Updated June 2022 by Dave Van Kleeck
Manuscript Cataloging Guidelines
Manuscripts and small collections generally do not benefit from a finding aid and will be cataloged instead. Single manuscripts are always cataloged; generally small collections of 1 to 3 items are also cataloged. If you're unsure of how to handle a single item or small collection, speak to the Processing Archivist (Matt Kruse) for guidance.
Use the Single Manuscript and Small Collection Accession Form (.docx) to convey the necessary information to the Processing Archivist and catalogers.
The below guidelines are peculiar to description of manuscripts. They are based on DCRM(Mss), unless otherwise specified (DACS, RDA).
If the item has a title, transcribe as found on resource or on reference material.
Unless the title on resource is illegible, inaccurate, or misleading: Then, devise a title.
If it is not obvious from the resource, make a note about where the title was taken from.
If the item does not have a title, devise a title.
For devised titles, always include:
Include as appropriate:
Minimal: Diary of John Ward
With subject and date: Scrapbook of Libbie Maltbie about Alaska vacation, 1909
With place and date: Sermons written at Bexley and delivered at Bexley and Fairford, 1719-1736
With correspondent and date: John Cournos letter to Alfred Kreymborg, 1921 June 6
Record place of production in as full a form as can be identified (including street addresses, neighborhoods, etc.
Saratoga, New York
Marlborough House, London
10 Downing Street, London
When a manuscript has more than one place of production, either record the widest shared geographical area, or
all the places of production, as appropriate.
For a diary kept while traveling through France: France
For a diary kept in Paris and London: Paris ; London
Normalize date of production, according to the form: YYYY Month DD. If helpful for identification, transcribe date
as given on resource in a note.
Resource says “Sept. 26th, 1902″: 1902 September 26
Resource says “Christmas Day, 1945″: 1945 December 25
If the manuscript was created over time, record the first and last date of production connected by a hyphen
1790 January 1-1800 December 31
Include bulk dates if considered important.
1920-1956 (bulk 1920-1923)
Record approximate dates as above, using RDA language. An approximate date, even spanning a century or two,
is always preferred over no date.
between 1850 and 1900
not before 1850
not after 1850
If no date is determinable from the resource, outside sources, or otherwise estimable, use “undated” (as per DACS).
Give a number and the physical unit of the materials being described.
50 technical drawings
When appropriate, use multiple statements, according to DACS.
1 volume, 5 photographs (in 1 box)
Optionally, qualify the statement of extent by highlighting important materials, according to DACS.
1 volume, including 20 deeds
Optionally, include a parallel statement of extent in parentheses.
7 letters (in 1 portfolio)
1 volume (220 pages)
Electronic records may also be described in terms of size or structure.
3 file directories containing 48 PDF files
23 digital files (1 Gigabyte)
If unusual or considered important, note materials used.
1 roll : papyrus
1 volume : parchment
If considered important, indicate the presence and graphic process of illustrations.
1 volume : illustrations (line drawings)
1 item : illustrations (watercolors)
Make notes as appropriate to contextualize the manuscript biographically and historically.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
Make a note about the scope and content of the manuscript if not otherwise identifiable from the description.
SUBJECTS & GENRES
Always include genre headings for type of manuscript (e.g., diaries)
Subjects should especially focus on persons and places.
RELATIONSHIP OF MANUSCRIPT TO PUBLISHED VERSIONS
Where relevant, make a note about the relationship to published versions.
OTHER PORTIONS OF THE MANUSCRIPT
Make a note about the location of other portions of a manuscript.
[Title], Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Miscellanea Collecting Areas: