RE: DVD cataloging

Jane Agee (
Mon, 30 Jul 2001 12:37:16 -0700 (PDT)

With 20+ years of video collection development and public service, I'm
chiming in here. For the first few year at Duke we used call numbers,
Dewey in our case. We were constantly shifting the collection since our
limited space prohibited leaving space for additions. Also our collection
development is driven by faculty request, so we were unable to accurately
foresee where to leave space. As the budget grew and collecting
increased, we changed to accession numbers so we could shelve in order of
arrival. As at USC, all media is fully cataloged with LC subject headings,
and videos are in closed stacks making browsing a non-issue. Between the
subject headings and keyword searching in PAC, the library staff is able to
locate titles needed when patrons cannot. Here accessions numbers have
worked well.
The only time I've wished that videos were classified is when I'd like
to show physically the extent of the collection within a specific area.
However, this (classification numbers) doesn't work for browsing, locating
titles or showing off a collection due to the many interdisciplinary
titles. "Killing Us Softly," which could be classified in at least five
areas, is a perfect example and there are many others similar titles. I
suspect there are very few documentaries that fit into only one subject
In the end, one needs to analyze the factors -space, open/closed
collection, staff available to service the collection, cataloging staff,
other access points, collection analysis/ reports expected by your
institution, etc.- before determining if classification or accession
numbers will work best in your situation.
Jane Agee

"LeeAnne Krause" <> on 07/30/2001
09:10:32 AM

Please respond to

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Subject: RE: DVD cataloging

In our system, videos ARE cataloged by subject headings, so that one can
do a search and find what one needs.  It's simply that there are accession
call numbers instead of LC call numbers.  And since we have closed stacks,
browsing isn't an issue. Another reason I'm glad for accession numbering,
is that I hate to think of the difficulty with shelving, if I needed to
try to leave empty spaces on shelves for expansion.  It would take up so
much extra room!  And then what happens when our university hires a new
faculty member that wanted to build up a particular area and we didn't
leave enough room?  Then we'd have to move all the materials on the
shelves!  <shudder>!!  :)

LeeAnne L. Krause
Manager of Educational Films
USC Film Library

>>> 07/29/01 12:22PM >>>
Lee Anne,

Catalogers deal daily with the quandary you present  by making sure the
thing (the bibliographic entity) has not just a classification that fits
least one aspect of the content, but also subject headings.  Ah, subject
headings!  Most PACs I've come across pick up subject headings on keyword
searches.  If *Killing Us Softly* had no subject headings and only an
accession number, how would users lock onto its content??

once a cataloger . . . :)   Susan

Hi Rhonda-
I agree there's no reason for using accession numbers for DVDs, if you're
using LC for videos.  However, in the spirit of healthy debate, I'd like
say that I find using accession numbers for all of our videos and DVDs
quite well, as long as the media does not need to be integrated with the
book collections.  The main reason I say this, is that documentaries
especially often cross borders between disciplines.  For example, is
"Killing us Softly III" more Women's Studies or Journalism?  Where does
"Looking for Langston" go:  African American Studies or Literature?  Would
the 1994 version of "Romeo and Juliet" be put under Shakespeare or not,
since it is a loose adaptation?  There are pros and cons to accession
numbering of course, but I shudder to think of the difficulties we'd have
moving to LC.  Just my $0.02.

LeeAnne L. Krause
Manager of Educational Films
USC Film Library
803-777-2858 <>

>>> 07/27/01 03:56PM >>>
hi everyone!

we catalog our video collection using LC.  i think we used LC for the
videos as they were consistent with the rest of the library's collection,
and they would be grouped in subjects, where for educational materials
makes sense.
We are currently beginning to build our DVD collection, and so far we have
been using an accession numbering system, athough to be honest, i'm not
sure why....
how are you all cataloging your media collections?  is anyone using LC or
accession numbers?  i'm curious...


Rhonda Rosen
Media & Reserve Services Dept.
Loyola Marymount University            phone: (310)338-4584
7900 Loyola Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045-8206

Media & Reserve web page: <>
personal page: <