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[Silently edited to create placeholders for G’s preface]


Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics), referred to hereafter as DCRM(G), is ...

[Add info about recognizing RDA is coming, etc.; mention dates as s/th that’s different from GM...]

Changes from Graphic Materials

The most significant changes from Graphic Materials are... [incomplete working list follows, in no particular order]

bibliographic concept of the “perfect copy”concept of the “perfect copy” (for shared cataloging environment)

emphasis on transcription (e.g. “insufficiently descriptive titles” now get transcribed, not replaced by a supplied descriptive title; ditto severely abbreviated titles, with added title access, e.g. prefaced by “descriptive title:”)

inclusion of ISBD’s area 2, “edition area, ” here called “state area”

born-digital images


Many people have contributed their time and effort in creating DCRM(G). Members of the Bibliographic Standards Committee since creating DCRM(G) was authorized in January 2008:

Marcia H. Barrett

Erin C. Blake

Randal S. Brandt

Ann W. Copeland

David M. Faulds

Ryan Hildebrand

Martha Lawler

M. Winslow Lundy

Kate Moriarty

Ann Myers

Jennifer K. Nelson

Margaret F. Nichols

Nina Schneider

Stephen Skuce

James Stephenson

Bruce Tabb

Eduardo Tenenbaum

Alex Thurman

Seanna Tsung

[Acknowledgment text to go here. Special thanks to Marcy Flynn. Incomplete alphabetical list of people/iInstitutions to thank: Catholic University of America [e-mail list host], Denver Public Library [meeting space], Folger Shakespeare Library [meeting space, refreshments], Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division [meeting space, conference calls], Newberry Library [meeting space], Simmons College [meeting space]; People (other than BSC members) to thank for reading drafts, supplying examples, and testing: Alison Bridger, Sandra Carpenter, Beth Ann Guynn, Anna Malicka, Michelle Mascaro, Karen Meyer-Roux, Karen Nipps, Carol Pardo, Elisabeth Betz Parker, Erika Piola, E. Dever Powell, Elizabeth Robinson, Karen Sigler, Bettina Smith, Debra Wynn; Organizations to thank: SAA Standards Committee]

[Name of BSC Chair]

Chair, RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee

[Date of final text]


[Edited to remove some explicitly “book” information, but picture information not yet added]


I. Scope and purpose

II. Relationship to other standards

III. Objectives and principles

IV. Options

V. Language preferences

VI. Spelling and style

VII. Acronyms

VIII. Examples and notes

IX. Integrity of the copyitem

X. Precataloging decisions

I. Scope and purpose

I.1. Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials

DCRM(G) is the nth of several manuals providing specialized cataloging rules for various formats of rare materials typically found in rare book, manuscript, and special collection repositories. The term “rare materials” refers to any special materials that repositories have chosen to distinguish from general materials by the ways in which they house, preserve, or collect them. Rarity in the narrow sense of “scarce” may or may not be a feature of these materials.Together, these manuals form Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (DCRM), an overarching concept rather than a publication in its own right. DCRM component manuals for x, y, and z are in preparation. Other components will be added to the DCRM family as they are developed.

I.2. Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics)

DCRM(G) provides guidelines and instructions for descriptive cataloging of rare graphic materialsgraphic materials other than maps , that is, materials receiving special treatment within a repository and described primarily for their graphic content, Graphic materials refers to 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.. Such Special treatment usually results from the rarity, continuing value, or potential interest (aesthetic, iconographical, documentary) of the materials. DCRM(G) may be used for graphic materials of any age or type of production, published or unpublished. Manuscript and printed resources described primarily asfor their textual, musical, or for cartographic rather than graphic content rather than their graphic content are out of scope. DCRM(G) is not intended as an instructional manual in techniques necessary to identify, process, or organize graphic collections.

I.3 Need for special rules

Graphic Users of graphic materials in special collections often present situations not ordinarily encountered in the cataloging ofrequire a greater level of descriptive detail than users of graphic materialsvisual resources in general collections. Additional guidance may be necessary in orderhelps catalogers to translate visual information into a consistent verbal description of the material’s image content and physical nature. Resulting descriptions permit the ready identification of copiesindividual instances of a resource, and provide a more exact description of the resource as an artifact (e.g., documenting significant format features of a born-digital resource in addition to its visual content).

I.4. Scope of application

DCRM(G) is especially appropriate for the description of original graphic materials collected for purposes of detailed study, whether of visual content or physical processes or formats.

These rules may be applied categorically to graphic material based on genre, format, date or place of publication or production (e.g., all watercolors), or may be applied selectively (e.g., all movie posters produced before 1950; or photographic prints depicting South Dakota Badlands), according to the administrative policy of the institution, which may choose to catalog some or all of its holdings at a more detailed level of description than that provided for in AACR2. (See introductory section X.1 for discussion on choosing appropriate cataloging codes and levels.)

I.5. Application within the bibliographic record

These rules contain instructions for the descriptive elements in bibliographic records only. They do not address the construction and assignment of controlled headings used as main and added entries, although brief instructions relating to headings and other access points do appear throughout (e.g., Appendix F is entirely devoted to recommendations for uncontrolled title added entries).

II. Relationship to other standards

II.1. AACR2, ISBD, RDA, and other cataloging bibliographic cataloging documentation

As a revision of the 1982 publication Graphic Materials, DCRM(G) is based on AACR2 as amended by the Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI), as well as on the preliminary consolidated edition of ISBD. The Library of Congress authorizes DCRM(G) as a national standard supplement to Chapter 8 of AACR2. DCRM(G) deviates in substance from AACR2 and LCRI only when required by the particular descriptive needs of raregraphic materials in special collections.

Refer to AACR2 and LCRI for guidance and instructions on matters of description not covered in DCRM(BG). The relevant sections of AACR2 and LCRI must be consulted for rules governing name and uniform title headings to be used as access points for artists, engravers, photographers, authors, editors, illustrators, printers, series, etc., as well as other types of access points that may be required.For subject headings, numerous controlled vocabularies are available; within the United States, the subject headings of the Library of Congress are widely used. Consult classification documentation for assignment of call numbers. For genre/form headings, consult the Library of Congress’s Thesaurus for Graphic Materials, the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, or other authorized thesauri as appropriate.1

Cataloging agencies that adopt RDA should refer to RDA in lieu of AACR2 as appropriate. various specialized thesauri...

II.3. Relationship to Archival, Digital Library, Museum, and Visual Resources Descriptive Standards

[Companion standard to DACS; different standard from CCO, etc.]

II.2. MARC 21
MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data is the presumed format for presentation and communication of machine-readable cataloging. Use of DCRM(G), however, need not be restricted to a machine environment, and MARC 21 is not mandatory. Examples in the body of DCRM(G) are shown using ISBD punctuation; use of MARC 21 coding appears only in some of the appendixes. Catalogers using MARC 21 should follow MARC 21 documentation for input, and be aware of how their bibliographic systems interpret MARC 21 codes to automatically generate display features. This usually means, for example, that the cataloger omits punctuation between areas, parentheses enclosing a series statement, and certain words prefacing formal notes.

III. Objectives and principles

The instructions contained in DCRM are formulated according to the objectives and principles set forth below. These objectives and principles seek to articulate the purpose and nature of specialized cataloging rules for rare materials. They are informed by long-accepted concepts in bibliographic scholarship and the Anglo-American cataloging tradition, as well as by more recent theoretical work important to the construction and revision of cataloging codes, namely the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and Elaine Svenonius’s The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization. As such, the objectives and principles are also in conformity with the IFLA Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (2009). It is hoped that these objectives and principles will provide catalogers, and administrators of cataloging operations, with a better understanding of the underlying rationale for DCRM instructions.

III.1. Functional objectives of DCRM

The primary objectives in cataloging rare materials are no different from those in cataloging other materials. These objectives focus on meeting user needs to find, identify, select, and obtain materials. However, users of rare materials often bring specialized requirements to these tasks that cannot be met by general cataloging rules, such as those contained in the latest revision of AACR2. In addition, the standard production practices assumed in general cataloging rules do not always apply to rare materials. The following DCRM objectives are designed to accommodate these important differences.

III.1.1. Users must be able to distinguish clearly among different manifestations of an expression of a work

The ability to distinguish among different manifestations of an expression of a work is critical to the user tasks of identifying and selecting bibliographic resources. In general cataloging codes like AACR2, it is assumed that abbreviated and normalized description and transcription is sufficient to distinguish among manifestations. Users of rare materials, however, often require fuller, more faithful descriptions and transcriptions, greater detail in the physical description area, and careful recording of various distinguishing points in the note area, in order to identify separate manifestations. Additionally, users of rare materials are typically interested in drawing finer distinctions among variants within manifestations than are users of other materials, many also needing to distinguish between copies instances at the item level.

III.1.2. Users must be able to perform most identification and selection tasks without direct access to the materials

Users of rare materials frequently perform identification and selection tasks under circumstances that require the bibliographic description to stand as a detailed surrogate for the item (e.g., consultation from a distance, limited access due to the fragile condition of the item, inability to physically browse collections housed in restricted areas, etc.). Such descriptions also assist in retrieval of visual ssurrogates for such items. Accuracy of bibliographic representation increases subsequent efficiency for both users and collection managers. The same accuracy contributes to the long-term preservation of the materials themselves, by reducing unnecessary circulation and examination of materials that do not precisely meet users’ requirements.

III.1.3. Users must be able to investigate physical processes and post-production history and context exemplified in materials described

Users of rare materials routinely investigate a variety of artifactual and post-production aspects of materials. For example, they may want to locate materials that are related by illustration processes, provenance, genre/form, etc. The ability of users to identify materials that fit these criteria depends upon full and accurate descriptions and the provision of appropriate access points.

III.1.4. Users must be able to gain access to materials whose production or presentation characteristics differ from modern conventions

In order to distinguish among manifestations, general cataloging codes like AACR2 rely on explicit bibliographic evidence presented in conventional form. In rare materials, such explicit evidence will often require fuller description will often be required in orderbe lacking or insufficient to distinguish among different manifestations. That Otherwise, that which is bibliographically significant may thus be obscured.

III.2. Principles of DCRM construction

To meet the objectives listed above, DCRM relies upon the following six principles. These principles are influenced by the general principles of bibliographic description offered by Svenonius: user convenience; representation; sufficiency and necessity; standardization; and integration.

III.2.1. Rules provide guidance for descriptions that allow users to distinguish clearly among different manifestations of an expression of a work

This principle derives from the general principle of user convenience and has implications for all areas of the bibliographic description. The principle relates to objective 1 stated above.

III.2.2. Rules provide for accurate representations of the entity as it describes itself, notably through instructions regarding transcription, transposition, and omission

This principle derives from the general principles of representation (with its related subprinciple of accuracy) and of standardization. Precise representation is of particular relevance in those areas of the description that require transcription (the title and statement of responsibility area, the publication, distribution, etc., area, and the series area), but should not be ignored in the physical description and note areas. The general principles of representation and standardization stand in greater tension with each other when cataloging rare materials. Faithfulness to both principles is particularly challenging when attempting to translate visual information into verbal description, and may require descriptive and annotative treatment necessarily exceeding the norms (and at times the vocabulary) established as sufficient for the description of general materials. The principle relates to objectives 2 and 4 stated above.

III.2.3. Rules provide guidance for the inclusion of manifestation-specific and item-specific information that permits users to investigate physical processes and post-production history and context exemplified in the item described

This principle derives from the general principle of sufficiency and necessity (with its related subprinciple of significance). Application of the principle requires that rules for rare materials cataloging provide additional guidance on access points, particularly in cases where such information is not integral to the manifestation, expression, or work described. Rules for item-specific information appearing in the note area may recommend standard forms for presentation of information (addressing the general principle of user convenience and its related subprinciple of common usage). Application of such rules presumes both a user’s need for such information and a cataloger’s ability to properly identifyrecognize and describe such aspects. The principle relates to objective 3 stated above.

III.2.4. Rules provide for the inclusion of all elements of bibliographical significance

General cataloging codes like AACR2 routinely strive for both brevity and clarity, principles affiliated with the general principle of sufficiency. In describing rare materials, too great an emphasis on brevity may become the occasion for insufficiency and lack of clarity. Brevity of description may be measured best against the functional requirements of the particular bibliographic description rather than against the average physical length of other bibliographic descriptions in the catalog. The tension between rules for rare materials that promote accurate representation of an item and yet do not exceed the requirements of sufficiency is great. Reference to the principle of user convenience may offer correct resolution of such tensions. This principle is related to all of the objectives stated above.

III.2.5. Rules conform to the substance and structure of the latest revision of AACR2 to the extent possible; ISBD serves as a secondary reference point

This principle relates to general principles of standardization and user convenience (with the latter’s subprinciple of common usage). DCRM assumes that users of bibliographic descriptions constructed in accordance with its provisions operate in contexts where AACR2 (often as interpreted and applied by the Library of Congress) is the accepted standard for the cataloging of general materials. Therefore, DCRM uses existing AACR2 vocabulary in a manner consistent with AACR2; any additional specialized vocabulary necessary for description and access of rare materials occurs in a clear and consistent manner in DCRM rules, appendixes, and glossary entries. DCRM does not introduce rules that are not required by differences expected between rare and general materials. Numbering of areas within DCRM conforms to the structure of ISBD as implemented in AACR2. When an existing AACR2 rule satisfies the requirements of cataloging rare materials, DCRM text is modeled on AACR2 text (substituting examples drawn from rare materials for illustration). In cases where the language of AACR2 is not precise enough to convey necessary distinctions or may introduce confusion when dealing with rare materials, DCRM uses carefully considered alternative wording. Wording of relevant ISBD standards was also considered when deviating from AACR2.

III.2.6. Rules are compatible with Graphic Materials except in cases where changes are necessary to align more closely to current revisions of AACR2 or to conform to the above principles

This principle relates to general principles of standardization and user convenience (with the latter’s subprinciple of common usage). DCRM assumes that users of bibliographic descriptions constructed in accordance with its provisions operate in contexts where graphic materials in special collections were cataloged, until recently, using Graphic Materials. Therefore, changes to Graphic Materials cataloging practices were introduced only after careful consideration of the value or necessity of such changes.

IV. Options

Available options are indicated in one of three ways.

Alternative rule designates an alternative option which affects all or several areas of the description, and which must be used consistently throughout. In DCRM(G), alternative rules apply to the transcription of original punctuation and to the creation of separate records for individual impressionsinstances of a manifestation, states, binding variants, or images sharing a support, or copiesand to the creation of single records for multiple states of a print. Alternative rules are also included to address some known differences between AACR2 and RDA.

Optionally” introduces an alternative treatment of an element.

“If considered important” indicates that more information may be added in a note, and thus signals choices for more or less depth in the description. This phrase covers the entire range between best practice on the one end, and highly specialized practices on the other.

The cataloging agency may wish to establish policies and guidelines on the application of options, leave the use of options to the discretion of the cataloger, or use a combination of the two.

V. Language preferences

DCRM(G) is written for an English-speaking context. Cataloging agencies preparing descriptions in the context of a different language should replace instructions and guidelines prescribing or implying the use of English into their preferred language (see 4B3-4, 4B8-12, 4E, and areas 5 and 7).

VI. Spelling and style

DCRM(G) uses Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition, as its authority in matters of spelling, and in matters of style, the fifteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

VII. Acronyms

AACR2 Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, second edition

BDRB Bibliographic Description of Rare Books

BIBCO Monographic Bibliographic Program of the PCC

CC:DA Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access, Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, American Library Association

DCRB Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books

DCRM Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials

DCRM(BG) Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (BooksGraphics)

ISBD(A) International Standard Bibliographic Description for Older Monographic Publications (Antiquarian)

LC Library of Congress

LCRI Library of Congress Rule Interpretations

PCC Program for Cooperative Cataloging

RBMS Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association

RDA Resource Description and Access

VIII. Examples and notes

VIII.1. Examples. The examples are not in themselves prescriptive, but are meant to provide a model of reliable application and interpretation of the rule in question. A word, phrase, element, or entire area may be illustrated; ISBD punctuation is given as needed only for the portion illustrated.

VIII.2. Notes. The instructions and guidelines in area 7 are written in imperative form. This does not imply that all notes are required; on the contrary, most notes are not (see 7A1.5). Consult the other areas of DCRM(G) in order to ascertain what is required and what is optional in any given situation (see 7A1). The conventions for notes included as part of the examples are as follows.

Note” indicates that the note is required if applicable to the situation.

Optional note” indicates that the note is not required. The labeling of a note as “optional” in these rules carries no judgment about its importance (see introductory section IV); certain notes designated as “optional” may in fact be almost universally applied.

Local note” indicates a note describing copyitem-specific information which is required if applicable to the situation (see 7B19).

Optional local note” indicates that the note concerns copyitem-specific information not affecting areas 1-6. It is not required, but must be clearly identified as a local note according to the provisions of 7B19.1.1. CopyItem-specific information that does affect areas 1-6, such as basing the description of published material on an imperfect copy item (see 0B2.2), is required and recorded in a general note.

Comment” prefaces details needed to adequately explain the example, and are not to be confused with notes appearing within the bibliographical description.

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