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.