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The OLAC Newsletter (ISSN: 0739-1153) is a quarterly publication of the Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc. appearing in March, June, September and December. Permission is granted to copy and disseminate information contained herein, provided the source is acknowledged.
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OLAC Cataloger's Judgement: Questions and Answers
Question: I thought I knew the difference but now I am confused. Usually I just put on the cataloging record whatever it says on the container. I thought widescreen had a black strip above and below the picture. As examples, I have the following DVDs:
• Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! from Kultur, which says Full Screen 16:9, but it does have the black strip above and below the picture that I have always thought meant widescreen presentation. I did not see any trace of a second version.
Answer: The aspect ratio of 16:9 (or 1.78:1, you can do the math) is one of the more common of the widescreen designations (which is usually defined as any ratio 1.5:1 or larger). What one sees on the screen, however, is determined by the interaction of several different factors, including the aspect ratio of the original moving image and the aspect ratio of the screen on which the image is being viewed. I am not an expert on the technicalities by any means, but as I understand it, there are also various techniques in both the original production and in the video reproduction that can have an effect on how the image appears when played back (including the size of any black strip at top and bottom -- letterboxing, or at the sides -- called "pillar boxing"). There is apparently a technique in filming called "open matte," in which the height of the moving image is deliberately extended both above and below what would ordinarily be seen even in a widescreen presentation. This can allow, in effect, a moving image both to be wide and to completely fill the screen. On the reproduction side, there are things such as anamorphic formatting, which allows the electronic compression and decompression of the image depending upon the playback equipment (if I understand things correctly). For cataloging purposes, the best thing to do is probably to transcribe what the resource itself says and leave it at that.
Question: : How do we draw the line now for films like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Harry Potter that have computer animation for some characters? Are we coding these as "c" in the Tech fixed field? Or does animation still need to be more like Roger Rabbit? I'm not seeing any guidance on that in BFAS and under “animation,” MARC 21 has the unexplained “other techniques.” Any thoughts?
Answer: Like so many other things in the MARC format, the Technique element (Visual Materials 008/34 and 006/17) dates from a time when things were more simple and clear cut than they are now, and certainly before the evolution (and ubiquity) of computer-generated imagery as we know and love it today. If we took the "animation and live action" definition of code "c" absolutely literally, there would probably be relatively few films of our era that would not qualify. (Dogma 95 films, perhaps?) My advice would be to limit the use of code "c" to fairly obvious combinations of live action with (cartoon-like) animation, such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Alvin and the Chipmunks. We might take a cue from the MARC 21 definition of code "c", which suggests that it be: "Used when there is some indication elsewhere in the cataloging record that there are animated sequences. This information may appear in a Summary note (field 520) or in a Credits note (field 508)." In other words, if the animated elements are important enough to mention in the summary of an otherwise live-action film, consider using "c". One needs to use a bit more judgment regarding the simple mention of an animator in the credits, but that can be another hint to consider "c". Because Technique is optional, one can always take the easy way out and leave the default.
Question: is there a limit of three geographic area codes in 043?
Answer: Until sometime between 1997 and 2001, the MARC 21 Field Definition and Scope for 043 read: "This field contains as many as three USMARC geographic area codes (GAC) ..." (from the July 1997 version of the page). The next version of that page to which I have access, dated October 2001 (and which I believe to be the current print version) simply says, "This field contains geographic area codes (GAC) ..." and has a change bar to the left of that particular line of text. So it appears that restrictive phrase may well have been deleted as part of the MARC Update No. 2 dated October 2001. Unless some particular attention is brought to such a small textual change, it is easy to overlook. That sort of change in practice is rarely, if ever, noted in the "Format Changes" Appendix G that accompanies each MARC Update. (In fact, there is no mention of this change to field 043 in the Appendices G for the original 1999 text of MARC 21 nor in Updates No. 1 or No. 2). So we missed that change in practice. We'll get Bibliographic Formats and Standards corrected on that point. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
Question: I wonder if you can help us with a DVD cataloging question we have. Let's say a filmmaker releases a film on VHS in 1990. In the future, it is never officially "published" again on DVD, but we have contacted the filmmaker and he agrees to sell us a DVD copy of the film, which he has copied himself onto a blank DVD. In a way, this is an on-demand reprint, but on a different format. We have disagreements on how to treat this. Is it a reprint? A reproduction? A new, on-demand publication? What dates do we use in 008 and 260? If we use date , then if another library gets a copy next year, do they create an original record with ?
Answer: There's probably no entirely satisfactory way to deal with things of this sort that seem to straddle the line between on-demand reproduction and a sort of local reproduction. As you describe the situation, it sounds as though the filmmaker has made a unique DVD copy (or a small, limited number of copies) of an existing (presumably previously published) VHS cassette. This strikes me as more of a variation on local reproduction (which implies a unique copy or a limited number of copies) than as an on-demand publication (which implies -- to me, anyway -- the potential for ongoing reproduction for as long as there is demand). It's a variation because your institution has not made the unique reproduction but someone else (the filmmaker) has done so for you. My suggestion would be to follow the advice for "Locally Reproduced Videorecordings" in OCLC's Bibliographic Formats and Standards Section 3.7 (http://www.oclc.org/bibformats/en/specialcataloging/default.shtm#CHDICIBG). You can use the existing record for the original VHS version, editing it locally to describe your DVD. Or you could follow the "Guidelines" in that section to create a new record, with notes on the original VHS format, the fact that the filmmaker made the reproduction, and any other relevant information. Because the DVD is a video copy of another videorecording, use DtSt code "r", the date of the DVD reproduction in Date 1, and the date of the original in Date 2. If the filmmaker makes a habit of this, future catalogers receiving later DVD reproductions should ideally use the same record regardless of the date of the reproduction, editing locally.
Question: Does anyone put things like ill., maps, or plans in 300 subfield $b for online PDF files? Do you put it in a note somewhere? Or do you just not put it in anywhere? Right now we have things like 300 $a v, 50 p. $b digital, PDF file. Which look like the AACR2 examples. However, the Streaming Media Best Practices Task Force did (rightly I think) include the information that is generally in the 300 subfield $b of moving image records in their physical descriptions. 300 $a 1 streaming video file (58 min.) : $b digital, stereo., WMV file (1 Kbps), sd., col. with b&w sequences. I was trying to see if I could find any examples in WorldCat, but it looks to me like they don't index 300 so I just wondered what others are doing in this situation.
Answer: Especially since AACR2 made available the option of recording a "physical" description even for remotely accessed electronic resources (9.5A1b, 9.5B3, 9.5C3, and the related rules in 9.7B), there would be no reason to exclude an appropriate indication of illustrations for such things as PDFs. Referring back to the rules for describing other primarily textual resources is right in the spirit of 0.23, which tells us to "Use the chapters in part I alone or in combination as the specific problem demands." As far as I've been able to tell, there is no explicit guidance in AACR2 about the order of data when such combining of rules from various chapters takes place. My gut feeling, however, is to suggest that the file type ("digital, PDF file") called for in 9.5C3 should precede any indication of illustrations in field 300 subfield $b. Identifying the type of file feels like an imperative (dictating the software needed for access), whereas indicating the presence of illustrations in this context is useful but not mandatory.