The Latest From the Library…

by Mary Lou Neighbor, AV Librarian/Assistant Professor

The AV Library:  Pardon our Appearance!

We apologize to the College community for our current appearance!  The Audiovisual Library is undergoing a massive change in our dvd collection, which will make the collection easier to use.

When the AV Library was first established, it was organized, as all media centers were, in simple accession number order.  This allowed AV staff to give an item the format name and the next number for that format as the call number.  This is a very quick process, as this permitted AV staff to get the material out on the shelves for faculty and students to use as soon as possible – which is so important for AV material because it is used heavily in classroom presentations.  The input of cataloging details in the collection catalog came later.  This allowed us to get the AV material into the hands of faculty and students quickly, but it also meant that you could not go to a set of shelves and find educational films that the Audiovisual Library has on a particular subject.  You had to use the catalog to find everything.

This semester, we are working on a project to classify all of the non-fiction, educational films in the Library of Congress Classification system – just as the books are classified.  While the call numbers are more complex for non-fiction films, you eventually will be able to go to a section of the AV Library and see all that we have in dvd on a particular subject.

For cinematic films – movies – we are classifying them by genre and then by title.  We are separating them into nine genres:

Action – ACT
Children’s – CHI
Comedy – COM
Drama – DRA
Foreign – FOR
Horror – HOR
Musicals – MUS
Sci-Fi – SCI
Television Series – TVS

Within each genre, we will be organizing them by title, making the first three letters of the title part of the call number.  So a typical call number for, say, “Some Like It Hot,” would be COM SOM.  The film would be on the shelf in the Comedy area and by title.

So, that is what is going on in AV this semester.  When you come into the AV Library, you will see some dvds already classified by Library of Congress call number, and some dvds already classified by genre.  And then, there are all of the dvds yet to be reclassified that still have the old call numbering system.  It will also be the same if you look up dvds in the online catalog. You will see a mix of call numbers.

We are working furiously to get the changes accomplished!  We hope to get the AV collection finished by the end of the semester, and then we will move on to the dvd collection held at West.  At the end of this process, it will be easier for all to browse the collection for an educational film on a particular subject or to find a cinematic film for a class or enjoyment.  And of course, if you have any problems or questions, please get in touch with the AV Librarian, Mary Lou Neighbour ( – 215-619-7355) or just stop in the AV Library office near the AV collection.  Thank you for your patience!

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