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Cataloging music sound recordings in the United States: an evolution of practice and standards.

Columbia Records successfully produced the long-playing (LP) disc in 1948, along with an inexpensive means to play them. (49) This format was taken advantage of almost immediately, including by government-sponsored bodies. The format provided the basis for cataloging treatment that uniquely fit the circumstances in which the LP was used by veterans' hospitals.

An example of a departure from the norms, which MLA was attempting to establish and maintain, is described in Ralph Moritz's article, "Cataloging Phonograph Records for the Veterans Hospitals." He reported a then-unique approach to the production and use of sound recordings. Specially produced recordings were made for veterans hospitals, each recording being a single program that was played over the public address system in each hospital. The Library of Congress provided tailored cards for these recordings. Because each disc was meant to be played through in one hearing, the unit of cataloging was the whole disc, which was a long-playing recording that contained about eight to ten "transcriptions," pieces that were selected and put together into a thirty-minute program (fifteen minutes per side). Discs were released weekly as parts of various series. Main entry was the series title and number, under which was "the number of the unit in which the transcription appeared, the date of issue and a general description of the program. Contents give the title of each composition, the composer when well-known, the performer, and the medium and duration of performance." (50) Added entries were made to the extent that they were deemed essential for finding content. Title was considered most important, since most of the music was popular. Composer was added only if there is no distinctive title, and for works by well-known popular composers; composer-title cross-references were made for all classical music. No entries or descriptions were made for subjects, medium of performance, or authors of texts. No description of size or number of sides was needed since all the discs were the same size and duration. Imprint was replaced by date of issue and the statement "AFRS transcriptions." Consequently, each transcription received "a unit card, filed under the title of the series, a card for each performer, one for each title, and various cross references from composers to titles. ... This procedure for cataloging transcriptions differs from usual cataloging rules in its emphasis on the title as the most important element in finding a composition." (51)

In keeping with the ethos of simplifying the cataloging of recordings, in 1948 Elaine von Oesen published "Simple Cataloging of Audio-Visual Materials." In a statement that would seem to be refuted by the present discussion thus far, von Oesen claims:

      It seems, however, that one aspect of the use of this
   material--cataloging--has been somewhat slighted in library

      The outlines that follow have been designed to help the cataloger
   of the small library--public, college, or school--to adapt her
   cataloging policy for books to cover phonograph records (musical
   and nonmusical).... (52)

The "simple cataloging" presented appears to be a very boiled-down version of MLA's code with some local differences. As with MLA in 1942, the unit of cataloging is the work, and the main entry is composer. Subject entries are as for books, with "(Phonograph record)" added. Von Oesen emphasizes the similarities to cataloging print materials:

      Catalog cards for music records will be almost identical with
   cards for the scores of the same compositions except for imprint and
   collation and added entry or entries for performers.... Cognizance
   of this relation in the cataloging of printed and audio-visual
   materials will erase some of the strangeness which seems to cause
   many librarians to shun the inclusion of nonbook materials in their
   libraries. (53)

Added entries are made for title, conventional title, performer, and sponsoring society (if considered important). Conventional title is given in square brackets on the line immediately under main entry. Label title appears in the next line after conventional title (if used). Imprint comprises place and producing agency (as with MLA code, place may be omitted if agency is well-known, like Columbia or Victor); but date is omitted. Disc number may be placed in a note; omit matrix number. Collation is number of sides and size of disc; include rpm only if not 78. Series note is after collation in the usual place. In a fashion similar to that of Maywhort, von Oesen provides a prescribed order of ten types of notes:

1. Album number

2. Binder's title or other title

3. Original producer

4. Unusual method of recording

5. Performer and medium; arrangement if different from original

6. Language, if different from title, or not in English

7. Author of text

8. Analytical booklet or descriptive notes

9. Contents (for collected works cataloged as a unit)

10. Other works on same disc; last side of album (54)

Rex M. Potterf's article, "Recordings in Our Library," stands in sharp contrast to the trend toward simplification and leanness of cataloging. Thoroughness and completeness of cataloging for the sake of access to all works on all recordings is the emphasis. Cataloging is based on MLA's 1941-42 Code for Cataloging Music, and the 1942 Code for Cataloging Phonograph Records. Potterf's account is particularly notable for his observations about the time, effort, and resources involved in the cataloging of recordings. Although expense is often mentioned in discussions about cataloging, the numbers that Potterf brings to bear are memorable:

      It was a somewhat startling fact that about as much personnel was
   engaged in cataloging recordings as was usually employed in the
   library in cataloging books....

      The cataloging has been done with all desirable thoroughness at
   considerable expense....

      In addition to shelf-list and manufacturers' cards, they made 11
   other cards, inclusive of composer, title, artist (both vocal and
   instrumental), orchestra, subject, author of text, arranger,
   cross-reference, composer, title and subject analytic.... There are
   approximately 10 cards for the typical album, but frequently 25 or
   30 are required. One album required a total of 53 cards.

      Probably the most valuable single aspect of the catalog to
   musicians is the use of conventional titles in every case.... This
   makes identification complete. It has, however, immensely
   lengthened the cataloging process. (55)

In 1951, Celia Moore, LaHache Music Library, New Orleans, described the physical processing and cataloging of recordings in her library. Her system mostly follows the MLA codes (both for print and for phonograph records). The unit of cataloging is the work, not disc or album. Main entry is composer (in keeping with the MLA code). Differences occur in some of the details for collation, added entries, and notes. For example, cross-references are made for popular and variant titles. Collation includes not only the number of sides, or fraction of a side, taken up by the work, and the disc diameter in inches; it also includes playing speed; automatic or manual sequence; and whether the disc is shellac or nonbreakable. As needed, a series note follows collation in parentheses, but no series cards are made. Notes may be made for variant titles, performers, accompanying materials, authors of texts, cuts, contents, and reverse sides. Subject headings are applied as for scores. Added entries are made for "joint composers," as well as composer of original theme for variations, arranger, performers, orchestra, conductor, and title (if the library has more than one recording of a work). (56)

In 1952, the "preliminary edition" of the Rules for Descriptive Cataloging in the Library of Congress: Phonorecords was issued. The rules were specifically "designed to cover the several physical types of recordings and are regarded as applicable to all kinds of recorded sound, i.e., speech, music, etc.," (57) and were meant for use in conjunction with the 1949 edition of the Rules for Descriptive Cataloging in the Library of Congress. Indeed, it is labeled "chapter 9a. Phonorecords," to indicate its relationship with chapter 9, "Music," in the 1949 publication.

One very important distinction of this chapter of rules is the use of the term, "phonorecords":

      The term "phonorecords" is used to fill the need for a single
   term to describe all types of aural media. By using the combining
   term "phono," economical and uniform terminology is provided, which
   is particularly important for filing devices and physical
   description. Hence, the following terms are used: phonodisc ...
   phonocylinder, phonotape and phonowire ... phonofilm, and
   phonoroll.... (58)

The unit of cataloging is not explicitly stated in this chapter of code. That it is usually the whole item in hand is implicit, however, in the rule governing main entry:

   The choice and form of the main entry (governed by the A. L. A.
   Cataloging Rules for Author and Title Entries, 1949) is the same as
   for visual materials.... For phonorecords consisting of two or more
   works issued without a collective title, entry is made for each
   work, a "With" note being added in each case. (59)

The elements described in these 1952 rules for phonorecords are outlined in table 3. Physical medium is deemed extremely important, not only because more than one type of recording may be described, but also because a differentiation must be made between works of the same title in printed form and recorded form. It is placed after the conventional title (if there is one) in italics, or after a (distinctive) title in italics and bracketed.

Imprint varies by the method of production. "Processed" recordings are those pressed from a matrix, while "nonprocessed" recordings are instantaneous recordings ("live" or field recordings). Collation varies by type of recording; in all cases the number of pieces or sides (as appropriate to the medium) are recorded. Size is included for phonodiscs, phonocylinders, phonotapes, and phonofilms. Playing speed is given for phonodiscs, phonotapes, and phonofilms.

Notes are generous and in a prescribed order (see table 3, which lists them in that order). If the same performance is issued on recordings of varying speeds, sequence, or medium, the physical items are treated as issues or copies and are indicated in separate notes. Different performances of the same work are treated as different editions, and receive their own full cataloging.

The precept encapsulated in the 1952 LC rules--that is, of treating recordings as similarly as possible to books and scores--was not isolated to ALA, MLA, and Library of Congress. Librarians from around the country and a variety of types of libraries continued to share their approaches to cataloging recordings, which reflected the desire to keep processes as simple and cohesive as possible. Two brief examples:

In 1952, Stella R. Townsend, of the Library Department of the Greensboro (North Carolina) Public Schools, described cataloging more than 5,000 recordings for the entire school system. They were treated like books as closely as possible, and thus the unit of cataloging was the work. The description is similar to the 1952 rules, although at the time that she wrote the article, Townsend would not have had access to it. Reverse sides were treated as "bound-with." Some recordings could receive 20-30 cards. Cards for recordings were interfiled with cards for books, so that all curriculum-supporting materials could be found in one index. (60)

Sister Mary Janet, of Rosary College (Illinois), presented in 1953 a system that adheres as closely as possible to cataloging for books and scores. Unlike the printed materials, though, the unit of cataloging is ambiguous: each side of a disc receives full cataloging because it has its own label, which is considered to be the cognate of the title page. Reverse sides, however, are also noted on each card, which implies that the unit is the whole disc. Otherwise, main entry and title treatment are the same as for scores. Imprint and collation are treated in a fashion similar to the 1952 LC rules. But unlike those rules, which omitted matrix numbers, matrix numbers are explicitly equated by Sister Mary Janet with scores' plate numbers, and album numbers take the place of scores' series numbers. (61)

Similarly, Sister M. Edmund, of St. Catherine's College (Minnesota), described in 1955 a system based on both MLA's 1942 code and LC's 1952 rules. She included a generic example of a catalog card, reproduced in figure 5. (62) The unit of cataloging is more clearly the item in hand. The primary differences in this treatment are the use of matrix numbers in the imprint, and the method of recording in the collation.

In 1957, Frances Hamman reported on a survey conducted by a Special Committee on the Bibliographic Control of Audio-Visual Materials. Of particular interest here is that 56 percent of the responding libraries that cataloged phonograph records replied that they used the LC rules or an adaptation of those rules. About 20 percent adapted both LC and MLA rules. The essential catalog elements were identified as composer, title, serial identification, trade name, number of albums, number of sides, size, speed, performers, medium, contents, and added entries for titles. (63) The report concluded that widely acceptable standardization of the essential elements of cataloging these materials had yet to be achieved. A call was made for simplification and flexibility in such a standard, based on "studies of catalog use, [and that] some consideration be given to research on the approach of audio-visual catalog users to this material." (64)

Fig. 5. Sister Edmund's generic catalog card for
recordings used at St. Catherine's College (1955)

Composer (or author), dates.
      [Conventional title]
      Title. Company Disc numbers (matrix
      Number of albums or sides Size Method
   of recording (Series)
      Other notes (language of text, details
   of recording, program notes, etc.)

The Music Library Association and the American Library Association jointly published the Code for Cataloging Music and Phonorecords in 1958. This represented the completion of a task that the associations' Joint Committee on Music Cataloging had begun in 1946, which was originally the revision of the 1941-42 preliminary edition of MLA's Code for Cataloging Music. But it went beyond mere revision. As noted in the preface: "This is actually more than a revision of the preliminary edition. The fundamental principles basic to the cataloging process have been reexamined, and the analysis and conclusions of the committee have resulted in some variances from the preliminary Code." (65)

The 1958 MLA-ALA code is a combination with revision, in essence a harmonization, of codes from three organizations: "Entry" comes from rule 12 of ALA's Cataloging Rules for Author and Title Entries (1949); "Description" is primarily chapter 9 of Library of Congress's Rules for Descriptive Cataloging (1949), informed by material from chapter 2 of the old MLA code; and "Phonorecords" is almost verbatim chapter 9a from LC's rules (that is, the "preliminary edition" of the phonorecords chapter of 1952). See the relevant rows in table 1 for a comparison. One note type (species) was deleted, and some explanatory notes were added, most notably an expansion on main entry, which allows for the cataloging unit to be either the item in hand or the individual works on the item: "For a single work (whether on one or several discs) or for two works (whether on one disc or in an album) the unit of entry is the individual work. For three or more works by one composer issued as a collection, enter under the composer; for three or more works by various composers issued as a collection, enter under title." (66)

Even before the 1958 code had been available for a full year, it was criticized as being unnecessarily extensive. Beryl McPherson (of Free Public Library, Elizabeth, New Jersey) and Carolyn Berneking (of University of Kansas) coauthored an article, in which they note, "We have found that our catalogs are used mainly as a finding list and not as a bibliographic tool. In many places we recommend that certain entries be omitted entirely; whether or not this is done depends on the demand for this information in a particular library." (67)

In many respects, however, they do follow the practices of the new code, and the procedures they present indicate that the unit of cataloging is the item in hand, not individual works, which are generally treated as title analytics. The body of the card primarily consists of the title, company trade name, album number, and size and number of discs. Subject headings are generous, but added entries are limited to title and composer (of any additional works on a given item).


The "second preliminary edition" of the Library of Congress's Rules for Descriptive Cataloging in the Library of Congress: Phonorecords, published in 1964, is substantially the same as the 1952 edition. The primary differences are in the updated examples that reflect the physical changes in the technology of sound recording (notably "microgroove" cutting and stereophonic sound, which were not universal to recordings at the time). The section concerning imprint includes more detail, in that if the publisher is not known as a publisher of recordings, instead of trade name, the place and company name are provided, followed by date of release. The section on "Issues and copies" has been omitted and replaced with a paragraph regarding serials. The list of notes and their order is different from the 1952 edition.

"Nonprocessed" phonorecords receive separate treatment in the 1964 edition. The differences between processed and nonprocessed phonorecords lie mainly in the construction of titles, the omission of imprint information, and the importance of notes that give as much specific information as possible. Catalogers are instructed: "The entries are as brief as possible, giving all of the essential data without citation of source and without the use of brackets, except for conventional titles." (68) Notes, however, are considered important, particularly name of participants, details of the event, duration and supplementation of collation. Additional notes may also be given, especially variants or translations of well-known titles, and the location of the work on the recording itself.

In 1967, the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules: North American Text (AACR) was published. It was the result of a conscious effort to simplify, unify, and standardize cataloging rules and practices in British and American libraries, especially the Library of Congress. (69) But even with the unification of many rules and practices, nonbook formats were recognized as needing some specialized treatment. Sound recordings (still called "phonorecords") are treated in chapter 14. The contents of this chapter are in a slightly different order to be parallel to the construction of the rest of AACR, but are otherwise virtually the same as the 1964 edition of the Rules for Descriptive Cataloging in the Library of Congress: Phonorecords. The chapter is divided into "Entry" (rules 250 and 251) and "Description" (rules 252 and 253). (70) Rule 250, "Main entry," has been more clearly broken down into two categories: (1) "Single works and excerpts" and (2) "Collections," to make clearer when name or title is appropriate for use as the main entry. Although not explicitly stated, the distinction indicates that generally the item in hand is the unit of cataloging, with the exception of two or more works by different persons that are on an item without a collective title. Rule 251, "Added entries," immediately follows "Main entry," and contains the content of the 1964 "Secondary entries," as well as additional guidelines for broadcasts or telecasts.

"Description" comprises rule 252, "Processed phonorecords," and rule 253, "Nonprocessed phonorecords," maintaining the separation of treatment of the two types of recordings that was made in the 1964 rules. The term "uniform titles" is used instead of "conventional titles." Another slight difference from the previous rules is that "Series statement" is separated out before "Notes" instead of being identified as the first note. This is parallel to the treatment of visual materials in AACR rules 143 and 247. Otherwise, the notes are presented nearly verbatim from the 1964 rules. Likewise, all of rule 253 ("Nonprocessed phonorecords") was taken straight from the 1964 rules.

The fall 1975 issue of the Library of Congress Cataloging Service's Bulletin contains substantial changes to chapter 14 of AACR. (71) It forms the basis of a revised edition of that chapter that was published separately and meant to supersede the original version of 1967. The changes were enacted in the United States and Canada. It was subsequently published separately in 1976 (see n. 72).

The revision of AACR, chapter 14, brought, among other things, another change in terminology. All of the previous terms that began with "phono" were replaced by the single term "sound recording."

      The term "sound recording" is used as the generic medium
   designator for all works in aural media cataloged under the
   provisions of this chapter. In the collation the following more
   specific terms are used to particularize the medium: disc (for what
   is commonly called a phonograph record, gramophone record, or
   "victrola" record); cylinder (for cylinder recordings); and roll
   (for either player-piano or player-organ rolls). For sound
   recordings in other forms, such as film, wire, or various
   experimental media, it is necessary to use appropriate special terms
   in the collation, which, with notes, should furnish a sufficiently
   detailed physical description. (72)

To accord with this change of terminology, where formats needed to be specified, the term "phonorecords" was edited to "recordings," while for other terms, the prefix "phono" was removed (so that "phonodisc" became "disc," and so on). The rules and references to phonowire and phonofilm were deleted entirely.

The location of the generic medium designator remains the same as its predecessor: either (1) after the uniform title, but placed in brackets and not italicized; or (2) after the title, in brackets, and not italicized.

Other changes in chapter 14 include: a provision in the imprint for supplying an approximate date, as well as copyright dates ("p" dates) that are different from release dates; an allowance in collation to account for the same recording in different formats (rather than putting the information in a note); an expansion in collation for tapes to include the different types of tapes, to accommodate cassettes and cartridges; relegation of visual accompanying materials to a note; and a change to the order of the notes to begin with "With" notes, and to include summaries of content if the item is a nonmusical recording.

In 1977, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) issued ISBD(NBM): International Standard Bibliographic Description for Non-Book Materials. IFLA's purpose with the ISBD program was to establish "Universal Bibliographic Control," (73) by which the descriptions of documents can be shared throughout the world. Nonbook materials were recognized as having particular problems and issues that could not be addressed by the ISBD(G): General International Standard Bibliographic Description, which was published concurrently.

ISBDs may be used with other cataloging codes. They contain content elements, but they are intended for an international standardization of the markup and presentation of the content prescribed in other codes, so that content may be interchangeable between coding systems of different countries. (74) The most essential feature of the ISBDs is the detailed, prescribed punctuation for every element in each area. Thus only the actual description of the item being cataloged is treated, and the construction of main and added entries is not discussed. (75) All ISBDs follow the same pattern. The eight areas of an ISBD are outlined in table 4, with a comparison of the comparable elements from the Rules, second preliminary edition (1964), from the Library of Congress. ISBD(NBM) has a ninth part, "Items having multiple parts or components," that allows for unique circumstances that are often found with nonbook materials.

Compare these elements also with Ellsworth's example (see fig. 1). Precursors to these examples and discussions appeared in the Catalog Rules: Author and Title Entries (1908, which predates any consideration of recordings in libraries). In the 1908 rules, the table of contents (see fig. 6) reflects the elements and the order in which they were to occur, and in the preface the typefaces and line assignments of the elements are prescribed. Some details of punctuation are given in the discussions of the elements themselves. Generic examples are not provided. (76)

The establishment of the ISBD was a primary factor leading to a complete revision of AACR. The Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR purposely cooperated with IFLA's Committee on Cataloguing to achieve some harmonization between the two standards. (77) The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2d edition (AACR2), was published in 1978. Each chapter of "Part I: Description" (comprising chapters 1 through 13) is organized according to the eight areas of the ISBD. "Sound recordings" is chapter 6. Rules for constructing the main and added entries for sound recordings, however, are located in chapter 21.23, within "Part II: Headings, Uniform Titles, and References."

Fig. 6. Table of contents from Catalog Rules: Author and Title
Entries (1908)


   a) Personal authors--under whom as author
   b) Personal authors--under what part or form of name
      Entry under surname
      Entry under forename, title, etc
      Titles, designations, and epithets to be added in the heading
      Pseudonyms, change of name, etc
      Greek, Latin, and Oriental writers
      Editors, etc
   c) Corporate bodies as authors
      Government publications
      Institutions (Establishments)
      Miscellaneous bodies or organizations
   d) Title entry
   e) Miscellaneous rules

   1 Abbreviations
   2 Transliteration
   3 Sample cards

Of itself, the content of the description of sound recordings in chapter 6 of AACR2 is still identifiably related to AACR; it was primarily restructured to follow the ISBD framework. Generally, in AACR2, the item in hand is cataloged as a whole. But if the item is a collection without a collective title, the catalogei has the option to "either describe the item as a unit ... or make a separate description for each separately titled part ...," (78) Otherwise, the content is, in essence, a combination of the ISBD and LC's 1964 rules (see table 4). AACR2's sections 6.9 and 6.10 ("Supplementary items" and "Items made up of several types of material") are cross-referenced to chapter 1, which roughly follows ISBD(NBM) area 9. The final section of AACR2's chapter on sound recordings (6.11, "Nonprocessed sound recordings") is a direct descendant of AACR chapter 14 revised (section 253).

The rules for entry in 21.23 are somewhat more specific than those of AACR (or, to be more precise, the LC rules from 1964). See table 5 for an outline summary of AACR2's approach.

The commonly named "rule of three" that was introduced with AACR2, especially as it applied to sound recordings, (79) caused much consternation and discussion in MLA. In a representative response to a draft of AACR2 in 1977, Dena Epstein (then president of MLA) wrote to John Byrum (chair of the RTSD Catalog Code Revision Committee):

   One more rule shall be singled out for comment: 21.26A [.sir] for
   Sound recordings. Added entries are the concern here. "If there are
   more than three principal performers, make an added entry under the
   one named first." In the cases of operas, oratorios and other
   large-scale works requiring the combined efforts of soloists,
   chorus and orchestra, the result of this rule will be that one
   singer, usually the soprano, will receive the sole added entry. For
   most record collections this procedure will be wholly
   unsatisfactory. An option to make more added entries when wanted
   seems essential here. (80)

Nevertheless, the option that Epstein requested was not supplied when AACR2 was published the following year.

Many books and articles have been written since the release of AACR2 (and its revisions), criticizing, interpreting, expounding upon, and applying its concepts and prescriptions, especially in the context of the MARC format. (81) The mechanization and automation of bibliographic control developed in parallel with most of the work being done with AACR and ISBD. Indeed, it may be argued (and has been) that MARC could not have developed the way it did without ISBD, and vice versa. As Michael Gorman noted,

   [A]rriving at a standard set of elements in a standard order and
   delimited in a standard manner was in the mutual interest of the
   effort to achieve an international standard for bibliographic
   description (what became the ISBD); MARC; and the use of both, each
   in accord with the other, in achieving national and international
   standardization, cooperation, and sharing; leading, ultimately, to
   Universal Bibliographic Control. (82)

MARC, however, is not a content or descriptive standard. It is a markup and tagging scheme, and thus lies outside the scope of the present discussion.

In 1982, compact discs entered the audio market. But digital formats would not be formally accommodated in the cataloging standards until the 1988 revision of AACR2. In practical cataloging terms, the questions of description and access remained the same.

In 1983, the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) issued its code for the cataloging of sound recordings: Code international de catalogage de la musique, vol. 5: The Cataloging of Sound Recordings. The founding premises for this document are different from those of the other standards, in that they seek to establish "logical ground rules" without duplicating existing rules. It recognizes the work behind ISBD(NBM), but the IAML Cataloguing Commission, by concentrating mainly on sound recordings in disc format, felt that "it seems that the standardization of sound recording cataloging still has to be further thought through and refined before it can be accepted in terms of national bibliographies and discographies, as well as libraries." (83) No single method or standard is given preference. The discussion is based on laying out the principles and problems presented by sound recordings. The IAML code is presented in the following order:

1. Preliminary note

1.1 The cataloging unit

1.2 Type of catalog

1.3 Type of cards

2. Catalog of unit cards without main entry

3. Catalog of main entries

3.1 Works of a single author

3.2 Works of two or more authors (joint authors)

3.3 Works of corporate authors

3.4 Works of an unknown author (anonymous works)

3.5 Collections of two or more works by several authors or unknown authors, on a single carrier

4. Description

4.1 Title proper

4.2 Additions of the title proper

4.3 Imprint and collation

4.4 Other elements of description

5. Secondary entries

Although the "unit of entry" is discussed in each of the previously discussed standards, this code is the first one to outright define the concept of "cataloging unit." It recognizes that different types of libraries may be better served if every work on a recording is cataloged, but in general, the preference is to treat the entire item in hand as the "bibliographic unit." (84)

The Code international's treatment of main entry is similar to that of AACR2. The primary difference comes in the treatment of collections of works by different composers without collective title. If a compiler is named, main entry is under that name; if no compiler is named, then a main entry is constructed for each work, not just the first one, constituting an exception to the principle of the entire item in hand as the cataloging unit. Other elements of description, such as imprint, collation, and notes, are presented in a manner that acknowledges Anglo-American standards as well as other systems.

In 1987, IFLA issued a revised edition of the ISBD(NBM). Its basic content was not changed. However, the ninth section of the original version ("Items having multiple parts or components") was removed; the material was moved to the end of area 5 ("Physical description") and expanded in an appendix as "multi-level description" for describing parts. (85) Many of the revisions were informed by IAML and IASA (International Association of Sound Archives), and consist of clarifications or corrections of specific technical descriptions especially with regard to physical description. But the ISBD Review Committee consciously chose not to go so far as to separate sound recordings into its own ISBD. (86)

In 1988, a revision of AACR2 was published (AACR2r), which comprises a compilation and harmonization of three previous revisions released between 1982 and 1986. (87) Revisions in the description of sound recordings (chapter 6) include provision for describing compact discs, and the deletion of the old rule 6.11 ("Nonprocessed sound recordings," which are covered under rule 6.4 instructions as unpublished materials).

"Access points" (i.e., entries) for sound recordings also received revision, particularly to collections of works by different composers. Those items with collective titles receive the same treatment as before. But items with no collective titles that are to be cataloged as a unit are subject to one of two rules, depending on the nature and content of the recording. These are spelled out in a rewritten 21.23D, broken out as rules 21.23D1a and 21.23D1b (see table 6). The restriction of the "rule of three" was lifted in the United States by a Library of Congress Rule Interpretation for added entries under 21.23D1b.


In 1995, the MP3 digital audio format was introduced and became popular. It allowed audio data to be stored as digital files that could be played back by a variety of digital devices. The user was freed from the necessity of separate dedicated playback equipment. It also has meant that individual tracks (i.e., works) from physical digital formats (e.g., compact discs) could be isolated from their physical units, bringing into question (again) the issue of unit of cataloging.

In 1998, IAML published "The Core Bibliographic Record for Music and Sound Recordings" in Fontes Artis Musicae, (88) It outlines what are considered to be the essential elements needed for description and access. The "level of description" is illustrated as an ISBD in paragraph form. Main entry is still to be constructed as is done for full cataloging. Added entries must include "primary relationships" such as arrangers, librettists, etc.; name-title entries as appropriate; and performers. (89) The remainder of the article outlines MARC coding required for each area of the ISBD. The "core bibliographic record" as it is used here in reality refers to the MARC coding that is mandatory or required for a complete and basic ISBD.

In RDA (Resource Description and Access), which was released in 2010, the descriptive elements are all present, but within a completely different organization. Instead of being organized in general categories that conflated function and display of bibliographic data--as was done from 1908 through the ISBDs, or by additionally isolating the considerations of various formats into discrete chapters, as was done from MLA's 1942 code through AACR2--the elements are described by their function within the work-expression-manifestation-item relational hierarchy of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR). As noted in the introduction to the 2013 revision:

   In RDA, there is a clear line of separation between the guidelines
   and instruction on recording data and those on the presentation of
   data. This separation has been established in order to optimize
   flexibility in the storage and display of the data produced using
   RDA. Guidelines and instructions on recording data are covered in
   chapters 1 through 37; those on the presentation of data are
   covered in appendices D and E. (90)

RDA identifies the unit of cataloging as the whole item ("resource") in hand, or perhaps more accurately, at hand. It acknowledges two types of description: "comprehensive," and analytical, both of which rest on the assumption that the resource in toto is the ultimate unit that must be acknowledged in any description:

   When preparing a comprehensive description for a resource issued as
   a single unit (e.g., a textbook in one volume, an audio recording)
   that is not an integrating resource (see, choose a source
   of information identifying the resource as a whole (e.g., a source
   with a collective title). If the resource embodies multiple works
   (e.g., a compact disc embodying multiple works), prefer a source
   that has a collective title.

      If there is no source of information identifying the resource as
   a whole, but one source has a title identifying a main or
   predominant work or content (e.g., a single videodisc containing a
   feature film, along with trailers, outtakes, interviews, or other
   material related to the feature film), consider that source to
   identify the resource as a whole. (91)

Terminology for sound recordings changed again with RDA. Where "phono" had given way to "sound," in RDA "sound" gives way to "audio." Other changes include the abolition of the "rule of three" for added entries, and provisions for describing the roles of various contributors.

Because of RDA's arrangement to emphasize FRBR's relational hierarchy, resources are not treated by physical format or area of description. Describing resources that comprise multiple features requires looking at the individual rules for each feature. For example, digital audio formats will require examining rules for both audio characteristics (e.g., 3.16, "Sound Characteristic") and digital file characteristics (3.19, "Digital File Characteristic"). See table 4 for comparison of several RDA elements in relation to standards since 1964.

In 2011, a consolidated ISBD was published that takes into account a variety of digital formats, and harmonizes the various individual ISBDs. (92) It also reflects some aspects of the development and adoption of the FRBR, most notably using the term "resource" instead of "item," since the latter term has a specific meaning in FRBR. The consolidation resulted in a new area 0 for content form and media type, and the elimination of general material designation, which allows it to align with RDA. Provision was also made to distinguish between single-part resources, multipart monographic resources, and continuing resources. Multiple formats are also recognized, so that each different carrier or medium receives its own bibliographic treatment. Area 7 (Notes) was reconfigured somewhat to support these changes. See the right-most column of table 4 for a selected list of the elements that are pertinent for cataloging sound recordings. For the most part, they have remained the same.


Sound recordings have been a challenge to catalog from the very' beginning, and will continue to be. As new works and formats are created by new technologies, there will always be a need to update descriptions and means of access. The nature of sound recordings themselves has not changed: there will always be the issue of "what" is to be described and cataloged. Even with the popularity of the MP3 digital format since the mid-1990s, and online streaming audio after that, and the consequent ability of users to isolate and separate tracks from album sets, the question does not change. It is simply a new manifestation of an old problem: the variety of ways in which works have been packaged and the subsequent conundrum of what to describe, at what level and to what extent, so that users can have access to the resources they are looking for.

The emergence of new formats (audio and otherwise) will continue to necessitate changes to cataloging and description standards in order to consistently display information to users to support their decision making. That long-standing problems are still under much debate (i.e., the unit of cataloging, construction and display of entries and headings, how much of the container needs to be described, and in what order to display the information) has revealed that these are issues that technology alone cannot solve.

In 2013, Notes published "Music Discovery Requirements: A Guide to Optimizing Interfaces." While it is a position paper that primarily addresses the technological side of the issue, it exemplifies the tension between describing the musical works themselves, and the formats and containers by which they may be accessed:

      Music as a discipline depends on the use of information in
   different formats, including scores, sound recordings, videos, and
   texts. In FRBR terminology, content type (score, audio, video) is
   usually an expression-level attribute, while carrier type is a
   manifestation-level attribute. These content types, particularly
   recordings, exist in many different carriers, including compact
   disc, LP, audiocassette, videocassette, videodisc, mp3, and other
   formats. Users need to be able to find, identify, and select the
   form of information they need. (93)

For sound recordings, as for all formats, the discussions continue. As new formats are created, developed, and made accessible, the current standards embodied in RDA and the consolidated ISBD will continue to be refined and to evolve, just as they (formats and cataloging practices) have evolved from their predecessors.

C. Rockelle Strader is authorities librarian, and catalog maintenance and Western languages cataloging coordinator at The Ohio State University Libraries in Columbus, Ohio. She holds a Ph.D. in music theory. She wishes to thank Bonnie Jo Dopp (for her help in 2004), and Vin Novara and Amanda May (for their help in 2014), at the Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland, which houses the Music Library Association Archives. This article is a result of a project that received MLA's Carol June Bradley Award in 2004 and further funding support in 2014 from the Academic Library Association of Ohio and Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians.

(1.) Gordon Stevenson, "Classification Chaos," Library Journal 88 (15 October 1963): 3792.

(2.) Arthur E. Bostwick, The American Public Library (New York: D. Appleton, 1910), 71.

(3.) Library Concurrent (Public Libran-Commission of Indiana) 2, no. 10 (March 1911): 203.

(4.) R. R. Bowker, "Music Selection for Public Libraries," Library Journal 40, no. 8 (August 1915): 582.

(5.) Edah F. Burnett, "The Care of Phonograph Records," Libraries 31, no. 1 (January 1926): 22.

(6.) Roland Gelatt, The Fabulous Phonograph: From Tin Foil to High Fidelity (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1955), 252-54, 265.

(7.) Arthur E. Bostwick, "Music in Public Libraries," Library Journal 62 (15 October 1937): 766.

(8.) Carol June Bradley, "Music Library Association: The Founding Generation and Its Work," Notes 37, no. 4 (June 1981): 773.

(9.) Minutes of the meetings of the Music Library Association at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, 3-4 May 1932, in the Music Library Association Archives, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

(10.) Irene F. Jaynes, "Springfield Lends Phonograph Records," Library Journal 58, no. 2 (15 January 1933): 86.

(11.) Ralph E. Ellsworth, "Phonograph Records in the Library," Library Journal 58, no. 12 (15 June 1933): 529.

(12.) Ibid., 530.

(13.) Guy Redvers Lyle and Rose Krauskopf, "Phonograph Collection in Antioch College Library," Library Journal 59, no. 6 (15 March 1934): 267.

(14.) Gelatt, The Fabulous Phonograph, 272.

(15.) Ibid., 276-77.

(16.) Report of the representative of Columbia University, Music Library Association meeting, New Haven, 23-24 October 1936, in Music Library Association Archives.

(17.) Ethel Louise Lyman, "Arrangement and Care of Phonograph Records," Library Journal 62, no. 4 (15 February 1937): 152.

(18.) Dorothy G. Amesbury, "Phonograph Records in the Library," Library Journal 62, no. 11 (1 June 1937): 453.

(19.) Ibid., 454.

(20.) Harold Spivacke, "The Cataloging of Folk-Song Records," Notes [ser. 1] 5 (November 1937): 9.

(21.) Ibid., 10.

(22.) Ibid., 11-12.

(23.) Ibid., 14.

(24.) Philip Lieson Miller, "Cataloging and Filing of Phonograph Records," Library Journal 62, no. 13 (July 1937): 545.

(25.) Ibid.

(26.) Ibid.

(27.) Carol June Bradley, American Music Librarianship: A Biographical and Historical Survey (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 115.

(28.) Quoted in ibid., 116.

(29.) Minutes of MLA meeting, Columbia University, 23 June 1937, in Music Library Association Archives.

(30.) Lucile M. Morsch, Catalog Department Manual: The Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore: Enoch Pratt Free Library, 1940), 76-78.

(31.) George Sherman Dickinson to Eva Judd O'Meara, 23 January 1940, in Music Library Association Archives.

(32.) Everett O. Fontaine to George Sherman Dickinson, 30 September 1940, in Music Library Association Archives.

(33.) Committee for Publications of the Music Library Association, draft of Code for Cataloging Phonograph Records (October 1940), in Music Library Association Archives.

(34.) Notes [ser. 1] 10 (April 1941): 11.

(35.) Gelatt, The Fabulous Phonograph, 276-79.

(36.) Music Library Association, Code for Cataloging Phonograph Records ([Washington, DC]: Music Library Association, 1942), 3.

(37.) Ibid.

(38.) Sidney Butler Smith, "Simplified Procedures for Recordings," Library Journal 69, no. 5 (1 March 1944): 211.

(39.) "Notes for Notes," Notes 1, no. 4 (September 1944): 62.

(40.) "Association Activities," Notes 2, no. 1 (December 1944): 12.

(41.) Inez Haskell, "The Cataloging of Records, Musical and Non-Musical, for a General Library," PNLA Quarterly 9 (July 1945): 150.

(42.) Ibid., 152.

(43.) Ibid., 153.

(44.) Ibid., 154.

(45.) Helen Maywhort, "All on the Card: Sullivan Memorial Library Has Record Cataloging Plan," Library Journal 71, no. 11 (1 June 1946): 807-8.

(46.) Muriel Fairbanks, "Report of the National Meeting," Notes 3, no. 3 (June 1946): 233.

(47.) "Association Activities," Notes 4, no. 2 (March 1947): 229.

(48.) Muriel L. Kemp, "The Worcester Free Public Libran' Gives Discs Full Treatment," Library Journal 73 (1 March 1948): 406.

(49.) Gelatt, The Fabulous Phonograph, 290-92.

(50.) Ralph Moritz, "Cataloging Phonograph Records for the Veterans Hospitals," Journal of Cataloging and Classification 5, no. 1 (Fall 1948): 3.

(51.) Ibid.

(52.) Elaine von Oesen, "Simple Cataloging of Audio-Visual Materials," Wilson Library Bulletin 23, no. 3 (November 1948): 251.

(53.) Ibid.

(54.) Ibid., 252.

(55.) Rex M. Potterf, "Recordings in Our Library," Library Journal 74 (15 March 1949): 431.

(56.) Celia Moore, "Housing and Processing Phonograph Records," Library Journal 76 (1 November 1951): 1783.

(57.) Library of Congress, Descriptive Cataloging Division, Rules for Descriptive Cataloging in the Library of Congress: Phonorecords, prelim, ed. (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1952), iii.

(58.) Ibid., 1.

(59.) Ibid.

(60.) Stella R. Townsend, "Cataloging of Phonograph Records," North Carolina Libraries 10, no. 3 (April 1952): 38.

(61.) Sister Mary Janet, "Cataloging of Non-Book Materials," Catholic Library World 24, no. 5 (February 1953): 153-54.

(62.) Sister M. Edmund, "Techniques for Handling Phonograph Records," Catholic Library World 27, no. 3 (December 1955): 109.

(63.) Frances Hamman, "Bibliographic Control of Audio-Visual Materials: Report of a Special Committee," Library Resources and Technical Services 1, no. 4 (Fall 1957): 184.

(64.) Ibid., 189.

(65.) Music Library Association and the American Library Association Division of Cataloging and Classification, Joint Committee on Music Cataloging, Code for Cataloging Music and Phonorecords (Chicago: American Library Association, 1958), iii.

(66.) Ibid., 40.

(67.) Beryl McPherson and Carolyn Berneking, "Phonorecord Cataloging--Methods and Policies," Library Journal 83 (1 October 1958): 2623.

(68.) Library of Congress, Descriptive Cataloging Division, Rules fur Descriptive Cataloging in the Library of Congress: Phonorecords, 2d prelim, ed. (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1964), 8.

(69.) Anglo-American Cataloging Rules: North American Text, prepared by the American Library' Association, the Library of Congress, the Library Association, and the Canadian Library Association, ed. C. Sumner Spalding (Chicago: American Library Association, 1967), v.

(70.) Ibid., 321-28.

(71.) Library of Congress, Cataloging Service, Bulletin 115 (Fall 1975): 3-10.

(72.) Anglo-American Cataloging Rules: North American Text: Chapter 14 Revised: Sound Recordings (Chicago: American Library Association, 1976), 1.

(73.) International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, IFLA Committee on Cataloguing, ISBD(NBM): International Standard Bibliographic Description for Non-Book Materials (London: IFLA International Office for UBC, 1977), vii.

(74.) Ibid., 1.

(75.) Ibid., 2.

(76.) Catalog Rules: Author and Title Entries, compiled by committees of the American Library Association and the (British) Library Association, American ed. (Chicago: American Library Association, 1908), iii.

(77.) Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2d ed., prepared by die American Library Association [et al.], ed. by Michael Gorman and Paul W. Winkler (Chicago: American Library Association; Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1978), viii.

(78.) Ibid., 6.1G1.

(79.) "Make added entries under the headings for the principal performers ... unless there are more than three. If there are more than three principal performers, make an added entry under the one named first" (AACR2, 21.23A).

(80.) Dena T. Epstein to John Byrum, 27 July 1977, in Music Library Association Archives.

(81.) See, for example, manuals by Nancy B. Olson and Richard P. Smiraglia based on AACR2: Nancy B. Olson. Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials: A Manual Based on AACR2 (Mankato, MN: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1981), which guides the cataloger on the content of AACR2 and MARC tagging. This manual was subsequently issued in two more editions (1985 and 1992) and was followed by several other similar manuals for nonprint media as were warranted by updates to AACR2 and MARC. Richard P. Smiraglia, Music Cataloging: The Bibliographic Control of Printed and Recorded Music in Libraries (Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1989), which contains references to a number of additional historical and contemporary resources; and Smiraglia. Describing Music Materials: A Manual for Descriptive Cataloging of Printed and Recorded Music, Music Videos, and Archival Music Collections, for Use with AACR2 and APPM, 3d ed., rev. and enlarged, Soldier Creek Music Series, no. 5 (Lake Crystal, MN: Soldier Creek Press, 1997), which itemizes each rule of AACR2 and includes extensive notes on Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRIs) and Music Cataloging Decisions as found for each AACR2 rule.

(82.) Michael Gorman, "The Origins and Making of the ISBD: A Personal History, 1966-1978," Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 52, no. 8 (September 2014): 826-7.

(83.) International Association of Music Libraries, International Cataloging Code Commission, Code international de catalogage de la musique, vol. 5: Le catalogage des enregistrements sonores = The Cataloging of Sound Recordings = Die alphabetische Katalogisierung von Tontragem, ed. Simone Wallon, Kurt Dorfmuller, et al. (Frankfurt: C. F. Peters, 1983), 29.

(84.) Ibid., 30.

(85.) International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Section on Cataloguing, ISBD(NBM): International Standard Bibliographic Description for Non-Book Materials, rev. ed. (London: IFLA Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC Programme, 1987), 63.

(86.) Ibid., vi.

(87.) Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2d ed., 1988 revision (Chicago: American Library Association, 1988), xiv.

(88.) Anders Cato, et al., "The Core Bibliographic Record for Music and Sound Recording," Fontes Artis Musicae 45, no. 2 (April/June 1998), 139-51. The IAML core bibliographic record may be found online at (accessed 27 August 2015).

(89.) Ibid., 147.

(90.) RDA: Resource Description and Access, developed in a collaborative process led by the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC), representing the American Library Association [et al.], looseleaf (Chicago: American Library Association, 2010-), section 0.1, "Key Features."

(91.) Ibid,, section, "Resource Issued as a Single Unit."

(92.) International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, ISBD Review Group, ISBD: International Standard Bibliographic Description, consolidated ed., IFLA Series on Bibliographic Control, 44 (Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter Sauer, 2011).

(93.) Nara L. Newcomer, Rebecca Belford, Deb Kulczak, and Kimmy Szeto, with Jennifer Matthews, Misti Shaw, "Music Discovery Requirements: A Guide to Optimizing Interfaces," Notes 69, no. 3 (March 2013): 509.

Table 1. Comparison of elements from local practices and
other standards, 1933-1964

                Unit of            Main entry         Title

Ellsworth       5A. When single    1. Main entry      3. Title in
1933            side has more      under title        original
                than one piece:                       language, with
                catalog whole                         translation on
                side as a unit,                       card. Make
                and make author-                      cross-ref from
                title entries.                        translated title
                                                      to original.

                5B. When each                         4. Opus number
                side of record                        in parentheses.
                has distinct                          Make cross-ref
                pieces, catalog                       to regular title
                each side                             from opus number
                separately, and                       (opus number
                include                               under name of
                statement of                          composer).
                contents on
                other side.

                6. Single piece
                on more than one
                record (such as
                symphonies and
                operas): catalog
                whole set as a
                unit. Indicate
                number of parts
                (records) at end
                of title

Lyman           Not explicit,      Composer           Label title
1937            but appears to
                be item in hand.

Amesbury        Disc is implied.   Composer

Miller          Each work          Essential          Essential:
1937                               element:           Conventional
                                   Composer           title (opus
                                                      numbers part of
                                                      title) Original
                                                      title in
                                                      language Label

Spivacke        Song (work)        Title              As found on
1937                                                  recording. After
                                                      title: "sung
                                                      by ..."

Morsch          Work               Composer           Standardized title
1940                                                  (same as scores)

MLA             Work               1. As for          2. Conventional
1942                               scores: usually    title in
                                   composer           brackets (as for
                                                      4. Form in
                                                      3. Label title

Kemp            Not clear          Conventional       Album title below
1948                               title in           conventional title

LC              Item in hand       As for scores:     As for scores:
"preliminary                       usually            Conventional
edition"                           composer           title in
1952                                                  brackets, but
                                                      followed by
                                                      physical medium
                                                      in italics.

MLA-ALA         If item has 1      As for scores:     As for scores:
joint code      or 2 works: Unit   usually            Conventional
1958            = work             composer           title in
                                                      brackets, but
                If it is                              followed by
                collection by                         physical medium
                same composer,                        in italics. As
                unit = item                           for scores:
                (main entry =                         Transcribed
                composer)                             title, line
                If it is                              conventional
                collection of                         title.
                works by
                composer, unit =
                item (main entry
                = collective
                title) Does not
                address items w/
                o collective

LC              Item in hand       As for scores:     As for scores:
"second                            usually            Conventional
preliminary                        composer           title in
edition"                                              brackets, but
1964                                                  followed by
                                                      physical medium
                                                      in italics.
                                                      As for scores:
                                                      tide, line below

AACR            Item in hand       Single works:      As for scores:
1967            Exception: 2 or    as for scores:     uniform title in
                more works by      usually            brackets
                different          composer
                without            Collection with
                collective         collective
                title, then unit   title: title or
                = work             compiler

AACR            Item in hand       As for AACR        Same as 1967
chap. 14                           1967, but
revision                           compiler is
1976                               dropped.

                Unit of            Imprint,           Tracings /
                cataloging         collation,         Added entries/
                                   extent             Cross-references

Ellsworth       5A. When single    2. Form of card    7. Tracings are
1933            side has more      same as            to be made in
                than one piece:    described in ALA   the same manner
                catalog whole      Catalog Rules      as for books.
                side as a unit,    (1908). Size of
                and make author-   record in place
                title entries.     of pagination.

                5B. When each                         8. Make an entry
                side of record                        for person or
                has distinct                          group
                pieces, catalog                       performing, but
                each side                             not for the
                separately, and                       conductor of a
                include                               group. "Instead,
                statement of                          make a cross
                contents on                           reference from
                other side.                           the name of the
                                                      person to the
                                                      with which he is

                6. Single piece                       9. "Cross
                on more than one                      references
                record (such as                       should be fully
                symphonies and                        and generously
                operas): catalog                      made in the
                whole set as a                        catalog ....
                unit. Indicate                        Subject headings
                number of parts                       will, in
                (records) at end                      general, be
                of title                              determined by
                statement.                            the use of the

Lyman           Not explicit,      "Collation":       Subject; series;
1937            but appears to     number of          title
                be item in hand.   records.
                                   trade name--
                                   serial no.

Amesbury        Disc is implied.   "Collation":       As warranted; be
1937                               size of record,    generous.
                                   number of sides.
                                   Imprint: make,
                                   number, type.

Miller          Each work          Essential:         Essential:
1937                               Number of sides    Artist
                                   Issuing company
                                   and number
                                   Desirable: Date
                                   of recording
                                   Date of issue
                                   Matrix number

Spivacke        Song (work)        Imprint: place     Standard title
1937                               where recorded,    Singer
                                   name of            Collector
                                   collector, date.   Subjects
                                   Collation:         (including
                                   duration of song   subdivisions)

Morsch          Work               Imprint: Issuing   Form
1940                               company and        Medium
                                   record number      Artist
                                   Collation:         Title
                                   Number of sides    Cross-
                                   (or fraction of    references: same
                                   a side);           as scores
                                   diameter of disc

MLA             Work               5. Place of        As for scores;
1942                               publication        performer,
                                   6. Producer        series, title,
                                   (5 & 6 may be      editor, author
                                   replaced by        of text, etc.,
                                   trade name.)       according to
                                   7. Date of issue   local needs
                                   10. Matrix
                                   numbers Subject
                                   12. Number of
                                   sides and size
                                   13. Series
                                   (right after

Kemp            Not clear          Fields locally     Author-title;
1948                               defined on card;   title variants;
                                   does not follow    form; medium
                                   previous           arranger; names
                                   standards          qualified by

LC              Item in hand       Imprint:           Follows rules
"preliminary                       "Processed":       for print and
edition"                           Trade name of      visual
1952                               publisher,         materials:
                                   serial number,     Performers
                                   date of release    Performing
                                   Transcribed        groups (may note
                                   title, line        soloists)
                                   below              "Nonprocessed":
                                   conventional       Place of
                                   title              recording,
                                                      date when
                                                      depends on
                                                      medium, but
                                                      includes: Number
                                                      of pieces Size
                                                      Playing speed

MLA-ALA         If item has 1      Same as LC 1952    Same as LC 1952
joint code      or 2 works: Unit
1958            = work

                If it is
                collection by
                same composer,
                unit = item
                (main entry =

                If it is
                collection of
                works by
                composer, unit =
                item (main entry
                = collective
                title) Does not
                address items w/
                o collective

LC              Item in hand       Same as LC 1952    As for visual
"second                                               materials:
preliminary                                           Performers
edition"                                              (soloists)
1964                                                  Performing

AACR            Item in hand       Imprint:           Performers
1967            Exception: 2 or    Trade name,        (soloists)
                more works by      serial number,     Performing
                different          date of release    groups Series
                composers          OR Place of        Subject Name of
                without            publication,       program
                collective         name of            (broadcast/
                title, then unit   publisher, date    telecast)
                = work             of release         Network or
                                   Collation: Same    station Others
                                   as LC 1952 and     as appropriate,
                                   1964               constructed
                                                      according to
                                                      AACR 33 (added
                                                      entries: add
                                                      physical medium
                                                      at end
                                                      according to

AACR            Item in hand       Imprint:           Same as AACR
chap. 14                           Same as AACR       1967
revision                           1967, with added
1976                               provision for
                                   "p" date.

                                   Collation: Same
                                   as AACR 1967,
                                   with explicit
                                   provision for
                                   fractional parts
                                   of disc or album

                Unit of            Notes

Ellsworth       5A. When single
1933            side has more

                than one piece:
                catalog whole
                side as a unit,
                and make author-
                title entries.

                5B. When each
                side of record
                has distinct
                pieces, catalog
                each side
                separately, and
                statement of
                contents on
                other side.

                6. Single piece
                on more than one
                record (such as
                symphonies and
                operas): catalog
                whole set as a
                unit. Indicate
                number of parts
                (records) at end
                of title

Lyman           Not explicit,      "With" notes for
1937            but appears to     reverse and last
                be item in hand.   sides; contents;

Amesbury        Disc is implied.   Reverse side
1937                               treated as

Miller          Each work          Essential:
1937                               Reverse side;
                                   same side if two
                                   pieces occupy
                                   one side.
                                   Reference to
                                   score; author of
                                   text; original
                                   language sung in
                                   number of
                                   opening theme.

Spivacke        Song (work)        1. First line
1937                               and refrain.
                                   2. "Variant of
                                   3. Conditions
                                   under which
                                   recording was
                                   made Notes re:
                                   relationship to
                                   any published
                                   version of sung

Morsch          Work               Artist; author
1940                               of text;
                                   language of
                                   text; other
                                   works on disc;
                                   blank reverse

MLA             Work               9. Disc numbers
1942                               11. Album, set
                                   4. Form, if not
                                   supplied in
                                   conventional or
                                   label title
                                   8. Date of
                                   14. Method of
                                   recording (if
                                   acoustic, or if
                                   groove is
                                   15. Medium of
                                   performance (if
                                   not given
                                   16. Performer(s)
                                   17. Language of
                                   18. Author of
                                   19. Analytical
                                   20. Cuts
                                   21. Complete
                                   (of excerpts)
                                   22. Contents
                                   23. Other works
                                   on same disc
                                   24. Another work
                                   on "odd" side

Kemp            Not clear          Contents

LC              Item in hand       See table 3 of
"preliminary                       this article
edition"                           Distinctive
1952                               titles; Subject
                                   for another
                                   issue on
                                   different medium

MLA-ALA         If item has 1      No "species"
joint code      or 2 works: Unit   note All others
1958            = work             same as LC 1952
                                   (see table 3)
                If it is
                collection by
                same composer,
                unit = item
                (main entry =

                If it is
                collection of
                works by
                composer, unit =
                item (main entry
                = collective
                title) Does not
                address items w/
                o collective

LC              Item in hand       Series
"second                            Source of title
preliminary                        Species
edition"                           Participant,
1964                               performer,
                                   medium Text:
                                   author, etc.
                                   Edition recorded
                                   concerning event
                                   Contents "With"
                                   may also
                                   include: Title
                                   variants and
                                   Location of work
                                   on recording)

AACR            Item in hand       Series statement
1967            Exception: 2 or    treated
                more works by      separately Notes
                different          otherwise same
                composers          as LC 1964
                title, then unit
                = work

AACR            Item in hand       Order changed:
chap. 14                           "With" note
revision                           first Order
1976                               otherwise same
                                   as LC 1964

Table 2. Elements for full description of phonograph
records, MLA Code for Cataloging Phonograph Records (1942)

e  1. Main entry
e  2. Conventional, or standard, title
e  3. Title on label (or album or in booklet)
   4. Form
   5. Place of publication or issue
e  6. Producer
d  7. Date of issue

d  8. Date of recording
e  9. Disc numbers

d 10. Matrix numbers
  11. Album or set numbers
e 12. Number of sides and size
  13. Series note
  14. Method of recording
  15. Medium of performance
e 16. Performer
d 17. Language of text
d 18. Author of text
  19. Analytical booklets and descriptive
  20. Cuts
  21. Complete identification (for
d 22. Contents
e 23. Other works recorded on same disc
  24. Another work on odd side of album

e = "essential" element in Miller's "Cataloging and
Filing of Phonograph Records" (1937)

d = "desired" element in Miller

Table 3. Elements for describing sound recordings, LC's
Rules for Descriptive Cataloging in the Library of
Congress: Phonorecords (1952)

* Main entry (9a:2)

* Transcription of title (9a:4)

* Physical medium (9a:3)

* Imprint (9a:5)

"Processed" recordings:

--Trade name of publisher

--Serial identification (album and
record numbers)

--Date of release

(Date of recording is placed in a note)

"Nonprocessed" recordings:

--Place of recording

--Person/agency responsible

--Date when readily available

* Collation (9a:6)

--Number of sides or pieces


--Playing speed

* Notes: (9a:7)

A. Series

B. Source of title

C. Species

D. Performer and medium

E. Text: languages, authors, etc.

F. Edition recorded

G. Details concerning performance

H. Duration

I. Abridgments

J. Notes supplementing collation

K. Contents

L. "With" note

* Issues and copies (9a:8)

* Secondary entries (9a:9)

Table 4. Comparison of elements from standards since 1964
(inclusive), sorted by ISBD(NBM) element

LC Rules (1964)         AACR, chap. 14       ISBD(NBM) area

--                    --                   0. Preliminary

--                    --                   1. Tide and
                                           statement of

9a: 4                 252B                 1.1 Title proper
Transcription of      Transcription of
title                 title

9a:3 Physical         252A Physical        1.2 General
medium                medium               material
--                    --                   1.3 Parallel tide

                                           1.4 Other tide

In main entry, but    In main entry, but   1.5 Statements of
not in descriptive    not in descriptive   responsibility
portion of card       portion of card
(except some          (except some
notes)                notes)

--                    --                   --

--                    --                   2. Edition area

--                    --                   3. Material (or
                                           type of
                                           specific area
                                           (used for NBMs if
                                           content can be
                                           treated by another
                                           ISBD, e.g., maps
                                           or serials)

9a:5 Imprint          252C Imprint         4. Publication,
                                           etc. area

9a:5 Place of         252C2 Place of       4.1 Place of
publication           publication          publication,
                                           dist., etc.

9a:5 Name of          252C1,2 Name         4.2 Name of
publisher             of publisher         publisher, dist.,

9a:5 Date of          252C1, 4 Date        4.3 Date of
release               of release           publication,
                                           dist., etc.

9a:6 Collation        252D Collation       5. Physical
                                           description area

9a:6 Number           252D Number          5.1 Specific
of sides              of items             material
9a:7H Notes--         252F8 Note--         designation and
duration              duration             extent of item

9a:6 Playing          252D Playing         5.2 Other physical
speed                 speed                details
9a:6 Size             252D Size            5.3 Dimensions
                                           of item

9a:6G                 252F10e              5.4 Accompanying
Accompanying          Supplementary        materials
material              visual materials

9a:7A Notes--         252E Series          6. Series area
Series                statement
9a:8 Serials          252G Serials

9a:7 Notes            252F Notes           7. Note area
--                    --                   --

9a:7B Source          252F2 Source         7.1 Title proper
of title              of title

9a:7D Performer       252F4                7.1.3 Statements
and medium            Participant,         of responsibility
                      performer, and

--                    --                   7.2 Edition area,
                                           history of the

9a:7J                 252F10               7.5 Physical
Supplementing         Supplementing        description
collation             collation

9a:7A Series          --                   7.6 Series area

                                           7.7 Other notes

9a:7G Details         252F7 Details        7.7.3 Summary
concerning event      concerning event
9a:7F Edition         252F6 Edition
recorded              recorded

9a:7K Contents        252F12 Contents      7.7.5 Contents

9a:7E Text:           252F5 Text:
languages,            languages,
authors, etc.         authors, etc.

9a:7L                 252F1 "With"
"With" note           note

9a:5 Imprint--        252C3 Imprint--      8. Standard number
trade name            serial               (or alternative)
and serial            identification       and terms of
identification                             availability area

LC Rules (1964)         AACR2, chap. 6       RDA (core unless
                                           indicated) W/E=work/
                                             expression M/I=

--                    6.0. General rules   0. Introduction
                                           0.6 Core elements

--                    6.1. Title and
                      statement of

9a: 4                 6.1B Title proper    2.3 Title proper
Transcription of                           (M/I)

9a:3 Physical         6.1C General         --
medium                material
--                    6.1D Parallel        6.2 Preferred
                      title                title (W/E)
                      6.IE Other title     6.3 Form of
                      info                 work (W/E)

In main entry, but    6.1F Statements of   2.4 Statement of
not in descriptive    responsibility       responsibility
portion of card                            (M/I)
(except some

--                    6.1 G Items
                      without a            Compilations of
                      collective title     Works by Different
                                           Persons, Families,
                                           or Corporate
                                           Bodies (cross-ref
                                           Recording Devised
                                           Titles; not core)

--                    6.2. Edition area    2.5 Edition
                                           statement (M/I)
--                    6.3. Material (or    --
                      type of
                      specific details
                      --Not used for
                      sound recordings

9a:5 Imprint          6.4. Publication,    2.9 Distribution
                      distribution,        (if no publication
                      etc., area           info)
                                           2.10 Manufacture
                                           (if no publication
                                           or distribution

9a:5 Place of         6.4C Place of        2.8.2 Publication
publication           publication,         place (M/I)
                      dist., etc.          6.5 Place of
                                           origin (W/E; core

9a:5 Name of          6.4D Name of         2.8.4 Name of
publisher             publisher, dist.,    publisher (M/I)

9a:5 Date of          6.4F Date of         2.7.6 Production
release               publication,         date (M/I; core
                      dist., etc.          for unpublished
                                           2.8.6 Date of
                                           publication (M/I)
                                           2.11 Copyright
                                           date (M/I; core if
                                           no other date
                                           6.4 Date of work
                                           (W/E; core for

9a:6 Collation        6.5. Physical
                      description area

9a:6 Number           6.5B Extent of       6.9 Content
of sides              item (including      type (W/E)
9a:7H Notes--         SMD)                 3.2 Media type
duration                                   (M/I)
                                           3.3 Carrier type
                                           3.4 Extent (M/I)
                                           7.22 Duration
                                           (W/E; not core)

9a:6 Playing          6.5C Other
speed                 physical details
9a:6 Size             6.5D Dimensions      3.5 Dimensions
                                           (M/I; not core)

9a:6G                 6.5E                 24.4.3 Description
Accompanying          Accompanying         of the
material              material             Related Work,
                                           Manifestation, or
                                           Item (not core)

9a:7A Notes--         6.6. Series area     2.12 Series
Series                                     statement (M/I)
9a:8 Serials                               2.6 Numbering of
                                           serials (M/I)

9a:7 Notes            6.7. Note area
--                    --

9a:7B Source          6.7B3 Source of      2.20.2 Note on
of title              title proper         Title (not core)

9a:7D Performer       6.7B6 Statements     2.20.3 Note on
and medium            of responsibility    Statement of
                                           (not core)

--                    --


9a:7J                 6.7B10 Physical      3.15 Sound
Supplementing         description          characteristic
collation                                  (M/I; not core)

9a:7A Series          6.7B12 Series        2.20.11 Note on
                                           Series Statement
                                           (not core)

9a:7G Details         6.7B7 Edition and    2.20.4 Note on
concerning event      history              Edition Statement
9a:7F Edition         6.7B17 Summary       (not core)
                                           7.10 Summarization
                                           of the Content
                                           (not core)

9a:7K Contents        6.7B18 Contents      25.1 Related Work
                                           (not core)

9a:7E Text:           6.7B1 Nature or      6.11 Language of
languages,            artistic form,       expression (W/E)
authors, etc.         medium               6.15 Medium of
                      of performance       performance (W/E)
                      6.7B2 Language

9a:7L                 6.7B21 "With" note

9a:5 Imprint--        6.8. Standard        Identifier
trade name            number and terms     2.15=M
and serial            of availability      2.19=1 (not core)
identification        area                 6.8=W
                      6.8B2 Give any       6.13=E
                      other number [i.e.
                      not ISBN/ISSN] in
                      a note (6.7B19)

LC Rules (1964)       Consolidated ISBD
                         (2011) area

--                    0. Content and
                      media type area
                      0.1 Content form
                      0.2 Media type

--                    1. Title and
                      statement of

9a: 4                 1.1 Title proper
Transcription of

9a:3 Physical         --

--                    1.2 Parallel
                      1.3 Other title

In main entry, but    1.4 Statement of
not in descriptive    responsibility
portion of card
(except some

--                    --

--                    2. Edition area

--                    3. Material or
                      type of resource
                      specific area

                      --Not used for
                      sound recordings

9a:5 Imprint          4. Publication,
                      etc., area

9a:5 Place of         4.1 Place of
publication           publication,
                      distribution, etc.

9a:5 Name of          4.2 Name of
publisher             publisher,
                      distributor, etc.

9a:5 Date of          4.3 Date of
release               publication,
                      distribution, etc.

9a:6 Collation        5. Material
                      description area

9a:6 Number           5.1 Extent
of sides
9a:7H Notes--

9a:6 Playing          5.2 Other physical
speed                 details
9a:6 Size             5.3 Dimensions

9a:6G                 5.4 Accompanying
Accompanying          material statement

9a:7A Notes--         6. Series and
Series                multipart
9a:8 Serials          monographic
                      resource area

9a:7 Notes            7. Note area
--                    7.0 Content form
                      and media type

9a:7B Source          7.1 Title and
of title              statement of
                      7.1.1 Title proper

9a:7D Performer       7.1.4 Statement of
and medium            responsibility

--                    7.2 Edition area,
                      history of the

9a:7J                 7.5 Material
Supplementing         description

9a:7A Series          7.6 Series and

9a:7G Details         7.9 Issue, part,
concerning event      iteration, etc.,
9a:7F Edition         that forms the
recorded              basis of the
                      7.10 Other notes
                      7.10.2 Summary

9a:7K Contents        7.7 Contents

9a:7E Text:  Notes
languages,            on language
authors, etc.

9a:7L                 7.11 Relating to
"With"note            the copy in hand

9a:5 Imprint--        8. Resource
trade name            identifier
and serial            and terms of
identification        availability area
                      7.8 Notes on
                      identifier and
                      terms of
                      7.10.4 Numbers

Table 5. Name entries for sound recordings, AACR2, 21.23,
Rules for entry (1978)

Rule      Brief description       Entry    Headings

21.23A    One work                Main:    Appropriate to work
                                           (usually composer)

                                  Added:   1-3 principal performers:
                                           All More than 3
                                           principals: First only

21.23B    Two or more works       Main:    Appropriate to works
          by same entity                   (usually composer)

                                  Added:   Same as 21.23A

21.23C    Works by different      Main:    Principal performer, or
          persons                          first P named, if 2-3
          (1-3 principal
          performers)             Added:   Other performers, if 2-3

21.23D    Works by different      Main:    Item has collective tide:
          persons (more than               use title
          3 principal             Main:    Item has no collective
          performers, or no                title: See 21.7C:
          principal performers)            Appropriate to first work
                                           (usually composer or
                                           prominent performer)

                                  Added:   See 21.7B: As appropriate
                                           to other works (usually
                                           name-title); no provision
                                           for additional nonauthor

Table 6. Name entries for sound recordings with no
collective title, AACR2r: 21.23D1 (1988)

Rule        Nature                    Entry    Heading

21.23D1a    Participation beyond
            performance (common to
            "popular, "rock," jazz)

              * One principal         Main:    Principal performer
              * 2-3 principal         Main:    First principal
                performers                     performer
                                      Added:   Other performer(s)
              * No principal          Main:    Appropriate to first
                performers or                  work on item
                4+ principal
                performers            Added:   None

21.23D1b    Participation is only     Main:    See 21.7C1: Appropriate
            performance or                     to first work on item
            interpretation                     (usually composer or
            (mainly "classical"                prominent performer)
            or "serious" music)       Added:   See 21.7B1: Other works
                                               as appropriate (usually
                                      Added:   Principal performers as

Fig. 4. Kemp's example of a form card utilized
by Worcester Free Public Library (1948)



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Title Annotation:p. 302-327
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Date:Dec 1, 2015
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