), formatted similarly to an 856, with the URL in subfield u. Within 15-20 minutes after saving the record, the image should be viewable in OneSearch.

956 local field

More details are found in our guidelines for the 956.

  • Last Updated Nov 02, 2020
  • Views 5
  • Answered By Jeff Karlsen

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