Since early 2007, the Library of Congress has created over 600 genre/form terms for moving images (films, television programs, and video recordings), sound recordings, and cartographic materials. In November 2010 the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) will approve approximately 80 genre/form terms for law, the culmination of a successful partnership with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), whose members developed a thesaurus of law genre/form terms [PDF - 121 KB], and presented it to PSD.
Shortly after LC’s project was launched, the AALL’s Classification and Subject Cataloging Policy Advisory Working Group started developing a list of genre/form terms for law. The working group and LC’s Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO, now the Policy and Standards Division) soon agreed that they should team up to develop the terms, which would be incorporated into Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT).
From 2007 through 2009, members of the working group discussed the terms that should be included in the thesaurus and used a wiki to help organize the various phases of the project. Their starting point was William Benemann’s Genre terms for law materials: a thesaurus (Buffalo, N.Y.: William S. Hein, 2006). The working group decided to modify the style and wording of some of Benemann’s terms, remove others altogether, and add additional headings. The group also added many cross references and scope notes and reviewed the corresponding LC subject headings for possible harmonization of the two lists. In October 2009 the AALL Cataloging and Classification Committee approved the thesaurus and the working group presented it to PSD. Working group members and LC staff then worked together to ensure that each term fits into the structure of LCGFT.
The law genre/form terms are scheduled to appear on Tentative Weekly List 44 and be approved on November 3, 2010. The Library of Congress plans to implement the terms in new cataloging in early 2011; a separate announcement will be made when the specific date has been determined.
AALL’s thesaurus also includes approximately twenty terms that are not specific to law. Instead, they represent genres and forms of general reference works that are heavily collected by law and other libraries (e.g., academic theses, dictionaries, and directories). PSD is continuing to examine these terms, including developing the syntactic relationships between and among them, and plans to add them to LCGFT within the next several months.