Discussion of the LCSH implementation of subfield "v" for form subdivisions, as well as field 155 for genre/form headings in the USMARC Format for Authority Data and application of the existing 655 field for Index Term--Genre/Form, began formally in June 1995. The LC Form/Genre Working Group was established by Barbara Tillett, chief of the Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO).
The implementation and application of these elements with LCSH and other LC thesauri is an extremely complex issue affecting many parties, most of whom are represented on this Library-wide Working Group presently headed by the assistant chief of CPSO. Until ALA Midwinter 1997, the LC Form/Genre Working Group met once a month to report on issues related to their areas of expertise. With as many as twenty representatives attending, the monthly meetings began to evolve into reporting sessions with not much time for general discussion.
In addition, competing priorities for LC staff resources continue to limit significantly LC's ability to design and plan for form/genre subject access. Some of these competing priorities include the continuing push to eliminate LC monograph arrearage by the year 2000, increasing pressure to proof and edit the online Library of Congress classification schedules, planning for an Integrated Library System, core record discussions, digitization efforts, day-to-day administrative responsibilities, and the three-day Facilitative Leadership training mandated for all LC 530 managers and supervisors. In spite of these challenges, much has happened with form/genre implementation planning at LC over the past four months. I would like to tell you about these developments.
UPDATE ON ACTIVITIES
1. Electronic resources. As announced on February 17 at Midwinter, design and planning for form/genre subject access has concentrated exclusively on computer file materials or electronic resources and works about electronic resources. This category of material was chosen because of the relative importance of form/genre access to these materials and the manageable file size. The larger Working Group was given a break to return to cataloging and arrearage reduction activities. A subgroup of the Form/Genre Working Group met weekly from March until May. Nicknamed the "Friday Group," this subgroup was made up of members of the Computer Files Team, two CPSO subject cataloging specialists, and three catalogers who regularly catalog electronic resources, with the CPSO assistant chief as chair.
The subgroup has devised general guidelines for electronic resources and drafted proposals for addressing form/genre access to electronic resources. David Reser, a key person in the "Friday Group," described the general guidelines and proposed form/genre guidelines with LC staff at several briefings in anticipation of the ALA preconference program on "Demystifying the Subject Cataloging of Electronic Resources."
The subgroup is also compiling a working list of existing and potential subject headings and subdivisions for use in cataloging electronic resources themselves as well as works about electronic resources. Headings and subdivisions on this working list will assist with our next step: creating form/genre subject authority records and authority records for both topical and form free-floating subdivisions.
The "Friday Group" will resume its weekly meetings after ALA in order to finalize guidelines for electronic resources and works about electronic resources, incorporating comments and recommendations received as a result of their "Demystifying" preconference program. The work of the Group will be posted to Arlene Taylor's form/genre web site.
2. Data elements in authority records. CPSO staff continue to work with staff from the LC Automation Planning and Liaison Office and Information Technology Services to develop the specifications for updating LC's internal authority systems for names and subjects to incorporate all the USMARC data elements not yet defined in those systems (regardless of whether LC intends to actively supply them), including those data elements resulting from Update No. 1 to the USMARC Authorities Format. We now anticipate that the changes will be made by early 1998.
These changes include those related to the new field 155 for form/genre subject authority headings, subfield $v for form subdivisions, and subject subdivision records for the control of free-floating subdivisions. Since we are still in the early planning stages, as decisions are made about how we will actually implement these changes, they will be shared with our constituents.
3. 755 vs. 655 field data. With the obsolescence of field 755 (Added entry--Physical characteristics) in 1995, LC cataloging units (the Rare Book Team, the NUCMC Team, the Prints and Photographs Division) are now tagging these subject terms as 655 with the source codes $2lcsh or $2gmgpc.
4. Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II. Replies to the Prints and Photographs Division 1996 survey of TGM II users taken in December 1996 were tallied by the end of March 1997. Most of the candidate terms and other amendments to the thesaurus were approved and a number of very helpful suggestions were also made. Thanks to all who commented; your input is always appreciated.
The updated Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II: Genre and Physical Characteristic Terms can now be found on the Internet:
Plans include quarterly updating. TGM II is also part of the CD ROM Catalogers' Desktop. Print copies are still available through CDS but do not include the updates. Overall, 15 new terms were added to the over 600 existing ones, and about 30 existing terms (adding qualifiers, mostly) were changed. For further information about TGM II, contact the editor, Sarah Rouse, email@example.com.
5. Cartographic materials. The Cartographic Form/Genre Working Group sent out 50 surveys in December of 1996. The response rate was 28% (14 out of 50). The Working Group will meet on July 1st in San Francisco to analyze the survey results and make recommendations with regard to future action.
FORM/GENRE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN (Revised 06/27/97)
In order to guard against any significant drop in cataloger productivity, to minimize impact on LC's goal to eliminate the monograph arrearage by the year 2000 as mandated by Congress, to avoid split files, and to insure that there are generally corresponding 155 and 18X subject authority records for 655 headings and subfield $v subdivisions, CPSO and the Working Group will follow these general steps to implementation:
1. Identify form and topical subdivisions and prepare for the creation of subdivision authority records. (Fall 1997)
2. Finalize guidelines for form/genre access to electronic resources and works about electronic resources. Update SCM documentation for electronic resources. (End of 1997)
3. Once system changes are made, create subdivision authority records in the LC SUBJECTS authority file. Records could initially be "stub" records without full reference structure, usage information, etc. Update existing subject authority records that have form subdivisions in order to change subfield $x to $v. (Early 1998)
4. Implement subfield $v: catalogers begin subfield coding form subdivisions as $v. (Spring 1998)
5. Implementation of 655: as a result of the work of subgroups, 155 authority records of general application will be created and subject documentation updated. As they are created, catalogers will tag headings as 655. As competing priorities permit, formats or disciplines where form access is especially important will be phased into 655 designation. A possible sequence might be children's literature, sound recordings, music, and literature.