Authority control

Revision as of 15:36, 15 December 2014 by ErinBlake (talk | contribs) (→‎Draft policy: Added 599 info, "viewed on" info)

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.

When (if ever) should "Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616" be added as a field of activity (372) - for scholars, actors, other, none?

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

Is there a PCC recommendation on active dates in the 046/100 fields? (See draft policy section below)

Draft policy

  • Active dates in authorized access point (100) and/or 046:
    • Generally do not edit the date range if a work is found outside those dates (e.g. 1620 work found for Printer, active 1607-1616)
    • If not absolutely confident/as compromise, put specific activity dates in 046 and "active Xth century" in 100 ‡d
    • N.b. 046 fields do not have to be parallel - for instance, if you know the day, month, and year of a person's death, but only the year of their birth
  • 100 (Authorized access point): leave spaces in between initials in personal names, not in corporate headings [see LC-PCC-PS for 1.7.1 ]
  • 370 (Associated place):
    • ‡c will always be country, ‡e can be a city
    • Follow local naf form practices for Great Britain, United States, Canada, Australia(?)
  • Narrower term for 374 (Field of activity); broader for 372 (Profession or occupation)
    • Can use personal names in 372 if appropriate (See above)
  • 599 (local note-to-selves)
    • Always preface with your initials
    • If not in VIAF, add a 599 "Not in VIAF" with date checked
    • Delete 599s before contributing
  • When citing VIAF in 670, either provide URI to entry (preferably the permalink), or specify which national level authority file consulted (format? See above)
    • Include date of VIAF lookup - prefer the wording "viewed on" (which is "best practice" according to DCMZ1 viewed on 15 December 2014.)
  • For all citations in 670: include a colon before ‡b if citing a specific location, not just the information found
  • IN GENERAL: if uncertain to include additional known information, err on the side of providing more information (with an eye towards future data manipulation/exploration)