Hi Jane!

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.

The wisdom of mimicking MARC in EAD can certainly be debated, but at least there is a reason behind the mashup that is <genreform>.

Now the reasoning why MARC combined genre, form, and physical characteristics into 655 predate me, so I can't shed much light there. I have always assumed it was a practicality intended to save a MARC field or two.


On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 4:29 AM, Jane Stevenson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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
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