Holdings and Item Displays in Primo VE

Revised June 23, 2023

This page summarizes our current understanding of Holdings and Item displays in Primo VE.  Some CARLI Recommendations for I-Share institutions are included below where applicable.

Holdings Displays

852 subfield z notes display in Primo VE by default

Image showing a Holdings record with an 852 subfield z public note.

  • CARLI Recommends that I-Share institutions use 852 $$z for general information to display to users about the holdings in a record.  For example, notes about Current Issues, "Library retains current two years only", comments about missing holdings, etc. 
  • For specialized notes, consider using the Holdings MARC fields defined for that purpose.  See more information on Holdings Records Notes field below.

86X Summary Holdings display in Primo VE by default

866 – basic holdings (ON by default)
867 – supplements (ON by default)
868 – indexes (OFF by default)

  • CARLI Recommends that I-Share institutions use Summary Holdings to describe what your library holds for serials and multi-part sets/items where applicable.
  • CARLI Recommends that I-Share institutions follow MARC21 Format for Holdings Data standards and ANSI/NISO Z39.71 content standards for creating 86X Summary holdings.
  • Multiple 86X lines will display, but keep in mind that this may make the display longer and cause the system to initially condense the information and present the "View more" link. Users can expand longer holdings with "View more" link to see all of the Holdings fields.
  • By default, the Locations list displays partial holdings summary for a location, but you can configure it to include a "View more" link, which allows users to view the holdings summary data without having to open the location's details. To enable this functionality, set the holdings_fields_display_in_locations_list_view parameter to true in the Discovery Customer Settings mapping table in Configuration Menu > Discovery > Other > Customer Settings. If the summary data are longer than a couple of lines, a "View more" link will be presented.

If a Holdings record does not have an 86X Summary field but does have Item records attached with description Field data, Primo VE will attempt to create and display a system-generated summary from the Item information


  • Primo VE does not necessarily construct the most informative display as its abilities are limited to the data found in the Description field of the Item records.
  • You will not find this system-generated "summary" in the holding record and you cannot edit it directly.  In order to change it, you need to edit the Item records' Description fields. 
  • The labels "from:" and "until:" can be edited in Alma Configuration > Discovery > Display Configuration > Labels > Getit Tile Labels > and, respectively
  • If you find that the system-generated "summary" is unsatisfactory, CARLI Recommends that you add a 86X Summary field(s) to the Holdings record which will display instead.

85X/86X pairs for Itemized Holdings do not display in Primo VE by default

853/863 – basic holdings
854/864 – supplements
855/865 – indexes

  • Unlike previous OPACs which used 853/863 Itemized data to render the display of multi-item holdings for serials and sets, Primo VE displays the list of Items instead.
  • While there are more complicated configuration options which could force them to display, Primo VE is designed to display all Items attached to the Holdings record when they exist, and to display Summary statements (from the 866/867/868 field or the Item metadata as mentioned above) above the list of Items.
  • These data may be worth maintaining for publishing to OCLC LHRs or other external systems, but more investigation needs to be done. CARLI Recommends that I-Share institutions do not delete existing 853/863 pairs at this time.
  • Serials check-in from Alma may create more 85X/86X pairs that likely will not be of the same format as those that already exist.

Other Holdings record MARC fields for Notes like 5XX and 84X fields can be configured to display

On June 22, 2023, CARLI distributed a set of common Holdings Notes fields from the Network to all I-Share IZs.  I-Share institutions can edit configuration to choose to display them or not and edit the labels locally.  MARC Format for Holdings Data notes fields include 506, 538, 541, 561, 562, 563, 583, 843, 845. See CARLI Primo VE Holdings Notes Display for more information.

Ten Holdings Records display by default in the Primo VE Full Record

To increase the number of holdings that will display by default to a number greater than 10, see Change Number of Holdings in GetIt Display

Holdings Availability Labels can be customized

See Ex Libris documentation Configuring the Display of Availability Labels for Holdings.


Item Displays

Primo VE displays all Items on Unsuppressed Holdings records

  • Item records cannot be suppressed individually.
  • If you do not want the Items to display:
    • You may be able to delete the Items entirely if they are not needed by staff or for audit purposes at your institution.
    • You could create a suppressed-from-discovery second holdings record and move the Items you do not want to display to it.  Alternatively, if the items exist due to migrated check-in data, you could suppress the original holdings record that the check-in is associated with and create a new holdings record that is not suppressed with cleaned-up notes and summary holdings that is specifically meant for public display.
  • If your institution chose to migrate Voyager suppressed-from-OPAC serials check-in issues on the Alma Migration Form, that process created Items for all those issues, so you may have additional clean-up.
    • To view your institution's Alma Migration Form, go to: Your institution's CARLI Box folder > XXX Alma Migration Archive folder > XXX Production Load folder > Alma Production Migration Form XXX_FINAL.xlsx > Questionnaire tab > Line 19 Migrate Suppressed Serial Issues? = Y
    • If they were migrated, a note was placed in the Alma item record (CONV: Suppressed) so that you can search for these items in Alma.  You may want to change them to a different Alma status.
      • NOTE: when you choose to "Duplicate" an Item to create a new Item, enumeration levels, description, public and fulfillment notes (as well as other fields) are copied to the duplicated item, including the note field with the "CONV: Suppressed" note. --From Ex Libris documentation Item Records.
    • For more details on how serials issues were migrated from Voyager to Alma, see:
  • Items for serials that have been predicted in Alma have a process type of "Acquisition", and by default, they will display in Primo VE as "On order" (and may be requestable) UNLESS you exclude the "Acquisition" process type from display by setting it to "True" in Alma Configuration > Discovery > Other > Exclude Process Types from Discovery Indexing.
    • Note: this will exclude any Item with this process type, which may be more than predicted issues.
    • For more information see this Ex Libris FAQ.


If there are no Items on a Holdings record, Primo VE will by default display wording such as "Check holdings" in the results list and "May be available" in the Get It section



Because of this behavior, serial holdings without Items will especially benefit from having 852 $$z public notes and/or 86X Summary statements in the Holdings record.  CARLI Recommends that you add them to these types of Holdings so that users can see more information about what your library owns.

Note: The "Check holdings" and "May be available" messages may also appear appropriately in Primo VE if there are multiple Holdings records or multiple Items present in different states of availability.

The Brief Item Display and Full Item Display can be customized

The Sort Order of Items is oldest to Newest but can be customized

  • See Ex Libris documentation Configuring the Sort Order of Physical Items in Primo VE.
  • The default sort order is oldest item at the top to newest item at the bottom based on the data found in the Item Record.
  • In Voyager/WebVoyage/VuFind, the sort order of the holdings lines being displayed was controlled with the 85X/86X $8 Linking and Sequence numbers.