Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Add copy-specific notes to the holdings record per the following guidelines.

These guidelines are for both single ("unitary") items and for multi-part items. When copy-specific features of multi-part items vary among the parts, e.g., they are not bound uniformly or only one volume has manuscript annotations, the preferred approach is to use a subfield 3 in a separate 561, 562, or 563 field to distinguish the individual volume.

For example:

561 1  $$3Volume 1$$aSigned by William Shakespeare.$$5hou

562     $$3Volume 2$$aVariant 2 as described by STC.$$5hou

563     $$3Volume 3$$aBound in blue morocco.

563     $$3Volumes 1 & 2$$aContemporary half red morocco and pink paste paper-covered boards.$$5hou

Optionally, if it is clearer to simply describe the variations in a single note, this approach can be used. 

For example

561 1   $$aFrom the library of John Updike.$$5hou

561 1   $$aThe first four volumes of the set are signed by John Updike, volumes 5 and 8 are signed by John Cheever, and volumes 6, 7, and 9 are annotated by Martha Updike.$$5hou


When holdings records containing pre-Aleph data are edited (e.g., when an item is removed from the accessions backlog, cataloged, and classified) catalogers should transfer accessions information from the 852 field to a 541 field. 852 subfield x and z notes can be moved to other fields or deleted as appropriate.

Copy-specific notes should be arranged within the holdings record in the same order as they are given here, though catalogers may reorder them at their discretion.

Always add the appropriate subfield 5 (e.g. |5 hou) at the end of all 506, 541, 561, 562, and 563 fields.

506: Restrictions on access note

Displays in the OPAC, with full information provided in the Holdings screen. 

Details on formulating Restrictions notes:


541: Immediate source of acquisition notes

Code the 1st indicator 0 (to keep this information from displaying in any future electronic catalogs). This field should reflect the original source and date of acquisition by the Harvard College Library, e.g. for transfers put in the date stamped on the verso of the title page. The date in subfield d should be entered year/ month/ day, with month spelled out in full [day/mo./year prior to 1/06]. The subfield e will either be the accession number, or (for transfers) the earliest former call number, used as an accession number substitute. (See below, under "'Reclassified from' note" for instructions on how to record subsequent former call numbers.) Do not use asterisks or size designations, either at the beginning or end of the accession/class number in the subfield e (do retain asterisks at END of call number in 852), as this will make searching and retrieval problematic. The subfield h will include all funds, with amounts spent on each; give the amount and, in parentheses, the fund; separate funds by semicolons. Books purchased with gift funds (Bks. For Houghton fd.) will be treated as purchases.


541 0 _ |c Bequest; |a Philip Hofer; |d 1984 November 9; |e PH-725. |5 hou

541 0 _ |c Purchase; |a Quaritch; |d 2002 July 4; |e 2002-4; |h $500 (Weber Fund); |n bought with *2002-5. |5 hou
[purchased with other item(s); the first item will include the amount in subfield h]

541 0 _ |c Purchase; |a Quaritch; |d 2002 July 04; |e 2002-5; |h Weber Fund; |n bought with *2002-4. |5 hou

[subfield h includes only the fund name in this case, without parentheses]

541 0 _ |c Purchase; |a Stuttgarter Antiq.; |d 2002 August 13; |e 2002-11; |h $1700 (Morgan Fund); $300 (S.A.E. Morse Fund). |5 hou

[multiple funds]

541 0 _ |c Purchase; |a source unknown; |d 1924 May 17; |e 24278.116; |h Degrand Fund. |5 hou

[old Widener transfer, with original HCL acquisitions information recorded]

541 0 _ |a source unknown. |5 hou

[when precise information is lacking]

541 0 _ |c Gift; |a Roger Wolcott, Jr.; |d 1897 August 24; |e Class 7108.6. |5 hou

[earliest former classification number in subfield e]

541 0 _ |c Purchase; |a Koch; |d 2002 August 20; |e 2002-96; |h $755.27 (Books for Houghton Fund, funds presented by the David P. Wheatland Charitable Trust). |5 hou

["gift" treated as a purchase]

541 0 _ |c Bequest; |a Mrs. A. Kingsley Porter (G&E 062-532); |d 1962; |e 2002-336. |5 hou

[item originally received at Gifts & Exchange, given to Houghton; G&E 'accession' number and date retained, except the * is replaced with a -]

The 541 is repeatable in those instances (e.g., some serial runs) where various items constituting the bibliographic entity may be acquired at different times, possibly from different sources

541 0 _ |3 2001; |c Purchase; |a Thomas Günther; |d 2002 December 18; |e 2002H-79; |h $1100 (P&GA Acquisitions fd.). |5 hou

541 0 _ |3 2002; |c Purchase; |a Thomas Günther; |d 2006 February 6; |e 2005H-82; |h $3788.77 (Morris Gray Fund, courtesy Sebastian Hierl); |n bought with *2005H-83. |5 hou


Record current transfers as follows:

1) in the 541 field, record the acquisitions information for how the item was first acquired by Harvard;

2) add an 852 subfield x note:"Transferred from [source, e.g., Widener] [date, e.g. 2/06].";

3) code the H09 subfield k for transfer (see section V.9.).

NB, some transfers may come to us with an asterisk at the end of the call number, which simply indicates that the item is a transfer.  This asterisk should be retained in the 852, but removed in the 541 $e: for more detailed instructions – including how to manage item records – see the Acquisitions & End-processing Section's Transfers - Classified Transfers (some instructions will not apply to catalogers as the document was written for books not going on to be cataloged, but you will get the idea!)


541 0 _ |c Gift; |a Thomas Hollis V; |d 1764-1770; |e Arc 750.24. |5 hou

852 … |x Transferred from Fine Arts Library 2/06.

H09 |k T05^b^dw

Unaccessioned material

Catalogers will sometimes find themselves working on an item that came into the library a long time ago (more than a couple of years) and has never been accessioned. (A good example of this is boxes of old Widener transfers that Widener never itself accessioned.)

Materials received in the past which have never been accessioned should be accessioned for the current year, with the note “Old acquisition” added to the subfield c of the 541 in parenthesis for the material. Accessioning staff can provide an appropriate number. The three options are:

$$cPurchase (old acquisition) …

$$cGift (old acquisition) …

$$cProvenance unknown (old acquisition) …

NOTE: (1) This is in contrast to earlier practices, when at one time the initials "n.d." would be used in the 541 subfield e and at another time the accession number would have an "r" added to the end of the number (e.g. *2007-143r); (2) These instructions do not apply to old Widener transfers that were accessioned at Widener.

Unaccessioned bound-withs that should have been assigned accession numbers in the past, should be assigned an accession number based on the accession number of the first item: if first item is *87-495, the bound-with is *87-495a (not *87-495b) the second bound-with is *87-495b, etc.

"Reclassified from" note

In order to provide an online equivalent to the old Changed Numbers card file, record former call numbers in two places:

1) Enter in 541 subfield e following the accession number or accession number substitute; place in parentheses; do not include asterisks or size designations, e.g.:

          |e 73-947 (PC7.G4536.731d)

          |e Slav 3035.5 (Slav 3035.5.7)

    If there are additional former call numbers to record, place each additional call number in another set of parentheses, separated by a space, with earlier former call numbers preceding later one, e.g.:

          |e 95-385 (HRR 284.303) (EC8.C8405.Q978b)

2) Enter as a subfield x note in field 852 (for latest former call number only):

          852… |x Reclassified from *PC7.G4536.731d.

          852… |x Reclassified from Slav 3035.5.7

561: Provenance note

561 notes should display in the OPAC, with full information provided on the Holdings screen. Enter in subfield a. Code the 1st indicator 1 (to display this information in any future electronic catalogs). Include both mention of the former owner(s) and the physical evidence for the provenance. In general, enter each provenance in a separate 561 field, in chronological order of ownership; some provenances can be combined in a single note for reasons of clarity. It is important to phrase notes so that the provenance is clearly stated, and explicated if necessary; it is also very helpful to quote short inscriptions, especially those giving a place and date or other context. Inclusion of the exact location within a copy of provenance evidence is at the cataloger's discretion.  For example, if a 700-page book has only 1 or 2 contemporary ms. notes or an ownership signature in an unusual place, it may be helpful to include exact locations.  A provenance note may take the place (in whole or in part) of a 563 binding note, if the binding is the evidence of provenance.

It has long been Houghton book-cataloging practice to neither mention nor trace the immediate past owner, i.e. the person who gave an item to Houghton. Catalogers may do so at their discretion if the provenance is significant; this is especially true in cases where Houghton receives a large collection from an individual's library. In this instance, consult with the appropriate curator about an appropriate tracing. If there are no marks indicating ownership, include a 561 reading "From the library of …"

For volumes containing 2 or more works bound together: provenance notes should be added to the holdings record for every title in the volume to which they apply; also add the appropriate 7XXs to the bibliographic records. If a provenance pertains to only 1 title (e.g. someone who owned the item before it was bound together with other works), do not add it to the holdings records for the bound-withs.


561 1 _ |a Bookplate: |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Stamp: |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Ownership signature: |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Ownership inscription on added t.p.: Alfred Roffe, Nov. 1860. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Inscription: |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Armorial bookplate: Wm. Compton [i.e. William Compton, Marquess of Northampton]. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Anonymous armorial bookplate.|5 hou

561 1 _ |a Armorial bookplate with motto ""|5 hou

561 1 _ |a Presentation inscription: à Mademoiselle Grenier 9bre. 1757. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Presentation inscription from the author to Maxim Gorky. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a With author's annotations.|5 hou

561 1 _ |a Contemporary ms. notes. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Ms. notes in 2 early hands. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Early inscription in Russian on p. 476. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Indecipherable ownership signature on front cover|5 hou

561 1 _ |a From the collection of John Milton and Ruth Neils Ward. |5 the

561 1 _ |a Previously in the collection of Edmund G. Wilson. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a From the library of Elizabeth Bishop, with her ms. annotations. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Author's presentation inscription to Frederick Locker-Lampson on half-title; with Locker-Lampson's armorial bookplate. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Ms. ownership notations on title page, "Johannis Wolborg" and "Pro Libraria Vilnensi Frũm Minorũ"; another on blank AA1v, "RP Bernardinor: Vilnen:"; from the library of Eustachy Tyszkiewicz, with his ownership stamp on verso of title page. |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Ms. inscription on j2r noting the gift of this book by Johannes Muller to the Jesuit college at Bamberg.: "Ex dono Joannis Mulleri Arnstadiani, organistae quondam ebearcensis, Collegio Bamb. Soc. JESV. 26 Julij. 1625". |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Presentation copy, with author's 14-line ms. sonnet, "A Don Rubén Darío", signed by Amador and dated "Paris, 8/4/XI", on blank leaf preceding half-title (slightly cropped in binding). |5 hou

561 1 _ |a Bound in contemporary half calf and spattered boards, with the cipher and coat of arms of King Christian VII of Denmark stamped in gilt on spine. |5 hou 562:*



562: Copy and version identification note

All 562 notes are entered in subfield a. Arrange multiple 562 notes in the order given here. 562 notes display in the OPAC on the Holdings screen.

Imperfection note

Enter in a separate 562 field. If an item is incomplete always begin this note with "Imperfect: [describe imperfection]". Include this note for multi-part works (but not for incomplete serial holdings) even if the imperfection (e.g. missing vols.) is indicated by the 853/863 fields. Include condition note(s) about the textblock when appropriate.


562 _ _ |a Imperfect: wanting the title page. |5 hou

562 _ _ |a Imperfect: wanting p. 216-224; wormed, affecting some text. |5 hou

562 _ _ |a Text badly water-stained through first four gatherings. |5 hou

863 41 |8 1.1 |a 1 |z Imperfect: wanting p. 214-224.
[i.e. refers to v. 1 of a multi-part set]

562 _ _ |a Imperfect: wanting v. 3. |5 hou


853 20 |8 1 |a v.
863 40 |8 1 |a 1-2

[v. 3 of a 3-volume set is wanting]

Issue/State/Variant note

Enter in a separate 562 field.


562 _ _ |a In this state, p. 53, line 7 has the reading: "gve". |5 hou

562 _ _ |a Large paper issue; double inner margins measure 40 mm. |5 hou

Copy-specific features note

Includes notes on copy number, rubrication, inscriptions & markings not considered provenance information, etc. Enter in separate 562 field(s).


562 _ _ |a Copy no. G of 26 lettered copies, of a total edition of 250 copies. |5 hou

562 _ _ |a Signed by the author and illustrator beneath the colophon. |5 hou

562 _ _ |a Publisher's advertisements (12 p.) bound in at end. |5 hou

562 _ _ |a Errata tipped in after final leaf. |5 hou

863 41 |8 1.1 |a 1 |z Copy no. 127 of 250 numbered copies.

863 41 |8 1.2 |a 2 |z Copy no. 204 of 250 numbered copies.
[i.e. v. 1 and 2 are numbered differently]

"Bound with" note

NOTE: For volumes of pamphlets issued together by a publisher/bookseller, see also section IV.13.501. 

Enter in a separate 562 field. Use standard phrasing whenever possible, as per the examples given. Give author/title/imprint for each bound-with only if there are no more than 2. If there are more than 2 bound-withs, construct a note containing: 1) the item's position in the volume; 2) the total number of items bound together; and 3) some indication of the volume's contents. Enter this note in the holdings record for every title in the volume, updating the information as necessary (e.g. the number of its position in the volume, or the author/title/imprint of the respective bound-withs). Holdings records for all but the first work in a volume require an H77 field (see section V.10. below).


562 _ _ |a Bound with A. Donatus, Ars minor (Paris, 1562), and G. Budé, De asse (Lyon, 1542). |5 hou

[in the holdings record for Ars minor, delete that work and add information for the remaining work in the volume; always list in bound-with order:]

562 _ _ |a Bound with P. Ramus, Rudimenta grammaticae (Paris, 1558), and G. Budé, De asse (Lyon, 1542). |5 hou

562 _ _ |a No. 1 in a volume containing 7 works by Thomas Hollis. |5 hou

562 _ _ |a No. 5 in a volume of 7 pamphlets with binder's title: Reformation tracts. |5 hou

At their discretion, catalogers may combine the Bound-with and Binding notes; but because this may result in an overly long note, separating them generally provides greater clarity. Should catalogers opt to combine these notes, the combined note should go into a 562, rather than a 563.

Unopened pages

Historically, Houghton catalogers were responsible for cutting unopened pages in books they cataloged, but this proved burdensome with greater cataloging volume. As of this writing (October 2013), catalogers no longer cut pages before sending books to the shelf or depository; instead, books are opened by conservation staff, and only as needed by readers.

When cataloging an unopened book, add a 562 holdings note describing it as such. In some cases, curators may ask expressly that the pages of a particular copy remain unopened, such as when a second copy or other surrogate is available. In these cases, provide a 562 note that mentions these instructions, and that refers to the second copy or surrogate if applicable. Additionally, add a note to the routing slip instructing that “do not open” be added to the book’s labeling during end processing.

If cataloging staff are notified by conservation or public services that a book’s pages have been cut, and the holdings record contains an “unopened pages” 562 note, delete the note.

Example 562 notes:

562  _ _ |a Unopened; may be opened upon request. |5 hou

562  _ _ |a Unopened; do not open. |5 hou

562  _ _ |a Unopened; do not open. Refer to other copy for opened pages. |5 hou

563: Bindings

Previous to September 2008, the 563 was reserved for fine or unusual bindings. Due to upgrades in Aleph that made the 563 keyword searchable, this practice has now changed and all binding notes routinely (except those pertaining to "bound with" information – see above in 562) appear in the 563. Occasional exceptions can be made if for grammatical reasons it is easier to include a binding note in the 562 field.

The binding note includes one or both of the following:

  1. binding description (including faults needing repair)
  2. case/container description.

Publishers' bindings should also be described.

Descriptions should be kept brief, simple, and consistent in style. Their purposes are primarily to provide users and staff with an approximate visual image of an item (very helpful when looking for misplaced items), and to provide users (especially those off-site) with basic, reliable binding descriptions. Descriptions should include information about: material(s), color, decoration of spine/covers/edges, approximate date, and whether or not it is a publisher's binding. Where appropriate, begin with the description (e.g., "Half blue calf and marbled boards," "Contemporary red morocco"). If an item is sewn, staple-bound, spiral-bound, laid in or otherwise not bound, a full sentence may be used (e.g., "Spiral-bound with flexible green boards," "Spiral-bound in modern color-decorated boards").

Standard terminology


publisher's binding


binding dates to near the time of publication


binding is not contemporary, but actual date is unclear


do not use; instead, give the century, e.g. early 20th century; late 20th century


do not use; instead, give the century, e.g. early 21st century

paper covers:

refers to publisher's binding


paper binding not added by the publisher; the word "paper" not needed here

Houghton has traditionally used "half" for both quarter- and half-bindings; but as of 3/06 catalogers may describe quarter bindings as such.

Enter in a separate 563 field. Whenever possible, begin the note with "Bound in [binding description]".

Case/Container description

After the binding description, add a semi-colon and a note about any enclosures, along with their sizes. These may have come with an item or be put on locally. If the latter, chose one of the three options:

  1. If put in a prefab add "in prefab"
  2. If going into a CMI add "in CMI case"
  3. If going into a cloth case add "in cloth case" |


563 _ _ |a Bound in contemporary red morocco, gilt, edges gilt; in red cloth case, 27 cm. |5 hou

563 _ _ |a Bound in contemporary red morocco (rebacked), gilt, edges gilt; in red cloth case, 27 cm. |5 hou

563 _ _ |a Bound in original blue cloth. |5 hou

563 _ _ |a Original printed blue paper covers; in prefab, 28 cm. |5 hou

563 _ _ |a Bound in blue cloth, with original printed gray paper covers bound in. |5 hou

563 _ _ |a Bound in elaborately gilt-tooled morocco with arms of Louis XIV on front boards; in cloth case, 31 cm. |5hou

563 _ _ |a Vol. 1 bound in contemporary half calf and marbled boards, spine gilt; v.2 bound in recent crimson buckram. |5 hou
[multi-part item, variant bindings]

863 41 |8 1.1 |a 1 |z Bound in contemporary half calf and marbled boards.
[i.e. refers to v. 1 of a multi-part item]

Binding information more closely linked to provenance may be moved in whole or in part to the 561 note:

561 _ _ |a Bound for Thomas Hollis in brown diced calf, gilt circular floral tool in center of covers (rebacked). |5 hou
[563 binding note omitted]

For a useful and comprehensive online dictionary of binding terms, see Etherington and Roberts, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books.

852: Location field (see also V.4)

Multiple copies

When classing multiple copies, add a capital letter in parens at the end of the last classmark subfields:

|h TS 8539.402 1680 (B)


|h M1500.L95 |i R6 1685 (B)

In the case of more than 26 multiple copies, add a double capital letter in parens:

|h Sheet music 159 (DD)

852: Subfield x and z Notes

When the HOLLIS database was converted to Aleph, the copy-specific notes we now enter in 506, 561, 562, and 563 fields were generally placed in 852 subfield x or z. Subfield z notes in existing holdings records should be moved to the appropriate field.

For items newly cataloged in Aleph, we now employ subfields x as follows:

"Reclassified from" note

Add an 852 subfield x note: "Reclassified from [old number]"; for correlating 541 field information see above.

NB, if you reclass an item which is registered in Aeon, (for example, from *2001MT-1 to MS Thr 9999), edit the call number in the existing Aeon transaction to reflect both the old and new number: “2001MT-1 now MS Thr 9999."  Also edit your call slip to reflect the new number.  When the item is reshelved it will be shelved in the new location and the old slip will be removed from the old location.

"Transferred from" note

Add an 852 subfield x note: "Transferred from [source, e.g., Widener] [date, e.g. 2/06]"; for correlating field information see documentation on 541 above and H09 below.

Rejection note

In the past, duplicate and imperfect copies were often deaccessioned ("dHC rej.", i.e. Harvard College Library duplicate rejected, was the standard notation). At present, this is not being done. If a curator or cataloger recommends that a specific copy should be rejected and deaccessioned in future, record the recommendation in field 852 subfield x, e.g.:

852 … |x This copy recommended for rejection by [initials] [date].

Subfield z notes

As of November 2015, we will move all existing subfield z notes to the appropriate field. (The reason for this is that subfield z's are hard for LTS to display and index and they aren't easily accessed in Cognos.) The following are some of the notes that are currently found in subfield z's.

Items removed note

Miscellaneous material is often found inserted into a volume. Examples of this are calling cards, bookmarks, scraps with ms. notes on them, and newspaper clippings. This material should be removed from the volume and put into the Bibliographic File or the P&GA Curatorial File (see Section V for further procedural details). Enter as 562.

562 … Calling card of "Mr. Smith" inserted (removed to Bibliographic File)|5hou

Dealer's description note

When a dealer's description exists that collates an item to a degree not possible in cataloging or contains other relevant information not included in the catalog record, a cataloger should file a copy in the Bibliographic File and make a 562 note

562 ... Dealer's description, giving full collation and list of maps and their conditions, in Bibliographic File.|5hou

Shelving location note

If it is considered helpful, add a 562 for items shelved elsewhere than their expected place, unless subfield m (size designation or fixed location, e.g. |h Inc 2352 |m (16.5)) can be used:

|h TypTS 970.99.782 |m PF

562 Housed in 3 boxes in W-3 Sub in Typ (horz) overflow area.|5hou



  1. 2nd paragraph: Not sure of what this means.  Is the use of $$3 with separate notes for 562 and 563 discouraged or forbidden?

  2. 541, 1st paragraph:

    line 5: change "former class number" to "former call number" (or use "former class number" in all instances)

    Insert, following "the earliest former call number, used as an accession number substitute": (See below, under "'Reclassified from' note" for instructions on how to record subsequent former call numbers.)

  3. 541, Transfers: Updated link to updated/renamed End processing document


  4. 541, "'Reclassified from' Note:  edited for clarity: go over

  5. 561 & 562:  Change instances of "display in the OPAC" to "display publicly"  ???

  6. 562, "Bound with" note.

    Changed link from "Works Issued Together" (broken link) to section IV.8. 501.  Correct?


  7. 562, "Bound-with" note, 2nd paragraph/sentence:

     "In these instances, if cataloged as a collection, make the appropriate Bound with notes in both the bibliographic and holdings records."

    Meaning not clear to me

  8. Just preceding 563:

    "Binding note

    See following section on 563 for a change in practice starting September 2008."


  9. 563, Case/container description: no. 2

    Acquisitons uses "In CMI case"

  10. 563: Updated link to Etherington and Roberts