IFLA Genre/Form Working Group


Genre/Form terms describe what something “is”, rather than what it is “about “. The latter has been the traditional emphasis of the IFLA Classification and Indexing Section. In recent years, the Section has held occasional discussions on the extent to which it should be actively involved with genre/form issues. Although no specific role was ever formalized, the section presented one paper on genre/form access as part of its program at the Singapore Conference in 2013. During its meetings at this conference, the Standing Committee crafted its Action Plan for 2013/2014, and incorporated genre/form into its plan as Item 2.1, to: “Establish a Working Group on issues relating to genre/form access. Enlist additional members from other relevant sections.”  Membership in the group was formalized in January 2014, and currently includes eleven members (eight from the Classification and Indexing Section, one from the Cataloguing Section,  one additional member from outside the two sections, and one liaison from the FRBR Review Group).

Genre/form terms can assist the user “by providing access points for the forms and genres of expressions” (Frequently Asked Questions about Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), rev. June 6, 2011). However, genre/form authority data is not included anywhere in the FRBR family of models, the Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (ICP), the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), or RDA (Resource Description & Access). There are plans to eventually include it somewhere within the FRBR models, and possibly the ICP and RDA.  However, genre/form terms are already — more or less—used in several cataloguing traditions, such as the German, Swedish, and Anglo-American.


  1. Decide on a name for the working group.
  2. Make a recommendation on the place of genre/form within IFLA.
  3. Monitor and provide information about developments relating to genre/form within the ICP, FRBR family of models, and RDA, as well as any other significant national and international developments. Liaise with the groups involved to the extent practical.
  4. Consider the feasibility of a worldwide survey of genre/form developments. If practical, develop such a survey and distribute it to national libraries and library institutions worldwide.
  5. Consider the feasibility of a project to create links between equivalent terms in the various genre/form vocabularies. If practical, perform such a project.
  6. Consider the feasibility of creating a best practices document for use of genre/form vocabularies. If practical, create such a document.
  7. Develop a list of resources relating to genre/form initiatives worldwide, and make this list publicly available on the IFLA website.
  8. Publicize the activities of the IFLA Genre/Form Working Group. Encourage and develop programs on genre/form to be presented at future IFLA Conferences.


  • Ana Stevanovic, Co-chair
    National Library of Serbia
  • Ricardo Santos, Co-chair
    National Library of Spain
    Liaison from IFLA Cataloguing Standing Committee
  • Marie Balikova
    National Library of the Czech Republic
  • Harriet Aagaard
    National Library of Sweden
  • Jean Maury
    Bibliothèque nationale de France
  • Rehab Ouf
    Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • George Prager
    New York University Law School 
  • Viktoria Lundborg
    National Library of Sweden
  • Jeff Barton
    Princeton University Library
  • Brenna Bychowski
    Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University
  • Iris O'Brien 
    British Library
  • Kamil Pawlicki
    National Library of Poland
  • Brisa Pozzi de Sousa
    Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO)
  • Richard Sapon White
    Oregon State University Libraries
  • Duncan Stewart
    University of Iowa Libraries
  • Jennifer Wright
    Bibliographic Data Services Limited, United Kingdom 
    Liaison from IFLA Cataloguing Standing Committee         

Minutes of meetings



Subject Analysis and Access, Indexing, genres, forms

Last update: 20 August 2020