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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

Rare Book School
Preliminary Reading List

Visual Materials Cataloging

Helena Zinkham

Preliminary Advices

Welcome to the Visual Materials Cataloging class. All students MUST read the required material before arriving in Charlottesville in August. Yes, it's about 400 pages in 9 sources, but much of the text is sample records. If unexpected circumstances arise that are likely to prevent you from doing the pre-course reading, please contact me.

Optional readings are provided for those who are already familiar with some of the required readings. The full citation list serves as the course bibliography to help you pursue specific interests in greater depth. Ordering information is included for the core books. The online addresses are current as of March 2004.

You are also asked to complete two exercises before the class starts. Searching for Pictures (3 hours) is at the end of this reading list. The second exercise Looking at Pictures (30 minutes) will be mailed to you when your course registration is accepted.

I look forward to working with each of you!

Helena Zinkham
Prints & Photographs Division
Library of Congress
hzin@loc.gov; 202/707-2922



  1. Betz, Elisabeth W. Graphic materials: Rules for describing original items and historical collections. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 1982. 155 p. With updates, 1996-1997.
  2. This is the Library of Congress cataloging code for photographs, prints, and drawings and the essential text for this course. Please read the entire volume for general familiarity with its content. The update pages include MARC coding examples. If questions or comments arise, feel free to email them to me between now and the date of the course.

    IMPORTANT: Rare Book School will mail you the printed 1997 update version. The text is also available from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division Web site. http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/gm/graphmat.html

  3. Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004. (Replaces the SAA manual called Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts, by Steven L. Hensen, 1989.)
  4. Read the introduction and the summary of each element. Please bring a copy of DACS with you to Virginia.

    Web link: http://www.archivists.org/catalog/pubDetail.asp?objectID=1279

  5. Anglo-American cataloguing rules. 2nd edn, 2002 revision. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003 update (cumulated pages).
  6. Read Chapter 8 "Graphic Materials" (pp 200-219) and bring it to class. (It is not necessary to bring the whole AACR2 volume.) If you are unfamiliar with AACR2, also look at Chapter 1 for general background, and Chapter 21.0, .1, .16, and .17 for information on headings.


  7. Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division. Thesaurus for graphic materials. TGM I: Subject terms. TGM II: Genre and physical characteristic terms. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 1995. Rev. edn. 556 p.
  8. The printed volume is no longer published. The current thesaurus, with updated terms through 2000 as well as the introductions from 1995, is available only on the Web. http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1 and http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm2

    Read the entire introductions (p. 13-41 and p. 479-497) and browse some of the term entries, which are used to index the subject content, genre, and physical characteristics of visual materials.

  9. Petersen, Toni, ed. Art and architecture thesaurus. 2nd edn. 5 vols. NY: Oxford University Press, 1994. "Published on behalf of the Getty Art History Information Program."
  10. Petersen, Toni, and Patricia J. Barnett, eds. Guide to indexing and cataloging with the Art & architecture thesaurus. NY: Oxford University Press, 1994. "Published on behalf of the Getty Art History Information Program."

    In the Guide, read Chapters 1-3 (pp 3-46), Chapter 5 ("Archives and Special Collections," pp 87-100), and Chapter 8 ("Visual Resources," pp 163-179). Take a look at some of the sample cataloging records for architectural materials, photographs, prints, personal papers and manuscripts. In the AAT itself, choose various hierarchies to browse through in order to gain general familiarity with the thesaurus' scope and format. The current vocabulary is available on the Web. http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/index.html

  11. Library of Congress. Library of Congress subject headings. 29th edn. 5 vols. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 2006.
  12. Library of Congress. Subject cataloging manual: Subject headings. 5th edn. 4 vols. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 1996 cumulation, with updates.

    Please read the Subject Cataloging Manual chapter on the subdivision "Pictorial Works" (H 1935), which is enclosed. If anyone needs a refresher in LCSH basics, please get one before July. One published resource is: Library of Congress subject headings : Principles and application, by Lois Mai Chan. 3rd ed. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1995. 541 p.


  13. Arms, Caroline R. "Getting the picture: Observations from the Library of Congress on providing online access to pictorial images," in Library trends 48:2 (1999), pp 379-409. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/techdocs/libt1999/libt1999.html
  14. Describes cataloging and digital image capture practices in the Library of Congress Print and Photographs Division and American Memory projects, including catalog interface design.

  15. Dooley, Jackie M. "Processing and cataloging of archival photograph collections," in Visual resources 11:1 (1995), pp 85-101.
  16. Summarizes processing and cataloging issues for photographic archives: identifying nature and purpose of a collection; limitations of original order; control of negatives; mythical need for item-level records; choice of cataloging code; authority work problems; choice of subject thesaurus.

  17. Library of Congress. Network Development and MARC Standards Office. MARC 21 format for bibliographic data. 2 vols. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 1999-2004.
  18. Read about the following fields that are used often or with special settings when cataloging visual materials: Leader/06, fixed fields 007 and 008, fields 245$h, 300, 520, 530, 545, 655, and 856. You can use the "MARC 21 concise format for bibliographic data" (2004). http://www.loc.gov/marc/bibliographic

    Basic familiarity with the MARC format is necessary for the course. If you need an introduction to MARC format conventions, please read Understanding MARC bibliographic: Machine-readable cataloging. 7th edn. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service in collaboration with The Follett Software Company, 2003. Also on the Web. http://lcweb.loc.gov/marc/umb/


The following optional readings give you a chance to explore topics related to visual materials cataloging in greater depth. Select a few according to your particular interest areas to contribute to the class discussions. A more extensive list of readings is available in the "Visual Materials: Processing and Cataloging Bibliography," at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/resource/vmbib.html.


  1. Malan, Nancy E. "Organizing photo collections: An introspective approach," in A modern archives reader, ed. by Maygene Daniels and Timothy Walch. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, 1984, pp 181-186.
  2. Ritzenthaler, Mary L., Gerald J. Munoff, and Margery S. Long. Administration of photographic collections. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1985. (SAA Basic Manual Series) 173 p.
  3. Schultz, John and Barbara. Picture research: A practical guide. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991. 326 p.

  5. Baca, Murtha, and Patricia Harpring, eds. "Art Information Task Force Categories for the Description of Works of Art," Visual resources 11:3/4 (1996), special issue.
  6. The current CDWA is on the Web. http://www.getty.edu/research/institute/standards/cdwa/index.html

  7. Baca, Murtha, ed. Introduction to metadata: Pathways to digital information. Getty Information Institute, 1998. 47 p.
  8. Includes a crosswalk of nine schemes available for visual materials, most of which come from the art and museum communities: CDWA, Object ID, CIMI, FDA, MESL, VRA Core, REACH, MARC, and Dublin Core. Also on the Web. http://www.getty.edu/research/institute/standards/intrometadata/index.html

  9. Dublin Core. Metadata Initiative. http://dublincore.org/
  10. Visual information was the focus of a workshop described by Stuart Weibel and Eric Miller (OCLC) in "Image Description on the Internet A Summary of the CNI/OCLC Image Metadata Workshop, September 24 - 25, 1996, Dublin, Ohio," for DLib magazine, January 1997. http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january97/oclc/01weibel.html

  11. Encoded Archival Description: Application guidelines (Version 1.0). Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1999. 308 p. Also on the Web: http://www.loc.gov/ead/ag/aghome.html
  12. The EAD Home Page provides links to an online tag library (version 2002), finding aid Web sites, and helper tools and files. http://www.loc.gov/ead/ead.html

  13. Evans, Linda J., and Maureen O'Brien Will. MARC for archival visual materials: A compendium of practice. Chicago: Chicago Historical Society.
  14. See especially the Conference Report, which spotlights problem areas, pp 404-422.

  15. Fox, Michael J., and Peter L. Wilkerson. Introduction to archival organization and description. Getty Information Institute, 1998. 66 p.
  16. Also on the Web. http://www.getty.edu/research/institute/standards/introarchives/index.html

  17. Thornes, Robin. Introduction to Object ID: Guidelines for making records that describe art, antiques, and antiquities. Getty Information Institute, 1999. 72 p.
  18. Outlines the minimum information needed to identify stolen art objects. The "Object ID" project is on the Web: http://www.object-id.com/index.html

  19. Visual Resources Association. Cataloguing Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images. 2004 http://www.vraweb.org/CCOweb/
  20. Visual Resources Association. VRA Core Categories, Version 3.0, Visual Resources Association, Data Standards Committee, 2000-2002 http://www.vraweb.org/vracore3.htm

  22. Dooley, Jackie M., and Helena Zinkham. "The object as 'subject': Providing access to genres, forms of materials, and physical characteristics," in Beyond the book: Extending MARC for subject access, ed Toni Petersen and Pat Molholt. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1990, pp 43-80.
  23. Lanzi, Elisa. Introduction to vocabularies: Enhancing access to cultural heritage information. Getty Information Institute, 1998. 70 p. Also on the Web: http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/vocabularies/introvocabs
  24. General information on controlled vocabularies and authority work, with details about the Getty vocabularies -- Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), Union List of Artst Names (ULAN), and Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN). http://www.getty.edu/research/institute/vocabulary/introvocabs/index.html

  25. McRae, Linda, and Lynda S. White, ed. ArtMARC sourcebook: Cataloging art, architecture, and their surrogate images. Chicago: American Library Association, 1998. 294 p.
  26. Includes architectural drawing cataloging examples.

  27. Orbach, Barbara. "Integrating concepts: Corporate main entry and graphic materials," in Cataloging and classification quarterly 8:2 (1987/88), pp 71-89.
  28. Orbach, Barbara. "So that others may see: Tools for cataloging still images," in Cataloging and classification quarterly 11:3/4 (1990), pp 163-191.
  29. Explains the core information needed to provide access to pictures and illustrates how multi-level descriptions (collection, group, and item) fit together.

  30. Shatford, Sara. "Analyzing the subject of a picture: A theoretical approach," in Cataloging and classification quarterly 6:3 (1986), pp 39-62.
  31. Provides a framework for understanding the different kinds of subjects in pictures.

  32. Shatford, Sara. "Describing a picture: A thousand words are seldom cost effective," in Cataloging and classification quarterly :4 (1984), pp 13-30.

  34. Baldwin, Gordon. Looking at photographs: A guide to technical terms. Malibu, CA: The J. Paul Getty Museum, in association with British Museum Press, 1991. 88 p.
  35. Gascoigne, Bamber. How to identify prints: A complete guide to manual and mechanical processes from woodcut to ink-jet. London: Thames and Hudson, 1986. 208 p.
  36. Goldman, Paul. Looking at prints, drawings, and watercolours: A guide to technical terms. Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1989. 64 p.
  37. Jürgens, Martin. Digital print identification web site: 2001.
  38. Kissel, Eléonore & Erin Vigneau. Architectural photoreproductions: A manual for identification and care. Newcastle, Del.: Oak Knoll Press and The New York Botanical Garden, 1999 121 pp.
  39. Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division. Thesaurus for graphic materials. TGM II: Genre and physical characteristic terms. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1995. Rev. edn. 556 p. Includes extensive bibliography for ephemera, cartoons, posters, photographs, prints, etc. On the Web: http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm2/bibl.html
  40. Mustardo, Peter, and Nora Kennedy. Photographic preservation: Basic methods of safeguarding your collection. (Technical Leaflets Series no 9) Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, 1994. 36 p.
  41. Northeast Document Conservation Center. Preservation 101: An Internet Course on Paper Preservation. 2002. (Includes photographs) http://www.nedcc.org/p101cs/p101wel.htm
  42. Reilly, James M. Care and identification of 19th-century photographic prints. Rochester, NY: Eastman Kodak Company, 1986. 116 p.

  44. Besser, Howard, and Jennifer Trant. Introduction to imaging: Issues in constructing an image database. Santa Monica, CA: Getty Art History Information Program, 1995/1996. 48 p. Also on the Web: http://www.getty.edu/research/institute/standards/introimages/index.html
  45. Collaborative Digitization Program. Digital toolbox, 1999- . http://www.cdpheritage.org/digital/index.cfm
  46. Denver Public Library. About the digitization and cataloging program at the Denver Public Library, a National Endowment for the Humanities grant report, June 2002, modified and updated for Web presentation April 2003.
  47. Digital Library Federation and Research Libraries Group. Guides to quality in visual resource imaging. 2002. (Separate guides cover planning, scanner selection, image quality factors, and digital master quality and file formats.)
  48. Ostrow, Stephen E. Digitizing historical pictorial collections for the internet. Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, 1998. 36 p.
  49. Also on the Web. http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/ostrow/pub71.html

  50. Sandore, Beth, ed. "Progress in Visual Information Access and Retrieval," in Library trends 48/2 (1999), special issue, pp 283-524.



Compare general approaches to cataloging pictures by selecting two or three search terms from the following list. Then, use those terms as queries in five online catalogs to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their descriptive records and access designs. A list of Online Picture Catalogs is available through the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division Web site: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/resource/223_piccat.html

farm sunrises & sunsets Indians caricture
industrial hammer & sickle Columbia photographs
doors love Washington postcards
sewing war Niagara Falls Currier
children playing good & evil Battle of Gettysburg Curtis