Shortly after the publication of the second edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, the Library of Congress announced it would prepare separate manuals to deal with specialized materials that were not fully covered in the code.  For graphic materials, this meant a concern for the collections of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, custodian of some eleven million original photographs and negatives, historical prints, fine art prints, posters, drawings, and paintings on paper.  Comparable collections in other institutions, including museums and archives, would benefit from an expansion of the rules, as there was no existing cataloging code addressing these materials.

The Library saw the task of compiling the necessary rules as a complex one in view of the following problems:  (1) finding the time for its subject and cataloging specialists to work on drafts; (2) reconciling the differences in viewpoint between general cataloging practices and those needed for specialized collections; (3) identifying other groups and individual experts, who could have input into the rules; and (4) promoting AACR 2 as the national standard on which all this activity necessarily must be based.

Fortunately, the Council of National Library and Information Associations (CNLIA) had already formed the Joint Committee on Specialized Cataloging, whose goal was to act as a liaison between the Library of Congress and other persons and groups involved with the cataloging of special materials.  After discussion with representatives of the Library, CNLIA decided to seek funding to help in a project to produce manuals for manuscripts, archival collections of motion pictures, and original graphic items and historical collections.  In June 1980, CNLIA received a grant from the Research Resources Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities to enable a committee to meet in Washington, D.C., once the Library of Congress had written a draft and had collated reviews from the widest possible range of specialists in the field.

The compilation of rules was undertaken by Elisabeth Betz, Picture Cataloging Specialist in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division of Research Services and a member of the Joint Committee on Specialized Cataloging.  While the draft was being prepared, the staff of the Prints and Photographs Division offered critical insight and solutions to problems peculiar to the graphic arts.  The Office for Descriptive Cataloging Policy was frequently consulted on questions regarding AACR 2.  Approximately 350 copies of the draft were distributed early in 1982 to a variety of specialized and general librarians, museum curators, and archivists.  Comments were incorporated into the draft, which was then studied by the editorial committee.  This committee was composed of Elisabeth Betz and five individuals chosen for their experience with different kinds and sizes of graphic collections, their knowledge of methods of documentation used in libraries, archives, and museums, their knowledge of automated library systems, and their professional affiliations.  These persons were:  Georgia Bumgardner (Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.), Lynn Cox (Curator of Prints and Photographs, The Peale Museum, Baltimore), James Kopp (Librarian, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Md.), William Roberts (Assistant Head, Public Services, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley), and Christopher Seifried (Head of Cataloging, National Photography Collection, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa).

The Library of Congress is grateful for the support of the Council on National Library and Information Associations, and through them, the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Library wishes to thank the editorial committee and all those individuals who took the time to comment on the draft.  It is hoped these rules will prove useful when describing materials that are originals or are historical in nature.  For published graphic materials primarily of a current nature, we recommend that librarians continue to apply Chapter 8 of AACR 2, which has not been replaced by the present compilation of rules.

Ben R. Tucker

Chief, Office for Descriptive Cataloging Policy

Processing Services

See also:

Graphic Materials:  Contents