Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Genre/Form Terms Policy at LC

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LC has announced a new policy for genre and form terms.
In 2007 the Library of Congress' Policy and Standards Division (PSD, then called the Cataloging Policy and Support Office, or CPSO) began to develop genre/form terms in the area of moving images. Since then terms for recorded sound and cartography have also been included. Genre/form terms for law, literature, music, and religion will be incorporated within the next two years.

PSD's intent has been to develop a thesaurus distinct from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), but for the past three years the authority records have been assigned MARC 21 coding indicating that they are part of LCSH. When the terms have been assigned in bibliographic records, they have been coded with second indicator "0" (zero), which is used for LCSH. They have also been assigned LCCNs with the same prefix as subject headings, "sh." Additionally, approved genre/form terms have been published in the Supplementary Vocabularies volume of LCSH and instruction sheets governing their development and use have appeared in the Subject Headings Manual (SHM).

PSD now plans to formally separate genre/form terms from LCSH, in both MARC records and in printed products. The details are outlined below.

Title of thesaurus and MARC source code
Since 2007 the genre/form headings have been referred to as a genre/form list or a genre/form thesaurus, because the thesaurus did not yet have a formal title. PSD has now coined the title Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT). This title will appear in print for the first time in the Supplemental Vocabularies volume of the 32nd edition of LCSH, which will be published this summer.

On May 26, 2010 the Network Development and MARC Standards Office (NDMSO) announced that it has assigned the MARC source code "lcgft" to the thesaurus. The code may be used in exchange records after July 27, 2010 (for the NDMSO announcement see

MARC 21 records
Within a MARC 21 authority record, the thesaurus to which the heading belongs is coded in one of two ways. It may be recorded in byte 11 of the fixed field (008/11), or through a combination of 008/11 and subfield $f of the 040 field. After conferring with NDMSO, PSD has decided to utilize the latter option.

Authority records for genre/form terms will be coded as follows.

008/11: z ("Other")
040$f: lcgft

In bibliographic records, genre/form terms are always contained in the 655 field, and again there are two methods to designate the source thesaurus: the value of the second indicator, or a combination of second indicator "7" and a source code in subfield $2. PSD has chosen the latter option. LC genre/form terms in bibliographic records will be coded:

655 -7 $a [Term]. $2 lcgft

This formula has been employed successfully for many other thesauri and lists of terms and PSD expects that its use for the LCGFT will be equally successful.

Timeline for implementation: Late 2010 or early 2011; a firm date will be announced when it has been determined.

PSD plans to institute a new prefix of "gf" for genre/form terms. The format of the new LCCN will be identical to that for subject headings: the two-character prefix will be followed by 10 digits comprising the four-digit year and a six-digit serial number.

Timeline for implementation: Late 2010 or early 2011. The existing genre/form authority records will be cancelled and new ones will be issued with the "gf" prefix. PSD will publicly announce the specific date of this event no fewer than six weeks before it is to occur in order to provide time for MARC Distribution Service subscribers to prepare.

A separate manual for genre/form terms is being written. It will include instructions and guidelines on proposing and applying LC genre/form headings, and will be formatted similar to the way that the SHM is. (Until it is developed, instruction sheets for genre/form headings will continue to reside in the SHM.) PSD is also investigating the possibility of extracting LCGFT from Supplementary Vocabularies and publishing it separately.

Timeline: No earlier than 2012.

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