Bound-With Practices


Alma does not permit inventory to be shared across multiple bibliographic records. Instead, Alma uses a customized brief bibliographic record labeled as "Host bibliographic record for boundwith ..." This text appears in the bib 245 field, and is followed by the record type (holding or item) and the identity (holding ID or barcode) of the physical object represented. The record(s) for the physical inventory, whether holdings or items, are held by the host record.

The host bib also contains linking fields, specifically tag 774 Constituent Unit Entry, to identify the descriptive bibliographic records for the actual content found on the physical object. Alma and Primo VE use related records functionality to present users viewing either descriptive record with the holdings for all constituent titles.

Some common uses for bound-with records follow:

  • The traditional purpose of a bound-with is to represent a single physical object that contains two or more distinct works. Frequently, this approach would be utilized when the works were not published or collected under a common, collective title. This approach also enables libraries to more fully describe the contents of collected works, such as microform sets.
  • Serials catalogers commonly used the bound-with structure of previous systems to create a links across a serial's history of name changes (i.e., sequential and historical relationships). Some bound-with objects would be shared fully between preceding and succeeding titles. Some bound-withs were applied only to specific items, such as a bound periodical volume where the title change occurred between two issues within a volume.
  • Some libraries may have used bound-withs to present the holdings of different formats of the same title, (i.e., a horizontal relationship) for instance print and microform holdings.
  • Some libraries employed bound-withs to show the relationship between a series title acquired on standing order and the individual volumes of the series  (i.e., a vertical, or parent-child relationship) that might be cataloged and classified separately. 

Alma's related records functionality may better support the latter three uses without the need for bound-withs. Libraries will need to examine the bound-withs that exist to determine what types of relationships are described.

CARLI Technical Services Q&A, May 12, 2021. Bound-Withs.

Bound-Withs Slides and Chat

Recommendations for Host Bibliographic Records

CARLI staff have identified a number of Alma community best practices for host bibliographic records. 

  • Linking fields for titles, i.e., 774$w, should only refer to institution zone MMS IDs.
  • Host bibliographic records should be suppressed from discovery.
  • Host bibliographic records should be restricted to institution zones only, and never shared with the network zone.
  • Constituent bibliographic records should be tagged with a local extension that may be examined before performing deletion jobs, as otherwise, these bibs may appear to be orphaned with no inventory.

Clean-up Options for Host Bibliographic Records

Suppressing Host Bibliographic Records from Discovery

Alma community best practices recommend suppressing the host bibliographic records from discovery, as their basic form is frequently confusing to users. Individual host bibliographic records may be suppressed using the metadata editor. Libraries may prefer to suppress these records in batches.

  1. Perform a Physical Titles search of your IZ using the Title index with "host bibliographic record" as the search term.
    Image of the Alma persistent search bar, Physical Titles search, Title index, search terms of "host bibliographic record," institution zone icon (house).
  2. Click Save Query.
  3. Enter a Set Name, e.g., Host Bibliographic Records. Optionally, enter a description and a note. (A good practice is to copy the search string as the note.)
  4. Set Private to No.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Go to Admin > Manage Jobs and Sets > Run a Job.
  7. Select the Suppress Bib records from discovery Marc21 Bib Normalization job, then click Next. (Note, there may be several jobs with name "Suppress Bib records from discovery," but for different record formats. Be sure to select the type for Marc21.)
    Image of Alma Run a Job - Select Job to Run screen, showing a search for name "suppress" and the "Suppress Bib records from discovery" job with type "Marc 21 Bib normalization" as the selected entry.
  8. Select your set created above and click Next.
  9. Set the task parameter, Suppressed from Discovery to TRUE. Click Next.
  10. Review job name and settings, click Submit, then Confirm.
  11. Watch for an email notification that the job has completed successfully. Your records will be suppressed.

Orbis Cascade has an extended process for creating a set of bound-with records to accomplish other tasks, such as creating reports of the 774 fields in host records and adding local extensions. 

Traditional Bound-with

For a true, traditional bound-with, catalogers have several options. First, the host bibliographic record remains a viable tool both for staff and patrons. Catalogers may also take advantage of local extension fields in 77X and 78X to establish clearer relationships among constituent bibs in their IZ. Finally, a library may choose to fully recatalog the item as an actual bound-with resource with a unique OCLC number.

Enhancing the host bibliographic record

The host bibliographic may be edited in the metadata editor and may contain any other data relevant to library staff or patrons. Consider enhancing the title fields of the record, beginning with the 245 field. Consider one or more of the following options, which will be useful whether the host record is suppressed or visible to patrons:

  • Move the default "host bibliographic record" text to a 246 field, so that the record may still be searched on that title string.
  • Modify the 245 terminology to be more descriptive of the situation, e.g., "Multiple titles bound as a single volume." 
  • Add more title information to the 774 fields, such as subtitles, or supplement the 774 tags with 246 tags.
  • Modify the 245 to include the actual titles (e.g, their own 245$a contents) as if cataloging a collected work without a collective title. (RDA reference needed)
  • Add a 505 field describing the arrangement of the contents.
  • Edit the Leader, 006, 007, and 008 fields to describe the actual form of the item. Add 336, 337, 338 fields as well.

For any links between related records, make sure that the linking subfield (774$w) points only at MMS IDs within your own IZ.

Enhancing constituent bibliographic records and Holding records

Alma and Primo VE appear to display related titles information on all records in a relationship when any one of the records contains fields that describe the relationship. Catalogers may wish to ensure that relationship details are shared in all directions by optionally adding 77X and 78X fields as local extensions.

  • Optionally add a 773 as a local extension (Ctrl+L in the metadata editor) referring to the host record IF the host bib has been enhanced.
  • Optionally add a 787 as a local extension referring to other constituent works in the bound-with; use subfield i with a text of "Bound With" to describe the relationship.

Additionally, CARLI staff believe that adding a holding record to constituent bibs may improve readability of the Get It information in Primo VE, and it may also support network zone visibility of titles for record maintenance and consortial holdings analysis. The presence of a holding record, whether suppressed or unsuppressed, should prevent constituent bib records from being deleted as having no inventory.

Cataloging a bound-with manifestation

For some resources, a library may choose to comprehensively describe an item that contains multiple distinct works, even when the physical item lacks a collective title. This typically involves describing each work contained in the piece in turn, with all titles represented in the 245 as well as using added access points for titles. The cataloger may then include other details, such as extent and subject access for each contained work and the item as a whole if practical. 

For guidelines and practices for this type of cataloging, see RDA, as well as OCLC Bibliographic Formats & Standards sections 3.2 and 4.1.

Bound-With That Combines Formats

Bound-With That Shows Series Relationship

Bound-With That Shows Holdings over Title Changes

Other Documentation


Ex Libris Knowledge Center


Orbis Cascade

California State University