Since early 2007, the Library of Congress has been developing Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), whose terms describe what something is rather than what it is about, as subject headings do. In January 2015 the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) will approve approximately 175 “general” genre/form terms for inclusion in LCGFT. The terms describe works such as abstracts, dictionaries, periodicals, and yearbooks, which are not specific to a particular discipline, and also include some other terms that do not fall neatly into a particular discipline (e.g., Logic puzzles; Passenger lists).
The terms appear on Tentative List 1513, to be approved on January 12, 2015. PSD is requesting comments from the library community; please email Janis Young at [email protected] through January 9, 2015.
The “general terms” project was a partnership undertaken by PSD and the ALA/ALCTS Subject Analysis Committee’s Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation, which formed the General Terms Working Group. PSD thanks the members of the Working Group for their time and effort. Special thanks are also due to MARCIVE, Inc., who created MARC records for the proposals from a Word document provided by the Working Group.
The Working Group based its list primarily on headings and form subdivisions in Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), which was used as the starting point for the project. LCSH terminology was adapted as necessary for LCGFT; for instance, the LCSH form subdivision –Biography will be approved in the plural form Biographies for LCGFT. The Working Group was not strictly limited to existing LCSH terminology, though, and has proposed a number of terms that do not appear in LCSH.
This project is different from the previous four (moving images, sound recordings, law materials, and cartographic materials) in that there was no clear “broadest term” for the wide assortment of terms. Instead of a single collocation point, therefore, there are ten: Commemorative works; Creative nonfiction; Derivative works; Discursive works; Ephemera; Illustrated works; Informational works; Instructional and educational works; Recreational works; and Tactile works. It is not expected that these broadest terms will be assigned frequently, if at all. Instead, more specific terms should be assigned (e.g., a transcript of an interview would be assigned Interviews, not its BT, Discursive works). For the outline of the hierarchies, see Hierarchies for General Genre/Form Terms.
Also unlike previous projects, the approval of the “general” terms will impact the hierarchies of some of the terms already in LCGFT. Some of those changes appear on Tentative List 1513 (e.g., addition of the BT Interviews to Filmed interviews), while additional revisions will be approved on future Tentative Lists.
PSD has no plans at this time to cancel any of the LCSH headings or form subdivisions that overlap with the “general’ terms. Libraries choosing to implement the terms in their cataloging should assign them in addition to subdivided subject headings. Example:
100 1# $a Adler, David A.
245 00 $a George Washington : $b an illustrated biography / $c by David A. Adler.
600 10 $a Washington, George, $d 1732-1799 $v Juvenile literature.
650 #0 $a Presidents $z United States $v Biography $v Juvenile literature.
655 #7 $a Biographies. $2 lcgft
The Library of Congress’ Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access directorate, which catalogs most of the textual works acquired for the Library’s general collections, has not yet decided when it will implement the “general” genre/form terms in new cataloging. A separate announcement will be made when the date has been determined.