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Two Genre and Form Lists for Moving Image and Broadcast Materials: a Comparison.


The Moving Image Genre-Form Guide and Library of Congress Subject Headings are compared as sources of genre or form terms for moving image and broadcast materials. In comparing these two lists, it is noted that both seem to include a certain number of headings that are actually topical subject headings disguised as example of headings (655). Both lists contain example of headings that index categories other than genre/form, such as audience, filmmaker and the like. MIGFG has headings that are more direct than LCSH, which has many headings that begin with the terms 'Motion picture,' 'Radio,' and 'Television.' MIGFG has a much more rigid citation order than LCSH, to the extent that it works against literary warrant. LCSH headings adhere to literary warrant much more than do MIGFG headings, that is, LCSH headings are much more likely to correspond to the terminology actually used by scholars and researchers in the moving image and broadcasting field. LCSH follows a standard approach to number and grammatical part of speech in its headings (plural nouns for genre/form headings), while MIGFG is very idiosyncratic and unpredictable in this regard, sometimes using adjectives and sometimes nouns, and seeming to prefer the singular to the plural. LCSH has a much more powerful syndetic structure than does MIGFG. MIGFG is missing many more genre and form headings that used to be present in MIM than is LCSH, which means, surprisingly, given its specialist nature, that MIGFG is less comprehensive than LCSH. LCSH is given a further edge with regard to inclusivity by the SACO program that allows users of the list to submit new genre and form headings as they are needed, and by the large editorial staff it has available to maintain the list over time. It is much easier to integrate LCSH genre and form headings into displays of LCSH topical subject headings (such as those used for works about a particular genre or form) than it is to integrate MIGFG headings into such displays. LCSH is also rich in headings for related performing arts genres and forms such as those for music, dance and theater, all of which can easily be recorded using moving image or broadcast media. Both lists contain headings that are likely to create huge unmanageable groupings over time if used as example of headings for moving image material. Based on these findings, it is recommended that any library, media collection or archive that uses LCSH for the provision of topical subject access to moving images and broadcast materials strongly consider using LCSH for genre and form access to moving images and broadcast materials as well. In addition, a number of recommendations are made for improving LCSH as a tool for form and genre access to moving image materials.

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