Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 38, no. 3-4, 2004


Authority Control:

Definition and International Experience

Part I

Arlene G. Taylor, BA, MS, PhD

Barbara B. Tillett, BA, MLS, PhD

Guest editors ;
with the assistance of

Mauro Guerrini and Murtha Baca

Preface to parts I-II by Arlene G. Taylor and Barbara B. Tillett

Welcome to participants by Igino Poggiali

Introduction to the conference by Mauro Guerrini


Authority Control in the Context of Bibliographic Control in the Electronic Environment
by Michael Gorman

Abstract: Defines authority control and vocabulary control and their place and utility in modern cataloguing. Discusses authority records and authority files and the use and purposes of each. Describes the creation of authority records and the sources from which authority data is collected. Discusses “metadata” schemes and their manifold and manifest inadequacies; points out the relationship of the Dublin Core to the MARC family of standards and the fact that both are framework standards—the first simplistic and naïve, the second complex and nuanced. Defines precision and recall as desiderata in indexing and retrieval schemes and relates them to authority control in catalogues. Discusses the problems involved in cataloguing electronic documents and resources and proposes an international program under the Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC) umbrella, using an international code of descriptive cataloguing, and based on an international name authority file. Calls for urgent action on these proposals. Keywords: Authority files, Cataloguing, Descriptive cataloguing, Dublin Core, MARC records, Metadata, Vocabulary control


Authority Control: State of the Art and New Perspectives
by Barbara B. Tillett

Abstract: Authority control is necessary for meeting the catalog’s objectives of enabling users to find the works of an author and to collocate all works of a person or corporate body. This article looks at the current state of authority control as compared to the visions of the 1979 LITA (Library Information and Technology Association) Institutes and the 1984 Authority Control Interest Group. It explores a new view of IFLA’s Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC) and a future vision of a virtual international authority file as a building block for the Semantic Web and reinforces the importance of authority control to improve the precision of searches of large databases or the Internet. Keywords: Authority control, access control, universal bibliographic control, virtual international authority file, cataloging objectives, precision of searching

Teaching Authority Control
by Arlene G. Taylor

Abstract: The teaching of authority control in schools of library and information science has been given little attention until recently. A 2002 article reported that only a little over a third of respondents to a questionnaire believed they had learned about authority control in school. This paper reports a survey of teachers to determine how much authority control is taught in school. Respondents all emphasized the importance of trying to teach authority control to all students of library science and enthusiastically shared their methodologies, while admitting that it is a difficult concept to get across to students. Teachers also face non-understanding from colleagues, lack of course time, and competition from technology courses. Keywords: Authority control education, library school courses, cataloging faculty, name authority control, subject headings, MARC authority records

Guidelines and Methodology for the Creation of the SBN Authority File
by Cristina Magliano

Abstract: Italy’s ICCU (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico) is coordinating a national effort to build a shared online authority file through the National Library Service (SBN). The status of that project and the implications of maintaining such a resource are described. Keywords: ICCU, SBN, Italian National Authority File Project, authority control, cooperative programs, database maintenance.


The Bibliografia Nazionale Italiana and Control of Access Points
by Gloria Cerbai Ammannati

Abstract: In its role as a national bibliographic agency, the Bibliografia Nazionale Italiana (BNI) has never been in a position to fulfill what should be one of its main functions: authority control. Despite the creation of various committees, studies, and projects, and the close relationship between the BNI and the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN), no plan of action with regard to authority control, whether shared or developed in consultation, has been produced to date. Recently, a significant result was achieved: the specification of the new BNI/UNIMARC database, structured according to authority control principles. And in collaboration with the Region of Tuscany, a project for control of access points destined for the users and librarians of that region is in progress, providing the opportunity to initiate the systematic control of BNI access points. The BNI is now in a position to begin to realize the first objective recommended by the IFLA Working Group on an International Authority System more than twenty years ago: to establish authority headings, including cross-references, for its bibliographic records. Keywords: Authority control, access points, RICA, ISBD, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (BNCF), Bibliografia Nazionale Italiana (BNI), Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN), UNIMARC, OPAC, SBN Index

IFLA and Authority Control
by Marie-France Plassard

Abstract: Since the 1970s the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has worked toward establishing an international system of authority control. It concentrated on two main areas: publication of international authority lists, and formulation of international rules for the structure of authority forms. The work of IFLA in these areas is described in this paper. Keywords: Authority control, IFLA, UBC, UNIMARC format for authorities

FRANAR: A Conceptual Model for Authority Data
by Glenn E. Patton

Abstract: Discusses the work of the IFLA Working Group of Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records. Describes the activities of the group to build liaison relationships with other sectors of the information community that create and maintain data which is similar to library authority files. Provides a description of the entity-relationship model being developed by the Working Group to extend the FRBR model to cover authority data. (Note: Readers should be aware that the Working Group's entity-relationship model has changed considerably since this paper was written in December 2002.) Keywords: Authority records; Conceptual models; Entity-relationship models; FRANAR; FRBR

Authority Control in the World of Metadata
by José Borbinha

Abstract: This paper discusses the concept of “metadata” in the scope of the “digital library,” two terms recently used in a great diversity of perspectives. It is not the intent to promote privilege of any particular view, but rather to help provide a better understanding of these multiple perspectives. The paper starts with a discussion of the concept of digital library, followed by an analysis of the concept of metadata. It continues with a discussion about the relationship of this concept with technology, services, and scenarios of application. The concluding remarks stress the three main arguments assumed for the relevance of the concept of metadata: the growing number of heterogeneous genres of information resources, the new emerging scenarios for interoperability, and issues related to the cost and complexity of current technology. Keywords: Digital Libraries, Metadata, Interoperability, Authority control

Bibliographic Control and Authority Control from Paris Principles to the Present
by Pino Buizza

Abstract: Forty years ago the ICCP in Paris laid the foundations of international co-operation in descriptive cataloging without explicitly speaking of authority control. Some of the factors in the evolution of authority control are the development of catalogs (from card catalog to local automation, to today's OPAC on the Web) and services provided by libraries (from individual service to local users to system networks, to the World Wide Web), as well as international agreements on cataloging (from Paris Principles to the UBC programme, to the report on Mandatory data elements for internationally shared resource authority records). This evolution progressed from the principle of uniform heading to the definition of authority entries and records, and from the responsibility of national bibliographic agencies for the form of the names of their own authors to be shared internationally to the concept of authorized equivalent heading. Some issues of the present state are the persisting differences among national rules and the aim of respecting both local culture and language and international readability. Keywords: Bibliographic control, authority control history, ICCP, International Conference on Cataloguing Principles, internationally shared authority records, Paris Principles

The Other Half of Cataloguing: New Models and Perspectives for the Control of Authors and Works
by Alberto Petrucciani

Abstract: Today’s electronic catalogue makes retrieval of specific records very simple and quick in most (not all) cases, but searches aimed at the reliable retrieval of all material answering a well-defined need (author, work, theme, form, etc.) are still long and tiring, and sometimes impossible, in crowded bibliographic databases. In spite of its great relevance, authority control has been and still is the “poor relative” of cataloguing, the often neglected or overlooked “other half” if we compare it to the creation of bibliographic records. The FRBR study and the new authority control standards (GARR and UNIMARC Authorities) are important steps towards future perspectives. Even today, cataloguing codes do not make clear the difference between the access points for bibliographic records and the relationships (work-to-work, author-to-work, etc.) that are independent from spoecific publications. With the development of richer authority records and relationships, the bibliographic record might be relieved of information related to entities different from publications and of all the functions more suitably worked out upstream or downstream in access systems or by links to the images and/or the texts of the publications themselves. A “light” bibliographic record would no longer be the paramount component of library information systems; it would keep its central role rather as nimble, swift turntable between access and content organization systems and systems for management and display of digital resources themselves. Keywords: Bibliographic relationships, authority control, access points, bibliographic records

Fear of Authority? Authority Control and Thesaurus Building for Art and Material Culture Information
by Murtha Baca

Abstract: Until the 1980s, concepts like authority control, controlled vocabularies, and metadata and schemas were all but unknown in the world of art and material culture information. This paper traces the evolution and current status of tools and resources for authority control of art information, and gives examples of how the lack of authority control can impede end-user access. Collection-specific thesauri and subject indexes, and vocabulary-assisted searching and query expansion are also discussed. Keywords: Authority control, art museum information, thesauri, thesaurus building, local thesauri, vocabulary-assisted searching, query expansion, LCNAF, LCSH, TGM, AAT, ULAN, TGN, ICONCLASS, access points, controlled vocabularies, subject access, metadata schemas, CDWA, VRA Core Categories, Cataloguing Cultural Objects

UNIMARC Format for Authority Records: Its Scope and Issues for Authority Control
by Mirna Willer

Abstract: The IFLA standard for authority data, UNIMARC authorities format, is described in the light of developments of IFLA standards in the field of authority files, IFLA’s activities in promoting the exchange of name authority records within the program of Universal Bibliographic Control and the design of the UNIMARC format for bibliographic records that established principles for its structure and design. The second revised and enlarged edition, UNIMARC Manual: Authorities Format, is described. Particular attention is paid to the methods for expressing relationships between different forms of headings, and relationships between different languages and scripts of headings. The maintenance of the format and sources for its revision are described. Keywords: Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC), authority control, UNIMARC authorities format, IFLA standards for authority files


Authority Control of Creators and the Second Edition of ISAAR(CPF), International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families
by Stefano Vitali

Abstract: The International Standard Archival Authority Record (Corporate Bodies, Persons, Families), ISAAR(CPF) is a standard developed by the International Council on Archives for the management of creators of archives in archival descriptive systems. Since 2001, ISAAR(CPF) has been undergoing a revision process which will conclude at the next International Congress of Archives in Vienna in August 2004 when a second edition of the standard will be issued. The draft of the new edition of the standard, prepared by the Committee on Descriptive Standards, contains various changes in comparison with the first edition. The paper describes these changes, discussing their theoretical relevance, methodological implications, and practical consequences in archival descriptive systems. It focuses in particular on the new features of ISAAR(CPF) which enhance the possibility of establishing relationships between archival description systems and bibliographic catalogues, sharing or exchanging authority data on corporate bodies, persons, and families which are creators of archives or responsible for the creation or edition of books. Keywords: Archival authority records, archival descriptive systems, authority data exchange, International Standard Archival Authority Record (Corporate Bodies, Persons, Families), ISAAR(CPF).

Creator Description: Encoded Archival Context
by Daniel V. Pitti

Abstract: Encoded Archival Context (EAC) is an ongoing initiative within the international archival community to design and implement a prototype standard based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) for encoding descriptions of record creators: individuals, families, and organizations that create records. EAC is intended to represent the descriptive data prescribed in International Council for Archives’ International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (ISAAR(CPF)). Description of record creators is an essential component of the preservation of the documentary evidence of human activity. A standard for creator description has many professional as well as economic benefits. EAC promises to enhance access and understanding of records as well as provide an important resource independent of record description. EAC also promises to enable repositories to share creator description. Given the costs of authority control and description, such sharing potentially will be an important economic benefit. As an XML-based standard, EAC specifies the semantic and structural features of creator description. The developers of EAC hope that the archival community will be able to collaborate with similar efforts in other cultural heritage communities. Keywords: Encoded Archival Context; EAC; authority control; biography; administrative history; archival description; descriptive standards; International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families; ISAAR(CPF)

LEAF: Linking and Exploring Authority Files
by Jutta Weber

Abstract: LEAF tries to enhance search and retrieval facilities by providing high quality access to international authority information for everyone. For this purpose LEAF is developing a model architecture for collecting, harvesting, linking of, and providing access to existing local or national name authority data, independent from their creation in libraries, archives, museums or other institutions and independent from national differences. When a user searches for a name string, LEAF will search the records of all LEAF Data Providers and combine these records to one single LEAF authority record. This record will automatically be stored in a "Central Name Authority File" which will thus contain international name information of high quality and high user relevance, as it will only contain records for which searches were actually done. Keywords: Authority information, names of persons, libraries, archives, museums, user relevance, harvesting, linking, international authority file, authority control

NACO: A Cooperative Model for Building and Maintaining a Shared Name Authority Database
by John D. Byrum, Jr.

Abstract: The Name Authority Cooperative (NACO), founded in 1976, now encompasses some 395 institutions that have collectively developed and maintained a database of more than 2,000,000 authority records in addition to the more than 3,500,000 records created by Library of Congress staff. The NACO family of libraries is expanding at a rate of about 50 new members annually. The membership include institutions from all but four of the 50 U. S. states and 43 institutions in 16 countries within Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, and Latin America. The NACO model has changed over time to create more cost-effective and user-friendly policies and procedures to meet participants’ needs. Increased recognition, especially by library administrators, of the value of authority control also encouraged NACO to flourish. This presentation explains membership requirements, benefits to the participants, as well as the role of the Library of Congress which serves as secretariat to NACO and oversees a variety of training and documentation activities to support program operations. One of the NACO’s unique features – the opportunity to participate via a “Funnel Project” in which a group of institutions band together – is also described. Internationally, as the trend towards adopting AACR and MARC 21 increases, the number of NACO partners outside the U. S. also increases. For countries where other standards prevail or where English is not the official language, NACO can serve as a model to consider to provide a framework for a national program while awaiting longer-term development of a more global approach to authority control. Keywords: NACO; name authority records; catalogers training; catalogers documentation; Program for Cooperative Cataloging; Library of Congress; authority control, international aspects.

Names of the Far East: Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Authority Control
by Eisuke Naito

Abstract: Personal names in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean appear not only in domestic publications but also in publications of foreign regions in original, transcribed, and transliterated forms, and produce misleading searches and confusion among information users. National bibliographic control in China, Japan, and Korea is reviewed to determine the status and common tasks. Three workshops were held discussing name authority control in the region in 2001 and 2002. IFLA’s work on UBC/IM as well as FRBR and VIAF were introduced in the workshop to set a framework for regional development. Future regional cooperation was pursued among national bibliographic agencies in East Asia. Keywords: Chinese personal names; Japanese personal names; Korean personal names; Japan MARC; KOR MARC; China MARC; regional cooperation; national bibliographic control

Authority Control of Printers, Publishers, and Booksellers
by Lorenzo Baldacchini

Abstract: The functions of publishers, printers, and booksellers in the years of hand printing and their connection with the concept of manifestation in FRBR are quite interesting, and the form given to their denotations becomes important when this element turns into a stable and fundamental access point to bibliographic information. The normal access point for the entity responsible for the manifestation must cease to be a mere indexing element and must become part of a thesaurus—that is, the terms it contains must be subject to authority control, as only this will allow the user not only to access an item, but also to relate it correctly with other items that share certain features with it, such as, for instance, the responsibility for the manifestation. Data about those in charge of the publication of early printed books is often inconsistent, unreliable, and sometimes even misleading, and authority files for such names will of necessity be very complicated. This paper traces the evolution of access points for printers, publishers, and booksellers from the annals of the eighteenth century to modern bibliographical databases and catalogs of early printed materials, and discusses the recent suggestion that an authority file should be designed by each national agency for their printers, publishers, and booksellers—just as happens for authors—to create a Virtual International Authority File. Keywords: Authority control, name authority file, personal names, corporate names, printers, publishers, booksellers, antiquarian booksellers, hand printing, early printed books, access points, annals, indexes, inventories, printers, authority control, thesauri, Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL), EDIT 16, FRBR manifestation

Creating Up-to-Date Corporate Name Authority Records by Using Official Corporate Home Web Pages
by Qiang Jin

Abstract: The Internet has changed the way users access information for their research needs. According to recent surveys, we have a generation of Google users who search for information for their research needs in Web search engines before they search the OPAC. Catalogers are faced with the issue of how to help users improve access to the bibliographic world in the Internet environment. This article presents three case studies as examples of corporate name authority records that could be greatly improved by using or adding current information from the Internet. Strategies for searching official corporate body Web pages, adding references, and updating local catalogs are discussed. Keywords: AACR2, Authority control, Corporate names, LC NAF, NACO, NPM, OCLC, Internet, Web

Authority Control of Works: Cataloging’s Chimera?
by Richard P. Smiraglia

Abstract: Explicit authority control of works is essentially non-existent. Our catalogs are built on a principle of controlling headings, and primarily headings for names of authors. Our syndetic structure creates a spider’s web of networked relationships among forms of headings, but it ends there, despite the potential richness of depth among bibliographic entities. Effective authority control of works could yield richness in the catalog that would enhance retrieval capabilities. Works are considered to constitute the intellectual content of informative artifacts that may be collected and ordered for retrieval. In a 1992 study the author examined a random sample of works drawn from the catalog of the Georgetown University Library. For each progenitor work, an instantiation network (also referred to as a bibliographic family) was constituted. A detailed analysis of the linkages that would be required for authority control of these networks is reviewed here. A new study is also presented, in which Library of Congress authority records for the works in this sample are sought and analyzed. Results demonstrate a near total lack of control, with only 5.6% of works for which authority records were found. From a sample of 410 works, of which nearly half have instantiation networks, only 23 works could be said to have implicit authority control. However, many instantiation networks are made up of successive derivations that can be implicitly linked through collocation. The difficult work of explicitly linking instantiations comes with title changes, translations, and containing relations. The empirical evidence in the present study suggests that explicit control of expressions will provide the best control over instantiation networks because it is instantiations such as translations, abridgments, and adaptations that require explicit linking. Keywords: Works, instantiation networks, expressions, authority control, linkages, syndetic depth.

(Authority Control: Definition and International Experience, Part II will follow in Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, Volume 39, Numbers 1-2)

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