Re: Letterbox vs reformatted

Stephen Marek (
Fri, 20 Mar 1998 15:31:03

At 12:37 PM 3/20/98 -0800, you wrote:
>I purchase videos for a medium-size public library and would like to get some
>input on what other film and video librarians think about widescreen vs
>reformatted videos in their collections. Following a search of other library
>databases, it would appear that I'm the only one who orders widescreen
>and if there are others out there, why isn't it mentioned in the record.
>it be that film and especially video is treated like a nuisance rather than
>an important part of a public library collection? In most cases, the
cataloguing is so minimal that there's no added entry for actors,
directors, etc., let
>alone a mention of any special differences in content or format.
> I know many patrons - and obviously librarians - are confused about the
>format business, there isn't even an industry standard on what to call it -
>letterbox or widescreen? As a self-confessed film fanatic, I find it
>to understand why anyone would want to watch only a portion of the film as
>opposed to seeing the entire image. It's sort like reading an abridged book.
> We have a difference of opinion within our region about whether it's
>to give the patron some clue about which version of a video they're finding
>when they search our database. For example: One record for Star Wars with a
>note indicating that some versions may have extra scenes added, etc. or a
>separate record for the new collector's edition which has additional footage.
>To complicate matters, there is also the collector's edition in widescreen
>and probably a Spanish language version as well.
> I'd really appreciate some feedback on this issue. I'm the only A.V.
librarian in the region and will be a small voice crying in the wilderness!!

We have nearly 9,000 titles in the video collection at Northwestern
University Library. All are fully cataloged with complete added entries and
format statements that note widescreen or other special editions. I will
usually purchase a second copy of a title when a widescreen edition appears
(usually on laserdisc or dvd) as an alternative to the original pan and
scan. You can access NuCat, our OPAC, at Once you're
in to the catalog, type t=apollo 13/vi to see a typical catalog record.

Stephen P. Marek voice: 847.467-6436
Head, Mitchell Multimedia Center fax: 847.491.8306
Northwestern University Library email:
1935 Sheridan Road Evanston IL 60208