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Holdings and Item Records for Internet Resources

Guidelines for Library of Congress Catalogers


The following approach is to be used for internet-only resources to take advantage of holdings and item record functions that can help us account for non-physical material selected for LC collections. Examples: BeOnline and American Memory Web sites.

The techniques may also be useful for situations in which a print and electronic version are covered by the same bibliographic record and LC either lacks the print version, or, needs to maintain a subscription or licensing agreement for the electronic resource through an Acquisitions module Purchase Order and holdings record. Example: JSTOR.


  1. Bibliographic Records
  2. 856 Electronic Location and Access

    Supply a general access URI that would be appropriate on a record distributed via CDS (i.e., do not use a URI that is applicable only to LC).
  3. Holdings Records
  4. 852 First Indicator

    Assure that the first indicator contains "8" (Other scheme)

    852 $b Location

    Use the appropriate custodial or reference assignment (location) for the subject matter. If the resource was selected for cataloging by a reading room, select that reading room's "r-xxxx" code as the location in the holdings records. For any other resource, assign the custodial location appropriate to the class number (e.g., class K to c-LL, class M to c-Music, certain G glasses to c-G&M, others to c-GenColl).

    852 $h Call Number

    Use stock phrase: Electronic Resource

    852$z Public Note

    A public note is generally used only in these situations:

    • Reading room staff authorized to update holdings records may assign a stock phrase such as: (Consult _______________ Reading Room reference service for help) to holdings records that contain an 852$b for their reading room if they desire.
    • When LC has subscribed/licensed access to an electronic resource that may be accessed only at the Library (generally controlled via IP address restrictions), add a phrase such as: (Access is restricted to use at the Library of Congress)
    • In some cases it may be necessary to be more specific (e.g., if access is only allowed from a specific LC reading room).

  5. Item Records
  6. Permanent Location

    Use location name: s-Online regardless of 852$b holdings location.

    Item Type

    Use: Computer File

    Copy Number

    Use: 0


    Use: 1

    Statistical Category

    Used at the discretion of Acquisitions (no other known uses at present)

Sample OPAC display:

Sample OPAC display

Sample Holdings Record

Sample Holding Record></div></P>

<H3>Sample Item Record</H3>

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Associated Records Display

Associated Records Display

Future Considerations : Putting 856 field in the Holdings Record

This document does not cover the pros and cons of putting Electronic Location and Access information (Field 856) into Holdings Records. In Feb. 1999, the ILS Holdings Record Group compiled several reasons for LC to keep 856 data only in bibliographic records for a while longer.

Summary: The appropriate place for many 856 fields is in Holdings Records. The field's electronic resource location information is similar to such typical holdings information as physical location and call number. In some cases, an 856 field points to an electronic version of a print resource. A separate holdings record could clarify that both print and electronic versions are available, and may be necessary in cases where LC must supply a URI that is "local" to LC and should not be distributed in a national-level record.

Until Voyager system functionality improves, however, 856 fields can only be exported from Bib Records to OCLC and other CDS customers, or, bulk imported. The inability to sequence Holdings in the OPAC and Cataloging modules creates confusion/duplication between Bib Record 856 fields (legacy data) and Holdings Records 856 fields. Holdings records lack online indexes for 856 field data; reporting capability is still limited. Keeping the 856 field data in Bibliographic Records means that we avoid the problems that come with maintaining the same data in two records.

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  November 9, 2010
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