RE: Letterbox vs reformatted

Charles Ebert (ebertch@oplin.lib.oh.us)
Sat, 21 Mar 1998 10:31:51 -0800

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I hate to admit it but I've never paid much attention to the format when =
I've bought video. It's such a struggle to get that order out every =
week that I guess I just don't need anything else to worry about. The =
patrons don't seem to care, either. In fact the few comments I've had =
have been largely anti letterbox. They say the image is too small. And =
I had one person swear to me that the heads of the actors were cut off =
in our letterbox version of Jaws. =20

As for cataloging, that's all done in technical services. They use copy =
cataloging from OCLC and seem to take the first record they find. I =
send back the most egregious mistakes but if I do it too often, I'll =
hear about it.

Charles Ebert
Head, Audio-Visual Services
Muskingum County Library System
Zanesville, OH =20

>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
format,
>and if there are others out there, why isn't it mentioned in the =
record.
Could
>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.=20
> I know many patrons - and obviously librarians - are confused about =
the
whole
>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
difficuilt
>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
important
>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=20
>and probably a Spanish language version as well.=20
> 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 www.library.nwu.edu Once =
you're
in to the catalog, type t=3Dapollo 13/vi to see a typical catalog =
record.

Steve
Stephen P. Marek voice: 847.467-6436=09
Head, Mitchell Multimedia Center fax: 847.491.8306
Northwestern University Library email: smarek@nwu.edu=20
1935 Sheridan Road Evanston IL 60208
http://www.library.nwu.edu/staff/smarek

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