5.0. Introduction


Area 5: Physical description

5.0. Introduction

The rules in this chapter cover the physical description of sound recordings in all media, i.e., discs, tapes, wires, cylinders, sound recordings on film or video formats, and digital audio files. This chapter also briefly includes basic physical description for moving image and electronic resource format s (local access files). For detailed physical description of moving images together with sound the FIAF Cataloguing Rules for Film archives should be used. For detailed physical description of electronic resources the ISBD (ER) should be used.

In the early years of sound recording many different format s and speeds for cylinders and shellac discs existed. Specialised archives should give physical description for these early formats as precisely as is necessary for the archive's or cataloguing agency's requirements, e.g. for cylinders duration, diameter, groove characteristic, speed, or, for sound discs diameter and speed. information relating to superficial design features such as picture disc or sound postcard should be given in a note (see 7.B.14.1).

At the time of writing these rules, technology for digital audio files and mass storage systems is still evolving. Therefore the given formats, technical data, or other physical characteristics of future systems may have been unknown at the time of preparing these rules. It is therefore recommended that the cataloguing agency or archive secure at least a minimum of information and description of the physical characteristics in this area for local access files, to be able to obtain and configure the necessary equipment to play back or reproduce the audiovisual content correctly. Also, where either local or remote access files are described, the system requirements and/or mode of access should be documented as a note (see 7.B.0) for the same reason.

Note that equipment devised to control mechanical instruments (like wooden pin cylinders for flute organs, metal pin discs for musical clocks, punched paper tapes for street organs, rolls for player piano) are not covered by these rules.