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Genre Descriptors in the Catalog

About Genres

Most of these are from the Library of Congress
Subject Headings or the ALA Guidelines on Subject Access to Works of Fiction, Drama, and Poetry (GSAFD).
Some purely NLS headings are also in use.

List of Genres Used in the Catalog

  • Adventure fiction
  • Allegories
  • Alternative histories (fiction)
  • Arthurian romances
  • Autobiographical fiction
  • Bildungromans*
  • Biographical fiction
  • Black humor (literature)
  • Christian fiction
  • Christmas stories
  • College stories*
  • Comedies*
  • Crime stories (NLS local heading)
  • Diary fiction*
  • Didactic fiction*
  • Domestic fiction (NLS tends to use the topical headings: Family Fiction or Family problems Fiction, or the genre heading: Family chronicles)
  • Drama. (also using tag 650–American drama, English drama, etc.)
  • Experimental fiction.
  • Fables
  • Fairy tales (Will be converted from 650 to 655)
  • Family chronicles. (NLS local heading)
  • Fantasy fiction.
  • Folklore (Will be converted from 650 to 655)
  • Ghost stories
  • Gothic fiction
  • Historical fiction.
  • Horror fiction
  • Humor. (NLS local heading used instead of the GSAFD term: Humorous fiction)
  • Inspirational works (NLS local heading. With the newer terms Christian fiction, Jewish fiction, etc. this term has been used less recently, although it would remain valid for non fiction inspiration works)
  • Jewish fiction
  • Legal stories
  • Love stories (see also the NLS local heading: Romance. We use Love stories for Romances that contain descriptions of sex, but are considering retiring the local heading entirely)
  • Medical novels*
  • Movie novels*
  • Mystery fiction.
  • Nature stories*
  • Occult fiction*
  • Parables*
  • Pastoral fiction
  • Philosophical fiction
  • Poetry (LCSH) (NLS also uses American poetry, English poetry, etc.)
  • Political fiction
  • Psychological fiction.
  • Regency fiction
  • Religious fiction
  • Romance. (This is a local heading. Romance novels with descriptions of sex are found under: Love stories)
  • Romantic suspense fiction
  • Satire*
  • Science fiction.
  • Sea stories.
  • Short stories.
  • Sports stories.
  • Spy stories.
  • Supernatural fiction. (Local heading, slowly being converted to the GSAFD headings: Horror fiction or Occult fiction)
  • Suspense fiction.
  • Tall tales*
  • War stories.
  • Western stories.

*These are headings from the ALA GSAFD list that are new to NLS and have not been used frequently. Using them for searching would not be very reliable at this time.