Cataloging Moving Image Materials
Physical Description (MARC field 300)
If the item being described exists in the archive in two or more generations (e.g. a 35 mm. film negative and a 35 mm. film master positive), a separate physical description should be given for each generation. Similarly, if the item being described exists in two or more formats (e.g. 3/4 in. videocassette and 16 mm. print), a separate physical description is created for each. The order in which the generations are listed is described in 5E3.
The physical description area consists of the following elements:
Extent of item (duration) -- : sound characteristics, color characteristics -- ; dimensions, generation (copy number).
Optionally, various formats or generations may be listed in a holdings format or in private notes to facilitate retrieval. The physical description area (300 field) would consist of a composite statement and different generations and formats would be noted in a general note (500 field, see 7B).
For list of standard abbreviations used in field 300, see AACR2 Appendix B.
5B. Extent of item and specific material designation (300 subfield a) [7.5B]
Record the number of physical units of each copy of a motion picture or videorecording by giving the number of parts in Arabic numerals and a material designation. Prefer the use of specific material designations as listed in AMIM. These would most likely include:
videocassette (for 1/2 in., 3/4 in. or Hi-8 videotape cassettes)
videoreel (for 1 in. and 2 in. videotape reels)
5B2. Indicate the completeness of the item(s) in hand.
For released or broadcast works, follow the AMIM guidelines (5B2.1-3, 5B3)
5B3.1. Do not follow the "[Number in hand] [type of unit(s)] of [complete number of units] format for unreleased or nonbroadcast items, such as performance recordings, home movies, stock footage, outtakes, etc. Simply use arabic numbers with the unit term describing the item(s) in hand.
For unreleased/nonbroadcast material, if part of a unit(s) is incomplete, place the abbreviation "inc." in parentheses after the item count. Include a 500 note (see 7B12) describing the extent or nature of the incompleteness, if known (5B2.4). If the incompleteness is unique to your institution's copy, e.g. other copies exist in a complete state, add your code in a subfield 5 to the note.
5B4. Playback mode
Trade name or other technical specification for a videorecording should be added if the use of the item is conditional upon this information. Place this specification in parentheses after the indication of completeness and before the duration.
Optionally, record equipment specification (VHS, BETA, and U-matic) following item dimension, and the playback standard (PAL, SECAM, and NTSC) following color characteristics.
5B5. Length or duration
Record the length of film material in feet and the duration of videorecordings in minutes (LC AMIM RI 5B5): the duration of film material in minutes is indicated in a fixed-field box (008 field).
Optionally, in addition to the length of film footage, include the duration in minutes of film material for so that viewing sessions can be more easily scheduled. If the item is not viewed for cataloging, give an approximate length or duration, preceded by the abbreviation "ca."
5C. Other physical details (300 subfield b) [7.5C]
Give the following details, as applicable, in this order:
Follow AMIM guidelines for sound (5C1) and color (5C2) characteristics, using the abbreviations "sd." and "si." for sound and "col." and "b&w" for color.
5C3. Playing speed
If known, provide playing speed (LP, SP, ELP) for 1/2 in. videotape, following the color characteristics. Also, indicate as a special projection requirement when a film is "anamorphic" or, for a video, "letterboxed," following the color characteristics. Any additional information on projection requirements deemed important may be placed in a 500 note (7B12.g).
5D. Dimensions (300 subfield c) [7.5D]
Generally give the gauge of motion picture film in millimeters (mm.), the width of videotape in inches (in.) or the measurement used by the industry, and the diameter of videodiscs in inches (in.).
Give the generation of a copy of a motion picture film. Record the generation in the 300 field(s). If using the option of recording additional formats or generations in the holdings format or in private notes, record this information there.
Use standard abbreviations for generations, e.g. "ref print" for a reference (or viewing) print. (See section 5E3 for abbreviated terms).
5E3. Order of physical descriptions
When a particular title is in more than one collection, group collections together first, generations second (viewing copies, ref prints, etc.), and gauge third (1/2 in., 3/4 in., 16 mm., etc.). The following list suggests an order.
8 mm. viewing copy
3/4 in. viewing copy
1 in. viewing copy
10 in. viewing copy
12 in. viewing copy
16 mm. ref print
35 mm. ref print
16 mm. dupe neg
16 mm. neg trk *
35 mm. dupe neg
35 mm. neg trk *
1/2 in. master
8 mm. master
3/4 in. master
1 in. master
2 in. master
8 mm. master
16 mm. masterpos
35 mm. masterpos
16 mm. arch pos
16 mm. pos trk *
35 mm. arch pos
35 mm. pos trk *
16 mm. arch neg
16 mm. neg trk *
35 mm. arch neg
35 mm. neg trk *
* All track material should be placed immediately following the picture generation to which it corresponds.
Exception (for viewing copy and ref print sequences only): if by following this order an incomplete copy would precede a complete copy, reverse the order so that the complete copy comes first.
5G. Copy number
If appropriate, give a copy number as the last element of the physical description and enclose it in parentheses. Spell out "copy" rather than using the AMIM option for abbreviations.