The order of multiple lines of physical description is based on the level of accessibility.  The most accessible materials are given first, such as those for viewing.  They are followed by less accessible materials, such as those for copying and preservation.  Original materials and nitrate film are given last.  The level of accessibility is determined by considering dimension, film base, generation, and access term, if utilized.  When a generation or access term is not given in the line of physical description, the level of accessibility may be indicated by information elsewhere on the record, such as notes.

List video before film of a comparable generation or access level (e.g., a viewing copy would precede a viewing print).

300 ## $a 1 videocassette of 1 (VHS) (120 min.) : $b sd., col. ; $c 1/2 in. $3 viewing copy.

300 ## $a 4 film reels of 4 (ca. 120 min., 4,318 ft.) : $b sd., col. ; $c 16 mm. $3 viewing print.

300 ## $a 2 videoreels of 2 (ca. 120 min.) : $b sd., col. ; $c 1 in. $3 master.

300 ## $a 12 film reels of 12 on 6 (ca. 120 min., ca. 10,800 ft.) : $b sd., col. ; $c 35 mm. $3 interneg.

List complete material before incomplete material of the same generation or access level.

300 ## $a 6 film reels of 6 (55 min., 4,913 ft.) : $b sd., b&w ; $c 35 mm. $3 viewing print.

300 ## $a 2 film reels of 6 (r1, 6) (18 min., 1,610 ft.) : $b sd., b&w ; $c 35 mm. $3 viewing print.

Separate sound material is listed on a separate line of physical description immediately after the picture generation to which it corresponds.  If there is no corresponding picture generation, record this material in the order given in the group 4 list below.

300 ## $a 6 film reels of 6 (23 min., ca. 2,066 ft.) : $b si., b&w. ; $c 16 mm. $3 dupe neg pic.

300 ## $a 6 film reels of 6 (23 min., ca. 2,066 ft.) : $b sd. ; $c 16 mm. $3 dupe neg track.

300 ## $a 10 film reels of 10 (ca. 104 min., 9,357 ft.) : $b si., b&w ; $c 35 mm. $3 master pos pic.

300 ## $a 10 film reels of 10 (ca. 104 min., ca. 9,357 ft.) : $b sd. ; $c 35 mm. $3 master pos track.

After determining the order of generation and/or access terms, list dimensions in ascending order (e.g., 1/2 in., 3/4 in., 12 in.).

When cataloging nitrate film and other moving image material on the same record, the nitrate film should follow all other materials listed.

Generation and access terms are listed below in four broad groups.  The first three groups are arranged from the most accessible to the least accessible.  Separate sound track generations are listed in group 4.

Group 1:

The terms listed in group 1 are to be used in order beginning with the most accessible material.

viewing copy  [Optional access term for video]

viewing print  [Optional access term for film]

theatrical projection print  [Optional access term for film]

answer print

reversal print


Group 2:

The terms listed in group 2 are to be used in alphabetical order, with the exception of the term "master" as applied to video.  This optional access term precedes the film generation terms in group 2.

master  [Optional access term for video]


dupe neg

dupe neg pic



master pos

master pos pic


neg pic



pos pic

reversal dupe neg

reversal master pos

reversal pos

successive exposure master pos

successive exposure neg

work print

Group 3:

The terms listed in group 3 are to be used in alphabetical order.

kine neg

kine pos

original neg

original neg pic

original reversal pos

paper pos

Group 4:

The group 4 list is alphabetical, except for original sound tracks which are given at the end.  Most frequently, separate tracks will be listed immediately after the picture generation to which they correspond.  Tracks with no corresponding picture generation will follow all other material, except nitrate film.  The order given below will apply only when there is no corresponding picture generation.

double edge neg track

double edge pos track

double edge track

dupe mag track

dupe neg track

dupe pos track

mag track

mag work track

master pos track

neg track

neg work track

neopilotone sync

pos track

pos work track

rerecorded neg track

rerecorded pos track

rerecorded track


work track

original mag track

original neg track

original pos track

Optionally, archives may develop their own order of physical descriptions.  For example, an archive that holds a particular title in more than one collection may wish to group the material by collection first, using the order noted above for material in each individual collection.

See also:

5.  Physical Description Area