Tips to Find Audiovisual Collections in the OHS Online Collections Catalog

How can I use keyword searching to find audiovisual collections?

General keyword searching for subjects and genre terms can retrieve relevant collections.  Keep in mind that the general keyword search searches many fields in the bibliographic record for each word in your search phrase.

If you find that some or all of the search results are not relevant to your needs, try putting parentheses around your search phrase to narrow the results.  You can also narrow your search results by trying title or subject keyword searches.

To retrieve records with the singular ‘photograph’ or the plural ‘photographs’ search for the word  photograph followed by an *.  This will broaden your search and likely retrieve more results.

Can I browse for photograph collections by subject?


  • First, click on the ‘Browse’ button at the top of the OCC screen.
  • Next, select ‘Subject’ from the available lists of browses.
  • Type in your subject phrase and click ‘Go’ to get your results.
  • When you are scanning the list of subject headings, look for subject headings that end with the word ‘Photographs’.
    Subject headings that end with ‘Photographs’ are attached to collection containing photographs of that subject.

Conduct a subject browse for ‘Ohio Statehouse’. Here is a portion of the result list:

Subjects                                                                             Titles

Ohio Statehouse (Columbus, Ohio)                                        39

Ohio Statehouse (Columbus, Ohio) – Photographs              30

The subject heading Ohio Statehouse (Columbus, Ohio) — Photographs is attached to collections containing photographs of the Ohio Statehouse.

How do I distinguish records for audiovisual collections from other types of records in lists of search results?

Titles are a clue. Following the title of audiovisual collections will be a phrase surrounded by brackets. This phrase is known as the General Material Description (GMD).

  • Titles of photograph, negative and transparency collections are followed by the GMD [graphic].
  • Film collections are followed by the GMD [motion picture].
  • Video collections are followed by the GMD [videorecording].
  • Sound recording collections, including audiocassettes, audio discs, reel-to-reel tape and other formats, are followed by the GMD [sound recording].

Currently the number of motion picture, sound and video recordings entered in the Online Card Catalog is limited. However, the number is growing everyday.


Title General Material Description
[Two-headed calf] [graphic]
Title General Material Description
Women of steel

Can I look up audiovisual collections by call number?


  • First, click on the ‘Browse’ button at the top of the OCC screen.
  • Next, select ‘Local Call #’ from the available lists of browses.
  • Type in the call number of the collection for which you wish to retrieve a bibliographic record.
  • Click the ‘Go’ button.
  • The call number for which you conducted a search will be the first on the results list.

Results of local call number browse for SC 1154:

  1. SC 1154          [Monument to Catherine Gougar] [graphic]
  2. SC 1155          Council Oak (Fulton County, Ohio) [graphic]

If the call number does not have a record in the Online Collection Catalog, the closest call number will appear at the top of the results list.

Results of a ‘Local Call #’ browse for SC 1500:

1. SC 1506 W.P. Snyder, Jr. [graphic].
2. SC 1509 United States slave trade [graphic].
3. SC 1514 Spanish American War, Ohio Battery 4 [graphic].

What do I do if a call number that I searched for does not appear in the Online Collection Catalog?

It is most likely that the collection is available for use, but a bibliographic record has not yet been created in the Online Card Catalog for the collection. Please visit the Archives/Library reading room to view the collection or contact the Archives/Library for more information regarding the collections availability.

Archives/Library Information (614) 297-2510
Research Services E-mail

Can I search for audiovisual collections by media?

Attached to the majority of records for audiovisual collections are a type of subject heading called genre terms. These terms are intended to describe the media. Collections that contain more than one type of media will have multiple genre terms attached.

Here is a list of genre terms:  

Aerial photographs Phonograph records
Ambrotypes Photograph albums
Boudoir cards Photographic postcards
Cabinet photographs Photographic prints
Card photographs Photographic prints – Color
Cartes de visite Photographs
CD-ROMs Photomechanical prints
Daguerreotypes Portraits
Digital photographs Portrait photographs
Drawings Postcards
DVDs Posters
Glass negatives Prints
Group portraits Safety film negatives
Instant camera photographs (Polaroids) Scrapbooks
Lantern slides Slides
Lithographs Sound recordings
Maps Stereographs
Motion pictures (visual works) Tintypes
Nitrate negatives Transparencies
Panoramic photographs Video recordings

To search by genre term:

    • Select ‘Subject’ from the pull down menu of search types.
    • Type in a genre term as your search phrase.
    • The results of your search will be a list of cataloged audiovisual collections that include items in this genre.

Results of a search for the genre term ‘Stereographs’:

Subject Titles
1. Stereographs 64

The search results indicate that there are 64 titles (audiovisual collections) containing stereographs in the online card catalog.

This entry was posted in collections, Digital Projects, OHS Resources, Research, Research Tips, Research Tools. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s