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Resource Description Procedures & Guidelines: Multimedia Materials

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Multimedia Materials Procedures


Multimedia is a designation for materials which consist of more than one part and include bound or loose print materials and nonprint items (e.g., book with separate maps or with attached microfilm or computer disk) as an integral part of the intellectual content of the work. Occasionally a multimedia item consists of loose printed sheets which cannot be bound.



Classify according to Library of Congress classification schedules and local practice guidelines.



Since the work is based on the printed item, the description is based on the rules for the monograph or serials cataloging, with the following differences:

A. The accompanying materials can be described in the |e subfield (accompanying material) of the 300 field (physical description) field or in a 5xx note. In the 300 field, the accompanying material information follows the size and is preceded by a plus (+) sign and delimiter e.


Examples of accompanying material in the 300 field:

  • v, 154 p. : |b ill. ; |c 28 cm. + |e phonodisc (2 s. : 7 in. ; 33 1/3 rpm.) in pocket

  • viii, 95 p. ; |c 23 cm. + |e microfiche (3 sheets : all ill. ; 11x14 cm.) in pocket

  • xii, 234 p. : |b ill., maps (some col.) ; |c 25 cm. + |e 3 fold. maps (in pocket)

  • 271 p. : |b ill. ; |c 21 cm. + |e 1 answer book (37 p. ; 20 cm)


B. Further information about accompanying material can be given in 5xx notes

1. 538 field - System details note (Required if applicable and is repeatable)

This note provides system information for the item, such as disk characteristics (floppy disk, double density, etc.), computer requirements (memory requirements, operating system, software programming language, etc.) This information is often found on the media itself or its container or in the introduction or other area of the printed text.



538 _ _ Disk characteristics: floppy disk, single sided, double density, soft sectored.

538 _ _ System requirements for accompanying disk: IBM-compatible PC; Windows 3.1 or higher, Unix or OS2; color card; 2X CD-ROM drive; hard drive with 3 MB free.

538 _ _ Mode of access: Electronic mail via Internet and BITNET; also available via FTP.

538 _ _ Data written in extended ASCII character set.

538 _ _ DVD. Dolby surround sound for English sound track.


2. 500 field - General note (free text, repeatable)

This note gives important details that are not included in the 300 field description.



500 _ _ Two charts on folded leaves in pocket.

500 _ _ Accompanying CD-ROM contains complete text in PDF format.

500 _ _ Disk in pocket contains the complete text of the book and several hundred hyperlinks.

500 _ _ Dolby stereo, mono. compatable.


Holdings Record

Since multimedia items are shelved with the general collection, the location code in the 852 field is auc.


Item Record

The number of pieces (near the bottom of the item record) should reflect the number of parts integral to the work. For example, a printed text with four microfiche would count as five pieces. A printed text and 46 loose maps would be 47 pieces.


Marking Multimedia Items

a. The cataloger should write the call number in pencil on the title page of the printed text and on all loose printed sheets.

b. The cataloger prepares an adhesive white inventory label. This should be inserted above the item number inside the back of a printed volume or inside the top cover of a box of unbound materials.