January 9, 2014 New Cataloging Guidelines for Pictures Now Available in Online Publication

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Erin Blake (202) 675-0323

The Library of Congress and the Association of College and Research Libraries have updated the cataloging guidelines for describing pictures, and they are now available in a free, online book, “Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics).”

The guidelines cover still images of all types: photographs, prints, drawings, born-digital pictures, book illustrations, posters, postcards, cartoons, comic strips, advertisements, portraits, landscape, architectural drawings, bookplates and more. Instructions for capturing core metadata elements—the titles, creators, dates, publishers, and media of pictures—are provided as well as helpful wording for explanatory notes.

“Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics)” or DCRM(G) is available online as a free PDF at rbms.info/dcrm/dcrmg External and as a hypertext document on “Cataloger’s Desktop,” desktop.loc.gov External.

DCRM(G) can be used for graphic materials of any age or type of production, published or unpublished, especially when special treatment is useful because of fragility, rarity and enduring value or aesthetic, iconographical and documentary interest.

The book is a direct successor to Elisabeth Betz Parker’s “Graphic Materials: Rules for Describing Original Items and Historical Collections,” published by the Library of Congress in 1982. Known to many simply as “Betz” or “The Yellow Book,” the first “Graphic Materials” became a classic.

The new guidelines make records easier for a wide range of users to understand and, for published material, easier for libraries to share. For convenience, advice about cataloging unpublished groups of materials and collections is now gathered into a single appendix. In recognition of a wide audience wanting access to graphic materials, DCRM(G) also makes increased use of such everyday language as “publisher not identified” instead of the abbreviation “s.n.”

While DCRM(G) is intended for use in a library context, it can also be a valuable supplement for description in archives, museums, historical societies, corporations and private collections.

The guidelines were written by the Bibliographic Standards Committee of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Policy and Standards Division of the Library of Congress. They were published by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

DCRM(G) is one of a family of manuals providing specialized cataloging rules for various formats of materials typically found in rare book, manuscript and special-collection research centers. The suite is known as “Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials.”

Instructions on using DCRM(G) will be offered through conference workshops. In addition to many examples in the book itself, a separate document of annotated and MARC-encoded examples is forthcoming. Questions can also be submitted at any time to DCRM-L, a users group at listserver.lib.byu.edu/mailman/listinfo/dcrm-l External.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. For more information, visit www.acrl.org External.

The Library’s Prints and Photographs Division includes more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a uniquely rich array of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/print/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 14-005
ISSN 0731-3527