Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Cataloging Practices and Access Methods for Videos at ARL and Public Libraries in the United States

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Cataloging Practices and Access Methods for Videos at ARL and Public Libraries in the United States

Article excerpt

Libraries may vary in the level and fullness of cataloging they give to video recordings and in the methods they use to provide access to them. This paper reports the results of a survey exploring the level of cataloging and access methods applied to videos, the degree to which catalogers view screen credits, and how often various credit information is included and used to create access points in catalog records in selected U.S. public and Association of Research Libraries member libraries. Resources for cataloging videos also were examined. Results showed that most libraries cataloged videos at the full level and provided access points to similar types of information in catalog records. Academic librarians reported viewing videos and providing access points to certain information to a greater extent than public librarians did. This study offers a general picture of the credit information libraries include or omit in video catalog records.


Libraries in the United States have collected video recordings for more than three decades, but few surveys have examined their cataloging practices regarding this format. Video recordings (hereafter, videos) encompass video tapes and video discs in all formats (e.g., VHS, DVD, laser discs). In 1993, Kristine R. Brancolini and Rick E. Provine examined the extent to which members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) classified videos and included them in their online catalogs; because their investigation was part of a broader survey of video collections and services, other aspects of cataloging practices were not examined in depth. (1) Other research projects include Anna T. Slawek's analysis of video cataloging practices in Canadian public libraries and, more recently, a survey by the Association of Moving Image Archivists of archival moving image cataloging practices. (2) Furthermore, in a subsequent study, Brancolini and Provine concluded that many ARL libraries did not meet the Association of College and Research Libraries" (ACRL) Guidelines for Media Resources in Academic Libraries. (3) The purpose of the present study is to examine issues related to video cataloging and access at selected public and ARL academic libraries in the United States and to explore issues related to the ACRL guidelines' first three recommendations for bibliographic access and cataloging. (4) In particular, the study examines the following areas:

1. The extent to which libraries use the online catalog versus other methods to provide access to videos;

2. The degree to which catalogers view screen credits of videos to obtain bibliographic information, as well as the availability of viewing equipment and full-time staff for cataloging videos; and

3. The level of fullness at which libraries catalog videos, including the degree to which various types of credit information are included and used as access points in records.

According to the first recommendation in the ACRL Guidelines' bibliographic control and cataloging section, "Bibliographic and holdings information about media resources should be made accessible through the same retrieval mechanisms available for other library materials." (5) A review of the literature shows that libraries have been slow to integrate nonbook materials into online catalogs. According to James c. Scholtz, early" video collections were organized by annotated lists. (6) In 1993, Kristine R. Brancolini and Rick E. Provien found that 30 percent of ARL libraries with video collections included either only some or none of their videos in their online catalogs. (7)

In 1995, Jean Weihs and Lynne C. Howarth found that 10.7 percent of Canadian libraries still had not cataloged their videos and that libraries with smaller collections (100,000 items or fewer) were least likely to catalog them according to AACR2. (8) Even libraries that have integrated videos into their online catalogs may still retain older means of access for the format. …

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