Home Data Integration Descriptive table - Essential data-entry fields

Descriptive Table - Essential data-entry fields for documenting new media works and recommendations


The descriptive table presented in this guide is based on the work completed by the Cataloguing Committee as well as established cataloguing standards and practices. The content can easily be integrated into various collection management systems through existing input fields. The fields deemed essential for documenting new media works include Quantity, Component and Note and three additional description fields (Iconographic, Technical and Installation). The use of these fields helps to structure and centralize information. Most existing documentation systems can be used to record additional information enabling the dissemination and in-house exchange of information on new media works.


The preliminary documentation recorded during registration remains the primary reference. It is preferable to first record the actual components that constitute the work using the Quantity and Component fields. The obsolescence of technological components leads to changes that may be recorded in the Note field and used in conjunction with the Component field. For example, the Note field could contain information about the work’s original components. Other fields may also be employed. For instance, some collections management systems allow for the identification of a component’s location and condition. Complementary information such as installation plans and condition reports can be scanned and added to the database depending on the software. A detailed visual documentation will allow, among other things, the rapid recognition and enumeration of components. It is up to each institution to assess how this information will be recorded, based on their needs and practices.


Please note that the examples given in the descriptive table have been taken from the case studies in this guide.


Data Fields


Quantity Component Note

Use this field to record the number of elements of each component that makes up the object.



1. 4


2. 6

Use this field to record the standard name of one of the object’s components, followed by a detailed description. You may refer to the open list of controlled vocabulary suggested.


SPECIFICS:The components of a work must be recorded in order of predominance, from most to least predominant in terms of the object and its function.The description of the equipment can be detailed from the general to the specific, depending on the information available.


Example: component name, type of component, manufacturer, country of manufacture, model number, serial number, technical specification(s).



1. modem, Futaba, Japan, FRH-SD03TU, 80900029


2. videocassette, digital Betacam

Use this field to indicate certain components that are not acquired with the object, but necessary for its presentation.


This field may also be used to add photographic references for each of the components or to concisely add any other complementary information deemed useful in understanding a component.



1. Component not acquired with object; use available equipment from audiovisual department.


2. This computer replaces the original “sound” and “video” computers (migration, February 2008).



Iconographic Technical Installation

This field is used to provide the physical description of an object, its main attributes, observed characteristics and its immediate environment, if applicable.



The iconographical description allows the object to be recognized and excludes any subjective interpretation of the object or significance of its attributes.

This description field explains the technical workings of the object, as well as the relation between the components. This description field contains an outline of the main steps and directions for installing the object as well as any steps for dismantling that may differ from the installation process.