LCSH topical headings usable as genre headings

Many libraries are now updating their databases to reflect genre terms in marc tag 655.

This link: http://www.hahnlibrary.net/libraries/formgenre.html confirms that it is appropriate for libraries  following Library of Congress’ cataloging guidelines to code form & genre headings in the format 655 _0 Heading. rather than the old method of coding them as topical headings (650 _0 Heading.)

The 655 marc tag for genre denotes what the work IS, rather than what the work is ABOUT.  Anytime a Library of Congress Subject heading is used in this way it should be input in a 655 tag.  However, that being said, some library software packages do not enable the cataloguer to use 655 tags and have them be searchable.  This was a problem for our library, but the software has been updated and we now use 655 genre terms on a regular basis.

Also of interest, are the Guidelines for the usage of moving image LC/genre form headings.

It is interesting to note that the excellent source we use for copy cataloguing, BookWhere rates the cataloguing copy with a score.  However, no points are given for information in 655 tags in BookWhere. They only rate 650 tags. Hopefully this will soon change…

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