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Collection Baseball Cards

Technical Information

Describing the Collection

Most of the Prints and Photographs Division's cataloging is considered "minimal level," because information is often limited to what was provided with the picture rather than what could be learned by further researching the image. The following comments explain the general cataloging guidelines. They also point out which catalog record information is most useful for citing pictorial materials in research notes or publications. Since the original information accompanying a picture can be inaccurate, the Division is always glad to hear from researchers who have additional or better information. Please be aware that it usually takes several weeks to confirm information and make changes to online catalog records For general information about cataloging pictorial materials, see the Visual Materials: Processing & Cataloging Bibliography.

In cataloging the Benjamin K. Edwards Collection of Baseball Cards, data was first recorded in two databases, one containing specific information about each of the 35 published card sets and the other containing information about each specific card. The data from each database was then mapped into the standard cataloging fields below.


A title is transcribed from the original picture, or from a photographer's logbook or negative jacket. If the picture carries no caption a title is devised from another source and displayed in brackets. Devised titles are written by Library staff, or they might come from a published book illustration or a former owner.

The abbreviations "[sic]" and "[i.e.]" indicate erroneous spellings or information in transcribed titles. The correct information is provided as needed in the title or a note.

For this collection, the title will be either the player's name, the team name (for team photos), or the caption of the action scene depicted. Devised titles of players' names were taken from the Baseball Encyclopedia.

Example: Joseph Tinker


The date refers to the year(s) when the image being cataloged was created, not the time period depicted in the picture.

Baseball card dates indicate the year the card was published. Some card sets were distributed over a two or three year time span. Individual cards in these sets may have been distributed in any of the years indicated.


For this collection, the SUBJECTS field will contain the following information when known: (1) the player's name as it appears in the Baseball Encyclopedia 9th ed., (2) the city and team nickname, (3) the league, and (4) the player's position.

Example: Joe Tinker
Chicago Cubs
National League


When multiple people or corporate bodies contribute to a work, their names can be listed as related, or added, entries. When the nature of the contribution can be specified, a relator term, such as client, copyright claimant, interior designer, or sculptor, is added after the name.

Example: American Tobacco Company


The physical properties of the original work are described by listing a readily recognized broad category, such as photograph, drawing, or print, followed by a more specific designation, such as daguerreotype, charcoal, or aquatint. This is determined by examining the work. The description is also a reminder that the physical characteristics of the original work are quite different from a digital reproduction on a computer screen.

The quantity of material is also stated, although most records usually describe only a single item. The dimensions of a work are rarely provided in minimal-level cataloging.

Example: 1 print : relief with halftone, color


Many types of notes are written to explain reproduction restrictions, sources of devised dates and titles, the name of the collection to which the work belongs, citations to published versions, and other aspects of the work. A subject description is sometimes written if a title is not self-explanatory. With minimal-level cataloging, some types of notes are omitted, for example, acquisition source is rarely provided.

In the Baseball Card Collection, some of the cards depict action scenes from games. The caption for those images often appears on the back of the card and is transcribed in the NOTES field. This field will also note the company that issued the card sets.

Example: Title: Close at the plate.


The genre and physical characteristics of the original work are listed as plural index terms. Examples include: Broadsides, Engravings, Group portraits, Lithographs--Color, Paintings--Reproductions, Political posters, Portrait photographs, Stereographs, and Woodcuts.

These headings are sometimes subdivided by the nationality, place, or decade in which the work was created. Other subdivisions indicate if the work is in color or is a reproduction of another medium. The terms come from the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II: Genre and Physical Characteristic Terms.

Example: Baseball cards


This string of letters and numbers is used to locate the original material at the Library of Congress and must be cited when ordering reproductions of images that do not already have reproduction numbers.

Example: LOT 13163-17, no. 12


This alphanumeric code identifies existing black-and-white and color photographs from which prints, transparencies, and other photographic reproductions can be ordered. This number is also the most useful (and shortest) reference citation to include with any subsequent publication of the image.

A qualifying phrase identifies the type of reproduction (e.g., color transparency) and points out which reproductions are only details or cropped versions of the original works. This information can help you decide which of the copy photographs you want to reproduce.

The abbreviation "b&w" stands for black-and-white.

Example: LC-USZC2-5117 (color film copy slide)


Additional titles by which the work is known. For this collection, this field gives the commonly known name of the card set to which the card belongs.

Example: Mecca Double Folders


The title of the collection associates each item with its source and is useful to include in bibliographic citations.

Example: Benjamin K. Edwards Collection of Baseball Cards


The name of the institution and division that have custody of the original work. This information can help you locate or cite the original.


The identification number for the digital file begins with a word or phrase that explains the source used to create the digital image, for example, the "original" work or a "b&w copy film neg." The Library's digital images are often created by scanning one or more of the copy photographs listed in the Reproduction Number field.

Example: (original) bbc 1234

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