Physical description

The title, statement of responsibility, edition, publisher and date comprise the first paragraph of bibliographic information in a cataloging record. The next area of information is the PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION area. The purpose of the physical description area is to help give an idea of the physical make up and format of the item being cataloged. For a book, this involves things such as the size and number of pages. 

Chapin        Chapin, Tom.
                         Around the world and back again [sound recording] / Tom Chapin. –
                    New York : Sony Music, p1996.
                         1 sound disc : digital ; 4 ¾ in.

                         Lyrics on insert.
                         Vocals, guitar, banjo, autoharp, mandolin, ukulele by Tom Chapin with
                    accompanying musicians.
                        Around the world and back again (ATWABA) – What is a didjeridoo? –
                    The wonderful world of you – In an elephant  world – I papaveri – Dance,
                    dance, dance – The troubadour – It’s gonna be dinner soon – A forest in
                    the rain – How’d you like to do that? – Gonna go to Borneo – Wheels – 
                    Heartache to happy – Another busy day – By-ush ki by-u – Song of the

                       1. Children’s songs. I. Title. II. Sony Music.          

For a non-book item, such as one with a GMD of ‘sound recording’, this area provides the chance to indicate whether it is a cassette or compact disc, stereo or mono, digital or analog, etc.  The physical description area for this item is: 1 sound disc : digital ; 4 ¾ in.

The physical description area is made up of three sections: extent of item, other details, and dimensions. In the extent of item section, the number of pages is listed for a book, and the number of items is listed for a non-book entry, along with the length of the playing time if applicable. If the item is a book, the other details section contains information about whether or not the item is illustrated. It tells whether a non-book item has such features as sound, color, analog, digital, stereo, mono, etc. Dimensions are measured in centimeters for books. This is the measured along the length of the spine, as in 25 cm. For non-book items it is the standard measure for the item, either diameter or speed, such as ½ in. VHS for a video, or 4 ¾ in. for a compact disc, or 1 ¾ ips (inches per second) for a cassette tape. The punctuation in this area consists of a colon before the other details section, and a semicolon before the dimensions section. If either of these sections is missing, the punctuation that precedes that section is omitted.

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