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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

L-40. Visual Materials Cataloging

Helena Zinkham

Aimed at librarians and archivists who catalog published and unpublished visual materials. The emphasis will be on c19 and c20 prints and photographs being handled either as single items or as collections. Topics include: descriptive and subject cataloging; form and genre access; special problems in physical description; comparison of Graphic Materials, AACR2 (Chapter 8), and APPM guidelines; the relationship between physical processing and cataloging; establishing institutional priorities.

This course is intended for catalogers and curators of visual materials who have a working knowledge of AACR2rev. and/or APPM; MARC formats; and of general cataloging principles and practices. The emphasis will be placed on c19 and c20 prints
and photographs being cataloged either as single items or as part of archival collections. Descriptive cataloging will focus on use of Graphic Materials, with comparison to AACR2rev. and APPM. For subject cataloging, we will compare LCSH, AAT, and LC's Thesaurus for Graphic Materials. For access to form and genre, we will compare Descriptive Terms for Graphic Materials with LCSH and AAT. Other topics will include differences between cataloging visual and textual materials, level of detail in the catalog record, the relationship between physical processing and cataloging, and establishing cataloging policy within an institutional environment. The class will make a field trip to LC to visit the Prints and Photographs Division, where presentations will include an overview of cataloging techniques in the digital environment.

Applicants should give a brief description of their experience cataloging rare and archival materials, their current duties with regard to visual materials, and the types of materials they expect to catalog. They are also encouraged to mention specific problems they have encountered, as well as any particular expectations they have for the course.

Course Resources

Course History


Helena Zinkham has taught this course since 1998.


This course is taught by Jackie Dooley.