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Genre/Form FAQ from LC

LC CPSO has just published a Genre/Form FAQ. It's quite helpful, and I've put a link to it on our project wiki.

Here are a few excerpts:

Q5: “My library collects DVDs and VHS tapes, and these headings just won’t work. Why are the moving image headings only for films and television programs??
A: The goal of the genre/form headings is to describe the expression, not the manifestation, of the work. In other words, the headings refer to the intellectual or artistic expression of a work, not to the physical carrier.

To accomplish this goal, the decision was made to broaden the meaning of the term “film? from referring only to those works on motion picture film (the physical carrier) to include those that are originally recorded on motion picture film, on video, or digitally. This decision allows for more uniformity in catalogs, since the same heading(s) will be applied to a work (e.g., You’ve Got Mail) whether a library has it on DVD, VHS, or podcast, or all three.

There are two exceptions to the general rule: the headings Video recordings for the hearing impaired and Video recordings for people with visual disabilities. The library community asked CPSO to include these headings as a service to users. Since captioning, signing, and audio description are usually added as aftermarket enhancements, and because it is useful to collocate all such works under one heading, CPSO determined that they could be added. Instruction on their use is provided in the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings instruction sheet H 1913.

Q9: How can all of the approved genre/form headings in a particular discipline be found?
A: Users can follow the hierarchies to discover works of interest to them. For example, a user searching Wildlife films can follow the broader terms to retrieve Nature films, Science films, Educational films, Documentary films, and Nonfiction films, respectively. The broadest term is the generic term of the discipline. Currently, the broadest terms are Motion pictures, Television programs, Video recordings, and Radio programs. By searching one of these headings users can follow the narrower terms to find all of the headings in the discipline.

Q25: What if a genre/form heading proposal is interdisciplinary and should have a broader term that is in a discipline that isn’t yet part of the project?
A: There are many examples of interdisciplinary genre/form headings currently in the genre/form list (e.g., Opera films, which could have the BT Operas). Adding the BT could cause confusion because it would lead to a lack of uniformity. If Operas were to be approved as a genre/form heading, then a user could rationally expect to find Ballads as well, but would not. Therefore, the BTs for the interdisciplinary aspect of the headings are not being added at this time.

As the genre/form projects are expanded to include more disciplines, the existing headings will be examined to determine whether any BTs should be added to them.

Q27: What are the headings Fiction films and Nonfiction films; Fiction television programs and Nonfiction television programs; and Fiction radio programs and Nonfiction radio programs for?
A: Many genre/form headings are not intrinsically fiction or nonfiction (e.g., Children’s films, Low budget films). The headings Fiction films and Nonfiction films; Fiction television programs and Nonfiction television programs; and, Fiction radio programs and Nonfiction radio programs are applied to distinguish between nonfiction and fiction treatments of a subject. While CPSO recognizes that most users would not approach a catalog and search “nonfiction films,? assigning the heading allows for searches to be limited easily, particularly in a keyword environment.

Q32: Why can’t the headings Motion pictures, Television programs, Radio programs, and Video recordings be applied to individual works? Why are they limited to collections?
A: These four headings are provided mostly for hierarchical purposes, in order to give catalog users a useful collocation point for all of the genre/form headings in a given discipline.
The general rule to assign headings that are as specific as the work being cataloged applies to genre/form headings just as it does to topical headings. Since the genres and forms of moving image works and radio programs have been established, the most specific heading(s) possible should be assigned to each work. In cases where an appropriate specific heading does not yet exist, one should be proposed.

If catalogers in individual libraries choose to apply the headings Motion pictures, Television programs, Radio programs, and/or Video recordings to individual works in their collections, they may do so, but must code the heading as a local one. Example:

655 #7 $a Motion pictures. $2 local

Questions? Ask Mary