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Holdings Statement Syntax for HOL Records

(Aleph Workflow-Information Resources Management)
(Working Draft, 3/15/10)


Updated holdings format

In Aleph, the holdings statement for serials and periodicals is recorded in the 866 field. Previously, UMass holdings statements did not include enumeration captions and used brackets to indicate incomplete volumes. We are now trying to convert these holdings statements into a more standard format using enumeration captions and inserting incomplete gaps, which we believe will be easier for patrons to understand, and to conform to ANSI/NISO practice, which may be more easily transferred to/and understood by, other systems.

866 indicators

All holdings statements with updated formats should include the indicators 41 in the 866 field. The first indicator “4” indicates Holdings Level 4, which includes 2nd level enumeration details. The second indicator “1” specifies that the holdings statement is ANSI Z39.44 or ANSI/NISO Z39.57.

Caption designations


NOTE: For non-English language serials and periodicals, UMass practice is to use “v.” and “no.” for designations such as tome and fascicle, though for monographs, we use the abbreviations for the foreign terms. Otherwise, we try to follow the enumeration and chronology designations present on the piece.

Enumerations used in holdings statements include:

  • v. (for volume)
  • no. (for number)
  • pt. (for part)
  • –st, –nd, –th (for ordinal numbers)
  • ed. (for edition)

When 2nd level enumeration must be entered, for example, to indicate a gap, a colon is used:

  • v.3:no.1 (1980), v.3:no.3 (1980)-v.10 (1987)


The series designation, followed by a colon, will precede the volumes included in that series. It need only be entered once before the volumes it pertains to, even when gaps are present.

  • new ser. (for new series)
  • ser.2 (for series 2 (etc.))
  • ser.4:v.1 (1958)-v.3 (1960), v.5 (1962)

The preferred practice is not to capitalize the first letter of enumeration captions, and not to include a space after the period.

  • v.1 (not V.1); no.1 (not No.1); pt.1 (not Pt.1)
  • new ser.:v.1 (not New Ser:V.1); ser.2:v.1 (not Ser.2:V.1)

Chronology: years

Add year when present on the piece as a cover date, versus publication date. The full form of the year is used, entered in parentheses. For combined years, both years are entered with a slash.

  • v.6 (1997)
  • v.11 (1944/1945)-v.18 (1950/1951)

Chronology: months

For a publication which uses both numbers and months as 2nd-level enumeration, numbers are preferred. However, some periodicals use only months. Although we enter months more frequently in our item descriptions, sometimes we need to add them into a holdings statement, for example in the following cases:

  • When a volume is incomplete: v.68 (1976:Jan), v.68 (1976:Mar)-v.78 (1986)
  • When a title change occurs in the middle of a volume:
    1. v.36 (1990)-v.39 (1993:Feb) (earlier title)
    2. v.39 (1993:Mar)-v.46 (2000)( later title)

UMass enters months by their first three letters only. Exception: For Depository materials, use June, July, and Sept, per Five College Policy agreement.

Last volume in statement

Titles currently received

End the string with a dash, indicating that more are coming.

  • 2001/2002-2003/2004-
  • v.13 (1996)-v.20:no.6 (2003)-

Titles not currently received

When we do not hold the last volume of a publication, for example when the library cancels a title which is still being published as far as we know, we remove the dash and add nothing after the holding string.

  • 1st ed. (1979)-6th ed. (1985)

When we do hold the last volume of a publication, either in the case of a title change or a cessation, we add a double slash after the holding string. (NOTE: WIKI will not support illustration of double slash) This is a local UMass practice not standard in ANSI/NISO notation.

Complex holdings statements

Gaps: whole volumes missing

Gaps are indicated by a comma.

  • v.15 (1971)-v.17 (1973), v.20 (1976)-v.22 (1978)

Gaps: partial volume(s) missing; incompletes

Previous practice: We indicated incompletes by placing brackets around the incomplete vol./year, or year, and adding a field (952$x in Aleph) recording what the library holds for each incomplete volume.

Current practice: As time allows, we are converting these holdings to a format more consistent with ANSI/NISO practice, by:

  • Adding indicators 41 to the 866,
  • Adding enumeration captions,
  • Replacing bracketed volumes with accurate descriptions of gaps.


> 866__ $a26 (1992)-[29 (1995)]-33
> 952__ $xIncomplete volumes: 29:1-6, 8-12


> 86641 $av.26 (1992)-v.29:no.6 (1995), v.29:no.8 (1995)-v.33 (1999)
> 866__ $a1985-[1990]-1995
> 952__ $xIncomplete volumes:  1990:1-2,4-7,10-12


> 86641 $a1985-1990:no.2, 1990:no.4-7, 1990:no.10-1995//


  1. Holdings statements indicating gaps should be entered on one line only. Enter a space after each comma. This assures that the text will wrap correctly in the OPAC display.
  2. There is no need to add any more than the first and last number around a gap. For the first example above, v.26 (1992)-v.29:no.1-6 (1995), v.29:no.8-12 (1995)-v.33 (1999) would be incorrect. CORRECT FORM: v.26 (1992)-v.29:no.6 (1995), v.29:no.8 (1995)-v.33 (1999)
  3. Frequency considerations. In this example, we know that the periodical is a monthly. If it had a greater frequency or was irregular (frequency unknown), the holdings would be expressed as v.26 (1992)-v.29:no.6 (1995), v.29:no.8-12 (1995), v.30 (1996)-v.33 (1999)
  4. Where there is a combined year, we repeat the combination after every number in the incomplete statement, even though it may be more literally accurate not to do this: v.3:no.1 (1941/1942), v.3:no.3-6 (1941/1942), versus v.3:no.1 (1941), v.3:no.3-6 (1942). Following the latter procedure would entail too much labor-intensive checking of individual volumes.
  5. UMass policy is to allow a combination of 2nd level enumeration (without repeating the captions) as long as no gap exists within the combination. Example: 1990:no.4-1990:no.7, 1990:no.10-1995. 1990:no.4-7, 1990:no.10-1995 can be written as: 1990:no.4-7, 1990:no.10-1995.
    1. Exception: More than one gap exists in a volume's 2nd level enumeration, but not if adjoining the next volume in the statement. Example: 1990:no.4-5, 1990:no.7-8, 1990:no.10-1995 can be written as 1990:no.4-5,7-8,1990:no.10-1995. Combining “4-5, 7-8” makes the statement easier to read.
    2. Do not combine 2nd level enumeration if adjoining next volume, as this can create ambiguity. Examples: 1990:no.830-831, 832-1991 better as: 1990:no.830-831, 1990:no.832-1991; v.7:no.6-7, 9 (1992)-v.11 (1993) better as: v.7:no.6-7 (1992), v.7:no.9 (1992)-v.11 (1993)).

Enumeration system change

Use a semicolon to indicate a change in a publication's numbering system, when no issues are missing where the change occurs.

  • v.67 (1969)-v.75 (1977); 1978-1993
  • no.144 (1922)-no.156 (1928); v.79 (1929)-v.98 (1938)
  • new ser.:v.3 (1957)-v.32 (1972); ser.3:v.1 (1973)-v.18 (1982)
  • v.166 (1935); v.166A-B (1935); v.167 (1936)-174 (1939); v.174A (1939)

NOTE: Comma overrides semicolon. If a gap exists at the point where a change occurs, use a comma (for example, if no.155-156 are missing):

  • no.144 (1922)-no.154 (1927), v.79 (1929)-v.98 (1938)

Missing numbers never published

Last volume published only covers part of the year; no title change:

  • v.70 (1991)-v.77 (1998)

There is no need to enter v.77:no.8 (1998:Aug) because v.77:no.9+ was never published., although the bib. record will cite the last volume this way in the 362 field.

An entire number in the enumeration sequence was never published:

  • v.54 (1900)-v.63 (1909)
  • 952__$zVol.57 never published.

Do not indicate this “gap” with a comma. A semicolon may be used to indicate such a gap (especially if large or strange) although it is also permissible, per longstanding UMass policy, to not indicate such a gap. For clarity (see above), a note may be entered into the 952$z public note field, mentioning the missing volume.

  • v.54 (1900)-v.55 (1901); v.58 (1904)-v.63 (1909)

Periodicals with weekly or daily frequencies

Occasionally, years, months and days are needed in the holding string:

  • 1943:Jun 4-1946:Jun 4

Treatment of Supplements and Indexes


If a title contains supplements, indicated in the item description as “Suppl.” (bound alone) or “+Suppl.” bound with a regular issue, UMass policy has been to enter the following note in the public note field (952$z):

Supplements accompany some vols.

Very occasionally, we may consider it beneficial to mention a specific supplement in the HOL. Enter this supplement in an 867 field with indicators 41:

  • 86741 $av.49 (1985) Buyer's Guide


Per UMass policy, we record any indexes covering five years or more in the HOL record. Enter the index in an 868 field with indicators 41:

  • 86841 $av.10 (1926)-v.19 (1935)

There is no need to add the words “Supplement” or “Index” since the system automatically supplies these(in bold) in the public (OPAC) view.

Holdings versus Item Descriptions

In many cases, the item descriptions used when linking the items will differ from the holdings syntax:

Holdings Syntax Item Description
v.49 (1955/1956) v.49 1955-56
new ser.:v.30 (1982) n.s. v.30 1982
ser.2:no.108 (1977) Ser.2 no.108 1977
1978/1979 1978-79
v.56:no.1 (1964), v.56:no.3-4 (1964) v.56 1964 Inc.

In the last example, a LACKS or HAS note should be entered in the Internal Note field of the Item.

Primary contact: Lucy deGozzaldi.

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