I have several comments regarding the various decisions around comic
books/strips/graphic novel genres that are referenced below in the
Summary of Decisions for Weekly List 18.
Regarding the cancellation of headings approved since 2005 that go against
the current policy, I do not seem why if there is principle to be upheld,
why it should not also apply to any headings established prior to 2005.
Going back to the original decision on weekly list 40, the principle seems
to be that there can only be genre headings for comic books, strips, etc.
when those headings are based on a fiction genre, e.g., Science fiction
comic books, strips, etc. If a heading could be formulated for
[topic]--Comic books, strips, etc., then that should be used.
The problem that I have with this explanation is that many, many existing
literary genres could also be formulated instead by adding a form
subdivision (--Fiction; --Drama; --Poetry; --Juvenile fiction; etc.) to a
Adventure stories could be expressed as: Adventure and
War stories could be expressed as: War--Fiction; or by using topical
subdivisions --Warfare or --Wars under ethnic groups, further subdivided
Spy stories could be: Spies--Fiction; Espionage--Fiction; Secret
Detective and mystery stories could be: Detectives--Fiction; Private
investigators--Fiction; Criminal investigation--Fiction; Police--Fiction;
and numerous other possibilities
Spy stories could be: Spies--Fiction; Espionage--Fiction
War stories could be: War--Fiction
Even Fantasy fiction could be expressed in several possible ways:
Fantastic, The--Fiction; Fantasy--Fiction
One could cite numerous other similar situations.
So within LCSH, there seems to be no problem establishing literary genres
for fiction, poetry, and drama that could just as easily be expressed as
topical terms. But for some reason, comics/graphic novels are not treated
the same. If I am understanding the reason for this, it is because
comics/graphic novels may be fictional or nonfictional, so the genre term
War comic strips, books, etc. is not a clear one. However, this does not
seem to be a major problem with motion picture genres, where a heading
like Biographical films or Dance films could represent either a fictional
or nonfictional film. We solve the problem there by also providing
another genre term for Nonfiction films or Fiction films. The same could
be done with comics/graphic novels. I see no reason why if we can have:
why we could not also have
War comic books, strips, etc.
Nonfiction comic books, strips, etc.
War comic books, strips, etc.
Fiction comic books, strips, etc.
The argument that War comic books, strips, etc. is not valid because it
could be expressed as War--Comic books, strips, etc. is not persuasive to
me, because War films could be expressed as War--Drama, War stories as
War--Fiction, and War poetry as War--Poetry. Why treat the comics form
differently from the drama, fiction, and poetry forms?
I think one thing that LC PSD may be overlooking is the value of
collocating like resources under a catchall term. Consider the case of
graphic novels that are about a particular war, regardless of whether the
work is fiction or nonfiction. In such a case, the subject that would be
assigned is not War--Comic books, strips, etc. but a more specific heading
for the particular war, for example: Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988--Comic
books, strips, etc. How are we to serve users who come to our catalogs
and want to find war graphic novels as a category? Even a keyword search
on "war" and "graphic novels" would not be completely successful, because
many wars do not have "war" in their names, e.g., Cambodian-Vietnamese
Conflict, 1977-1991; Iraq-Kuwait Crisis, 1990-1991; Najaf, Battle of,
Najaf, Iraq, 2004; Algeria--History--Revolution, 1954-1962; Sarajevo
(Bosnia and Hercegovina)--History--Siege, 1992-1996. Thus to me, a term
like War comic books, strips, etc., while imperfect, since I think it's
more likely that users would be looking for War graphic novels. But that
could easily be handled by a 4XX cross-reference in an authority record
from the more specific term to the more general authorized form. So I see
terms like War comic books, strips, etc. to be a very useful collocation
device for users, even for users who might only do a keyword search and
don't realize that they should try not only "war" but terms like
"crisis", "conflict", "siege", "battle", etc.
Another reason I take issue with the current policy, is that apparently H
1430 does not permit catalogers to add, in addition to the 655 for Comic
books, strips, etc. or Graphic novels, 655s for other literary genres.
This would be one way to mitigate the problem I discussed above. That is,
for a fictional war graphic novel, one might do the following:
655 _0 Graphic novels.
655 _0 War stories.
But H 1430 says nothing about adding genre terms for literary genre in
addition to the ones provided for the form of the work.
I would like to urge LC PSD to reconsider the policies as given below and
in the SHM. Catalogers, and users, need a way to collocate graphic novels
and other comics by genre in addition to form. There also needs to be a
good way to differentiate fictional works from nonfictional works. And
there is also the problem of differentiating juvenile works, which is not
currently possible in LCSH/LCGFT strings. I've identified several ways
we could do this in the context of the current way we do things in
1) Create genre/form terms for Nonfiction comic books, strips, etc. and
Fiction comic books, strips, etc. to be used in conjunction with either
Graphic novels or Comic books, strips, etc.
2) Create a genre/form term for Children's comic books, strips, etc. and
perhaps for Young adult comic books, strips, etc.
3) Reconsider the policy for "topical" comics/graphic novel genres, as
they make as much sense and are as potentially useful to users for
collocating works as existing "topical" literary and moving image (and for
that matter, cartographic [e.g. Geological maps]) are.
* Adam L. Schiff *
* Principal Cataloger *
* University of Washington Libraries *
* Box 352900 *
* Seattle, WA 98195-2900 *
* (206) 543-8409 *
* (206) 685-8782 fax *
* [log in to unmask] *
On Thu, 12 May 2011, Policy and Standards Division wrote:
SUMMARY OF DECISIONS, EDITORIAL MEETING NUMBER 18
Adventure comic books, strips, etc.; Martial arts comic books strips, etc.
It has been brought to PSD's attention that the
recent approval of several similar LCSH proposals for genres of comic
books was inconsistent with longstanding policy. The Summary of Decisions
for WL 14 of 2002 stated, "The usual way of expressing the concept of
comic books or strips about a particular topic in LCSH is to use the
free-floating form subdivision Comic books, strips, etc. after the topic,
e.g., War--Comic books, strips, etc. The meeting feels that this heading
[War--Comic books, strips, etc.] should be assigned."
This decision was reconfirmed on Weekly List 40
of 2005, the Summary of Decisions for which stated, "These proposals to
establish 'Spy comic books, strips, etc.' and 'War comic books, strips,
etc.' were not approved. Because comic books and strips that focus on
particular topics may be either fiction or nonfiction, the meeting wishes
to continue the practice of using the standard free-floating subdivision
following topical headings and to limit the form headings for comic books
to those that already exist for fictional genres, e.g., Fantasy comic
books, strips, etc.; Science fiction comic books, strips, etc."
The Summary of Decisions for weekly list 41,
2005, gives further guidance. The proposals on that list would have added
UF references to existing headings. The Summary states, "The subdivision
'Comic books, strips, etc.' is free-floating under topical headings. The
proposals to add UF references from Science fiction--Comic books, strips,
etc.; Erotic stories--Comic books, strips, etc.; and Horror tales--Comic
books, strips, etc. suggest that use of this subdivision could be valid
under form headings for fictional genres. The Library of Congress does
not use this subdivision under form headings and makes no distinction for
comic books and strips between fictional and nonfiction works. The
proposed references were not approved."
PSD has now reviewed these statements and has
determined that they are accurate and conform to current LCSH policy. PSD
does not wish to establish more topical form headings in cases where the
free-floating combination [topic]--Comic books, strips, etc. may be
applied; and UFs in the form [literary form]--Comic books, strips, etc.
Headings and UFs that were approved since 2005
but that are inconsistent with this stated policy (Spy comic books,
strips, etc.; Superhero comic books, strips, etc.; War comic books,
strips, etc.) will be cancelled on a forthcoming weekly list. In
addition, UFs on the headings that are retained will be examined for
conformance to the policy. The proposals Adventure comic books, strips,
etc. and Martial arts comic books, strips, etc. were not approved.
PSD regrets any inconvenience or confusion arising from the inconsistent decisions.