It was imprecise, but did more good than harm in that we were able to populate our genre index adequately.
Also, the genre terms are now in the keyword indexes while they weren’t in the past.
I haven’t done an assessment since I know we are moving to a new system and we didn’t get any complaints from users. But it is something we would fix now if there was time.
We loaded the genre authority records into our catalogue. The 655 0 would not match on lcgft.
We also didn’t want the 655 4 to display or index and had the gsafd terms checked against lcgft to convert those to lcgft.
Unfortunately, incoming records aren’t always great!
For the example below, our catalogue shows “Electronic books” as a genre heading only once due to the second indicator 7, but Electronic books is not lcgft.
655 4 Electronic books
655 0 Electronic books
655 7 Electronic books.|2lcgft
An automatic change of 650s without subdivisions, that matched LCGFT headings, to 655s seems a little imprecise at first thought. Did many 650s which really did need to be 650s—that is, which reflected about-ness and not is-ness--get changed? I assume that is what you mean by “incorrect changes,” but cannot be sure.
And is that problem the only reason you do not include 655 0 fields in the genre browse index and display?
You wrote "I’m a little hesitant to remove or change headings like the above one, because they may actually be useful in the catalog. I do suspect, however, that the policy disallows the subdivisions, and would do so even if the LCSH heading “Feature films” hadn’t been shoved aside for genre use by the identical LCGFT term."
Older practice may have been useful, but for library users who our browsing the catalogue, it can also be misleading in that they won't realize later titles will not appear under the same browse search.
As to whether it's worth the time to correct such entries in your local catalogue, that depends on future plans, such as will you be migrating to a new ILS or LSP, will you be pulling fresh records from OCLC to create a consortial catalogue, etc.
We will be moving to a consortial LSP in a year and a half, and since we don't yet know which one, I don't know how configurable the browse indexes will be.
Currently, we have our catalogu set to NOT include 655 0 in the genre browse index or display.
We did re-authorize our catalogue with an authorities vendor, which helped in standardizing the genre access points, but wasn't perfect. Terms without subdivisions that matched lcgft were changed from 650s to 655s programatically and made some incorrect changes, which we can only fix manually at this point.
OCLC records were of course not changed, but I have noticed some OCLC records have 655s when 650s would be correct, and I am guessing OCLC batch loading could have introduced these errors in the past.
Best wishes, Karen
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Wilson, Pete <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: February 1, 2019 4:58 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] LCSH used in 655 as genre headings: can we subdivide?
I am looking at LCSH terms used as genre headings in our catalog, on records made long ago. I’m sure plenty of the headings would be coded as LCGFT terms if the records were made more recently. It’s a question of how they are coded because the terms tend to be the same for topic and genre.
We have a lot of subdivided LCSH headings in our 655s. The typical example is for a motion picture:
655: 0: Feature films $$z Africa.
We have very few or no examples like this which are coded as LCGFT terms. Subdivision of genre headings happened almost entirely in fields coded as LCSH.
Question 38 of the FAQ you cite deals specifically with geographic subdivision of genre/form terms, especially in the case of motion pictures. Q38 is a follow-up to Q37, which explicitly and specifically bans subdivision of LCGFT terms. I can’t see that the FAQ explicitly extends the ban to non-LCGFT (i.e., LCSH) terms used as genre headings, but I see no explicit evidence that subdivision is allowable for such terms either. Q38 does report some of the reasons libraries would like to subdivide terms for motion pictures geographically, but doesn’t endorse it.
I believe our catalogers are not making many headings like the one above any more, but I’m curious about the “legality” of the ones that still exist in the catalog. I should make clear that I’m referring specifically to whether one can subdivide LCSH headings used as genre terms. I realize that “Feature films,” like many other terms related to movies, is now both an LCSH and an LCGFT heading, and thus there is no reason in the future to make a 655 coded as an LCSH term—and thus there is no question of subdivision.
I’m a little hesitant to remove or change headings like the above one, because they may actually be useful in the catalog. I do suspect, however, that the policy disallows the subdivisions, and would do so even if the LCSH heading “Feature films” hadn’t been shoved aside for genre use by the identical LCGFT term.
Q35: Can topical headings (tag 150) be used as genre/form terms in bibliographic records (tag 655) if there is not a corresponding genre/form authority record (tag 155)?
A: The Policy and Standards Division realizes that some libraries would like to use genre/form terms for disciplines in which LCGFT authority records have not yet been made (e.g., literature). The use of topical LCSH headings as genre/form terms is allowed for those disciplines, depending on the meaning of the topical heading.
LCSH headings (tag 150) assigned to a 655 field in lieu of an authorized LCGFT term should to be coded with second indicator 0 (zero), indicating that they are authorized by LCSH.
By this guideline, if there is an authority record for the LCSH string, and it indicates it can be used for works _of_ a given type, or the cataloger concludes that it can be, then I think it can be used in a 655. But if it is a constructed string, I would be dubious. Constructed strings are not generally used for works _of_ a given type unless it has a $x subfield. If it has a $x subfield, then I think the 655 should be based on the $x subfield, not the entire string.
I doubt that there are very many LCSH strings that would be appropriate as a genre term. Do you have some examples?
I know that LCGFT headings may not be subdivided—“neither topically, geographically, chronologically, or by form,” as says the Genre/Form Terms Manual.
But if an LCSH heading is used in a 655—with second indicator 0, of course—is it legal to subdivide it? I’m thinking not but wanted to ask.