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Dear LM Netters,
Thanks to all who responded to my query about cataloging videos.  Sorry to
be so long in posting a hit but I started a "part-time" summer job that has
turned into a full time job.

I received several replies and found that everyone catalogs videos
differently.  But, all the feedback has been extremely helpful.  What I've
decided to do is to use either VHS or DVD as the first 3 letters (I'm
keeping the 2 formats separate since many of my teachers do not yet have a
DVD player).  Then, for fiction videos, I'm going to use the 1st 3 letters
of the title.  For non-fiction, I am going to use Dewey.  For example, for
my Cyberchase videos, I will use VHS 510 CYB.  Someone sent me a link that I
found useful (  This is for the state of FL
libraries and the Dewey numbers are more accurate than the California
libraries catalog in which I was searching.

Thanks again,




I prefer to use Dewey in this's much easier to find what you
are looking for, especially if you are automated.  Instead of VHS,
however, I use VID because we have a number of DVDs.  Here's how I would
do it in my library:



I catalog the videos as if they were book matter.  Movies from books are
catalogued fiction, biographies are 92, and the academic movies are
catalogues 001-999.  My spine label looks something like:


VC is the county's system for video collection.  This particular title
is *Grammar

I would be wary of the 741 tag---that's drawing which isn't, in my opinion,
a good description of the materials.

Hope this helps.  I'd be interested in your replies.


My suggestion would be to consider the VHS content first.

Imagine your cyberchase VHS was a book... you would probably catalog it in
the 510s for mathematics.  I do the same thing with my av materials.  If it
is nonfiction, I catalog with the prefix VID  (I interfile VHS and DVD-
figuring it doesn't matter much to staff which they use- and this way they
only have to search/browse in 1 spot for videos) then the dewey call number,
then the first 3 letters of the title (since most videos are considered
works of multiple authorship).  For movies of fiction books, I use the
prefix VID, then FIC and the author's last name (I know, I know, this
doesn't follow pure AACR2 rules for multiple responsibilities, but I figure
it is how most of my patrons think of it... i.e. Do you have anything to go
with my author unit on Marc Brown).

Hope this helps!


When I catalog videos, I use the Prefix VHS then the dewey number and the
first three letters.  An Arthur video would look like this.


Hope this helps!

 For all videos:
Exmple: To Kill a Mockingbird


The practice of libraries not classifying non-print materials like films,
videos and DVDs, is really a disservice to our users. I know it grew out of
a variety of hang-ups about them initially (high cost, so they were shelved
outside of the users' access, like under the desk or in the office; new
format, and people were unsure of what to do with them; etc.).

So, if the nonfiction title is on dinosaurs, put it in the Dewey number for
dinosaurs. If it's fiction, either use the 790's or use FIC. But do assign a
classification number and subject access points to all the material you see
fit to add to your library's collection. Then users can locate all your
materials on a particular subject in one search in your OPAC, irregardless
of the format. It makes for better public service.

Good luck.

I am a huge believer in organization and being logical. Therefore, all
videos, DVDsm CDs, CD-ROMs, etc. are cataloged with Dewey with an
appropriate prefix, i.e. DVD, etc.

Keeps everything clearly in its place - everything is in the OPAC - and
students and teachers can access it all and borrow. I see no reason (for me
anyway) for any other system.

We use VR (videorecording) which covers DVD and VHS then I do Dewey Numbers
then first three letters of the title.

SCH  for School House Rock

FIN  for Finding Nemo

 We spent all of last year re-cataloging our video collection.  We use a
dewey number that is most appropriate and the call number VIDEO.  It is
much better.!

 Anchorage School District classifies its video-recordings according to
Dewey scheme.  We use a prefix as follows:

V       - Videocassettes
VD      - Videodiscs that are 12 inches in diameter
DVD     - DVDs

The cutter for each item after the classification number is taken from
the main entry.

You can see examples in our OPAC

Signin as ASD

Choose DVDs as subject - examine 984 field

Choose Videorecordings as subject - examine 984 field

I had a HS video collection of 300 titles.  My call number in the computer

VC                      This tell the type of media
599.145         Dewey Non-fiction number or F
NAT                     I used director's last name or Production company
VC 145          This in the accession number of the video and is how the
video is filed on the video shelves.

I started out shelving by Dewey, but usually you do not have a lot of space
so the means that I was not constantly sliding videos around when I added 10
videos between 590 and 595.  I did it both ways and filing by accession
number is less work on you in the long run.

I wanted my states to show media separate from book or I would not put VC in
front of the dewey number.

All videos are cataloged by Dewey number.  All movies(Old Yeller) are placed
in 813.  VT is used to denote all our videotapes, then Dewey number
underneath, and finally the first three letters of the title are used.  See
example below for call number.  Hope this is helpful.


 All 2,185 videos in my library are classified by Dewey.  The designation is
V (for Video) followed by the Dewey Call number as if it was a book. Fiction
is V F first three letters of author of work. Biography is V B name of

Sometimes I have deviated from this slightly - if it is a set that I want to
keep together  I will give it : V Dewey number for general area and first
three letters of set name: example V 530 MEC for a set  titled The
Mechanical Universe which has 6 tapes that deal with various aspects of
mechanics and math  and is always used as a set  by the Math teacher. I also
have some history tapes the same way, they came as a set and I keep them
that way as they are easier to find by the students.

Now, I also have some kits and some DVDs  These get KIT followed by Dewey or
DVD followed by Dewey and are shelved with the Videos.  In my OPAC the
location is given as MEDIA  for all videos, kits, DVDs.

Hope this helps.  I think you are smart to do the new ones now and gradually
you can add the others.

We catalog our videos with a "VC" prefix then the Dewey number for
non-fiction and "FIC" for fiction. Now that we are getting CDs, DVDs and
other media, we are creating new prefixes. This way, we can keep the
media types together and save space.

I really question the 741 classification for the PBS math series as 741
is in the art section. I would think you would use something like VHS
51x Title, where x is a further refinement within mathematics and Title
is the title of the specific video. In your "series" (MARC 440) field
you could put Cyberchase and a volume number if there is one.  I use my
book collection as a key so that the non-book collection reflects its
organizational patterns.

The use of the "AV" prefix is not specific enough in today's world and
may be a throwback to the 70's when it was a catchall for any non-book
item. With our new automation systems, we may be more specific (CD, DVD,
KIT, etc.)

Hope this helps.  Best wishes in your organizational efforts, have a
great summer.

PLEASE post a hit!  I am very interesting in seeing what others do!  We
use VC as a prefix, but we also then put FIC (if it is a video on a
book) or else the proper Dewey number for it, followed by the "author's"
last 3 letters, just like with our books.  I too am trying to assimilate
our old with our new so I feel your pain!  Good luck!

We use Dewey numbers for our videos that are nonfiction.  We also use a
prefix of VC for video collection although we also have DVDs.

 This is how I was taught:
The Prefix could be either AV or VC...depending what you prefer. Just make
sure that you put it in a policy that way it will stay the same after you
leave and the new librarian won't be left wondering what you did. As for
the Dewey number you just assign it a dewey number on what the subject is.
If it's a math one about numbers 513.2 and then the cutter on the first
word (not article) of the title. IF it's a video on a book assign it like
you would a book E for Easy or Everybody books and then cutter of the
movie, or the author if it's based on a book.

We catalog all of our DVDs and videos--and use either VID or DVD as the
call number prefix, followed by the Dewey classification number and the
first 3 letters of the title. I have used SUNLINK to find cataloging
records for those AV materials that arrive uncataloged. We also catalog
easies (call # prefix E) and fiction (call # prefix F).

I think you'll be happier in the long run if they're cataloged according
to Dewey.

Disclaimer 1st: I have not taken cataloging & such.
2nd: in elementary, you are captain of your own ship,
and can do whatever is helpful in your own library!

My videos are carefully cataloged by dewey number
for subject. Dinos in 567, Plants in 580, etc, etc.
Every once in a while, if someone else is moving them,
they want to put those things in Dewey order.

But... honestly that's not how teachers USE them. So
I quit lining them up in Dewey order, and put series
together (Magic School Bus, Eyewitness). Teachers at
each grade level know what they want to use, and they
seem to like having the series together.

In case you still need input here's my 2 cents.  It is easier to find
nonfiction if it is cataloged the same way you do your books.  It's also
easier to tell teachers--you have your books, now look at the number on the
books and you can find corresponding videos.  I worked at an elementary
school with a similar problem.  Took a long time but it made more sense to
file them so anyone who knows anything about Dewey can locate them

  Sorry I am so late in replying.  I am a church librarian, and I had the
same dilemma when we first started buying videos.  Finally I ended up with
what I think you want to do.  First line of call number is Video (or VHS),
second line is Dewey number for non-fiction, and author or title for third
line.  You can usually find someone who "wrote" it or is responsible.  That
way, in checking the catalog, subject entries will list both book and video
resources.  I then arrange the nonfiction videos by Dewey number just like
the books so they are easier to find.  Hope this helps!

We classify (and shelve) all videorecordings (VHS andDVD) as VI, then either
F for fiction or a dewey number for information, and the dewey number
relates to the subject of the video.

The vast majority of my video collection of 1800 titles is in Dewey order. I
put the video where it would go if it was a book, and since I have many more
videos that are not stories, they go in the proper Dewey number. All of my
collection starts with VID - so the video Bladerunner is VID Fic Bla, and ,
or VID 551.21 Eru for the video The Eruption of Mt. St. Helen's. I would do
as you propose, to catalog anything new as you intend the finished catalog
to look. Then weed your old videos, THEN catalog what's left. This is the
voice of experience talking - I cataloged a huge section, then a year later
weeded it and discared almost one third. Boy, did that hurt!  Good luck with
the project.

 I use the prefix VIDEO and then I use Dewey with first 3 letters of
title.  I'd probably do Cyberchase as VIDEO 610 CYB

 In my library I segregate feature videos from educational and documentary
Feature films all have the Dewey number 791.45 followed by the first three
letters of the title and the date. I use VID for all video, DVD or tape,
since I want them interfiled on the shelf. Thus the feature film "My Left
Foot" has the call number VID 791.45 MY 1989.
Documentary and educational videos use the same prefix the appropriate Dewey
number for the subject of the film, the first three letters ot the title and
the date. Thus the film "Teen Anger" has the call number VID 152.4 TEE 2004.
I'm not sure I'd go with the number for the feature films if I were to do it
again but I don't have time to change it right now!
Hope this helps

I assign a Dewey Number to my videos just like I would a book. This way
all the math videos are together, etc. When the teachers go to get their
video they may see others that they could be using and just never
thought about.

I would do it according to Dewey. Several years ago, I inherited a library
video collection that was very "creatively organized". That's the nicest way
I can put it. Anyway, I reorganized it according to Dewey and had a number
of teachers tell me that they liked all the new videos I had purchased. I
hadn't purchased a single one -- they were just organized so that topics
were together and they could be more easily browsed.

I have a about 1,000 videos in my collection.  They are organized by Dewey
number.  In the database I have them listed as AV/Dewey #/VHS or DVD/first 3
letters of title excluding a, an, the.

Uusing the AV designation in the first call number field forces my database
to place all my videos in the same part of the list when doing a shelf list
or inventory.  It works pretty well for me, though using the VHS/DVD
designation causes those items to be separated within the AV list.  It would
be easier in inventory if I went back and deleted that field since our VHS
and DVD videos are interfiled on the shelf.

Videos that are purely fiction are given a call # of AV/FIC/VHS or DVD/ and
first 3 letters of title.

 Whenever possible, we catalog as much of our videos as non-fiction.  We use
Video, then the Dewey Decimal number, followed by the first three letters of
the title.

For example the "The Magic School Bus : Going Batty" is given


Any fairy tales are 398.2, our Christmas Stories are 394.2663 and so forth.

We do this to help our teachers connect these stories to the subjects they
are teaching in the classroom.  However we do keep a healthy Fiction section
and keep titles that are entirely fiction there.

Check out these websites to see how they catalog their video's.

I use a prefix of AV VC for video cassettes.  I like your idea of VHS.
I also use a Dewey number for nonfiction.  I catalogued the animated hero
series in history because that is how they are used.  Yes, it is a cartoon
version of Abraham Lincoln's life but the teacher uses it when doing a
president's day unit and not as a cartoon to entertain the class.  I have
some fiction books from Wonderworks such as Anne of Green Gables.  I class
them as fiction.

I haven't done this yet, but I'm considering one
prefix for all my audio-visual materials regardless of
the format. Perhaps MEDIA or AV. I currently use VC
(video). DVD, KIT, etc. with the dewey number so I get
all the media on the same topic together.  I suggest
you definetely use Dewey Numbers, but the prefix needs
some consideration. I keep the my AV filed by the
Dewey Number and with the different prefixes I use the
teachers get confused. With just one prefix and the
Dewey Numbers I shouldn't have confused patrons any
longer. Food for thought.

Whatever works for you and your staff. We do DDS # and
title.  Call # prefix is VID or AUD. Actual format
shows up in the full record.

Melissa Byrd, Librarian/Media Specialist
Jacksboro Elementary
Jacksboro, TN

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