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 
topical heading:

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 
by --Fiction.

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:

War films
Nonfiction films


War films
Fiction films

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 Schiff

* 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:


              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. 
are inappropriate.

                          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.