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DATE: May 22, 2019

NAME: Coding Externally Hosted Online Publications in the MARC 21 Holdings Format

SOURCE: British Library

SUMMARY: This proposal recommends that changes are made to the Holdings Format character position 008/06 (Receipt or acquisition status) in order to accommodate online publications which are made accessible via a third party platform.

KEYWORDS: Field 008/06 (HD); Receipt or acquisition status (HD); Field 008/07 (HD); Method of acquisition (HD); Field 008/12 (HD); General retention policy (HD)

RELATED: 2019-DP01

05/22/19 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

06/22/19 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Approved, with the following editorial revision to the definition of proposed byte value 6 in field 008/06:

6 - External access
Online content accessed via a third-party platform, e.g., through a publisher’s website, content provider, etc.

08/02/19 - Results of MARC Steering Group review - Agreed with the MAC decision.

Proposal No. 2019-04: Coding Externally Hosted Online Publications


MARC supports the receipt and acquisition of online publications by the provision of positionally defined data elements in the Holdings format. However, there is currently no means of coding online publications which are accessed via a third party platform separately from those which are hosted internally. The concepts of receipt and acquisition denote a situation in which a physical or digital copy of an item is sent for storage at a shelving location or sent for ingest by a local repository. Third party access does not fit this model, since the copy can only ever be accessed by linking out to an external provider’s website which a library or other information service does not own or exercise direct control over. The availability of externally hosted online publications can be subject to termination, for example, when a publisher ceases trading or when an e-journal ceases publication. In this respect, continuity of access is less predictable than when online publications are hosted internally. The ability for a library or other information service to code externally hosted online publications distinctively, using a positionally defined data element would be useful from the perspective of future holdings management.


The British Library’s audit, inventory and management information requirements for e-journals now encompass the following three criteria: method of acquisition, retention policy and whether a publication is hosted internally or by a third party. It is already possible to satisfy the first two of these criteria using existing MARC coding in positionally defined data elements.

Field 008/07 (Method of acquisition) in the Holdings format defines the following coded values:

c - Cooperative or consortial purchase
d - Deposit
e - Exchange
f - Free
g - Gift
l - Legal deposit
m - Membership
n - Non-library purchase
p - Purchase
q - Lease
u - Unknown
z - Other method of acquisition

Distinctions can be made between online publications that are deposited, purchased, leased or made freely available by open access.

Field 008/12 (General retention policy) in the Holdings format defines the following coded values:

0 - Unknown
1 - Other general retention policy
2 - Retained except as replaced by updates
3 - Sample issue retained
4 - Retained until replaced by microform
5 - Retained until replaced by cumulation, replacement volume, or revision
6 - Retained for a limited period
7 - Not retained
8 - Permanently retained

Distinctions can be made between online publications that are intended for permanent or temporary retention.

Field 008/06 (Receipt or acquisition status) in the Holdings format defines the following coded values:

0 - Unknown
1 - Other receipt or acquisition status
2 - Received and complete or ceased
3 - On order
4 - Currently received
5 - Not currently received

Distinctions can be made between online publications which are on order, currently received, complete or not received. However, while the codes "2" (Received and complete or ceased) and "4" (Currently received) may be used reliably in the context of online publications which are being ingested into a local repository, the same cannot be said for publications which are being accessed via a third party, for example, a publisher’s website. If a publishing firm closes, then its online presence may become insecure. If an e-journal ceases, then its publisher may choose not to host it on an on-going basis. Under these circumstances, being able to code such third party accessed material discreetly would be useful from the perspective of inventory control. If a library or other information service has specified its retention policy for an online publication as 008/12 "8" (Permanently retained), then the presence of a code designating external access in 008/06 could trigger a request for that publication to be ingested as part of a local repository before it is rendered inaccessible. Alternatively, it could act as a trigger for equivalent externally hosted content to be ordered from a different online provider.

It may be thought preferable to add coding to the Holdings 008/07 rather than 008/06 as a means of denoting third party hosted content. However, whereas 008/07 denotes the transactional arrangement under which access is provided, it is the 008/06 which reflects how access actually manifests itself. The commercial arrangement by which content is made available should be treated separately from the method by which that availability is provided. Equally, it might be considered useful to define multiple codes as a means of accommodating third party content in the Holdings 008/06. From the British Library’s perspective, only one new code is required: this would represent content which is currently hosted by a third party either as an ongoing publication or in its completed form. In circumstances where third party content becomes inaccessible, the holding affected would be suppressed from public view rather than recoded as such; therefore no separate coding is necessary to denote content which has been rendered inaccessible by the publisher. Likewise, it is not considered necessary to define a new code for third party hosted content which is on order; if access is still pending, then it cannot be regarded as at risk in the same way as when content is currently available. Although the British Library has no requirement for additional coding, if other institutions in the library community feel that the ordering and termination of third party content should be addressed by discreet codes in the Holdings format 008/06, then we would be receptive to this approach.

The introduction of a new code representing externally hosted content would require that  changes are made to the label and definition of the 008/06 character position in order to reflect that it encompasses the concept of access as well as receipt and acquisition. Although the British Library’s current requirement relates specifically to e-journals, it is also noteworthy that single-part monographs may be made accessible on an externally hosted basis. Therefore, it would be desirable to amend the scope of the definition to include these as well as multipart monographs and serials. Lastly, the existing definition of 008/06 code "3" (On order) would need to be changed so that it encompasses the ordering of access to as well as the receipt of online content.

The broadening in scope of 008/06 and addition of a code to accommodate externally hosted online content is not anticipated to create problems in terms of legacy data;  it would be the choice of local implementers as to whether they retrospectively amend 008/06 coding for third party content which has hitherto been assigned a value "4" denoting the status "currently received" or "2" denoting "received and complete or ceased". The changes proposed above should introduce greater flexibility to the current Holdings format 008/06 and, in doing so, better reflect the changing means by which published online content is made available to library users.


The following examples model holdings records for online content which is accessed via a third party platform. The proposed new 008/06 code "6" is highlighted in bold. The bibliographic record to which each holding is attached is provided for context.

Example 1: Leased online serial accessed via publisher hosted platform.

Holdings record:

LDR    00000nu^^a22^^^^^un^45000
001      011736958
004      012431907
005      20180520113503.0
008      0405016q^^^^8|||||||||^^^|040501
866   0 $a Volume 1:Issue 1(2003)-Volume 67 (2017) $z See ESTAR for full holdings.

Bibliographic record:

LDR   nas a22001813  4500
001      012431907
003      Uk
005      20180520113730.0
007      cr ||||
008      040410c||||||||ne qr p|s|    0   |0eng  
022 0   $a 1570-8705
040      $a Uk $c Uk
082 04 $a 004.6 $2 22
245 00 $a Ad hoc networks $h [electronic resource].
260      $a Amsterdam ; $a London : $b Elsevier,
310      $a Quarterly
336      $a text $2 rdacontent
337      $a computer $2 rdamedia
338      $a online resource $2 rdacarrier
362 10 $a [2003-]
852 41 $a British Library $b DSC $j 0678.173700
866   0 $a Volume 1:Issue 1(2003)-Volume 67(2017) $z See ESTAR for full holdings.

Example 2: Purchased online monograph accessed via publisher hosted platform.

Holdings record:

LDR    00000nu^^a22nnnnnun^45000
001      018126868
004      017952792
005      20170411111159.0
008      1704116p^^^^8|||||||||^^^|000000
856 40 $u $y DeGruyter ebook

Bibliographic record:

LDR    nam a22      i 4500
001      017952792
003      Uk
005      20160923132120.0
006      m    ||  d |      
007      cr |||||||||||
008      160802s2013    gw a    ob    1|1 0|eng  
020      $a 9783110280616 $q ebook
020      $z 9783110280487 $q print
020      $z 9783110280623 $q set
040      $a Uk $b eng $c Uk $e rda
042      $a ukblsr
082 04 $a 511.6 $2 23
111 2   $a Integers Conference $d (2011 : $c Carrollton, Ga.)
245 10 $a Combinatorial number theory : $b Proceedings of the "Integers Conference 2011"
Carrollton, Georgia, October 26-29, 2011 / $c edited by Bruce Landman, Melvyn B. Nathanson, Jarošlav Nesetřil, Richard J. Nowakowski, Carl Pomerance, Aaron Robertson.
264   1 $a Berlin ; $a Boston : $b De Gruyter, $c [2013]
300      $a 1 online resource : $b illustrations (black and white).
336      $a text $2 rdacontent
337      $a computer $2 rdamedia
338      $a online resource $2 rdacarrier
490 0   $a De Gruyter Proceedings in Mathematics
504      $a Includes bibliographical references and index.
530      $a Also issued in print format.
650   0 $a Combinatorial number theory $v Congresses.
700 1   $a Landman, Bruce M., $d 1951- $e editor.
700 1   $a Nathanson, Melvyn B. $q (Melvyn Bernard), $d 1944- $e editor.
700 1   $a Nešetřil, Jaroslav, $e editor.
700 1   $a Nowakowski, Richard J., $e editor.
700 1   $a Pomerance, Carl, $e editor.
700 1   $a Robertson, Aaron, $d 1971- $e editor.


The mapping for this element would need to be worked out when holdings data is more fully mapped into BIBFRAME.


5.1. Change the current label of Holdings format 008/06 (Receipt or acquisition status) as follows:

06 – Receipt<,>or acquisition<, or access> status

5.2. Change the current definition of Holdings format 008/06 as follows:

Whether newly published parts of a multipart (Leader/06, code v) or serial item (Leader/06, code y) are being received <or accessed via a third party. This code is also used with single- part items (LDR/06, code x).>

5.3. Change the current definition of Holdings format 008/06 code "3" (On order) as follows:

Order has been placed for the current and/or continuing parts of an item, but nothing has been received <or made accessible>. This definition excludes parts received under retrospective acquisition efforts. This code is also used with single-part items.

5.4. Add a new code to Holdings format 008/06 as follows:

6 - External access
Online content which is being accessed via a third party platform, e.g. through a publisher’s website.   

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