Glossary of Terms Used in the Guidelines

Section II: Glossary of terms used in the MARC21 Holdings Guidelines

accompanying material:

    A discrete bibliographic unit that complements the basic bibliographic unit. Examples are a map in a pocket inside a book, a pamphlet accompanying a sound disc, and a CD-ROM in a pocket inside a book. In the MARC holdings format, accompanying material is recorded after a space, plus sign, space.

alternative enumeration:

    Additional, secondary numbering assigned to some multipart items or serials. For example, "v.3:pt.1=fasc.7" reflects a primary enumeration of volumes and parts, and an alternative enumeration of fascicles. In MARC holdings statements, alternative enumeration is preceded by an equal sign. See also: enumeration.


    A separate work that is issued as part of an analyzed monographic series and is cataloged on its own bibliographic record.

analyzed monographic series:

    A monographic series that is classed under one call number, but for which individual bibliographic records are created for each separate work in the series. See also: cat-as-sep.

basic bibliographic unit:

    The primary bibliographic work for which holdings are being recorded. Examples are: a book, a multivolume encyclopedia, a computer file, a map, and a score. A bibliographic work may have multiple basic bibliographic units if none of the units is predominant over the others. See also: secondary bibliographic unit.

bibliographic item:

    All the pieces that together form the basis for a single bibliographic description. A bibliographic item can consist of one or more bibliographic units. Examples are: a manuscript collection, a set of maps, a musical score with parts, and a loose-leaf integrating resource with its serially issued updates.

bibliographic unit:

    The discrete units that together make up a bibliographic item.


    A word, phrase, or abbreviation that indicates the parts into which a multipart work or serial has been divided by the publisher. Captions may appear with numbers as part of the enumeration of a work. Examples are: "volume," "Band," "Heft," "part," "number," and "tome."

cardinal number:

    A number that is used in simple counting and that indicates how many items there are in a set. Examples are: "1," "two," "143," "drei," "5," and "cinco." See also: ordinal number.

cat-as-sep (SUL terminology):

    Short for "cataloged as separates." A monographic series for which each separate work receives its own bibliographic record and its own unique call number. Also called: "CAS." See also: analyzed monographic series.


    The date information used by the publisher on a serial or multipart work to help identify it and/or indicate when it was issued.

closed holdings statement ("closed holdings"):

    A range of enumeration and/or chronology that ends with the enumeration and/or chronology of the last issue held. Example: v.1-4. See also: open-ended holdings statement.

combined numbering:

    When the publisher has chosen to publish two or more parts as one and reflects this in the numbering scheme. Chronology may also be combined by the publisher. Examples are: "numbers 3 and 4," and "January and February 1995." In MARC holdings statements, combined numbering is indicated by use of the forward slash: no.3/4.


    When the range of holdings is recorded in terms of only the first and last parts held. Example: v.1-4. See also: itemization.

detailed holdings statement:


    An indication of the sequential numeric (or alphabetic) designation used by the publisher on a multipart work or serial to identify the individual bibliographic or physical parts. A numbering scheme appearing on a bibliographic item is typically enumeration. Enumeration may or may not appear with captions. Examples of enumeration are: "volume 1," "part A," "Jahrgang 5, Heft 2," and "1-1."

extent of unit:

    An indication of the number of parts of a work which lacks sequential designations. Example: 2 sound cassettes.


    A break or discontinuity in the holdings of the published parts of a multipart work or serial. In MARC holdings statements, gaps are indicated by commas. Example: v.1,v.4-5 (The library lacks vols. 2 and 3). See also: non-gap break.


    Indexes which are described on the same bibliographic record as the basic bibliographic unit are recorded in the holdings as secondary bibliographic units.


    When each piece held is recorded explicitly, without condensing the statement to the first and last pieces held. Example: v.1 v.2 v.3 v.4. See also: compression.

Level 3:

    A summary level of MARC holdings used at SUL only for serials. Level 3 statements record holdings at the highest levels of enumeration and chronology. For example, "Volume 1, number 1, January 1990" has two levels of enumeration (volume and number) and two levels of chronology (month and year). The Level 3 statement for this example would be: v.1(1990). Open holdings statements are allowed in Level 3.

Level 3a:

    Obsolete variation on Level 3 holdings statements formerly used at SUL. See: Level 3.

Level 4:

    The most detailed level of MARC holdings. SUL uses Level 4 for monographic holdings statements and some serials holdings statements. Serials check-in data generated through Unicorn serials control records is recorded at Level 4. All levels of enumeration and chronology are recorded in Level 4 holdings statements. For example, "Volume 1, number 1, January 1990" has two levels of enumeration (volume and number) and two levels of chronology (month and year). The Level 4 statement for this example would be: v.1:no.1(1990:Jan.). Open holdings statements are allowed in Level 4 for serials.

Level "z" (SUL terminology):

    Level "z" refers to SUL holdings records which predate the adoption of MARC holdings, and are therefore not formatted according to any national standards. Level "z" holdings statements lack captions, do not set off chronology in parentheses, and do not record years as four digits. Level "z" holdings are given at the most basic, summary level. In Level "z" holdings for serials, two slashes (//) at the end of the summary holdings statement indicated that SUL held the last piece published.

mixed holdings statement:

    A holdings statement with a combination of summary and detailed levels of data. For example, a statement which mixes Level 3 summary holdings with Level 4 detailed holdings.

monographic series:

multipart unit:

    A multipart unit is a bibliographic item that is composed of a number of separate physical units that are complete or intended to be complete in a finite number of parts. For example, a multivolume monograph or a map set.

multivolume monograph:

    A monograph with more than one volume. Also called "terminal set" or "monographic set."

name of unit:

    Indicates the name or title of an item. Used when the item being recorded in the holdings statement does not bear enumeration. If the item lacks a title, one may be supplied by the cataloger. In MARC holdings statements, the name of the unit is enclosed in quotation marks. Example: "User's guide".

non-gap break:

    A break between the recorded holdings of a multipart unit or a serial that is caused by unpublished parts or by a change or discontinuity in the sequential designations used by the publisher to identify the items. In MARC holdings statements, non-gap breaks are indicated by a semi-colon. Example: v.1;v.3-4 (Vol. 2 has not been published yet.) See also: gap.


open-ended holdings statement ("open holdings"):

    A range of enumeration and/or chronology that ends with a hyphen, which indicates that the title is being received on an ongoing basis. Open-ended holdings statements are allowed in both Level 3 and Level 4 for serials. See also: closed holdings statements.

ordinal number:

    A number indicating position or order in a series. Examples are: "first," "1st," "troisième," "3ème," "quinto," "5°," and "5o." See also: cardinal number.


    A container for holding loose materials (e.g., paintings, drawings, papers, unbound sections of a book, and similar materials) consisting of two covers joined together, or in folder form.


    The extent or scope of holdings expressed in terms of enumeration and/or chronology.

secondary bibliographic unit:

    A discrete bibliographic work that is supplementary or complementary to a basic bibliographic unit. Examples are: a map in a pocket inside a book, a separate index to a serial publication, an answer book accompanying a textbook, and a pamphlet accompanying a CD-ROM. See also: accompanying material; supplement; index.


    A bibliographic work issued in a succession of discrete parts, usually bearing enumeration and/or chronology, that has no predetermined conclusion or is intended to be published indefinitely.

"snakes" (SUL terminology):

    Multipart units that are subseries of a monographic series. They are cataloged on their own separate bibliographic record, but are classed and shelved with the main series. SUL policy is to enter the numbering of the main series in angle brackets immediately following the enumeration of the multipart work. Example: v.1-3 < no.23,no.35,no.41 in series >,v.5 < no.43 in series >

specific extent data:

    An indication of the number of items comprising a work. In MARC holdings statements, extent of holdings data is given inside angle brackets. Example: < on 4 microfiches >

summary holdings statement:


    A secondary publication which is closely connected by the publisher to the basic bibliographic unit and which is not cataloged on its own separate bibliographic record. See also: secondary bibliographic unit;

terminal set (SUL terminology):

    A monograph with more than one volume. Also called "monographic set" or "multivolume monograph."

Created: 2000
Last updated: July 31, 2007
Last modified: October 4, 2011
MDU, Stanford University

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