InDoMat Final Report

This is the final report of a completed RLG project.

"Inaccessible Domain" material types
Available means for providing access
Proposed minimum-level record for collections
Conclusion and recommendations
Key to acronyms
Sources and bibliography
Comparative charts
Sample records


The "Inaccessible Domain" Materials Working Group (informally known as InDoMat) was formed in July 1994 as a result of discussions during the annual meeting of the RLG Art and Architecture Group (AAG) held in Providence the previous February. In light of past cooperative projects within the AAG community—particularly projects to catalog exhibition catalogs and monographic series—several AAG members volunteered to form this group to explore the possibilities of providing access to those materials in our library collections that because of insufficient time or staff remain uncataloged, and therefore unknown, to researchers.

The original working group was composed of Ann Abid (Cleveland Museum of Art), Nancy Allen (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Pat Barnett (Frick Art Reference Library), Jeannette Dixon (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), Pedro Figueredo (Wolfsonian Foundation), Milan Hughston (Amon Carter Museum, AAG liaison), Roger Lawson (National Gallery of Art, WG Chair), Peter Trepanier (National Gallery of Canada), and Jim Coleman (RLG). After Jim Coleman's departure from RLG, member services officer for SHARES Carol Hughes took over as RLG liaison to the working group. The group held monthly conference calls and devised a plan for meeting the charge as set forth by the RLG AAG Steering Committee.

The InDoMat working group was charged with:

  1. Identifying the material types that fall into the "inaccessible domain."
  2. Identifying the means currently available for making the materials accessible.
  3. Making recommendations to RLG for improving access to these materials on RLIN.

We examined other projects within RLG (such as ArtNACO, SCIPIO, and the Avery Library's AVIADOR) and outside of it (Artists in Canada, the Victoria and Albert National Art Library in-house system) as well as the current literature on cataloging ephemeral material to serve as guides. It was decided that devising a cooperative decentralized project based upon readily vailable, easily understood, and mutually agreeable standards provided the best means for achieving our goal.

"Inaccessible Domain" material types

We identified five material types— catalogs, clippings, visual resources, architectural records, and documents—for the purposes of this project and for which sample records would be created and tested. The chief criteria were that they be considered important enough to the AAG community to warrant access, and that they be commonly found in library collections. We agreed that for greatest flexibility and applicability, the material types should apply to all physical formats (printed, visual, and machine-readable).

The Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) was chosen as the source for identifying the material types. Apart from the AAT's focus on subjects of primary importance to AAG members, the hierarchies allow for organization of more specific categories of material types under these broad terms. Its increasing use in the archival community as a source for genre terms was considered another advantage.

Available means for providing access

The means for providing access at the basic and full levels to these material types at the item level are already well established—AACR2, the USMARC format, RLG documentation, and other guidelines for specific materials (see Sources and bibliography). It usually is the lack of sufficient time or skilled personnel that prevents institutions from describing items individually to meet national standards at the full level. Thus we decided that formulation of a minimum-level standard of description at the collection level for textual and visual materials—a task that the RLG Archives and Manuscripts Task Force on Standards (AMTFS) was currently attempting for archival materials—should be the starting point for the InDoMat project. The conventions of describing archival collections presented a model for providing basic access that could be enhanced to give more details as time and staffing permitted.

The AMTFS draft report (October 1995) and the RLG Base-Level StandardBooks (July 1983) were reviewed in order to avoid possible conflicts. Comparisons were also made with other existing or proposed "core record" projects for bibliographic and visual resources, viz., the Library of Congress (both in-house and through the Program for Cooperative Cataloging), the Visual Resources Association, and the Getty Art Information Task Force. Except for the very recent initiative at the Library of Congress to create full-level standards for cataloging collections, the projects' focus is item-level description and access. A comparative chart of fields for each is included at the end of this report. The USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data minimum-level standards are found in its Key to acronyms.

Proposed minimum-level record for collections

a. Characteristics

The working group agreed that a minimum-level standard record for collections should be defined for InDoMat that:

  • Follows USMARC assignment of fixed and variable fields
  • Applies to all material types identified by this working group
  • Resides in the RLIN file appropriate to the material described
  • Provides enough description to identify the material and its location
  • Provides flexibility for enhancement as local staffing conditions permit
  • Allows links to item-level records or other resources on-site

Follows USMARC assignment of fixed and variable fields. That USMARC would be used for InDoMat was never in question. USMARC also provides a standard point of reference for most local systems, a major boon to creation of these records locally for contribution to RLIN via tape or FTP.

Applies to all material types identified by this working group. Although some of what falls into the "inaccessible domain" is "bibliographic" material—i.e., printed monographs—art and architecture library collections can often include graphic, visual, and machine-readable materials. The most commonly encountered material types were selected without specific regard to physical format.

Resides in the RLIN file appropriate to the material described. RLIN implementation of USMARC format integration allows the same USMARC tags to be used regardless of physical format. Recent developments relating to the USMARC format integration were fortuitously timed for InDoMat. RLIN will continue to separate formats into files, and the AMC file will bear the expanded designation "archival and mixed collections." This file represents more a method of organization rather than a physical format, however, as mixed materials of any type may be described here.

Provides enough description to identify the material and its location. Apart from the elements required for RLIN system control, the proposed minimum-level record prescribes only five variable fields considered essential for identification and access of the materials. Our proposal differs from other RLG minimum-level standards in one significant area: subject access. We noted that other RLG minimum-level standards either proposed or accepted do not require access points for subject or genre. In fact, the USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data (UFBD) Appendix A requires nothing beyond the series (4XX) fields except the reproduction note (533), which is mandatory if applicable. The proposed Library of Congress guidelines for cataloging collections are not minimum-level, but they do require subject headings. However, the change in the method by which personal names are searched in the RLIN AMC file—a personal name (PN) or personal name, exact (PE) search is no longer applied to names tagged as subjects—highlighted the need, in our opinion, to make some subject access, either by subject or genre term, a requirement for our minimum-level records. After further consideration of the need of some institutions to use Library of Congress Subject Headings or other standard lists of terminology in these fields, our original requirement for only a genre heading (655) with the AAT as the source seemed too restrictive. We therefore recommend that the minimum-level record contain either a subject heading or a genre heading from a field-appropriate source listed in the USMARC Code List for Relators, Sources, Description Conventions (1993). The source of the term(s) used is indicated in the appropriate indicator or subfield.

Provides flexibility for enhancement as local staffing conditions permit. The option to provide additional description and access to the minimum-level record may be exercised as local conditions allow. The uniform application of USMARC data elements across material types greatly simplifies tagging for novice and skilled personnel alike. For cases in which either selective or comprehensive access to items is desired, the constituent item entry field (see next paragraph) can be easily and quickly added to the minimum-level record.

Allows links to item-level records or other resources on-site. Two relatively new variable fields in the USMARC format allow connections to be made from a collection-level record to individual items. First of these is the constituent item entry (774) field, which is based on the AVIADOR/PACSCL local field 789 used to provide links to item-level descriptions. This field, approved for USMARC implementation and expected to become usable in RLIN in early 1997, allows limited description of (though not subject access to) items within a collection, including unique numbers associated with an item (bar code numbers, accession numbers) and access on RLIN via related title (RT) searches. One or more 774 fields could be added as needed to provide selective or comprehensive access to items within a collection. The second is the electronic location and access (856) field, which contains the address (hypertext or other electronic identifier) of other sources relating to the collection (e.g., finding aids or container lists) that may be available through the World Wide Web.

b. Proposed minimum-level record data elements

The following data elements were identified as relevant to this project. Fields listed as mandatory if applicable are those we consider essential for minimum-level description and access. Those listed as optional provide important information but are suggestions only, to be assigned subject to local conditions and policy, and addition of these fields would not increase the CC value. Contributors might agree informally to include these fields routinely.

Description conventions: The standard for description is AACR2. If supplementary guidelines for specific material types (see Sources and bibliography) are employed, the code for the source is entered in 040 $e. See USMARC Code List for Relators, Sources, Description Conventions for codes.

RLIN mnemonics and USMARC equivalents are given for the fixed-field elements. For variable fields, all applicable subfields should be included. For further information on each element, see USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data (1994).

The following fields are mandatory if applicable:
Fixed fields
USMARC RLIN Description
RTYP* Record type
CC* Cataloging category 9554 (Our records meet base-level standard in BKS, standard in AMC)
Leader 06/07 BLT Bibliographic level and type
Leader 08 TOC Type of control a=archival control (applies to records in AMC; records in any file with ARC segments)
Leader 17 EL Encoding level
Leader 18 DCF Descriptive cataloging form
008/06 PC Type of date
008/07-14 PD Dates
008/15-17 CP Place of publication/repository
008/23 REP Type of reproduction code
008/35-37 L Language
008/39 CSC Cataloging source code
* RLIN-defined; system-supplied if record is loaded from local system
Variable fields
040 Cataloging source
1XX Main entry heading
245 Title
300 Physical description/extent
6XX Subject/genre heading
The following fields are optional, but recommended for improved access
035 Local system control number
041 Language
043 Geographic area code
5XX General and local notes:
500 General notes
520 Summary
545 Biographical information
555 Cumulative index/finding aid
590 Local note
7XX Added entries (if applicable)
774 Constituent item entry (not yet implemented)
852 Location of collection
856 Electronic location and access

Conclusion and recommendations

In the spirit of cooperation which has characterized past AAG endeavors, the working group proposes this standard as a means of providing prompt, effective access to collections that we feel are within the scope of RLG's interest in unique resources of demonstrated research value. We believe that the basic level of description and access that this standard provides is substantially better than the lack of information that now exists. The fact that constituencies in and out of RLG are working simultaneously to devise minimum-level standards attests to the value of this approach.

The InDoMat Working Group is therefore pleased to present, with the approval of the AAG Steering Committee, this report to the AAG membership for immediate implementation. The report is also being distributed to the RLG Primary Sources Group and to appropriate committees in other relevant organizations (ARLIS/NA, SAA, VRA) for comment.

Given the opportunity to provide online access to important resources heretofore undocumented on RLIN, AAG members will be strongly motivated to participate in a project of this kind. Free transfer from local systems via FTP offers further encouragement to take on additional (albeit simplified) cataloging tasks. However, the financial restraints that require some institutions to adhere to network standards in order to receive search credits could hamper progress in providing information for these materials. We therefore recommended that RLG consider the acceptance of this proposal as a standard for which there is some financial benefit to contributors. One possibility is the offer of search credits. Search credits based on a distinctive field value (for example, a full-level standard original cataloging record earns a four-search credit based on the CC value) might prove promising. For example, a minimum-level standard original record for collections might earn a two-search credit. It should be noted that at present only minimum-level records entered in the RLIN AMC file with a CC value of X55X are eligible to receive search credits. Records entered in the AMC file should be for archival or mixed materials; records for collections composed entirely of one material type (e.g., printed monographs and serials, visual materials, machine-readable data files, maps, sound recordings, and scores) should be entered in the appropriate RLIN file.

Two issues relating to search credits require further study. The first relates to RLG practice to award search credits for records adhering to nationally accepted standards. As no national standard for minimum-level description and access for collections yet exists, the justification for awarding search credits for InDoMat records must find another basis. The second concerns the network system procedure for assigning CC values to "imported" records, i.e., records of any level created on a local system and added to RLIN via tape or file transfer. Such records are automatically assigned a CC value of X66X, and are therefore ineligible for search credits. Inasmuch as the practice of creating records locally for contribution to national bibliographic networks represents an increasingly cost-effective means of record contributions by institutions regardless of size, and is thus likely to increase, the InDoMat Working Group recommends that RLG consider modifying the existing policies and programs relating directly to the issues of (1) defining a standard in the absence of an official national precedent, and (2) assigning a CC (or other field) value to allow "imported" records to be awarded search credits.

The InDoMat Working Group feels a particular affinity for the work of the RLG AMTFS, and we see some parallels in our efforts: the AMTFS is attempting to improve access to aggregations of unique research materials; InDoMat is attempting to improve access to unique aggregations of research materials. We are confident that contributions from both sources will enrich RLIN and strengthen its role as an important, indeed, indispensable component of scholarly research.

Key to acronyms used in this report

AMTFS Archives and Manuscripts Task Force on Standards (RLG)
ArtNACO Art Name Authorities Cooperative Project
AVIADOR Avery Videodisk Index of Architectural Drawings on RLIN (RLG)
PACSCL Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections and Libraries
PCC Program for Cooperative Cataloging (Library of Congress)
PCC/AV(MI) Program for Cooperative Cataloging/Audio-Visual (Moving Images)
(Task Force)
PCC/AV(GM) Program for Cooperative Cataloging/Audio-Visual (Graphic Materials)
(Task Force)
SCIPIO Sales Catalog Index Project Input Online (RLG)
UFBDUS MARC Format for Bibliographic Data
VRA Visual Resources Association

Sources and bibliography


The following is a selective list of sources of description conventions used in creating minimum-level cataloging records for collections according to the standard proposed above.

Anglo-American Cataloging Rules. 2nd ed., rev. Chicago : American Library Association, 1988. Updated by 1993 Amendments.

Library of Congress Rule Interpretations. Washington : Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, 1989- . Updated quarterly.

Hensen, Steven L. Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts : a Cataloging Manual for Archival Repositories, Historical Societies, and Manuscript Libraries. 2nd. ed. Chicago : Society of American Archivists, 1989.

Parker, Elizabeth Betz. Graphic Materials : Rules for Describing Original Items and Historical Collections. Washington : Library of Congress, 1982.

USMARC Code List for Countries. Washington : Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress, 1993.

USMARC Code List for Geographic Areas. Washington : Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress, 1994.

USMARC Code List for Languages. Washington : Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress, 1993.

USMARC Code List for Relators, Sources, Description Conventions. Washington : Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress, 1993.

USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data. Washington : Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, 1994. Updated quarterly.

RLIN Supplement to the USMARC Bibliographic Format. 1st ed. [Mountain View, CA] : Research Libraries Group, 1989 (and supplements).

RLIN Memory Aid : Variable Fields (Integrated Bibliographic Format). 1st ed. [Mountain View, CA] : Research Libraries Group, 1995.


Artists in Canada : a Union List of Artists' Files = Artistes au Canada : une liste collective des dossiers. 3rd ed. Ottawa : The Library, National Gallery of Canada, 1988.

Automating Newspaper Clippings Files : a Practical Guide / by members of the Newspaper Division, Special Libraries Association. Washington, DC : The Association, 1987.

"Avisdatabaser nyttige men erstatter ikke klipparkivet" [Newspaper databases are useful but do not replace clipping files]. In: Bok og bibliotek (ISSN 0006-5811) v. 58, no. 4 (1988) p. 26-29.

Bichteler, Julie. "Geologists and Gray Literature : Access, Use, and Problems." In: Science & Technology Libraries (ISSN 0194-262x) v. 11 (Spring 1991) p. 39-50.

Defining a Component Item Entry Field in the USMARC Bibliographic Format. USMARC discussion paper no. 80 (May 27, 1994) (available from the USMARC electronic discussion group)

Gilmartin, Jacqueline, and Anne Beavan. Dynix : a Guide for Librarians and Systems Managers. Brookfield, VT : Ashgate, 1992.

Huby, Danielle, and Claude Hurisse. "How IFP [Institut fran ais du petrole] Processes Data Concerning Meetings" [presented at the IATUL seminar, 1988, Veszprem, Hungary]. In: IATUL Quarterly (ISSN 0950-4117) v. 2 (Dec. 1988), p. 215-222.

Hughston, Milan. "Preserving the Ephemeral : New Access to Artists' Files, Vertical Files, and Scrapbooks." In: Art Documentation v. 9, no. 4 (Winter 1990), p. 179-181.

Johnson, Ruth M. "Extension Literature in UK Agriculture : its Bibliographic Control" [rev. version of a paper presented at the 7th World Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Librarians and Documentalists, Ottawa, June 1985]. In: Quarterly bulletin of the International Association of Agricultural Librarians and Documentalists (ISSN 0020-5966) v. 33, no. 3 (1988), p. 99-104

Kronenfeld, Michael, and Louis Howley. "Theory and Implementation of an Automated Vertical File." In: Readers' Quarterly no. 3 (Spring 1994), p. 387-394.

Lamolinara, Guy. "Hispanic Division's Ephemeral Collections Become More Solid." In: Library of Congress Information Bulletin (ISSN 0041-7904) v. 50 (Oct. 7, 1991), p. 382.

Luzi, Daniela, and Paola Molinas. "La catalogazione della letturatura grigia" [Cataloging of gray literature]. In: Bollettino d'informazioni (Associazione italiana biblioteche) (ISSN 0004-5934) v. 27 (luglio-dic. 1987), p. 325-344.

Makepeace, Chris E. Ephemera : a Book on its Collection, Conservation, and Use. Aldershot, Hants. ; Brookfield, VT : Gower, c1985.

Posnett, N. W. "Factors Affecting the Accessibility of Nonconventional Literature for use in the United Kingdom, and Some Possible Solutions." In: Library Acquisitions (ISSN 0364-6408) v. 8, no. 4 (1984), p. 275-285.

Readings on the Vertical File / [collected by] Michael D.G. Spencer. Englewood, CO : Libraries Unlimited, 1993.

Sitter, Clara Loewen. The Vertical File and its Alternatives : a Handbook. Englewood, CO : Libraries Unlimited, 1992.

Wrighting, Andrew. "Cataloguing Ephemera : a Student's Project." In: Catalogue & Index (ISSN 0008-7629) v. 76-77 (Spring-Summer 1985), p. 15-16.

Comparative charts

M Mandatory
MA Mandatory if applicable
O Optional
N/A Not applicable

Fixed-length fields
Base BKS
LC Coll PCC/
VRA Getty
05 ST* M M M N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
06 BL M M M M M M N/A N/A
07 BT M M M M M M N/A N/A
08 TOC M M [M] [M] M M N/A N/A
17 EL M [M] M M M M N/A N/A
18 DCF M M M M M M N/A N/A
007   O MA[micr] MA MA MA MA N/A N/A
06 PC M M M M M M N/A N/A
07-14 DATES M M M M M M N/A N/A
15-17 CP/PP M M M M M M N/A N/A
35-37 L M M M M M M N/A N/A
38 MOD         M M N/A N/A
39 CSC M M M M M M N/A N/A
* RLIN-defined; system-supplied if record is loaded from local system
Variable-length fields
Base BKS
LC Coll PCC/
VRA Getty
010       MA MA MA N/A N/A
020         MA MA N/A N/A
028         MA N/A N/A N/A
037         N/A MA N/A N/A
040 M M M   M M N/A N/A
041 O O   MA MA MA N/A N/A
042         M M N/A N/A
043 O O O O O O N/A N/A
050       M     N/A N/A
082       M     N/A N/A
240       MA MA MA    
245 M M M M M M M M
246       MA MA MA    
250     MA   MA MA    
260     M M M M M M
300 M M   MA M M    
4XX       MA MA MA    
5XX O   MA(533) MA MA MA    
655 M       MA MA M M
7XX O     MA MA MA    
8XX       MA MA      
852 O           M M
856 O              
9XX MA(952)

Sample records

Sample records compiled by members of this working group can be found in the RLIN bibliographic files using the search find tp indomat demonstration#

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