The National Archives Catalog


Specific Media Type Authority List

The Specific Media Type Authority List provides data values for the Specific Media Type element.

Microform publication descriptions can use only terms followed by [MF].


Aperture Card
scope note: An 80 column tabulating size paper card with a hole, or aperture, containing one frame of 35 mm microfilm. Generally used for engineering drawings, maps, charts, and X rays. Use Dimension to include additional information on aperture cards.
source: NARA Managing Micrographic Records, 1995

Artifact

Artwork

Audio Cartridge

Audio Cassette

Audio Disk

Audio MiniDisc (MD)

Audio Tape/Reel

Bound Volume
scope note: Books, magazines, and other media types in which pages are bound together to form a single volume. Examples include manuals, publications, and notebooks.

Cards
scope note: Use for index cards or punch cards.

Cylinder
scope note: Cylinders or disks of rubber, wax, metal, vinyl, etc., specially prepared with a spiral grove that reproduces sound when played on a machine with a needle or stylus. Generally used for phonographs and records. Use Base, Format, or Process to include additional information on cylinders.

Dictation Belt
scope note: Dictation belts are the media used in dictation machines, which record human speech for transcription. Use Format to include additional information on dictation belts.

Digital Audio Tape (DAT)
scope note: Magnetizable material in tape form, on which sound recordings are digitally encoded. DAT was developed by Sony and Phillips in the mid-1980s.

Digital Print
scope note: Images captured using a digital image capture device (e.g. digital camera, scanner) that are physically rendered for viewing. Use Base, Color, Dimension, Emulsion, or Process to include additional information on digital prints.

Film Reel
scope note: Film reel is a general term used for film supplied on its own reel and not contained in a cartridge or cassette. The film is threaded, usually by hand, through the mechanism of its machine and then is wound on a separate take-up reel. Use Base, Color, Dimension, Format, Process, Recording Speed, Roll Type, Sound Type, or Wind to include additional information on film reels.
source: SAA Glossary, 1992

Filmstrip
scope note: A strip of film bearing a sequence of images for projection as still pictures. Use Base, Color, Dimension, or Process to include additional information on filmstrips.
source: Webster's 10th, 1997

Interpositive Transparency
scope note: Positive photographic transparencies used as an intermediate step in making copies of negatives.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Linocut

Magnetic Disk

Magnetic Disk: Floppy Disk
scope note: Thin, round, flexible disks with magnetic surfaces for storing and retrieving data.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Magnetic Disk: Hard Drive
scope note: Devices that house a fixed (non-removable) hard disk for storage and retrieval of digital computer data.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Magnetic Tape Cassette

Magnetic Tape Reel
scope note: NARA uses open-reel tape on one-half inch 9-track tape reels recorded at 1600 or 6250 bytes per inch (bpi) for preservation of electronic records.

Manual Print

Microfiche
scope note: A flat, transparent sheet of film with miniaturized images arranged in a grid pattern. Use Dimension or Process to include additional information on microfiche.
source: NARA Managing Micrographic Records, 1995
[MF]

Microfilm
scope note: A fine-grain, high-resolution film in roll form containing miniaturized images in sequential order. Use Dimension or Process to include additional information on microfilm.
[MF]

Microopaque
scope note: An opaque medium, such as translucent paper stock, containing microimages arranged in a grid pattern. Also called microcard or microprint. Use Dimension or Process to include additional information on microopaques.
source: NARA Managing Micrographic Records, 1995

Negative
scope note: A transparent support, such as glass plate or piece of film, on which the tones or colors of an image are reversed from their appearance in nature. Directly opposite to a "positive" image (photograph) or transparency. Use Color, Dimension, Emulsion, or Process to include additional information on negatives.
source: Library of Congress, Graphic Materials, 1982

Networked Storage
scope note: Data storage or a data storage device that is accessible on a computer network, including network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SAN).

Networked Storage

Optical Disk: Compact Disk (CD)
scope note: Optical disk on which programs, data, or music are digitally encoded for a laser beam to scan, decode, and transmit to a playback system, computer monitor, or television set.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Optical Disk: Digital Versatile Disk (DVD)
scope note: Optical disks the same size as compact disks, but designed to hold approximately seven times more digital information, including multiple layers. DVDs are generally one-sided, each side holding 4.7 gigabytes of information, most often video.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Original Positive

Paper
scope note: Use Base, Color, Dimension, or Process to include additional information on paper.

Parchment
scope note: Parchment historically is made from unsplit calfskin that has been specially treated for use as a writing medium and in binding. Parchment may be made from lambskin or goatskin. The term is used interchangeably with "vellum".
source: SAA Glossary, 1992

Photographic Print
scope note: Photographs generally printed from a negative. Do not confuse with manual prints, original positives, photomechanical prints, or digital prints. Use Base, Color, Dimension, Emulsion, or Process to include additional information on photographic prints.

Photomechanical Print

Professional Disc (PFD)

Slide
scope note: Positive transparencies in mounts suitable for projection, usually 35mm film in a mount of 2 by 2 inches.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Tracing Cloth
scope note: Fine, thin cotton or linen cloth, coated on one or both sides with starch or a starch mixture, used especially by architects and designers for making tracings in ink or pencil.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Transparency
scope note: Images designed for viewing by transmitted light. Most often refers to transparent positive photographs; can also refer to transparent non-photographic images that are designed for projection viewing or as intermediates for reproduction. Use Base, Color, Dimension, or Process to include additional information on transparencies.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

USB Flash Drive
scope note: A portable flash memory data storage device which connects to a computer's USB port.

Video Cassette
scope note: Recordings on videotape, which is a magnetic tape that records images and sound electronically, contained in cassette.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Video Open Reel
scope note: Recordings on videotape, which is a magnetic tape that records images and sound electronically, contained on an open reel.

Videodisk
scope note: Analog or digital optical disks on which images or sound are recorded by a laser. Use Format or Process to include additional information on videodisks.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Wire Recording
scope note: Recordings of sound on a spool of wire rather than on magnetic tape.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

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