IMAP . Independent Media Arts Preservation  
About IMAP Preservation 101 Cataloging Project Information Resources Programs & Services Join Us
Cataloging Tutorial
Sample Records
Quick Reference
Get Template
Technical Support



IMAP > Cataloging Project > Quick Reference

Quick Reference

Unique Identifiers - Title and Intellectual Description - Physical Description
Acquisition, Usage & Restrictions - Intellectual Access - Local Information

Title and Intellectual Description

In this section, the cataloger will enter information about the intellectual content of the tape. This information should, whenever possible, be obtained from the tape - that is, from what appears on the screen. It should be entered exactly as it appears on the screen, except where noted below (such as punctuation and capitalization rules). Many catalogers will not have the opportunity to view the tape and will have to rely on information from labels on the tape and tape container or paper records. If the cataloger must supply specific information, such as title, maker, or dates, it should be enclosed in square brackets [ ]. Summaries or notes added by the cataloger should not be enclosed in brackets.

Title - Alternate Titles - Series Title - List of Titles on Reel - Main Credits - Additional Credits
Performers/Participants - Description - Location of Production or Distribution
Name of Distributor - Date of Production

Title [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

The Title is, of course, the name of the tape. Perhaps that sounds self-evident and, with commercial films and videos, it probably will be. For unique videotapes and camera-original material, however, the designation of the correct Title might not be as straightforward.

Some complications you might encounter:

  • Distinguishing between the title of the tape and the title of the series. The name of the tape will be the name of the episode or individual work
  • A tape may be a compilation of a number of finished works. The compilation may have a title, or you may need to supply one (see below).
  • A tape may have no discernible title (see below).

Please note that the Title is entered with an initial cap and no further capitalization, except for proper nouns. The Title is followed by [space]:[space] and then the subtitle.

The Title should be entered using the following formats:

For a simple title: Title followed by a period.

For example: The continuing story of Carel and Ferd.

For a title and a subtitle: Title [space] [colon] [space] subtitle [period]

For example: Pathways III : visual-musical variations.

For a title with an episode number and name: Title : subtitle. Episode no. xx, Episode name.

For example: AIDS community television. no. 98, Paris summit

For a tape that has no title, you should supply a reasonable, descriptive title in square brackets.

For example: [Hill family home movies]

For compilation tapes: If the overall tape has a title, use that. If you can assign a descriptive title, do so within square brackets to indicate that the cataloger has supplied the title. (e.g., [Peer Bode compilation tape]). You may also list each title in the compilation, separating them by a [space][dash][space] For example: Boogie 2 - Network - Window.

Alternate Titles [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

If work is also known under a different title, put it here.

Also, if the work is known by variants of a single title, use this field.
For example: Two marches, 2 marches

This is a repeatable field up to a total of three times.

Series Title [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

If the work is part of a series, the full title of the series should be placed in this field. A series is a group of separate works that are related to each other, but which have their own separate titles as well as the series title. This field is not used for television series for which the episode title would be meaningless or ambiguous without the series title.

For the Stan Brakhage film 23rd Psalm Branch, which is number 23 in the series Songs:
Title 23rd Psalm branch
Series Title Songs
General Note 23rd Psalm Branch is number 23 in the Song series. It is in two parts, designated Part I and Part II, on two separate reels. Part I is 44 min. at 18 fps and Part II is 41 min. at 18 fps.

For the Mary Tyler Moore Show, episode number 233, Chuckles Bites the Dust, do not use the Series Title field:
Title Mary Tyler Moore: Chuckles Bites the Dust
General Note Episode no. 233

List of Titles on Reel [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

This field is used for listing all the titles of works on a compilation tape. It can also be used for a work that has named parts.


For a work with named and numbered parts:
1. Prologue - 2. The Swearing-in of Chief Bouza - 3. Part-time ladies etc.

(Note for the above example, you would put the title of the entire work - in this case, Homosexual desire in Minnesota - in the Title field [see above].)

For a compilation tape of several complete works:

Boogie 2 - Network - Window, etc.

Each name is separated by [space][dash][space].

Main Credits [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

In this field, name the people most responsible for the creation of the tape and, if you have that information, the role they played in that creation.

The names of people who can be designated by the functions videomaker, filmmaker, producer, director, writer, and/or animator should be listed in this field.

Credits should be taken from what appears on screen, if possible. If you are not able to view the tape to catalog, use information from the tape label and the tape box. Credits should be separated by [space] ; [space]. The order of credits should be: production company, producer, director, writer, animator (if applicable). Only names are capitalized.

Note: Performers do not appear in this field.

In many cases, only a name will appear on the tape without designation of a particular function. If you are fairly certain that this is a person having creative responsibility for the tape, put that person's name in this field.

For example: William Wegman

If only a name appears on screen or on the tape label, but the person's role is clear, then the cataloger can assign a role in square brackets:

For example: William Wegman [videomaker]

If you have more extensive information, you should put that in this field.

For example: produced by Christine Vachon ; director, Todd Haynes ; written by V. S. Naipaul.

Additional Credits [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

Any additional credits should be placed in this field. This would include, but not be limited to, the editor, cinematographer, and composer.

Use the same rules as for the Main Credits field.

Performers/Participants [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

Use this field to list any performers and/or participants in the work.

For example:
    Bette Davis (Margot Channing)
    Yvonne Rainer (dancer)

Description [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

Describe the tape as briefly as possible. Imagine that this description is all that remains of the tape. Try to convey a complete sense of what the tape's subject as well as how it looks and sounds. Ideally, descriptions should be no more than one or two paragraphs or approximately 200 words.

Location of Production or Distribution [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

This field is used to denote where the production occurred. Alternatively, it can be used for the country of distribution, if that is all that is known. For films and videotapes that were produced by corporate entities, indicate the country where the production company is based. For individually produced tapes, indicate where the maker was based. Use standard designations of countries. Use United States, Great Britain (for anything made in the United Kingdom), use West Germany and East Germany for 1949 through 1990, otherwise use Germany. Use Soviet Union for 1917 through 1991. Use Russia or the name of individual countries before 1917 and after 1991.

For more specific information use a General Note. For example, for a tape produced at Experimental Television Center, the General Note field would indicate: Produced at Experimental Television Center, Owego, NY.

Name of Distributor [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

If the name of the distribution company is known, it should appear in this field. This will be helpful for individuals who want to exhibit the work.

Date of Production [up to Top]  -   show FM example - show Access example

The date of production is the date the tape was finished, the earliest copyright date, or the earliest date of distribution. Since many of the tapes you will be dealing with have not been publicly distributed, use the date that the work on the tape was first made.

For dance or performance tapes, use the date of the performance.

For copies, do not use the record date, but the date of the master.

Give as precise a date as known. The preferred form is YYYY-MM-DD:


If there is no indication of the date on the tape, but you can assign an approximate date, use square brackets:

Probable date [1969]
Questionable date [1916?]
Approximate date [ca. 1960]
One year or another [1973 or 1974]
Span of dates fewer than 20 years apart [between 1906 and 1912]
Probable decade [192-]
Questionable decade [192-?]

Unique Identifiers - Title and Intellectual Description - Physical Description
Acquisition, Usage & Restrictions - Intellectual Access - Local Information

© 2009 Independent Media Arts Preservation, Inc. -|-

Web site design by cavil