Format Integration Memorandum

March 15, 1996

Fr: Yale Archives and Manuscript Catalogers

Re: Format Integration

As you undoubtedly have heard, phase II of MARC format integration is to be implemented in ORBIS starting next week. Among the more dramatic changes brought about by format integration is the elimination of the AMC (Archives and Manuscript Control) format.

Until the issues detailed below are resolved, the archives and manuscript catalogers at Yale will use the Mixed Materials format for all materials that would have been cataloged into AMC prior to format integration. Therefore, the keyword search with the qualifier "u.fmt." will retrieve the same materials as in the past. The tags in the indices, however, will vary. Pre-format integration records will continue to display as <archiv-mss>; post-format integration records will display as <mixed material>.

The implementation of format integration phase II in ORBIS as currently specified by the new NOTIS release and the MARBI standards would result in the following issues for archival and manuscript materials cataloged in ORBIS:

* Single manuscripts as well as manuscript and archival collections cataloged after format integration would be scattered among formats, depending on which specific form of material (textual, visual, music, cartographic, etc.) predominates. Where no single form of material predominates, collections would be cataloged in the new Mixed Materials format (coded as "u" in the FMT fixed field). Thus physical format has been given precedence over the idea of archival control, with the result that manuscript and archival materials would no longer be retrieved with a single format search.

* Material cataloged in the AMC format (FMT = u) prior to format integration and readily retrieved by a keyword search with the qualifier "u.fmt." would remain as is. No changes would be made to bring existing records into line with format integration specs.

* In a "split file" situation such as this, locating occurrences of manuscript material throughout the ORBIS database would require decidedly more complex searching.

* The brief and long displays for the Mixed Materials format will be governed by those previously defined for AMC records. However, the brief and long displays of other formats have been defined in terms of the fields these formats have used traditionally, and not with the idea that archives and manuscript records would be present. If any other record type is chosen (due to the predominance of a type of material), only the fields previously defined for the format that the record type (RT) is mapped to will be seen in the OPAC display. For example, record type (RT) "t" (manuscript language material) is mapped to the Books format, and the Books brief and long views govern the display. These displays do not include fields which provide necessary information about manuscript and archival material.

There is considerable and heated debate within the manuscripts and archives community at large about the MARBI specs for manuscript and archives treatment, and it seems likely that changes to the specs may occur in the not too distant future.

When the dust settles around this issue, we will re-examine our cataloging policy. If you have any questions, please direct them to any one of the following persons: Nancy Lyon (Mss. & Archives), Audrey Novak (Library Systems), Diana Smith (Beinecke).

Return to:
Format Integration Memorandum top
Manuscript Cataloging Guidelines
Appendix A: Single Manuscript Instructions
Beinecke Manuscript Cataloging Manual

This document maintained by Karen Spicher
Last revised 11/19/2012