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TL v58n2 Showtime! Cataloging and Providing Access to Streaming Video Records in the Online Catalog
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Tennessee Libraries 

Volume 58 Number 2



Showtime! Cataloging and Providing Access to Streaming Video Records in the Online Catalog


Elizabeth McDonald
Interim Head of Cataloging

University of Memphis

Joyce Johnston
Cataloging/Reference Librarian
Jackson State Community College

Program Abstract: During 2007, the University of Memphis and Jackson State Community College started cataloging streaming video records into their consortium online catalog.  The presenters will talk about challenges encountered while creating original (mostly) records for the videos, and while establishing public access links and locations in each record for the consortium libraries. 

Link to the Presentation (Power Point):

Welcome.  The goals for this presentation are to discuss the issues we encountered as we cataloged streaming videos in a consortium environment.  The issues fell into three categories:  consortial issues, vendor issues and cataloging issues.  This session will not teach you how to catalog streaming videos, but will cover the basic guidelines and will discuss MARC fields that are specific to streaming videos.   

In the Spring of 2006, 29 FMG (Film Media Group) on Demand streaming videos were purchased by the TBR (Tennessee Board of Regents).  So what is streaming video?  “Streaming video is a sequence of ‘moving images’ that are sent in compressed form over the internet and displayed by the viewer as they arrive” (1). This method of transmission gives this format some unique features and also some problems.  The video is not being downloaded to a computer, but is being viewed as it comes across the network.  It requires a software player loaded onto a computer, and high speed access to the internet. 

Among the immediate challenges the University of Memphis and Jackson State faced when we began to catalog these videos in the Spring of 2007 was the way the environment of the respective consortia members directly affected the decisions made about cataloging and access to the records.  Despite having only four members, this consortium is very diverse.  The University of Memphis is a metropolitan university of about 20,000 offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees.  Its four branches are Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, Music, Mathematics, and Chemistry.  LeMoyne-Owen College is an historically black liberal arts college located in Memphis with approximately 800 students and offers a bachelors degree.  Jackson State Community College is located in Jackson (about an hour from Memphis).  It is a community college with three branch sites, approximately 2700 students, and offers associates and professional degrees.  The Law Library is affiliated with the university, has around 425 students and offers a law degree.  This degree of diversity in the programs affects our collections and creates challenges in maintaining our catalog.  

Once bureaucratic obstacles outside the libraries were cleared and cataloging could begin, several consortium issues immediately came to light.  First, not all of the consortium members were TBR institutions.  The University of Memphis, the Law Library, and Jackson State Community College are TBR members, but LeMoyne-Owen College is not so they do not have access to these videos.  Initially the University of Memphis provided access to the videos through their RODP (Regents Online Degree Program – a distance education program) website. Jackson State provided access from the library home page. Access through the web sites still exists, but the video records were not in the catalog.  This parallels what many libraries have done with other forms of electronic resources in first providing access through web pages and then the catalog.  We wanted access through the catalog so that students could find things from one source and not have to go to multiple sites depending on format.   

Then there were some authentication issues.  When the videos were originally purchased, access was available only through login and password authentication.   This presented such problems as finding a safe and reliable means to provide passwords to users, and blocking non-TBR users.  There are web work-arounds, but these are always vulnerable to people posting the passwords for others to use.   Passwords can be kept at the Reference desk and given out to authorized users but that doesn’t help people who are using this material remotely, one of the great advantages to having electronic resources.   

In the Spring of 2007, IP authentication was made available.  The next step was setting up our proxy information.  IP authentication works well when you are in the IP ranges at your institution, but there needs to be a mechanism to authenticate users from off campus where their IP range is not within the range of the institution. By using a test record we had set up when adding NetLibrary books to the catalog, we were able to test whether the proxy worked from both on campus and off, making sure the wording on the links was appropriate. 

Initially the FMG videos had links to two different versions of the streaming videos on their site.  One was to the complete video and the other was to a chaptered version of the video.  These had two different location codes on the FMG on Demand web site.  Originally each library had chosen access to different versions and we had to work out how we were going to resolve this.  We decided to provide access to the chaptered versions and include chapter headings in the MARC 505 field.   

As the decision making process continued, we discussed what we could have done if we had not come to an agreement on the version used.  We came up with two options.  One was to create separate records for each version.  This would have resulted in two records for each video in the system and was not patron friendly.  The other option we considered was using one record with local notes explaining the different access, such as “University of Memphis links only to the full video.”  When working on the presentation on which this article is based, we discovered that this difference now no longer exists, and that the two different addresses currently link to the same content.  This points out the inherent volatility of electronic resources of all kinds and the value of the MARC 500, Date of Viewing note.   

Since not all consortium members are TBR institutions and can’t all have access to the videos, we decided to add a MARC 506 note that says “Access restricted to TBR Libraries.”  This note is not included in the OCLC master record when doing original cataloging or editing, but is only in the local catalog.  If other consortium members purchase a title separately the note will need to be modified or removed.   

Decisions concerning call numbers were a local catalog issue.  We decided to use a local call number of EVideo in a MARC 099 field, which parallels our decision for ebooks.  Since we are in the middle of a migration to another system this may need to be changed.  Classification was retained in the MARC 050/090 field to provide collection management information.  We didn’t want to display the standard Library of Congress call number because we were concerned patrons would look on the shelves for the item.  The MARC 856 linking fields were also checked to be sure they linked to the correct version, had the correct MARC coding, the correct text for the links, and the descriptions.  Proxy information for each institution was added to the local catalog record, but not added to the OCLC master record.   

Next we began to examine how these videos should be cataloged in the OPAC.  When copy existed for FMG on Demand records in OCLC, we decided to edit them, and then export them into the shared online catalog.  There were only a few FMG on Demand records in OCLC which matched our purchased streaming video titles exactly. All the rest needed original cataloging. 

In the small package of records which we were cataloging, there were often streaming video records for the same title by different distributors.  Because of this increasing number of records found in OCLC for streaming video titles, we may want to consider adopting an approach similar to the one currently used in serials cataloging.  That is, aggregator neutral records could be used.  According to CONSER:  Cooperative Online Serials site, the definition of such records is this: 

“An aggregator-neutral record is one that is separate from the print that covers all versions of the same online serial on one record. (There may be cases however, where a cataloger determines that because of substantial differences (e.g. in content or subject), another online "version" really represents a separate work, therefore a  separate record is needed.)“ (2

We also debated whether or not to include these titles on existing physical format records (DVD or videocassette) and avoid the problem of original cataloging altogether.  OLAC offers this option, in its “Best Practices for Cataloging Streaming Media” (3) online policy guide. Though OLAC considers either option viable, it recommends the use of separate records: 

“While either approach [single or separate records] may work better in one’s local environment, it is generally recommended that streaming versions be cataloged on separate records from other versions of the same resource in different formats.“ (4

Since we were dealing with small numbers of titles when we first started purchasing streaming videos, we chose to catalog the titles separately as streaming media.   

After these initial decisions concerning the actual cataloging were made, the next step was to create a sample streaming video record.  This sample record was developed as a prototype, incorporating all MARC fields, MARC notes, MARC local fields and item information which we wanted the streaming video records to contain.  Even with titles that had FMG on Demand records in OCLC, and which we were able to copy catalog, several MARC fields needed to be edited or added to the records. 

Since streaming videos are both electronic and video in nature, we included a MARC field 006 to capture the fixed field elements of the electronic aspect of the work since the titles are cataloged on the video format. We coded “m” for computer file.  OLAC guidelines state that, “It is appropriate to code the 006/09 ‘c’ for representational when cataloging streaming video” (5).   

Another point where the streaming videos were cataloged according to OLAC guidelines concerns inclusion of two MARC 007 fields.  One of the MARC 007 fields codes physical characteristics of the streaming videos as videos, and the other codes the characteristics of the titles as electronic resources.  See the partial record below (Fig. 1), of the streaming video titled Ancient Greece. 

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Figure 1. Streaming video record

OLAC guidelines suggest including a MARC 300 field for streaming videos (6).  Since the consortium libraries did not have information concerning the exact size and type of files making up the streaming videos, it was decided that the MARC 300 field would be omitted and information about individual physical characteristics of the titles would be placed in MARC 500 note fields.  In the records we cataloged, MARC 500 field notes designate the titles as streaming video. Information concerning playing time, sound, and color were also provided for each video. 

Several other MARC 5xx fields were used to include information about each streaming video title.  We discussed MARC 5xx fields that described aspects specific to their streaming nature.  Some of these notes were added to the local catalog records and were not included in the OCLC master records.   A MARC 506 note was put into each record, stating “Access restricted to TBR Libraries.”  Another local note, MARC 59x provides purchase information for each holding library.

MARC 505 contents notes were included for all of the records.  While this is not unique to streaming videos, we included chapter title and running time information for each video.  Another MARC 500 note was added, indicating that viewers could access the entire video or individual chapters.  Two MARC 538 notes were included in each record. One states that the mode of access is the World Wide Web, and the other informs viewers that they need to access the title via Windows Media Player or Quicktime

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Figure 2. 506 field

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Figure 3. 536 field

As with most bibliographic records, the cataloged titles include numeric, subject, author, and title headings as appropriate, and MARC 7xx field access point information.  A MARC 655 genre heading was included so all streaming videos could be searched at one time:

655 x0  $a Streaming videos.  

Once the records were cataloged, all owning libraries needed to include their proxy information in separate MARC 856 fields so that catalog users in each owning library would be able to access the titles.  Additionally, URL links in each MARC 856 field contain six-digit access codes, unique to the video title version cataloged in the record.  This information is in the local catalog only and not retained in the OCLC master record. 

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Figure 4. 856 field

At present in the DRA catalog, access is provided for viewing the videos through the bibliographic record. This may change in the future, as the consortium is migrating to a new library system -- Innovative Interfaces.  The current video records do contain items; the item records include location, material code (specific to e-resource), and call number information (call number for all streaming video records is: EVideo). 

In conclusion, there remain several issues to be considered in the future. A major issue is how the consortium will locate titles or packages of titles in order to update, maintain, and delete them as needed.  Implementing a new library system may or may not resolve this issue.  Amending MARC 506 fields, continuing the use of a MARC 500 field rather than a MARC 300 field for physical description of titles, and provision of access to the videos via the bibliographic or the item record are other matters to consider.  Additionally, we may have to make decisions about how to handle large packages of streaming videos that require original cataloging or substantial editing. 

Another concern for the future for all libraries is the potential number of streaming video titles that may proliferate in OCLC due to creation of separate records for various providers, vendors, or distributors.  Deciding whether or not to start using an aggregator neutral system of cataloging streaming video titles will need to be discussed in this context. 


1. Whatis?.com: The Leading IT Encyclopedia and Learning Center February 14, 2008,,sid186_gci213055,00.html

2.  Library of Congress. (2006). Program for Cooperative Cataloging.  CONSER:  Cooperative Online Serials, Frequently Asked Questions.  December 11, 2006.  15 January 2008    

3. Badilla-Melendez, Cindy, et al. (2008).  OLAC Cataloging Policy Committee.  Streaming Media Best Practices Task Force.  Best Practices for Cataloging Streaming Media. 2008.  10 Dec. 2007, 26. 

4.  Badilla-Melendez, 26. 

5.  Badilla-Melendez, 12. 

6.  Badilla-Melendez, 19. 


American Library Association (ALA). (2005). Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules: 2002 Revision/2005 Update.  2nd ed.  American Library Association.

Badilla-Melendez, Cindy…et al. (2008).  OLAC Cataloging Policy Committee.  Streaming Media Best Practices Task Force.  “Best Practices for Cataloging Streaming Media.”  Accessed 10 Dec. 2007.  < >. 

McCroskey, Marilyn. (2006). “Cataloging Streaming Video on the Web: Collaboration Between Catalogers, an Archivist, and a Documentary Filmmaker.”  Oct. 2006.  OLAC poster session. Accessed 22 Nov. 2007.  <>. 

OCLC.  (2008). Bibliographic Formats and Standards.  3rd ed.  <>. 

Olson, Nancy B.   (2003). “Streaming Video.”  Accessed April 7, 2003.  Accessed 24 Nov. 2007.  <>.  (2008).  Accessed 10 March, 2008.   <,,sid186_gci213055,00.html.>

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