DCRM(G): Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics)


Current status

DCRM(G) is available online as a free PDF and on LC Cataloger’s Desktop

PDF formatted for 8 1/2 x 11 in. paper:
(monochrome image for printing on yellow cover-weight paper: http://rbms.info/files/dcrm/dcrmg/cover.pdf)

PDF formatted for A4 paper:
(monochrome image for printing on yellow cover-weight paper: http://rbms.info/files/dcrm/dcrmg/cover-A4.pdf)





History and background

Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics) provides guidelines and instructions for descriptive cataloging of graphic materials, other than maps, receiving special treatment within a repository. Graphic materials include still images of all types, such as prints, drawings, photographs, posters, postcards, pictorial advertisements, cartoons, comic strips, portraits, landscapes, book illustrations, born-digital pictures, etc. Special treatment usually results from the fragility, rarity, and enduring value of the materials, including potential aesthetic, iconographical, and documentary value. DCRM(G) may be used for graphic materials of any age or type of production, published or unpublished.

DCRM(G) is the direct successor to Elisabeth Betz Parker’s Graphic Materials: Rules for Describing Original Items and Historical Collections, published by the Library of Congress in 1982. Known to many simply as “Betz” or “The Yellow Book,” Graphic Materials became a classic. Revisions published in 1997 updated the manual to include examples encoded in the MARC format, but it was becoming clear that a true second edition was needed. Around the same time, the Bibliographic Standards Committee of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL/RBMS) began envisioning Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (DCRM), a suite of manuals that would share principles, organization, and design, while each covering a different format of material. In 2008, the ACRL/RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee agreed to develop a second edition of Graphic Materials as a component of this suite. DCRM(G) is the result.

The DCRM suite was already well underway when work on RDA: Resource Description and Access, the successor to the second edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) was announced. The publication of RDA in 2010 introduced potential future changes that are being addressed by the Bibliographic Standards Committee as it revises DCRM as a whole.

DCRM(G) editorial team

  • Erin Blake (chair), Curator of Art & Special Collections, Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Ellen Cordes, Head of Technical Services, The Lewis Walpole Library
  • James Eason, Principal Pictorial Archivist, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mary Mundy, Cataloging Specialist, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress
  • Lenore M. Rouse, Curator, Rare Books & Special Collections, The Catholic University of America
  • Joe Springer, Curator, Mennonite Historical Library, Goshen College
  • Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Special thanks go to Marcy Flynn, DCRM(G)’s outside advisor on graphic materials in archives.