Genre/Form Terms (655)

Beginning in 2008, LC began to establish genre/form (155) headings in the national Subject Authority File (SAF). The initial category of heading was for moving image resources (film and video), later followed by headings for radio programs. LC published guidelines for assigning headings in these categories in the LC Subject Headings Manual (SHM), instruction sheets H 1913 (Moving Image) and H 1969.5 (Radio).  LC has published a FAQ providing optional guidelines for libraries that wish to assign genre/form headings in categories prior to their official development. Catalogers following the option must base headings tagged as 655 on headings currently established as 150; only 150 tagged headings with scope notes implying genre/form usage may be tagged as 655. A close reading of the FAQ guidelines (Q35) indicates that following the option will require considerable interpretation to implement. Given the limits on staff time, the CCC default policy is that YUL catalogers should not apply the option; detailed policy (including exceptions) is provided below.

In June 2010, LC announced its decision to separate genre/form headings from subject headings and called this thesaurus The Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT). Genre/form headings until that time had been tagged 655 _0. As a separate thesaurus, genre/form headings should be tagged

655 _7 ‡a <heading>. ‡2 lcgft

Note that a period or closing parenthesis follows the heading and no period is used after the $2 subfield. Note also that LCGFT headings should not be subdivided, according to LC policy. Authority records for genre/form headings are not loaded into Orbis.

A. LCGFT headings in the SAF: 

  1. Catalogers should not retag genre/form headings on individual catalog records, unless records are being updated for other reasons. For global correction requests see: Heading Change Request Form
  2. For copy cataloging, accept LCGFT terms on member/LC copy.
  3. For original cataloging, follow instructions found in SHM or the introduction to LCGFT

B. Genre/form headings not currently established:

Although the LC FAQ provides the option for re-tagging certain categories of headings currently tagged 650 as 655, the YUL decision is not to apply the FAQ option for headings in this category.

  1. For copy cataloging, accept LCGFT (655 _7) or LCSH (655 _0) terms on member/LC copy.
  2. For original cataloging, generally do not apply the LC FAQ guidelines to use LCSH as genre/form terms.
  3. For special collections cataloging, terms from other thesauri are used according to local policy. 


Genre/Form Headings at the Library of Congress: General Information

The Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials

Genre/Form Terms in Special Collections:

YUL Manuscript Cataloging Guidelines
Orbis Visual Materials Cataloging Manual: Collections
Orbis Visual Materials Cataloging Manual: Single Items & Multiparts

Genre/Form Term Proposals

Last modified: 
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 3:45pm