Authority control

Revision as of 18:15, 10 December 2014 by ErinBlake (talk | contribs) (→‎Questions: Rephrased 372/374 question)

Authority control in a library environment is the establishment and maintenance of consistent forms of names and terms to be used as authorized access points in records of the library catalog. Authorized access points must not only be consistent, each one must be unique. Traditional library practice focused on controlling names (personal, corporate, governmental, and geographic), works, and subjects. While authority control has always been important for library catalogs, with the growth of new environments of linked data it is becoming even more, with increasing elements in the catalog being represented by authorized forms. (One example: using authorized terms for occupations in authority records.)

Authority control at the Folger

The Folger is a member of NACO and SACO; the Folger PCC liaison is Deborah J. Leslie. For NACO training schedule and workflows, see NACO in Bard2.

Useful links


to link an instance of an authorized access point to its authority record
authorized access point (formerly, and sometimes still, known as heading)
bibliographic file maintenance
LC/NACO Authority File
the authority file maintained by the Library of Congress in collaboration with the PCC
Name Authority Cooperative Program; component of the PCC for name authority records
name authority file
name authority record
Program for Cooperative Cataloging
previously verified record; (used in the context of changes made to existing NARs)
Subject Authority Cooperative Program; component of the PCC for subject authority records
subject authority record
Virtual International Authority File


Is there an actual PCC recommendation on what to do with "Profession or occupation" if it is NOT needed as part of the access point? Slide 53 and slide 60 of Training Module 2 don't actually say. Logic says profession or occupation should also recorded if readily available, same as the other 37X's listed on slide 60 (Associated place, Address, Field of activity, Associated group, Gender, and Associated language). But should it be privileged above field of activity, as a time-saver? Often, the 372 and 374 will be different forms of the same concept, so you really only need one. The implication is the 374 is more important than the others, since the others aren't options for the access point ... but many of the others aren't particularly useful for disambiguation: adding "male" and "English" to "Brown, John, active 19th century" isn't likely to distinguish him from other John Browns of the time.

Is there a recommendation on how, in the 670, to record which library's record from VIAF is cited?

Draft policy

  • Narrower term for 374 (Field of activity); broader for 372 (Occupation)