In a library context, “holdings” refers to the collection of materials that a library has on hand, including the physical materials (e.g. books, journals, newspapers, etc.) and any electronic resources the library has access to. The holdings of a library can be divided into several categories such as monographs, serials, maps, audio-visual materials, manuscripts, etc.
The library’s holdings can be described in a catalog record, which is a detailed description of the item that includes information such as the title, author, publication date, and subject matter. The holdings information in the catalog record usually includes the call number, location and the number of copies held by the library.
In order to keep track of library holdings, libraries typically use an integrated library system (ILS) which is a software that automates many of the day-to-day tasks of running a library. The ILS allows library staff to manage the library’s collection by adding, editing, and deleting catalog records, tracking circulation, and managing holds and reserves.
Knowing the holdings of a library is important for the library users as they can check if the library has the material they need, and if it’s available or not. It’s also important for the library staff to keep track of the library’s collection, to ensure that it’s up-to-date and that all the materials are properly cataloged and classified.