Preservation Cataloging

Cataloging of Photographs

Intellectual control is essential for making photographs accessible to researchers. Cataloging strategies can range from collection-level entries to finding aids to item-level entries with or without digital images.

The WPC's photograph cataloger can provide free consultation for all Harvard repositories, helping you develop the appropriate cataloging strategy for your collections. Cataloging of collections or individual photographs is available; however, projects are scheduled on a priority basis. Click here to contact the WPC about photograph cataloging.

The following resources offer advice and guidelines for describing and cataloging photographs:


Imaging Services Cataloging

Quality cataloging is essential for the identification of, description of, and long-term access to reformatted library materials. At Imaging Services, we offer a wide range of cataloging services to ensure that materials are carefully handled and fully cataloged prior to delivery to our imaging devices.


Printed Materials

Initially, cataloging staff search selected titles in the national bibliographic databases for the existence of preservation masters at other institutions. In addition, staff will also search local online catalogs to verify holdings, thereby avoiding potential duplication of effort. If a title already has a preservation master, the catalog record is edited to reflect the existence and location of the preservation master. When available, an existing bibliographic record is updated to reflect the creation of a preservation master. When no record is available, a new bibliographic record for the item is created following MARC21, OCLC, CONSER, and HOLLIS conventions. Bibliographic staff verify name and subject headings on each record, and upgrade data elements to reflect AACR2 standards. An additional title (field 830: uniform title added entry) is added to each record in order to identify materials reformatted under specific projects or reformatting programs. These records can be searched by author, title, and keyword, so that researchers can identify all materials that have been reformatted in a given subject area. Bibliographic records are distributed to OCLC as materials are reformatted. This identifies Harvard as the institution maintaining the master copy of the reformatted title. When appropriate, staff will add a preservation action note (field 583) to help clarify or expand upon a specific reformatting decision.


Visual Materials

Imaging Services offers cataloging services for visual materials held at Harvard repositories. Visual materials may include such items as photographs, prints, posters, and drawings. Cataloging staff describe the materials in OLIVIA, Harvard's centrally supported cataloging system for visual materials, according to established standards from the visual resources community and local practices.