Michigan State University

LCGFT Guidelines for Use

Guidelines for Use of LCGFT and LCSH Genre/Form Terms

Genre/Form headings are used to indicate what an item IS, rather than what it is about. A 'for' is defined as a characteristic of works with a particular format and/or purpose. A “short film” is a particular form, for example, as is “animation.” Genre refers to categories of works that are characterized by similar plots, themes, settings, situations, and characters. Examples of genres are westerns and thrillers.  The LC genre/form thesaurus is separate from LCSH, and is identified as the Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials, or LCGFT.

LCGFT terms are always used in the 655 field, can never be subdivided, and are coded:
655  _7  $a [term]. $2 lcgft

LCSH terms are authorized for use in the 655 if the term is expressing the form and not the topic of the resource, and if the authority record does not explictly forbid using that term as a form/genre heading. LCSH terms used as form/genre headings can be subdivided by geographic area or year.  LCSH terms used in the 655 field are coded:
655 _0 $a [term].

LCGFT and LCSH are different thesauri and operate under different rules. . It is acceptable cataloging practice to find both LCSH and LCGFT terms used as form/genre headings in the same record, so it is important to be aware of these differences in coding.
MARC Coding of LCGFT Authority Records
Until May 24, 2011, the LCCN prefix for LCGFT terms was “sh,” the same as for LCSH subject headings. The prefix is now “gf.” The change was instituted as part of the separation of LCGFT from LCSH, and is one way by which a record can be identified as a genre/form authority record.

Authority records for LCGFT terms will be coded as follows:
LCCN prefix: gf
008/11: z (“Other”)
040$f: lcgft
008/11 z
010 $a gf2011987654 $z sh2009025020
040 $a DLC $b eng $c DLC $f lcgft
155 $a Topographic maps
455 $a Hypsographic maps
455 $a Hypsometric maps
455 $a Relief maps
455 $a Topographical maps
555 $w a $a Maps
[Note that the deprecated LCCN is being retained in field 010$z, to facilitate automatic updates.]

The LC FAQ on genre/form headings and the Subject Headings Manual (SHM) have both been updated to reflect this change.