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Online Audiovisual Catalogers

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In September 2008 SanDisk announced it would begin making music available for purchase on its microSD flash memory card format.1 The audio files on a slotMusic card are in MP3 format and are offered free of any digital rights management controls. In addition to containing an "album's" worth of music (i.e., a slotMusic release generally corresponds to a collection of music issued on other formats such as compact disc), a typical slotMusic card may come pre-loaded with images, video, text, MIDI files, etc. Each card contains 1 GB of memory (well more than what is required for the pre-loaded content) and the extra memory can be used in whatever way the buyer wishes. Indeed, the preloaded content can be moved to another storage device and the memory card can be formatted and used like any other card.

Music on slotMusic cards can be accessed using any device that both accepts microSD cards and is able to play MP3 files at up to 320 kbps.2 In addition, some slotMusic cards come packaged with a special microSD-to-USB adapter, which makes it possible to load slotMusic content onto a computer, car stereo, or any other device equipped with a USB jack. Some slotMusic cards are also sold as "bundles," which in addition to the memory card and USB adapter include special dedicated MP3 players that accept the microSD format.

Many early media responses questioned whether there would be a market for slotMusic, reasoning that music consumers interested in MP3s generally are comfortable with downloading them through computer network connections.3 But a more recent report in the Los Angeles Times argues that the format is doing better than many expected.4 Still, in April 2010, a search for “slotmusic” in WorldCat retrieves only the record created by this task force as an example, and it is unclear whether any libraries have begun collecting this new format.

In terms of cataloging, slotMusic offers a number of challenges. Like much electronic media, the cards exhibit aspects of more than one format, in this case at least sound recordings and electronic resources. Currently, and as the name implies, slotMusic only offers musical sound recordings, but future releases could potentially contain non-musical sound. SlotMusic releases contain no descriptive information on the card itself, making choice of chief sources of information challenging. And slotMusic releases often come "bundled" with peripheral items (such as USB adapters and MP3 players) that contain no intellectual content, making for interesting accompanying materials notes. And finally, since the devices that can play the cards are numerous, but the technical requirements of those devices are complex, clear notes regarding the playback characteristics of the cards are necessary.


Cataloging of music; MP3 (Audio coding standard); Smart cards


Cataloging and Metadata | Library and Information Science



Publisher Citation

Barret, M., Alberts, J., Ford, C., Henry, S., Hoban, M., & Weitz, J. (2010). Guide to cataloging SlotMusic based on AACR2 chapters 6 and 9. Online Audiovisual Catalogers. Retrieved from