In 2007, the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) of the Library of Congress (then the Cataloging Policy and Support Office or CPSO) began to develop genre/form terms for library materials, with the intention of creating a thesaurus distinct from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). In 2010, Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT) appeared for the first time in print in the 32nd edition of LCSH. In the same year, the Network Development and MARC Standards Office (NDMSO) assigned the MARC source code "lcgft" to the new thesaurus.
In MARC 21 authority records, genre/form terms are coded as follows:
008/11: z ("Other")
040: $a DLC $b eng $c DLC $f lcgft
In bibliographic records, genre/form terms are contained in the 655 field as follows:
655 #7 $a [Term}. $2 lcgft
As of June 2011, the Library of Congress had announced no plans to discontinue use of form subdivisions in LC subject headings. Form subdivisions (tags 600, 610, 630, 650, and 651) are to be applied even if a genre/form term (tag 655) appears in the same record. LCCN format for genre/form terms is the same as for subject headings, except that the two-character prefix used is "gf" instead of "sh."
Genre/form terms differ from subject headings in describing what an item is, rather than its content. For example, a cataloger would assign the subject heading Horror films, with appropriate subdivisions, to a work about horror films (example: A History of Horror by Wheeler Dixon) but a cataloger assigning headings to the motion picture Bride of Frankenstein would use the same heading (Horror films) as a genre/form term since the movie is a horror film. In LCGFT, form is defined as a characteristic of works with a particular format and/or purpose (examples: animation and short). Genre in LCGFT refers to categories of works characterized by similar plots, themes, settings, situations, and characters (examples: thriller and western).
Within the context of the four entities defined in Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (work, expression, manifestation, and item), the goal of LCGFT is to describe the intellectual or artistic expression, not the physical carrier (manifestation or item). Click here to learn more about LCGFT.