Film cataloging rules (AMIM) revision project

Jane Johnson (
Tue, 9 Feb 1999 17:03:22 -0800 (PST)

This announcement is being posted to several listservs; please pardon the duplication.

A revision of Archival Moving Image Materials: a Cataloging Manual (AMIM) is in progress.  The revision effort is being coordinated by the Library of Congress, which invited contributions from the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA).  AMIA contributions and comments on the project are now available for review through March 15 at the AMIA website:  The Library of Congress (LC) draft is available at the LC Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO) website:


In March 1998, the Library of Congress (LC) invited the AMIA Cataloging and Documentation Committee to participate in the revision of Wendy White-Hensen's cataloging standard, Archival Moving Image Materials: a Cataloging Manual (AMIM).  This work is the standard descriptive cataloging tool for the field, and has not been updated since its original publication in 1984.  The Committee began laying the groundwork for such a revision several years ago with its nationwide survey (resulting in the 1995 report, Recommendations for Revision of Archival Moving Image Materials: a Cataloging Manual), and a subsequent survey which forms the basis of the Compendium of Cataloging Practices.

The chair of the AMIM Revision Subcommittee is Jane Johnson (UCLA Film and Television Archive).  Committee members include Ruta Abolins (University of Georgia Libraries), Henry Mattoon (National Moving Image Database), Joanne Rudof (Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies), and Judi Hoffman (Library of Congress). The Committee is working with the internal AMIM Revision Committee in the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (M/B/RS), chaired by Arlene Balkansky.  The revision process is being coordinated and overseen by the Library of Congress Cataloging and Support Office (CPSO). 

As LC prepared its preliminary draft, it asked the AMIA subcommittee to propose rules for several areas, namely uniform title, unedited footage, transcription, information sources, collection level records, and new glossary terms.  It also requested that AMIA comment on the LC drafts where they addressed those areas. LC asked AMIA to hold its comments on Chapters 3-7 until the general review period (December 15 through March 15).

The AMIA Subcommittee recommends an approach to description which is significantly different from both the original rules and the LC draft. AMIA is particularly concerned that the new AMIM maintain consistency with other existing standards (especially in the areas of transcription, uniform title, and main entry) and provide additional guidelines in areas not previously addressed (e.g., choice of access points).  This approach will simplify cataloging and bring the rules into conformity with current practices in the field. 

Because of this difference in approach, initial AMIA contributions (based on LCs draft chapters 0-2) have taken the form of alternative drafts of Chapters 0-2, and three new chapters: Object of the Record (i.e. guidelines for when to make a new record), Choice of Access Points, and Uniform Title.  In December 1998, LC posted a complete draft (Introduction, Chapters 0-7 and Appendices A-J) on its CPSO website. The AMIA Subcommittee has completed its review of that draft, and produced the following additional documents:
Comments on the Library of Congress Draft Revision
Physical Description in the LC Draft Revision and AMIA Proposals (discussion paper)
The AMIA AMIM Revision Subcommittee believes that only a rigorous assessment of all the AMIM revision work can produce effective rules with broad-based support.  The Subcommittee therefore welcomes input on both the Library of Congress and the AMIA drafts.  Please send comments and questions to:

Jane D. Johnson
Chair, AMIM Revision Subcommittee
Chair, AMIA Cataloging and Documentation Committee
Association of Moving Image Archivists

UCLA Film and Television Archive
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