Release of LC Genre/Form Authority Records FAQ

The announcement from Library of Congress (LC) dated May 9, 2011, provides for the separation of the LC Genre/Form Terms (LCGFT) from the LC Subject Headings (LCSH).  Here are the first paragraphs by Janis Young, LC’s genre/form coordinator, followed by a link for the remainder of the announcement:

Since 2007 the Library of Congress’ Policy and Standards Division (PSD) has been developing genre/form terms, and in June 2010 determined that the new thesaurus, Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), should be formally separated from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH).  In order to accomplish this, on May 24, 2011 the existing genre/form authority records will be deleted and reissued with new coding.

The current coding for the genre/form authority records indicates that the terms are from LCSH, not LCGFT.  The LCCNs are prefixed by “sh” and 008/11 is set to “a,” Library of Congress Subject Headings.  Therefore, the LCCNs and MARC coding both need to be revised.  This will require the deleting and reissuing of the genre/form authority records.

The approximately 800 existing authority records will be deleted and immediately reissued.  About 1600 records (deletes plus reissues) will be sent to subscribers as part of the May 24, 2011, Volume 26, Issue 21, distribution of subject authorities via the MARC Distribution Service (MDS).

With this long-awaited announcement come several questions.  Here are our current answers, although as we see more of what is distributed, some answers may change.

Why have LCSH terms shown as unrecognized when used in bib 655 fields?

Currently the Library of Congress (LC) has said that LCSH terms may be used in 655 fields because the LCGFT is still being established, so it is appropriate to use LCSH (150) terms in the bib 655 field.  However, in order to retain the use-history and to supply LCGFT records when they are available, MARCIVE treats LCSH terms in bib 655 fields as unrecognized if it does not match an LCGFT authority record.  NewMatch service will supply the LCGFT authority record to the library when it is available.

Will MARCIVE authority processing use the new LCGFT coding in bib 655 fields which the Library of Congress will implement May 24, 2011?

Authority services at MARCIVE are based on specified thesauri or vocabulary lists and national standards so changes the Library of Congress makes in its authority records will be reflected in the authority services you receive from MARCIVE.  Bib 655 headings which are matched to LCGFT terms will be flipped to the new content designation 655_7$a [term]$2lcgft.

If genre headings are coded 655_0 in bib records, may we request to have these matched against LCGFT?

The default is for all 655_0 or 655_7 $2lcsh or 655_7$lcgft headings to be matched against the LCGFT terms.  If recognized the content designation will be forced to 655_7$2lcgft, the unrecognized terms will remain as supplied by the library [655_0 or 655_7$2lcgft].  You may, however, request to have all 655’s forced to 655_7$2lcgft.  Either way, the unrecognized terms will remain in your history file for NewMatch if you have this service.

Will my library automatically receive the appropriate replacement genre/form records when LC changes to the new LCGFT Thesaurus?

LC has assured us they plan to supply delete records for the current genre records at the same time as the replacement records which will have the deleted control number in the 010$z.  This will enable us to automatically supply all appropriate delete and replacement authority records to libraries with Notification Service.  Each library will only receive delete and replacement records for the terms used in their catalog, not the full file of LCGFT.

Our library uses both GSAFD and LCGFT but we don’t want conflicting terms.  Will authorities processing fix this?

The default genre processing matches bib headings to the genre terms specified by the content designation.  A library may request special processing either to force all 655 headings to LCGFT content designation (recommended) or have all 655 headings compared to GSAFD.  For the latter option, if the 655 is recognized, it will be forced to GSAFD content designation; then all other 655 headings will be forced to LCGFT content designation.

Why didn’t MARCIVE remove subfields from the 655 headings?

Although the Library of Congress has stated that they will not use subdivisions in LCGFT, the default in MARCIVE authorities processing retains subdivisions so data input by the library is not lost.  Libraries may request special processing to remove subdivisions in LC 655 headings (LCGFT, LCSH, GSAFD).

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