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Charles B. Sears Law Library University at Buffalo School of Law

Punctuation for Holdings Statements

Symbol Name Purpose Examples
- Hyphen In enumeration and chronology data, to indicate an unbroken range of holdings. It shall be used ONLY between enumeration or chronology data of like kind (only between volume designators or issue designators for example, not a mixture of these). 1960-1989

, Comma In enumeration and chronology data, to show a break or a gap in a range of holdings.
(It is a local decision to also drop to next line after comma.)

/ Diagonal A connector between notations that form a single entity, as two different years that form a single period of coverage or a double volume number. 1989/1990
? Question Mark To show an unknown quantity in a date. To be used ONLY as the last digit in a date. It may not be added to a date to qualify it. 1950-197?
: Colon In enumeration and chronology data, to serve as a delimiter between multiple orders or levels of data, specifically a first-order designator and its related subsequent-order designators. v.1:no.1

; Semicolon To indicate a nongap break when an item is not published.
(It is a local decision to also drop to next line after semicolon.)
(v.5 never published)
( ) Parentheses To separate enumeration and chronology data when this information is recorded together. v.1 (1989)
= Equals Sign In enumeration data, to separate alternative numbering schemes. v.2:no.5=no.11
Content last updated: em, 4/16