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July 2020 — Contact: Ann Kardos

Serials Workflow: Holdings Statement Construction

Introduction to MARC 866

The holdings statement for serials is recorded in the 866 field. All holdings statements require indicators 41 in the 866 field. For information on this field and indicator definitions, please see the Library of Congress MARC documentation for textual holdings at


Do not capitalize enumeration abbreviations. Add year when present on the piece (not necessarily the publication date). The full form of the year is used, entered in parentheses. For combined years, both years are entered with a slash between. For a publication which uses both numbers and months as 2nd-level enumeration, numbers are preferred, unless the serial uses only months in their numbering. Enter the month as it is shown on the piece. Exception: For Depository materials, use June, July, and Sept per Five College Policy agreement.

NOTE: For non-English language serials, always use the abbreviations for the foreign term that is on the piece, such as tome, band or fascicle.

Enumerations used in holdings statements include, but may not be limited to:

  • v. (volume)
  • no. (number)
  • pt. (part)
  • fasc. (fascicle)
  • t. (tome)
  • bd. (band)

Example simple enumeration statements:

  • 866 41 $a v.3:no.1 (1980), v.3:no.3 (1980)-v.10 (1987)
  • 866 41 $a bd.243-bd.250
  • 866 41 $a v.1:pt.3 (2015)-v.4:pt.4 (2019)
  • 866 41 $a v.3:Feb (2001)-v.3:Dec (2001)


The series designation will precede the volumes included in that series.

  • new ser. (new series)
  • ser.2 (series 2 (etc.))

There may be multiple series designations in one title. An enumeration statement with a series designation looks like this:

  • 866 41 $a ser.4:v.1 (1958)-ser.4:v.5 (1962)
  • 866 41 $a v.12 (1959)-ser2:v.3 (1982)

Constructing a holdings statement

Holdings statements should ALWAYS REFLECT WHAT THE LIBRARY OWNS. We do not indicate what we do not yet own, and we do not denote that the library cancelled a title in the holdings statement. The 866 field denotes only what the library currently owns. If a title has ceased publication, this is denoted in the bib record. Go into OCLC and export the current bib record to reflect this. See instructions for Ceased & Cancelled Titles.

  • 866 41 $a 2001/2002-2003/2004
  • 866 41 $a v.13 (1996)-v.20:no.6 (2003)

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 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 preceding or following 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 preceding or following 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). v.2 (1946)-v.3:no.2,4-5 (1947), v.6 (1950) better as: v.2 (1946)-v.3:no.2 (1947), v.3:no.4-5 (1947), v.6 (1950)

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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