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].


3480 - Class Magnetic Tape Cartridge
scope note: A closed container of magnetic tape, designed for loading and unloading in a computer tape drive without prior threading or rewinding.
source: SAA Glossary, 1992

Aerial Film
scope note: Sequence of images of the earth taken from an aircraft.
source: Art and Architecure Thesaurus Online, 2009

Aerial Print
scope note: Image of the earth taken from an aircraft.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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

Audio Cartridge

Audio Cassette

Audio Disk

Audio Minicassette

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.

Cased Photograph/Direct Positive
scope note: Positive-image photographs produced in the camera without the intervening use of a negative, or produced by a positive-to-positive process. Generally used for ambrotypes, dagurreotypes, and tintypes. Also called direct positive. Use Color, Dimension, or Process to include additional information on original positives.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus, 2000

Clothing
scope note: Coverings for the torso, limbs, hands, feet, and head for warmth, fashion, or to cover nudity. It generally excludes other items of costume such as jewelry, crowns, and other accessories that are purely decorative or symbolic and have no practical function.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Collage
scope note: Compositions made in two dimensions or very low relief by gluing paper, fabrics, photographs, or other materials onto a flat surface.
Source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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

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.

Decorative Object
scope note: Refers to objects that are primarily utilitarian in form or function, but that have aesthetic value provided by the design, decoration, or embellishment. They may include ceramics, furniture, and other household or utilitarian objects. They are distinct from "fine arts," which were traditionally considered to require more extensive training and were restricted to the media of painting, sculpture, drawing, and architecture.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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 Linear Tape (DLT)
scope note: Half-inch magnetic tape contained in a single-hub cartridge. DLT was originally developed for the VAX computer.

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

Digitally Produced 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.

Drawing
scope note: The application of lines on a surface, often paper, by using a pencil, pen, chalk, or some other tracing instrument to focus on the delineation of form rather than the application of color. This term is often defined broadly to refer to computer-generated images as well. Use Process to include additional information on drawing.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Film Negative
scope note: A reversed photographic image used for projection.

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

Flag/Banner
scope note: Pieces of cloth or other flexible material marked with signs or decorative designs, usually attached along one side or suspended. Intended for symbolic purposes.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Flash Memory Card
scope note: A removable flash memory data storage device.

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

Frame
scope note: Cases or structures that surround or enclose such items as works of art, mirrors, or documents, serving as support or protection or to call attention, while leaving the items visible.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Furniture
scope note: Movable equipment designed to provide support and/or storage.

Glass Negative
scope note: Glass plates containing images, made with the intention of producing prints.

Graphic Material
scope note: Prints and illustrations that depend upon line and not color to render the design.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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

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

Jewelry
scope note: Ornaments such as bracelets, necklaces, and rings, of precious or semiprecious materials worn or carried on the person for adornment; also includes similar articles worn or carried for devotional or mourning purposes.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Linear Tape Open (LTO)
scope note: Magnetic tape developed to provide non-proprietary data storage.

Magnetic Tape Cartridge
scope note: A closed container of magnetic tape, designed for loading and unloading in a computer tape drive without prior threading or rewinding.
source: SAA Glossary, 1992

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.

Medals/Insignias
scope note: Devices in any form that identify a person or object as belonging to a group or organization, denote rank or office, or serve a commemorative purpose.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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).

Painting
scope note: Unique works in which images are formed primarily by the direct application of pigments suspended in oil, water, egg yolk, molten wax, or other liquid, arranged in masses of color, onto a generally two-dimensional surface.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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

Personal Object
scope note: An object owned or once in the possession of a given individual.

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.

Sculpture
scope note: Art works created by carving or engraving a hard material, by molding or casting a malleable material, or by assembling parts to create a three-dimensional object.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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

Stone/Mineral Sample/Gem
scope note: Stones are rocks that has been cut, shaped, crushed, or otherwise formed for use in construction or other purposes. Mineral samples are naturally occurring inorganic elements or compounds. Gems are precious or semiprecious stones or other materials such as amber or pearl, cut, polished, or otherwise dressed for ornamental purposes.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Thread/Fibers
scope note: Material formed from natural or synthetic filament or staple, twisted tightly together.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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.

Utilitarian Object
scope note: An object created to be useful or for use rather than for beauty or ornamentation.
source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online, 2009

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

Weapon
scope note: Implements or mechanisms used for defense or attack in combat, hunting, or war.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

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

X-Ray
scope note: Images produced on photographic film by x-ray radiation.
source: Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, 2009

Zip Disk
scope note: A portable medium-capacity storage disk.

Top