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Appendix E: Genre and Form Terms

- Introduction
- General terms
- Photographic terms


This list of genre/form/physical characteristics (MARC 655) terms is designed to facilitate selection of form and genre terms in archives and manuscript cataloging at Beinecke. It contains primarily those terms most frequently used in cataloging our post-1600 manuscripts and archival collections; a few less used but especially desirable terms are also included. While most terms listed enhance research and reference access to collections, some terms (e.g. blueprints; letterpress copybooks) are included to enhance access to collections for curatorial and management purposes (marked with a *).

This list is not exhaustive, nor is it intended to be exclusive. Catalogers should consult Orbis and the standard thesauri and from which this list is derived, if additional terms are desired.(Search AAT.) Suggestions for additions to this list should be referred to the Cataloging Coordinator. This list will be updated on a periodic basis, as needed.

Catalogers also should consult the thesauri referenced in this list for full information on definition and usage of terms. Cataloger's notes (designated CN) and cross-references included in this list provide additional guidance in local practice, and clarify the definition of terms where it is lacking in the standard thesauri.

It should be noted that tracings are made both for single occurrences of special interest and items present that would not be reasonably assumed to exist in a collection. Consequently, we are not tracing such obvious forms such as galley proofs, letters, and correspondence.

Principal Thesauri Used:

Art and Architecture Thesaurus: Documents Type Hierarchy (aat)

Descriptive terms for graphic materials: Genre and physical characteristics headings (gmgpc) - Source for terms for visual materials (i.e. pictorial aspect is of primary importance in characterizing the document).

Special thesauri which may be used for terminology not included in AAT and GMGPC:
Genre terms: A thesaurus for use in rare books and special collections cataloguing (rbgenr) - Principal alternate source for terms for textual materials.

Printing and publishing evidence: Thesauri for use in rare book and special collections cataloging (rbpri)

Local Terms:

A thesauri code of |2 local is used to designate terms developed locally because the nationally accepted lists do not contain adequate terms. Usage of such "local" terms MUST be approved, in advance, by the manuscripts Cataloging Coordinator.

Note Regarding Printed Items in the Manuscripts Collection:

[Still pending discussion with RBC, 10/95]

General Terms

Abstracts. |2 aat

Use for abstracts of title, deeds, etc.
Account books. |2 aat
Use for the following:
Day books (accounting records)
Journals (accounts)
See: Speeches
Albums. |2 aat
Use for forms of albums not otherwise more appropriately described by any of the more specific terms listed below:
Autograph albums
Photograph albums (in photographic terms list)
See also: Autographs
Annual reports. |2 aat
Used especially in WA.
Appointment books.
See: Diaries
Architectural drawings. |2 aat
See also: Blueprints
Armorial bindings (Binding) |2 rbbin
           Make for all armorial bindings. Also make Armorial bindings (Provenance). |2 rbbin when ownership is known)


Do not use as a genre term. It is unlikely to be of interest outside of the specific collection to which it might be applied. Do note the presence of articles (esp. unpublished) by an individual in a collection of that person's papers in the 520 note.

See also: Clippings

Articles of incorporation. |2 aat

Artifacts. |2 aat

Use for 3-dimensional artifacts, including souvenirs. For printed souvenirs, however, use Ephemera.
Assessment books
See: Tax records
Autobiographies. |2 aat
Clarify the nature of the work (i.e. a memoir, an autobiographical sketch, a reminiscence) in the 520. Use for:
Autograph albums. |2 aat
See also:
Autographs. |2 aat
Use only for collections of loose autographs, not for isolated autographs.
See also: Autograph albums
Awards. |2 aat
See also: Certificates
Baccalaureate addresses. |2 rbgenr

Baccalaureate sermons. |2 rbgenr

Baptismal registers. |2 aat

See also: Church records
Do not trace as a genre. Instead, use appropriate LCSH topical heading subdivided by Bibliographies.
Billheads. |2 aat

Bills (Legislative records) |2 aat

Bills of lading. |2 aat

See also: Ships' papers
Binders (Binding) |x [Name.] |2 local
           Also make 600:[#]4: |a [Name] |x Binding.

Binders' instructions (Binding) |2 rbbin

Binders' stamps (Binding) |x [Name.] |2 local
           Also make 600:[#]4: |a [Name] |x Binding.
Binders' tickets (Binding) |x [Name.] |2 local
           Also make 600:[#]4: |a [Name] |x Binding.

Binding terms
            Besides the above Binders' terms, see Armorial binding

Biographies. |2 aat

Bird's-eye views. |2 aat

Birth certificates. |2 aat

See also: Vital statistics records
Blueprints. |2 aat *
Use Architectural drawings for general reference/descriptive purposes. Used for internal management purposes--Preservation priority.
Bookplates. |2 aat

Booksellers' advertisements. |2 rbgenr

Booksellers' catalogues. |2 rbgenr

Booksellers' labels (Provenance) |x [Name]. |2 local

Booksellers' stamps (Provenance) |x [Name]. |2 local

Broadsides. |2 aat

See also: Handbills
Business records. |2 aat
Use also standard LCSH practice:
650: 0: |a [Corporate name] |x Records and correspondence.
650: 0: |a [Type of business] |x Records and correspondence.
Bylaws. |2 aat

Captivity narratives. |2 rbgenr

Used especially by WA.
Cartoons (humorous images). |2 aat
See also: Political cartoons
Case files. |2 aat


Booksellers' catalogs
Exhibition catalogs
Used especially by GEN
Census records. |2 aat
See also: Vital statistics records
Certificates. |2 aat
Use for award-type certificates (e.g. certificates of appreciation) See also:
Charters. |2 aat

Church records. |2 aat

See also: Baptismal registers
Ciphers. |2 rbgenr

Clippings. |2 aat

Use for formal clipping files, not isolated clippings or unarranged, miscellaneous clippings
Commemorative addresses. |2 aat


See: Military records
Commonplace books. |2 aat

Conveyances. |2 aat

Use for property conveyances.
Cookbooks. |2 aat

County records

See: Local government records
Court records
See: Judicial records
See: Money
Day books
Account books
Death certificates. |2 aat
See also: Vital statistics records
Deeds. |2 aat

Diaries. |2 aat

Use for the following:
Appointment books
Day books (i.e. personal calendars and daily accounts, not financial)
Journals (Personal narratives)

See also: Maritime journals
                Gold rush diaries
                Overland journals

Specify character of diary content in 520 (i.e. lengthy narrative, appointment books, etc.)

Dictionaries. |2 aat
Use only for "exotic" languages (e.g. Native American). Use for glossaries.
Diplomas. |2 aat
See also: Certificates
Drawings. |2 aat
Images produced by drawing. Something more substantial than a sketch

See also:

Architectural drawings
Ephemera. |2 aat
Use for collections that include an especially rich assortment of printed ephemera and for outstanding examples of printed ephemera cataloged individually. Use the more specific terms listed below when the printed ephemera consists chiefly of:
Theater programs
Erotica. |2 aat

Eulogies. |2 aat

Exhibition catalogs. |2 aat

Family histories. |2 aat

Use for narrative histories.

See also: Genealogies

Family papers. |2 aat

Federal government records. |2 aat

Use for Government records
Field notes. |2 aat

Film scripts. |2 rbgenr

Use for Screenplays (motion pictures).

See also: Scripts

Forgeries. |2 aat

Genealogies. |2 aat

Use for family trees and listings

See also: Family histories

See: Dictionaries
Gold rush diaries. |2 rbgenr

Government records.

Federal government records
Judicial records
Local government records
State government records
Tax records
Territorial records
Vital statistics records
Voters' lists
Greeting cards. |2 aat
Use for large concentrations of exceptional (old or fine press) examples only.
Guest registers. |2 aat
See also:
Hotel registers
Visitors' books
Handbills. |2 aat
See also:
Broadsides (broader term)
Playbills (narrower term)
Hotel registers. |2 aat
See also: Guest registers
Hymns. |2 aat

Illustrations. |2 aat

Representations or diagrams that clarify, usually accompanying a text, sometimes part of an advertisement. See also:
Indentures. |2 aat

Interviews. |2 aat

See also: Oral histories
Inventories. |2 aat

Journals (accounts)

See: Account books
Journals (personal narratives)
Gold rush diaries
Maritime journals
Overland journals
Judicial records. |2 aat
Use for Court records
Juvenilia. |2 aat
Use for material by children
Land grants. |2 aat
Use for Patents (land). Used especially by WA.
Laws. |2 aat

Leases. |2 aat

Lecture notes. |2 aat

Lectures. |2 aat

Use for classroom lectures.

See also: Speeches (and related narrower terms, as appropriate)

See: Account books
Legal instruments. |2 aat
    Use for documents that give expression to a legal act or agreement, for the purpose of creating, securing, modifying, or terminating a right, or for the purpose of furnishing evidence of a right. For documents having legal relevance in general, use "legal documents."

    See also: Specialized terms for specific type of documents. These include but are not limited to the following:

    Articles of incorporation
    Land grants
Letterheads. |2 gmgpc
Trace only pictorial lettersheets. If Californian, or early West, the item will also be cataloged separately (check with George Miles). Refer to RBC.
Letters (correspondence)
Do not use. See:
Letterpress copybooks
See: Letterheads
Letterpress copybooks. |2 aat *
Used for internal management purposes--preservation priority. Used especially by WA.
Library catalogues. |2 rbgenr

Lithographs. |2 aat

Little magazines. |2 aat

Local government records. |2 aat

Use for county and municipal records. Used especially by WA.
Local histories. |2 rbgenr
Used especially by WA.
Maps. |2 aat

Maritime journals. |2 rbgenr

Marriage certificates. |2 aat

See also: Vital statistics records
Membership lists. |2 aat


See: Autobiographies
Memorial works. |2 gmgpc
Prints, cards (but not black-edged stationery) and other visual items produced in memory of a deceased person.

See also:

Commemorative addresses
Microforms. |2 aat

Military records. |2 aat

Use for orders, commissions, and other military documents.
Minutes. |2 aat

Money. |2 aat

Use for all types of currency (paper and coin)
Money orders. |2 aat

Motion pictures. |2 aat

Municipal records

See: Local government records
Musical works. |2 rbgenr
Catch-all for all music. Specify types (e.g. songs, scores for instrumental works, etc.) in 520 if not otherwise readily apparent from the bibliographic description.

See also: Sheet music covers

Notes or Notebooks.
Field notes
Lecture notes
Obituaries. |2 aat

Occasional addresses. |2 rbgenr

Oil paintings. |2 aat

Oral histories. |2 aat

See also: Interviews
See: Military records
Overland journals |y [date]. |2 rbgenr
Especially but not exclusively defined for U.S. West. Subdivide by date. Used especially by WA.
Paintings. |2 aat
        See also: Oil paintings

Pamphlets. |2 aat

For printed works. May also need to be cataloged by RBC.
Passenger lists. |2 aat
Used especially by WA.
Passports. |2 aat

Pastels (visual works). |2 aat

Patents (land)

See: Land grants
Penmanship specimen books. |2 rbgenr

Petitions. |2 aat

Used especially by WA.
Playbills. |2 aat


See: Scripts
Political cartoons. |2 aat

Portraits. |2 aat

Used especially by WA.
Postcards. |2 aat
Used especially by WA.
Posters. |2 aat
Used especially by WA.
Prayers. |2 aat

Proclamations. |2 aat

Programs. |2 aat

See also: Theater programs
Promotional literature. |2 rbgenr

Property conveyances

See: Conveyances
Radio scripts. |2 aat

Receipts. |2 aat

Regimental histories. |2 rbgenr


See: Autobiographies
Reviews. |2 aat

Samizdat. |2 rbgenr

Scrapbooks. |2 aat

See also:
Autograph albums
Photograph albums (in photographic terms list)
Screenplays (motion pictures)
See: Film scripts
Scripts. |2 aat
Use for Playscripts

See also:

Film scripts
Radio scripts
Television scripts
Sermons. |2 aat
See also:
Baccalaureate sermons
Sheet music covers. |2 gmgpc
Use in addition to Musical works. If printed, especially if with pictorial covers, may also require a separate catalog record for the printed work.
Ships' logs. |2 aat
See also: Ships' papers
Ships' papers. |2 aat
See also:
Ships' logs
Bills of lading
Sketchbooks. |2 aat
Applies to bound volumes. Used especially by WA. See also:
Sketches. |2 aat
See also:
Cartoons (humorous images)
Sound recordings. |2 aat
Unlikely to be present, but if present, use.
Artifacts (for 3-dimensional realia)
Ephemera (for printed items)
Speeches. |2 aat
See also:
Baccalaureate addresses
Baccalaureate sermons
Commemorative addresses
Occasional addresses
State government records. |2 aat

Tax records. |2 aat

Use for assessment books and other government records related to the process of assessing and collecting taxes.
Television scripts. |2 aat

Territorial records. |2 aat

Testimonies. |2 aat

Use for court testimony
Theater programs. |2 aat

Treaties. |2 aat

Trial proceedings. |2 rbgenr

Triptychs. |2 aat

Video recordings. |2 aat

Viewbooks. |2 aat

Used especially by WA
Visitors' books. |2 aat
See also:
Guest registers
Hotel registers
Vital statistics records. |2 aat
For compilations of birth, marriage and death statistics. See also:
Birth certificates
Census records
Death certificates
Marriage certificates
Voters' lists. |2 aat

Watercolors. |2 aat

Wills. |2 aat

Photographic terms

Headings are derived from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (LCTGM), and Descriptive Terms for Graphic Materials: Genre and Physical Characteristic Headings (GMGPC). For genre and format the AAT term has been preferred. Presented in hierarchical form for easier identification.

Albums. |2 aat

Card photograph albums. |2 gmgpc
Use for carte-de-visite albums.
Also trace: Photographic prints and Cartes-de-visite
Photograph albums. |2 aat
AAT and GMGPC assign different scopes to this term. To be used here for personal albums containing mounted snapshots, with or without ms. captions.
Also trace: Photographic prints (and usually, Snapshots)
Group portraits. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Photographs. |2 aat
A very generic term for a process. Use the more specific below when possible.

Ambrotypes. |2 aat

Card photographs. |2 aat

This term includes photonegatives and unmounted photoprints where it is clear they were intended for such standard mounts.

Also trace (usually): Photographic prints

Cabinet photographs. |2 aat

Also trace: Photographic prints
Cartes-de-visite. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Kodak card photographs. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Daguerreotypes. |2 aat

Half stereographs. |2 aat

Also trace: Photographic prints
Negatives. |2 gmgpc
Film negatives. |2 gmgpc
Glass negatives. |2 gmgpc
Panoramic photographs. |2 aat
Refers to both panoramas made with panoramic cameras and to panoramas constructed of individual joined photos.

Also trace: Photographic prints

Photographic prints. |2 aat
This will be the generic term assigned to photographs on paper where the process is not definitely identified. Narrower terms may be assigned when information is available:

Albumen prints. |2 aat

Also trace: Photographic prints
Collodion prints. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Cyanotypes. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Gelatin silver prints. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Platinum prints. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Salted paper prints. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Slides (photographs) |2 aat
Lantern slides. |2 aat
Stereographs. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Tintypes. |2 aat
Scrapbooks. |2 aat
Use for albums that contain material in addition to photographs, i.e. clippings, postcards, etc. Check with curator for possible placement in AMC mss if photos play only a minor role.
Snapshots. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints
Souvenir viewbooks. |2 gmgpc
Use for commercially produced views of particular events, places or activities, in book form

Also trace: Photographic prints

Studio portraits. |2 aat
Also trace: Photographic prints

Copyright 1997. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
All rights reserved.