Bibliographic Cataloging: Audiovisual Resources

Use this section in conjunction with the following sources:

  • RDA and Moving Images presentation by Kelley McGrath Maxwell’s Handbook for RDA: Explaining and Illustrating RDA: Resource and Access using MARC 21 / Robert L. Maxwell. Chicago: American Library Association, 2013.
  • Cataloging Tools and Training Documents Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC)
  • Best Practices for Cataloging Streaming Media OLAC. Although it was written prior to RDA’s implementation, OLAC’s Best Practices for Cataloging Streaming Media remains an outstanding reference for cataloging video and sound recordings.

The emphasis of this section is primarily on visual resources because they are the more frequently encountered resource type in government publications.

Scope of the Format Visual Resources

Visual resources encompass still and moving images in digital and analog formats. Cf. OCLC/MARC input standards for codes “g” and “k,” and ignore the characterizations regarding “projectable” or “non-projectable” statuses.

Definitions of Types of Visual Resources

Video: Media used to store moving or still images, designed for use with a playback device such as a videocassette player or DVD player. Includes media used to store digitally encoded as well as analog images.

Still Image: Content expressed through line, shape, shading, etc., intended to be perceived visually in two dimensions. Includes drawings, paintings, diagrams, photographic images (stills), etc. See also entries in RDA Glossary for specific types of the above classes of resources, e.g., Cartographic Image, Poster.

The source of these definitions is the RDA Glossary.

Bibliographic Treatment in the CGP

Generally, visual and audio-visual resources that are cataloged for inclusion in the CGP are analyzed, that is, each work is cataloged individually; however, GPO has begun to catalog entire collections as Federal agencies increasingly build and publish large online collections of thematically-related visual resources.

Examples of collections being treated both analytically and collectively are below.

Analytics of Videos

TitleClass Number
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service videos A 110.27:
Larkin Street Stories, Episodes 1-3 [static] HE 20.402:L 32/*
NIH Senior Health videos HE 20.3076:
CDC-TV HE 20.7056:
NIOSH videos HE 20.7114/3:
Accident Animations TD 1.135:

Collections of Videos

TitleClass Number
Aquaculture video gallery C 55.356:
Stories of hope and recovery [static] HE 20.402:SU 8
Health Topics Videos HE 20.3228:
Thomas. House committee live streams LC 1.54/2-2:
National Parks of New York Harbor I 29.159:

Typically, digital video collections comprise updating Web sites and thus are cataloged as integrating resources; however, if the cataloger encounters a static collection that will not be analyzed, then treatment as a monographic collection should also be considered. Monograph collections of videos above are marked “[static].”

Analytics of Still Images

TitleClass Number
A lot can happen when you eat your colors A 98.16:C 71
Photo series for quantifying natural fuels A 13.88:PNW-GTR-878
The federal resource you can trust: brought to you by the Office on Women's Health HE 20.41/2:N 21

Collections of Still Images

TitleClass Number
Animal science image gallery A 17.37:
NRCS photo gallery A 57.93:
ARS Image Gallery A 77.737:
NOAA photo library C 55.202:
NOAA Fisheries image gallery C 55.355:

MARC Fields for Visual Resources


It is not uncommon for still images and occasionally videos (especially clips), to lack a title proper. In this case, the cataloger should supply a title, for which an example is:

245 00 [Photographs of children awaiting transplantation surgery]. [CGP 910449]

300- Physical Description

For posters that are purely or primarily textual in content, the term broadside may be used in physical description; otherwise the term “poster” is used.

300 ǂa 1 poster : ǂb color ; ǂc 61 x 91 cm

300 ǂa 1 online resource (1 poster) : ǂb color

Typical RDA treatments for analyzed videorecordings are:

300 1 online resource (1 video file, 6 min., 21 sec.) : ǂb Flash Video, sound, color [CGP 886398]

300 1 online resource (1 streaming and downloadable video file (1 min., 39 sec.)) : ǂb WMV file, sound, color [CGP 886009]

However, when there exists a need to indicate multiple file formats and other file characteristics, then the videorecording’s Physical Description field is supplemented by a General Note (MARC 500) and/or, when possible, an elaborated Contents Note (MARC 505), per the sets of complementary fields below:

300 1 online resource (1 video file (9 min., 08 sec.)) : |b sound, color

500 Video file available in both streaming (9 min., 08 sec., SWF file, sound, color) and downloadable (9 min., 08 sec., WMV and MP4 files, sound, color) formats. Downloadable WMV files available in small, medium, and high resolutions; downloadable MP4 file available in medium resolution. [CGP 905123]

300 1 online resource

500 Video files available in both streaming (37 min., 38 sec., SWF file, sd., col.) and downloadable (37 min., 38 sec., FLV, sd., col.) formats. and

505 0_ The Terry Wise story (13 min., 1 sec.) -- Video guide for suicide attempt survivors story sampler (2 min., 29 sec.) -- The David Lilley Story (10 min., 54 sec.) -- The Jordan Burnham story (11 min., 14 sec.). [CGP 881454]

655- Genre/Form Terms

GPO local policy is to apply Library of Congress Genre-Form Terms (LCGFT) to audio-visual resources, cartographic materials, and Congressional publications.

Recommended ways to search for LCGFTs are to use either:

  • Classification Web: See link from the main menu labeled Search Genre/Form Terms
  • Moving Image Genre-Form Terms / compiled by Scott M. Dutkiewicz, when applicable.

Because none of the LCGFT sources cited herein present a comprehensive hierarchical list for a given facet, then consider searching on a truncated term, e.g., video* or sound*.

After you have selected appropriate term(s), code them in MARC as 655 _7 |a [term] |2 lcgft.

LCGFTs applied for audio-visual resources cataloged by GPO thus far include:

655 _7 |a Internet videos. |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Video recordings. |2 lcgft *

655 _7 |a Video recordings for the hearing impaired. |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Sponsored films. |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Public service announcements (Motion pictures) |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Documentary films. |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Educational films. |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Podcasts. |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Sound recordings. |2 lcgft *

655 _7 |a Radio public service announcements. |2 lcgft

655 _7 |a Legislative materials. |2 lcgft

* Apply to collections per instructions in LCGFT thesaurus.