This is an excellent point, and definitely part of a larger, ongoing issue as evidenced by the development of the Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms (LCGFT). It can be a challenge in some cases to draw a distinction between intellectual content, format (e.g., a dissertation, or a novel), and particular manifestation. 

I'd be interested to hear how other international libraries have approached this issue, but the LCGFTs demonstrate that it's been a head-scratcher for quite a while. It will be interesting to see how future iterations of EAD respond to developments elsewhere in the field.

Maristella Feustle

From: Encoded Archival Description List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Jane Stevenson <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 3:29:19 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [EXTERNAL] 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.


Jane Stevenson
Archives Hub Service Manager
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