The National Archives Catalog

Specific Media Type

Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Level Available A/V Only Public Element
Yes Yes* Variable Character Length (60) Specific Media Type Authority List Series
File Unit
No Yes

* In DAS, generate a new media occurrence for each Specific Media Type found in the archival materials.


Definition: The physical form of the archival materials.


Purpose: Defines the physical characteristics of the archival materials, which helps establish preservation, storage, retrieval, reproduction, and use requirements.



This element is dependent on General Media Type.

In addition, all of the Media Occurrence Elements are dependent on it. For each media occurrence within each copy of the archival materials, Specific Media Type must be specified before any of the Media Occurrence Elements can be created.


Choose the correct term from the Specific Media Type Authority List.

Generate multiple media occurrence descriptions for:

Mixed Specific Media Types
If the archival materials have mixed specific media types, generate a new media occurrence description for each specific media type. For example, a physical occurrence containing both negatives and photographic prints would have one media occurrence description for "negatives" and another for "photographic prints." Where it is easy to determine the extent of the various media types, multiple specific media occurrences should be generated.

Interfiled Specific Media Types
If the archival materials have interfiled specific media types, then choose the predominant specific media type for the physical description. For example, a physical occurrence mostly containing paper records with some illustrations would be described in one media occurrence for "paper." If necessary, the second specific media type may be indicated in Media Occurrence Note, but the preference is to generate new media occurrence descriptions to describe the additional specific media types.

Multiple Media Occurrences for the Same Specific Media Type
If the archival materials consist of multiple occurrences of the same specific media type, and each occurrence requires an individual description, then generate the number of media occurrence descriptions needed to adequately describe them. For example, a moving image may consist of multiple film reels, each of which may have different characteristics for running time or which need to be identified by a unique Element Number.




Digital Audio Tape
[The specific media type for the Lyndon B. Johnson Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series.]


Film Reel
[The specific media type for the motion picture "Mission to Villa Coublay, France."]


3480 - Class Magnetic Tape Cartridge
[The specific media type for electronic records stored on 3480-class tape cartridges.]

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