AMIM Revision (was: Cataloguing foreign films/videos)

Jane Johnson (
Fri, 22 Sep 2000 16:16:07 -0700 (PDT)

Greetings Catalogers,

I was told of the Videolib discussion of Archival Moving Image Materials: a
Cataloging Manual (AMIM) and would like to comment. I have cataloged moving
image materials at the UCLA Film and Television Archive since 1986, and am
currently chair of the Cataloging and Documentation Committee of the
Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA). I also chair AMIA's AMIM
Revision Subcommittee.

The second edition of Archival Moving Image Materials: a Cataloging Manual
(AMIM2) is a Library of Congress publication and is due out at any moment
from the Library's Cataloging Distribution Service (more at AMIM2 will be published both as a loose-leaf
binder (ca. 250 pages) and electronically as part of the Cataloger's
Desktop, also available from CDS. I am also told that AMIM2 updates will be
posted online on the Cataloging Policy and Support Office website
( and published in the Library of Congress
Cataloging Service Bulletin.

If you are interested in the revision process and AMIA's part in it, please
read on.

>From its inception, the AMIA Cataloging and Documentation Committee actively
endorsed a revision of AMIM and in 1994, members began discussing the
prospect with the Library of Congress. At the Library's request, a C&D
subcommittee was formed to survey the archival moving image cataloging
community in order to determine the need for an AMIM revision (as opposed to
a supplement) and to identify those rules most in need of change. The
subcommittee surveyed catalogers within and outside AMIA and compiled the
responses in a report entitled "Recommendations for Revision of Archival
Moving Image Materials: a Cataloging Manual," which was distributed in
September, 1995 and is available on our website at In March 1998, the Library
of Congress decided to proceed with a revision and asked the C&D Committee
to participate. Members of the AMIA AMIM Revision Subcommittee read LC's
drafts, prepared comments and alternative text, and lobbied for field-wide
review. This work ultimately resulted in the set of proposals submitted to
LC in April, 1999 (also on our website) and broadened the field of reviewers
to include ALA's CC:DA and Media Resources Committee, the Music Library
Association, the Society of American Archivists Standards Board, and OLAC's
Cataloging Policy Committee.

If you've looked at the AMIA comments, you know that our subcommittee
considered the March 1999 Library of Congress draft an improvement from the
original manual; nonetheless we found it problematic in a number of ways. We
were particularly concerned about the approach to transcription, uniform
title, entry, parallel title, an overuse of options, deviation from AACR2
language, redundancies, redefinition of already established terms (e.g.,
parallel title, reissue, re-release), assignment of new meanings to brackets
and question marks, form of examples, use of GMD, structure of rules, and
the interchangeable use of the terms "work," "version," and "item."

I have not seen LC's final revision. However, as far as I know, it does not
include AMIA's most far-reaching recommendations, those on version (included
in our proposed new chapter, Objects of the Records) and uniform title.
Arlene Balkansky, who heads LC's AMIM Revision Committee, has told me that
AMIA's comments were ultimately reflected in the following areas:

an increased emphasis on transcription from the work itself
promotion of greater standardization, particularly regarding film and
video terminology
the structure of supplied titles
inclusion of additional information about access points
elimination of many options
expansion of the glossary

While the Library of Congress AMIM Revision Committee did find our proposed
new chapter "Objects of the Records" useful, members did not believe it
belonged in the rules themselves. Consequently, we may well look into
publishing this document separately, so I would be interested in hearing
your thoughts on its value, as well as any comments, questions, etc.

By the way, AMIA's C&D Committee has another major project in the works. We
have just completed our Compendium of Archival Moving Image Cataloging
Practices, which presents the cataloging practices of 27 diverse
institutions. The Society of American Archivists has just approved
proceeding with publication and we hope to see it in print in the next few
months. Participants include historical societies, university archives,
broadcast organizations, museums, and subject-specialized collections, some
of the largest archives in the world (Library of Congress, National Archives
and Records Administration), as well as smaller and more specialized
collections in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Israel, and Australia.

The goal of the Compendium is to document practices in order to help provide
solutions to cataloging problems and generate discussion of moving image
cataloging issues. Although the focus is on archival moving images, the
Compendium's relevance extends to moving image collections of any kind. We
have just posted the Table of Contents, list of participating institutions,
and Introduction on our website; we're in the midst of a little tweaking (so
you might catch a couple of minor typos or formatting errors) but go ahead
and have a look and see what you think.

If you've read this far, I hope you've find this bit of cataloging history
interesting! Thanks.


Jane D. Johnson
AMIA Cataloging and Documentation Committee
Association of Moving Image Archivists

UCLA Film and Television Archive
1015 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 462-4921 x28
(323) 461-6317 (FAX)