CRS Holdings Information Forum: BIBFRAME and the Future of Holdings Information

by Jeremy Myntti, Head of Cataloging and Metadata Services, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

The ALCTS Continuing Resources Section’s Committee on Holdings Information sponsored a forum titled “BIBFRAME and the future of holdings information” on Saturday, January 26 from 3-4pm. This program included two speakers: Rebecca Guenther from the Library of Congress, and Diane Hillman from the Information Institute of Syracuse.

Guenther’s talk, “Holdings in BIBFRAME: A high level model,” presented the BIBFRAME model with emphasis on how holdings data relate to the model. The core classes of the BIBFRAME model include work, instance, authority, and annotation. Library holdings information is contained within the annotation class. There are several properties related to holdings information within the annotation class. This includes annotates, holdingFor, componentOf, includesWork, and includesInstance. More information on what these properties and classes mean can be found on the BIBFRAME website (

After sharing a high level overview of the BIBFRAME model, several scenarios were reviewed as to how holdings information would be handled with this model. These scenarios included a single volume work with one instance and one copy, a single volume work with one instance and multiple copies, a new work created by combining two existing/related works, and two unrelated works that have been bound together by a library.

Some further work that needs to be developed within BIBFRAME relating to holdings information includes creating additional use cases, how to handle serials in this model, and work to revise the vocabularies associated with holdings information.

Guenther’s slides are available online from

Hillman’s presentation was titled “A consideration of library holdings in the world beyond MARC.” This presentation touched on the following questions:

  • Is there still a need for the functionality that library holdings standards were designed for?
  • How do we balance the need for complexity with the perceived value of simplicity?
  • Who’s working on holdings data and what are they doing?
  • Can we predict the future of holdings?

Throughout the presentation, links to many sources were provided to give examples of what different organizations are doing with holdings data. These links include the German National Library, ONIX for serials coverage,, and the Open Metadata Registry.

Hillman’s final remarks were that there is not likely a one size fits all solution for holdings information. The functional requirements for this type of data varies based on the needs to those using the information and the approach to holdings data changes as the “parent” schemas change.

Hillman’s slides are available online from