Serials Workflow: Holdings Records

Revised July 2020

Constructing a Holdings Statement

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

Holdings statements should ALWAYS REFLECT WHAT THE LIBRARY OWNS. Holdings statements do not indicate what we do not yet own. The 866 field is a general statement of what the library currently owns and does not future-cast. Each time an issue is received by the library, update the end of the holdings statement by deleting the previous final issue held and adding the number and/or year of the new final issue held. Do not list each issue in a holdings statement. Individual issues are described in the Item Description field. If we are currently receiving a title and it is ongoing, use a hyphen to depict that we hold [volumes] through present.

  • 866 41 $a 2001/2002-2003/2004
  • 866 41 $a v.13 (1996)-v.20:no.6 (2003)
  • 866 41 $a 2013-
  • 866 41 $a v.15(1978)-

Incomplete Holdings Statement

Do not use the 866 field to show all volumes/issues held by the library. The holdings statement is a general statement. Volume descriptions are reflected in the item record. Ideally, a title is fully linked and each title has volume information in the Item Description field. Use the 866 field with a general holdings statement and a subfield z for a public note to show that a publication has “incomplete holdings.” Alternatively, when the library owns a short run of several volumes/issues of a title, the 866 holdings statement can show what we hold with gaps denoted by commas.

An incomplete holdings statement looks like this:

  • 866 41 $a v.15 (1971)-v.17 (1973), v.20 (1976)-v.22 (1978)
  • 866 41 $a fasc.12-fasc.21 $z Incomplete holdings

If you come across an old title with a 952 field in the holdings record, this field must be removed. Please see instructions on Fixing Field 952 Incomplete Holdings information.

Current Year Only Titles

If the libraries only keep the current year or latest year of a title, the holdings statement will look like this:

  • 866 41 $a Current year only retained

Enumeration & Series Designations

Do not capitalize enumeration abbreviations. Add the 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 second level enumeration, some titles use numbers and some use months. Always use what is on the piece. If the publication uses months, 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: Use the RDA instructions for abbreviations, available in Appendix B: Abbreviations and Symbols to determine abbreviations for volume designations in foreign languages. Do not correct previously cataloged items added under previous rules (such as AACR2).

A series designation will precede the volumes included in that series. Examples of series designations include, but are not limited to:

  • 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)-v.49 (1996), ser2:no.3 (1997)-ser.2:no.5 (1999)

Holdings Statements vs. Item Descriptions

The Item Description field in Aleph should be used when linking to describe individual items. Do not use the holdings statement to list each volume or individual runs of volumes unless specifically determined to be useful for patrons. Use the same descriptors as appear on the piece, in terms of volume enumeration. Under the General Information (1) tab, examples of the Item Description field include:

  • Description: v.24 (1989)
  • Description: v.3:Winter (2002)
  • Description: bd.488
  • Description: 1999/2000

Do not use OPAC or internal note fields in the item record.

Supplements & Indexes

If a title contains supplements or indexes, this should be indicated in the Item Description field. Add “Suppl.” for a stand alone supplement or “+ Suppl.” if it is bound with a regular issue. Indexes should receive the same treatment, adding “Index” for a stand alone index in the item description, or “+ Index” if it is bound with a regular issue.

If it is useful to patrons to mention a specific supplement or index in the holdings record, enter supplement information in an 867 field with indicators 41. Enter index information in an 868 field with indicators 40. There is no need to add a public note for “Supplement” or “Index” because the system automatically supplies these in the public Discovery view.

If you come across an old title with supplement or index information in the 952 field in the holdings record, this field must be removed. Please see instructions on Supplement & Index Statements in the Holdings Record to convert into the appropriate 867 or 868 fields.

Fields 590 & 952

Do not use fields 590 or 952 in holdings records. The use of these fields is no longer in practice at UMass.

  • If a title has ceased publication, this is denoted in the bib record. Do not record in the holdings record. Go into OCLC and export the current bib record to reflect this. See instructions for Ceased & Cancelled Titles.
  • If a title has been cancelled by the library, this is no longer denoted in the holdings record. Follow the instructions for Ceased & Cancelled Titles.

Contact: Ann Kardos

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