Use of genre terms

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Genre refers to a category of work with similar characteristics (i.e., mystery, horror, science fiction, romance, etc.). Form indicates a type of format or structure (i.e., audiobooks, cookbooks, handbooks and manuals, etc.). Genre and form terms are coded in MARC tag 655 and display in the PAC with the label Genre.

Genre and form terms are types of headings that may be used in combination with subject headings to describe a resource.

Genre and form terms tell what a resource *is* (i.e., the category it belongs to) and subject terms tell what it is *about* (i.e., the subject(s) of the content).

Title: The cookie collection: artisan baking for the cookie enthusiast
Summary: Over 100 cookie recipes every home baker should have in their collection.
Subject headings:
650 _ 0 ‡aCookies.
650 _ 0 ‡aBaking.
The book is *about* cookies and *about* baking.
Genre/form heading:
655 _ 7 ‡aCookbooks.‡2lcgft
The book *is* a cookbook.

Guidelines

  • Follow LC practice of using genre and form terms from the thesaurus named Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT)
    • Add applicable genre and/or form terms
    • Delete the following generic lcgft terms: Fiction, Informational works, Literature, and Novels
  • If an LCGFT term is not available:
    • Use a genre and/or form term from the thesaurus named Guidelines on subject access to individual works of fiction, drama, etc. (GSAFD) with the following exception:
      • Do not use the heading Romantic suspense fiction
    • The GSAFD terms Christian fiction and Regency fiction will be used as appropriate in Polaris records
  • If neither an LCGFT term nor a GSAFD term is available:
    • Use an LCSH term coded as a genre or form term if a scope note in the authority record allows. Scope notes, when present, are contained in MARC tag 680 (public general note) and provide instructions for the use of the term.
      • If the scope note in the 680 field says that the term is used for works of a given type, then it can be used in a 655 field in a bibliographic record as a genre or form term
      • If the scope note in the 680 field says the term is used for works about or on works of a given type, then it cannot be used in a 655 field in a bibliographic record
      • If there is no 680 field in the authority record, the cataloger should use his or her best judgement
      • If a Library of Congress topical heading cannot be considered an LCSH genre heading according to the above guidelines, but your library would like to use it that way, please submit a request for approval of a local subject heading. If it’s determined the heading may be used, it will be added to the list of approved local subject headings
      • If a Library of Congress topical heading can be used as a genre heading according to the above guidelines, approval as a local subject heading is not required
    • Add any appropriate subject headings as indicated in SHARE local policies. See individual policies and the approved local subject headings list
      • Add approved local subject headings to records when they are imported into Polaris. Do not add them to master records in OCLC

MARC Coding

For terms from the LCGFT: 655 _ 7 ‡a[LCGFT term].‡2lcgft

For terms from the GSAFD: 655 _ 7 ‡a[GSAFD term].‡2gsafd

For LC headings used as genre terms: 655 _ 0 ‡a[LC term].
Note: code LC headings being used as genre terms in MARC tag 655, not 650

For LC headings approved for use as a local subject heading: 655 _ 7 ‡a[LC Term].‡2local

For non-LC headings approved for use as a local subject heading: 690 _ _ ‡a[Term].

For further information

See the Cataloging Resources page on the SHARE website for a general handout on genre and form terms, as well as an editing guide for genre terms for fiction and graphic novels.

See the recording of the June 2020 Catalogers Training Session on the SHARE Training Portal for a presentation about genre and form terms. The presentation begins about 11.5 minutes into the recording. The slides are posted in the Handouts folder.