Tag Archives: LCGFT

Fifty shades of … genre terms

The Library of Congress’ work compiling a thesaurus of genre and forms terms has been a massive effort and taken years of work. Now that the terms are out, what are the best practices for using them?

The Subject Headings Manual (SHM) has instructions on using one of the first thesauri to be released (moving images and radio programs, SHM H1913 and H1969.5, respectively), and even before that, LC provided some helpful guidance for applying genre terms for fiction in SHM H1970, which refer to another thesaurus developed outside LC, the GSAFD.

But now that more thesauri have been released in recent months, instructions for using the terms will compose a distinct document, The Genre/Form Terms Manual. The first draft was posted this week at the library of Congress website, http://www.loc.gov/aba/publications/FreeLCGFT/freelcgft.html.

Presumably these instructions will supersede SHM H1913 and H1969.5 (and the special provisions in H1970) and bring consistency to genre/form terms assignment across all formats. According to the Cataloging Standards and Policy Office site’s official announcement, the instructions will be adopted later in 2016; in the meantime (or at least until May 31st) comments can be directed to Janis Young (jayo@loc.gov).

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Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms (LCGFT)

Have you heard of the new LCGFT terms?  Genre/form terms are used in catalog records to describe what a work is, versus subject headings which describe what a work is about.  In early 2015, the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) of the Library of Congress began to approve new “general,” music, and literary genre/form terms for the LCGFT thesaurus.

Many libraries already use LCGFT terms such as Comedy films and Children’s television programs on records for videorecordings.  And even though LC hasn’t yet announced when it will officially implement the approved terms in new cataloging, catalogers have started to see new LCGFT terms being applied to records in various formats, for example:

655 #7 $a Biographies. $2 lcgft

Some links to watch for LCGFT updates from the Library of Congress:

In addition, Adam L. Schiff of the University of Washington has posted LCGFT training slides and implementation notes at https://staffweb.lib.washington.edu/units/cams/support-and-training/lcgft-training, which libraries are free to use and modify.

— Michael Christian-Budd

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