Music Discovery Requirements

II.H Musical Works: Genre/Form

Users regularly seek works and expressions with particular forms, genres, types, styles, etc. These headings, which describe what musical works are, were incorporated into the Library of Congress’ cataloging manuals for topical subjects, and coded the same as topical subjects, using MARC 650 (bibliographic) and 150 (authority). More recently, however, the Library of Congress and other interested groups, including MLA’s Music Genre/Form Task Force, developed the thesaurus Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT),[1] which separates form and genre headings from topical subjects and codes musical genre/form headings separately from topical headings, using MARC 655 (bibliographic) and 155 (authority).[2] Discovery services need the capability to distinguish between genre/form headings and topical subjects for purposes of searching and faceting or limiting.

While the current practice of coding genre and medium in MARC 650 topical fields will eventually change as part of the LC genre projects (at present, the practice is to code genres in both 650 and 655), this does not address the issue of legacy data. Some libraries may lack the resources required for creating a genre/form index in their local systems or for updating topical 650 headings to genre 655 headings. Moreover, even libraries that do create genre/form indexes may still wish to retain 655 headings in their subject index for patrons who might not make the distinction between “is” and “about.” To allow maximum flexibility, discovery services should accommodate whatever genre-related thesauri are desired, including those that are locally developed.

Recommendation: Index and display genre/form terms, including displaying codes in the vernacular. Data recording and encoding standards are undergoing major change. Discovery systems need to allow maximum flexibility and decisions must be regularly reviewed and revised to accommodate changes as they occur. For data using standardized vocabulary, make it possible for users to link from standardized vocabulary terms within the record display to other materials associated with the same attribute/entity. This could be accomplished through use of bound text strings for full authorized terms or via identifiers functioning behind the scenes.

Because current music genre information is often encoded in topical subject fields, many interfaces will choose to combine all these aspects into one index or facet area for the near future. However, this area should be watched closely for updates as data encoding and recording standards change. To avoid frustrating or misleading results, faceting systems should recognize and respect the distinctions between different subject and genre thesauri (LCSH, LCGFT, FAST, etc.) even if they share identical strings as headings.

Index and Display (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

MARC: 006/01-02 Form of composition code (display code in vernacular)

MARC: 008/18-19 Form of composition code (display code in vernacular)

MARC: 047 Form of Musical Composition Code (display code in vernacular)

MARC: 380 Form of Work (note: 380 is defined in both bibliographic and authority formats, but is primarily used in authority records. Therefore, display and index occurrences in bibliographic records, but rarely will data be present in bibliographic records with enough regularity to use it as a facet.)

MARC: 650 Subject Added Entry--Topical Term (until such time as genre/form terms are moved to 655, including those in legacy data)

MARC: 655 Index Term—Genre/Form

Dublin Core: subject, format, description

EBUCore: hasGenre

MODS: genre, subject, note

PBCore: pbcoreGenre

BIBFRAME 2.0: Classes: bf:GenreForm; Properties: bf:genreForm

Facets/Limits (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

MARC: 006/01-02 Form of composition code (display code in vernacular)

MARC: 008/18-19 Form of composition code (display code in vernacular)

MARC: 047 Form of Musical Composition Code (display code in vernacular)

MARC: 655 Index Term--Genre/Form

Note: MARC 650 Subject Added Entry--Topical Term is not recommended for inclusion in facets because it will visibly include many subjects, essentially making the “genre” and “subject” facets identical.

Dublin Core: subject, format

EBUCore: hasGenre

MODS: genre, subject

PBCore: pbcoreGenre

BIBFRAME 2.0: Classes: bf:GenreForm; Properties: bf:genreForm

Related MARC Authority Fields:

MARC: 150; 155; 380



[1] Library of Congress, “Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms,” accessed August 25, 2017, http://id.loc.gov/authorities/genreForms.html.

[2] See also MLA’s “Best Practices for Using LCGFT for Music Resources” on the Cataloging and Metadata Committee web site. http://www.musiclibraryassoc.org/BlankCustom.asp?page=cmc_mlabestpractices