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Top-level Element: <genre>

Element <genre>
Definition A term or terms that designate a category characterizing a particular style, form, or content, such as artistic, musical, literary composition, etc.
Attributes type; authority; authorityURI; valueURI; usage; displayLabel; altRepGroup; lang; xml:lang; script; transliteration
Subelements None



<genre> contains terms that give more specificity for the form of an object than the broad terms used in <typeOfResource>. The terms may be from a controlled list with a designation of the authoritative list used in the authority attribute, or it may be an uncontrolled term. If no authority is specified, it is assumed that the term is uncontrolled. For an example genre list, see MARC Genre Term List .

The <genre> element should be used to characterize the content of the resource rather than the resource itself which would be <form>.

Repeat this element as necessary.

Specific DLF/Aquifer Guidelines

The DLF /Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for Shareable MODS Records recommend the use of at least one <genre> element in every MODS record and, if a value is provided, require the use of a value from a controlled list and the designation of this list in the authority attribute.

Genre is a term that carries different specific meanings within different communities of practice, and the content of most information objects can be characterized by genre at some level of granularity, either very broad or quite specific. For example, photographs and ambrotypes are both valid genre characterizations, depending on your perspective, for a specific type of direct positive photographic print. At the very least, institutions can provide a very broad genre term for materials being digitized. Broad terms appear in many standard thesauri used for genre terms. For example, the genres "books" and "photographs" appear in the Library of Congress Subject Headings LCSH), Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT),External Link and Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II (TGM II), while "sound recordings" appears in only the first two. Values given should be as specific as possible within the context of an institution's descriptive program. It is recommended that institutions adopt a consistent, well-documented approach to supplying genre terms.

See the <genre> entry in the DLF/Aquifer Summary of MODS Requirements and Recommendations Table for further information on requirements of this element, its attributes, and subelements.

Aggregator information: For certain classes of materials with strongly developed genre vocabularies, the genre of an item is an important research tool; aggregators may choose to include this in the brief display. It may also be indexed to provide the option of limiting or refining searches using this data. Aggregators may also use the <genre> element to filter records appropriate for their service.

Related information is discussed in the "Types of Resource" and the "Describing Versions and Reproductions" sections of the DLF/NSDL Best Practices for Shareable Metadata.External Link

Element Description



Distinguishes different aspects of genre, such as class or style.
Optional; use if desired to categorize the genre.


The controlled list from which the value is taken.
Use this attribute to indicate the controlled vocabulary used for the values in the <genre> element. Consult Genre/Form Code and Term Source Codes, for a list of possible controlled vocabularies and their source codes.


A URI uniquely identifying the vocabulary from which the controlled term has been selected, as assigned by the body responsible for the maintenance of the vocabulary.
URIs identifying authorities may or may not be dereferenceable to human- or machine-readable information on the authority file, controlled vocabulary, or thesaurus.


A URI uniquely identifying the term or controlled value from a vocabulary, as assigned by the body responsible for the maintenance of the vocabulary.
URIs identifying terms may or may not be dereferenceable to human- or machine-readable records for the term.


Strength of the genre vis-a-vis the resource.
This attribute is used with usage="primary" when the main genre of the resource is specified in the element.

altRepGroup; lang; xml:lang; script; transliteration; displayLabel

See the Attributes used throughout the schema for descriptions of each.


There are no subelements for <genre>.



<genre authority="rbgenr">Hymnals-Germany<genre>

<genre authority="marcgt">folktale</genre>

<genre authority="aat" type="style" displayLabel="Style">baroque</genre>
<genre authority="aat" type="culture" displayLabel="Culture">Netherlandish</genre>

For a digital image of a Civil War era daguerreotype portrait:
<genre authority="aat">daguerreotypes</genre>
<genre authority="aat">portraits</genre>

For a children's adventure story:
<genre authority="gsafd">adventure fiction</genre>
<genre authority="lcsh" authorityURI=" valueURI="http//>Children's literature</genre>



MARC Mapping (Bibliographic)

Genre can appear in various positions in MARC 21 depending on the genre value but are primarily in the 008 (in coded form) and in the 6XX fields in term form. See the MARC Mapping to MODS for the <genre> element for details.

Dublin Core Mapping

The MODS to Dublin Core Metadata Element Set Mapping recommends mapping the <genre> element to the <dc:type> element in simple Dublin Core.

MODS examples expressed in Dublin Core:


<dc:type>adventure fiction</dc:type>
<dc:type>Children's literature</dc:type>


Last Updated: April 15, 2019