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EAD  May 2017

EAD May 2017

Subject:

Genre and form

From:

"Dooley,Jackie" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Encoded Archival Description List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 10 May 2017 20:30:46 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (1 lines)

Having been rather obsessed with genre and form issues starting about 35 years ago (old person!), I’ll add a tad more history to Michael’s story.

Helena Zinkham (Library of Congress) and two colleagues may possibly have been the first to publish in-depth work on the topic. 

http://americanarchivist.org/doi/pdf/10.17723/aarc.52.3.g657371200612642?code=same-site

The appendix lists the many genre/form thesauri in use at that time.

The next year, Helena and I followed on with our book chapter “The Object as Subject: Providing Access to Genres, Forms of Material, and Physical Characteristics," in _Extending MARC Beyond the Book_ (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990; edited by Toni Petersen, the long-time editor of the AAT). We offered lots of examples of the ambiguities between the MARC 655 and 755 fields and how counterproductive it was to split overlapping concepts across two MARC fields.

Although we didn’t come down strongly on one side or the other in our conclusion, our not-so-hidden agenda was definitely to encourage the death of 755, for the reasons Michael listed. And so it came to pass that the MARC format committee killed 755, and application of those vocabularies was rolled into 655.

It took 15-20 years (more?) before the general cataloging community embraced use of genre/form access. The Lib of Congress and various other people/orgs set to work on developing vocabularies for use with RDA/MARC records, and subfield |v was added to the MARC format, and LC and many others beyond the special collections and archives realm began to implement 655.

Plenty of imperfections are still out there, particularly in the discovery realm, but hey, lots of forward movement over the years!

Cheers—Jackie

PS I remain obsessed. (
PPS Michael, it’s Smiraglia.

--
Jackie Dooley
Program Officer, OCLC Research
647 Camino de los Mares, Suite 108-240
San Clemente, CA 92673
office/home 949-492-5060
mobile 949-295-1529
[log in to unmask]
 <http://www.oclc.org/home.en.html?cmpid=emailsig_logo>
OCLC.org <http://www.oclc.org/home.en.html?cmpid=emailsig_link>/research
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Date:    Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:16:34 +0000
    From:    Jane Stevenson <[log in to unmask]>
    Subject: Re: Genre and Form
    
    Ha! That’s a lovely story. I shall tell it to our workshop attendees when asked about what to put into that field. 
    
    My practical side (as opposed to my ‘i want everything to be semantically correct and perfect’ side) concurs. But its useful to have the context - to understand why these concepts are conflated. 
    
    We have had to lower the bar in many areas because we have to be practical about how people catalogue in reality. Losing creator name as mandatory was a hard hard thing to do. Sticking to extent, language and access conditions as mandatory has been worthwhile, but I’ve had to send many emails to folks asking them very nicely to add this information to many many descriptions.  
    
    The interesting thing, being an aggregator, is that we often get archivists wanting to implement rigour and what they see as thoroughness with their own descriptions….but they all see rigour and thoroughness differently. 
    
    Anyway, that’s a whole different story….
    
    cheers
    Jane
    
    ------------------------------
    
    Date:    Thu, 27 Apr 2017 06:02:42 -0700
    From:    Michael Fox <[log in to unmask]>
    Subject: Re: Genre and Form
    
    I can't resist one coda.   The matter of what types of access points such
    as these  and their taxonomy that we provide our users is a matter for
    descriptive conventions and not EAD.
    
    Alas there is really nothing that I can recall on this topic for archivists
    since Richard Smralgia's (sp?) piece back in the late renaissance.
    
    Some thoughtful individual ought to take this on and make their mark in the
    sun.
    
    Michael Fox
    On Apr 27, 2017 3:17 AM, "Jane Stevenson" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > On 27 Apr 2017, at 02:30, Michael Fox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
    > >
    > > Tricky indeed.
    > >
    > > Once up in a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there were two fields in
    > MARC for such data:  655 and 755.
    > >
    > > But then someone asked the fatal question we now once again have before
    > us.  Which is what and what is which?   Form?  Genre?  Everyone scratched
    > their heads and many tried to deconstruct the differences among the various
    > concepts discussed in this thread and came up with two, three, or even four
    > or more buckets.
    > >
    > > Questions were asked.
    > >
    > > How were MARC systems indexing and displaying this data?  Most combined
    > 655 and 755 or lumped them with all the 6xx fields.  Only RLIN indexed them
    > separately and then I seem to recall only in the AMC file, not BKS or VIM
    > or others.
    > >
    > > This lead to discussions among early archival users of MARC as whether
    > or not to enter a given term in both 655 and 755.
    > >
    > > Who was using both fields?  OCLC and RLG reported little use in their
    > databases of 655 outside the archival community and virtually no use of 755.
    > >
    > > So the USMARC Advisory Committee conflated the  two fields into one and
    > that passed on to EAD as <genreform>.
    > >
    > > It's all in the minutes.
    > >
    > > I suspect still (ten to fifteen years later) that there are really three
    > or four different concepts  potentially to be parsed out here.
    > >
    > > To do so might be intriguing as an exercise in scholasticism but to what
    > practical value?   The consistency of using  terms from controlled
    > vocabularies describing such characteristics of records might well be
    > useful to the researcher but who really cares what bucket we store them in?
    > >
    > > Someone will no doubt take me to task for my apostasy but, having
    > provided this tidbit of historical context, I shall walk away now and leave
    > further debate to others.
    > >
    > > Michael Fox
    > >
> >
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: Jane Stevenson [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
    > > Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:28 AM
    > > To: [log in to unmask]
    > > Subject: Re: Genre and Form
    > >
    > > Hi all,
    > >
    > > Possibly a can of worms I've opened up here, but its really useful to
    > get some feedback to help me with advising archivists what to put into this
    > field. I usually have to stand at the front and sound like I know what I'm
    > talking about when I advise on cataloguing.....
    > >
    > > > I think Jane's statement is about the conflation of genre and format.
    > >
    > >
    > > Yes, I wanted to understand a bit more about why that is the case.
    > >
    > > > My understanding has always been that the <genreform> element in EAD
    > was intended to correspond to the 655 field in MARC. If you read the 655
    > field definition at http://loc.gov/marc/bibliographic/bd655.html, you'll
    > notice the language describing <genreform> is very similar.
    > >
    > > I should have thought of looking at MARC - I don't ever use it myself -
    > I think there is more importance placed on the cross walk from MARC to EAD
    > in the US than in the UK? Here archivists rarely refer to MARC. So, that's
    > useful as something I can reference.
    > >
    > >
    > > > Controlled vocabularies combine genre and form because there is no
    > clear-cut way to differentiate these and there is very little point in
    > arguing about which list a term should be in.
    > >
> > I think that may be another argument, along with basing this on MARC.
    > But it does feel a little wrong to combine 'diaries, romance, account
    > books, comedy' (OK, I've gone for an extreme example).
    > >
    > > > A memoir can be published in a diary, or a monograph, online as a
    > blog, or as a docudrama on television. Disambiguating between genre and
    > format (if by format we mean physical or electronic medium) is difficult,
    > but is done routinely within the museum realm.
    > >
> > Yes - I guess my feeling is that at times it seems important to
    > distinguish them...but then I come back to the fact that it can all get a
    > bit tricky....
    > >
    > > > diaries are only form/physical characterics?! So, my *memoir* can be a
    > genre, but my *diary* can only be a form? Surely you want memoirs and
    > diaries to be on the same list of options.
    > >
> > Ha. Yes. I thought of diaries as one example where I get confused.  Is a
    > diary a form? Surely the form would be how it was physically represented?
    > Shouldn't a diary be a 'style', which is really a genre?
    > >
    > > I'm not sure I'm closer to clarity, but its helpful to have a discussion!
    > >
    > > cheers,
    > > Jane
> >
    > > > On 26 Apr 2017, at 15:10, Bowers, Kate A. <[log in to unmask]>
    > wrote:
    > > >
    > > > Wait--so you are definitely telling me "diaries" are not a genre of
    > writing?  In AAT diaries are in the physical object facet.  Now, about that
    > diary I kept on my PDA and now I keep in the cloud...
    > > >
    > > > Kate Bowers
    > > > Collections Services Archivist for Metadata, Systems, and Standards
    > > > Harvard University Archives [log in to unmask]
    > > > 617.496.2713
    > > > voice: (617) 998-5238
    > > > fax: (617) 495-8011
    > > > web: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.eresource:archives
    > > > Twitter: @k8_bowers
> > >
    > > > From: Encoded Archival Description List <[log in to unmask]> on
    > > > behalf of Ethan Gruber <[log in to unmask]>
    > > > Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:01 AM
    > > > To: [log in to unmask]
    > > > Subject: Re: [EAD] Genre and Form
    > > >
    > > > A memoir can be published in a diary, or a monograph, online as a
    > blog, or as a docudrama on television. Disambiguating between genre and
    > format (if by format we mean physical or electronic medium) is difficult,
    > but is done routinely within the museum realm. Fortunately, the Getty AAT
    > has organized their vocabulary in a way that allows us to disambiguate
    > genre and format.
    > > >
    > > > Ruth, EAD 2002 doesn't have @localtype, but it does have @type, which
    > is functionally equivalent.
    > > >
    > > > Ethan
    > > >
    > > > On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 9:52 AM, Bowers, Kate A. <
    > [log in to unmask]> wrote:
    > > > Controlled vocabularies combine genre and form because there is no
    > clear-cut way to differentiate these and there is very little point in
    > arguing about which list a term should be in.
    > > >
    > > > Quoting from the MARC format 655, which covers genre, form, and
    > > > physical characteristics "Examples of genre terms for textual
    > materials are: biographies, catechisms, essays, hymns, or reviews. Examples
    > of form and physical characteristic terms are: daybooks, diaries,
    > directories, journals, memoranda, questionnaires, syllabi, or time sheets. "
    > > >
    > > > Well, that's nice--diaries are only form/physical characterics?! So,
    > my *memoir* can be a genre, but my *diary* can only be a form? Surely you
    > want memoirs and diaries to be on the same list of options.
> > >
    > > > From: Encoded Archival Description List <[log in to unmask]> on
    > > > behalf of Jane Stevenson <[log in to unmask]>
    > > > Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 4:29 AM
    > > > To: [log in to unmask]
    > > > Subject: [EAD] Genre and Form
    > > >
    > > > HI there,
    > > >
    > > > i've never been quite clear about the <genreform> tag.
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > The EAD2002 and EAD3 guide says:
    > > >
    > > > "A term that identifies the types of material being described, by
    > naming the style or technique of their intellectual content (genre); order
    > of information or object function (form); and physical characteristics.
    > Examples include: account books, architectural drawings, portraits, short
    > stories, sound recordings, and videotapes."
    > > >
    > > > But genre is a style, like 'gothic' architecture or 'romantic'
    > literature or 'garage' music. So, you might say the 'form' is a short story
    > or a videotape, but the genre is 'comedy' or 'documentary'.
    > > >
    > > > It just doesn't seem like these are the same thing and I've never
    > understood why they are put together.
    > > >
    > > > I just wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this. I've just never
    > been able to convey it to our contributors in a way that makes sense to me
    > because describing something as a 'short story' seems very different from
    > describing its style as, say, 'romantic' in terms of genre. I've never
    > understood why we put these together.
    > > >
    > > > cheers,
    > > > Jane
    > > >
    > > > Jane Stevenson
    > > > Archives Hub Service Manager
    > > > [log in to unmask]
 


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