3B1.    There are four ways ( FN 2) of stating the extent; indicate the number by an arabic numeral.  Record 1 if there is only one item unit, even if implicit in the use of the specific material designation in the singular.  For special additions, see 3B6.  See also 3C4.2.

a.   Record the exact number of single items.

Examples 1

b.   Record the approximate number of single items.

Examples 2

c.   Record the number of containers or volumes. ( FN 3)

Examples 3

d.   Record the linear (i.e., length of shelf or file drawer) or cubic measurement.

Examples 4

1996 UPDATE:  The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division rarely describes collections in terms of linear feet, but provides this as an option to those institutions wishing to follow manuscript cataloging guidelines for certain collections.

3B2.    Later Addition of Material to a Collection

It is recognized that when collections are cataloged there may be a need to provide for the later addition of material, as when new material is accessioned from the same source as an already cataloged collection, and it is appropriate to add it.  Under these circumstances, portions of the record are naturally subject to change (usually the statement of extent), with a final statement of exact contents when the decision is made to close the collection.  It may, however, instead be desirable to catalog the addition separately, linking it to the collection by a note (see 5B22).

1997 UPDATE:  Optionally if additional materials are expected to be added to a collection and separate catalog records are not desirable, record the number of items initially cataloged followed by three spaces.  Enclose the number in angle brackets to reflect the temporary status of the information.  Update the record as new materials are added to the collection.

<ca. 450 > items

<ca. 3,500 > photographic prints

Make a note explaining that additional materials will be added to the collection.

3B3.    Series

Record the number of items in a series according to what is in hand.  If the series is evidently incomplete, as when numbers in the sequence are missing, make an explanatory note about what is wanting.

3B4.    Information on the Component Parts of a Collection

When a collection is being described and a more specific statement of extent is desirable, add the number of component parts in parentheses.  This additional statement may show a single figure representing the total number of components or it may show multiple figures representing the subtotal for the different categories of material within a container or volume.  When such details are numerous or complex, give them in the note area.  For complex collections, see also 3F.

1996 UPDATE:  "Collection" here is meant in the broadest sense and can signify any material with component parts, e.g., albums, portfolios.


3B5.    Specific Material Designation

Choose a term from the list below for the specific material designation (SMD).  If desirable, give further description in other physical details (see 3C) and in the note area.  The material on which the image has been printed or executed and the mounting may also be of significance and are then included with the specific material designation (see 3B6.3 and 3B6.4).




  photographic print

  contact sheet










  photomechanical print



1996 UPDATE:  The SMD list is deliberately limited to a few general terms that can be readily recognized by a broad range of catalog users, from persons unfamiliar with terminology for graphic media to those with more specialized expertise.  The SMD can optionally be followed by more specific terminology for the media (see 3C).


3B5.1    1996 UPDATE:  Optionally, expand the SMD to include terms describing both physical media and format, by adding the format in parentheses after the general SMD.


3B5.2    1996 UPDATE:  Optionally, use any term from an established vocabulary source or a published thesaurus.


3B6.    Special Additions to the Extent Statement and the Specific Material Designation

3B6.1.  Multiple images:

When more than one discrete image is on the same side of a single support, indicate this in parentheses.


Optionally, make a separate record for each image and make a note as to their relationship.

3B6.2.  Multiple sheets composing one image:

When a single image consists of more than one sheet, indicate the number of sheets in parentheses.


3B6.3.  Primary support (optional addition):

Expand the extent statement to specify the type of material for the primary support when this would convey significant information.  Some typical cases are:

the material is unusual as a support for the image medium or it cannot reliably be inferred from the specific material designation;

such features of the material as texture, color, or weight are unusually important in relation to the image;

the support needs to be described so as to make the catalog record distinctive.


3B6.4.  Secondary support (optional addition):

Normally, information on the secondary support is not given as part of the expansion of the extent statement.  However, an image with secondary support may be noted if the mount or mat is of historical, informational, aesthetic, or archival importance.


See also:

3.  Physical Description Area