I'll follow on to what Ethan said with a recommendation for a step one may take if one wishes to distinguish further between genre and form and/or prepare one's data for RDF or other modeling which allow that distinction. In EAD3, although not in EAD 2002, the <genreform> element has an option to use @localtype. This would allow an institution to indicate a functional difference between information about genres and formats in the element. 


On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 9:44 AM, Ethan Gruber <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I think Jane's statement is about the conflation of genre and format. In your example, "Interviews" is the "genre" and "Audiocassette" is the format. Or rather, Audiocassette is an object type according to the Getty AAT (, and format might be reserved for some other technical information about the audiocassette. EAD finding aids typically contain a huge range of genre and/or format values within the genreform element, which makes it difficult to clean up into meaningful search facets in publication. This is why the Europeana Data Model has a dcterms:format and an edm:hasType (for genre).


On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 9:33 AM, Michele R Combs <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I think of it this way: genre is to word-things as  form is to  3-D things

In other words, a picture can be oil, watercolor, charcoal, chalk, ink, etc.
A book or an audiotape can be interviews, memoir, fiction, sci fi, horror, etc.

If we had a collection of interviews on audiotape, we would give it both applicable terms:


-----Original Message-----
From: Encoded Archival Description List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jane Stevenson
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 4:29 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: 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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