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Cover of Graphic Materials

Graphic Materials

Graphic Materials: Rules for Describing Original Items and Historical Collections was compiled by Elisabeth Betz Parker in 1982 to provide guidelines for cataloging a wide variety of visual materials from photographic prints, negatives, and albums to posters, cartoons, popular and fine prints, and architectural drawings.  These rules are a national standard supplement to Chapter 8 of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, which focuses on modern, published audiovisual materials.

For groups of pictures as well as individual items, the guidelines cover transcribing and devising titles; stating creators, producers, and dates; expressing quantities, media, and dimensions; and writing subject, user advisory, and other kinds of notes.  There are also sample catalog records, a glossary, and an index. 

DCRM(G) cover

New Rules Published in 2013

Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics) provides guidelines and instructions for descriptive cataloging of graphic materials, other than maps, receiving special treatment within a repository. Graphic materials include still images of all types, such as prints, drawings, photographs, posters, postcards, pictorial advertisements, cartoons, comic strips, portraits, landscapes, book illustrations, born-digital pictures, etc. Special treatment usually results from the fragility, rarity, and enduring value of the materials, including potential aesthetic, iconographical, and documentary value. DCRM(G) may be used for graphic materials of any age or type of production, published or unpublished.

DCRM(G) is the 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.


Graphic Materials is available in several formats. There are cumulated update versions (1997) as well as separate update pages to supplement the 1982 printed volume with examples in MARC content designation.

(Note: You must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view and print the PDF files. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is available for free from Adobe Systems Incorporated.)

  • Adobe Acrobat PDF File  (1997 version; ca. 3.3 MB; 174 pages)
  • Word Processing files:
  • Update Pages in Adobe Acrobat PDF file (1996-1997; optional, additional rules for expressing dates and physical description; terminology that conforms with terms in the 1995 edition of the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (e.g,. negatives instead of photonegatives); a concordance for MARC fields; and eleven new examples of cataloging with MARC codes; ca. 150 KB; 30 p.).
  • Cataloger's Desktop (1997 version; published by the Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress)

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  November 4, 2013
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