Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 39, no. 1-2, 2004


Authority Control:

Definition and International Experience

Part II:

Authority Control for Subjects

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


SACO and Subject Gateways
by Ana L. Cristán

Abstract: This presentation attempts to fit the subject contribution mechanism used in the Program for Cooperative Cataloging’s SACO Program into the context of subject gateways. The discussion points to several subject gateways and concludes that there is no similarity between the two. Subject gateways are a mechanism for facilitating searching, while the SACO Program is a cooperative venture that provides a “gateway” for the development of LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Heading list) into an international authority file for subject headings. Keywords: Library of Congress Subject Headings, LCSH, Program for Cooperative Cataloging, PCC, SACO, subject gateways

MACS (Multilingual Access to Subjects): A Virtual Authority File Across Languages
by Genevieve Clavel-Merrin

Abstract: Shared authority files and cooperation in the development of national lists, both author and subject, have enabled libraries to share resources and improve access to their collections. As we move from national resource sharing to a more international approach, we face problems accessing catalogues in other languages. By creating links between existing subject heading languages (initially in French, German, and English), MACS (Multilingual Access to Subjects) allows users to carry out searches in major national library collections in Europe using subject headings in their own languages. An operational service will be available in 2004. Keywords: MACS, multilingual subject access, national libraries, international
cooperation, authority files, linking

FAST: Development of Simplified Headings for Metadata
by Rebecca J. Dean

Abstract: The Library of Congress Subject Headings schema (LCSH) is the most commonly used and widely accepted subject vocabulary for general application. It is the de facto universal controlled vocabulary and has been a model for developing subject heading systems by many countries. However, LCSH’s complex syntax and rules for constructing headings restrict its application by requiring highly skilled personnel and limit the effectiveness of automated authority control. Recent trends, driven to a large extent by the rapid growth of the Web, are forcing changes in bibliographic control systems to make them easier to use, understand, and apply, and subject headings are no exception. The purpose of adapting the LCSH with a simplified syntax to create FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) headings is to retain the very rich vocabulary of LCSH while making the schema easier to understand, control, apply, and use. The schema maintains compatibility with LCSH--any valid Library of Congress subject heading can be converted to FAST headings. Keywords: Library of Congress Subject Headings, LCSH, Faceted Application of Subject Terminology, FAST, semantic interoperability, Dublin Core

Semantic Authority Control and New Soggettario
by Anna Lucarelli

Abstract: The project of the renewal of the Subject Headings for Italian Library Catalogues (Soggettario), financed by the National Central Library in Florence, proposes a pre-coordinated language, both analytic and synthetic, complying with international rules on vocabulary control and structure, based on category analysis of semantic relationships. It envisages a strict distinction between semantic relationships and syntactic ones, and bases its citation order of subject strings on the analysis model for logical relationships. Thanks to its features, the new Soggettario agrees both with the logic of Guidelines for Subject Authority and Reference Entries and of UNIMARC. Authorities, and with FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records). The rigorous structure of the thesaurus will facilitate the transfer of controlled terminology to lists or authority files and archives. The Italian National Bibliography (BNI) will have to play a leading role on the control of coherence of semantic access points. It will validate the strings created by other libraries and control their coherence according to the syntax rules envisaged in the new method. Keywords: Semantic control, Soggettario, thesaurus.

Authority Control and Subject Indexing Languages
by Stefano Tartaglia

Abstract: The existence of subject indexing languages does not call for or imply a particular authority control system exclusively dedicated to subject entries. To be really effective and efficient, authority control must be concerned with all the categories of entities, and must regard not just the form but also the meaning and the semantic relations of the expressions used to identify the single entities. Thus, it satisfies the lexical needs of all cataloguing languages, including subject indexing languages. It is not correct nor opportune to extend authority control to the syntactic constructions of subject indexing languages, because this reduces the rigor and efficiency of the control process, weighing it down until it becomes unfeasible, and impeding its function as a unifying element between the different cataloguing languages. Keywords: Authority control, subject indexing languages, FRBR.

Subject Indexing in the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale
by Maria Lucia Di Geso

Abstract: Over the last ten years, the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN) has become the largest Italian network of bibliographic services. The creation of the SBN Index database and its growth through shared cataloging were the focus of attention during the early phase, and for years, discussion was limited to questions of author cataloging and bibliographic description. Subject cataloging was excluded from the cooperative activity of the member libraries. In 1990 the Working Group on Subject Headings and Classes was established to examine this situation. First, a partial solution was found, to permit the launch of the network itself. This was followed, several years later, by the development of the SBN OPAC and the creation of the file of subject headings and classes in the SBN Index. From an operational perspective, the choice was made to forego managing the subject headings file in accordance with shared cataloging principles, with mixed results. In order for the subject file to have broader coverage and to further encourage cooperative subject cataloging, the SBN Index Development Program, in which the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle Biblioteche Italiane (ICCU) has been engaged for about two years, aims at enriching services of the database and opening up new and diversified types of usage. Almost simultaneously the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (BNCF) initiated a feasibility study on the revision of the Soggettario delle biblioteche italiane (List of Subject Headings in Italian Libraries) for the catalogs of Italian libraries. Both the BNCF and the ICCU share the goal of building a new, consistent vocabulary for documentation of subject matter. Keywords: Subject cataloging, subject access, local nodes, authority files, Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN), Working Group on Subject Headings and Classes, OPAC, SBN Index Development Program, Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle Biblioteche Italiane (ICCU), Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (BNCF), Soggettario delle biblioteche italiane (List of Subject Headings in Italian Libra)



The Activities for Authority Control in EDIT16: Authors, Publishers/Printers, Devices, and Places
by Claudia Leoncini, Rosaria Maria Servello

Abstract: This paper presents experiences with authority control within the project Census of Italian 16th Century Editions (Edit16) carried on by ICCU (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico) with the cooperation of 1200 library institutions all over Italy. The data elements and structures of the various files in the Edit16 system are described. Keywords: Edit16, Census of Italian 16th Century Editions, cooperative authority control project

Authority Control in the Field of Music: Names and Titles
by Massimo Gentili-Tedeschi, Federica Riva

Abstract: Music is a global and independent language: its main feature is being performed and disseminated far beyond national boundaries. The cataloguing process takes into account all kinds of documents preserving music and information about musical events: printed and manuscript music, sound recordings, librettos and concert programs, music periodicals, books on music. International repertories, reference tools, and standards have developed by the mid-20th century. Authority control for music materials focuses on two different groups of problems: common access points like names have to fulfil specific needs, and terms identifying and giving access to the musical content such as the uniform title have to be introduced and controlled. Several issues concerning names need to be faced, varying from the different writings of the same name, to transliteration, to attribution and disambiguation. Specific issues concern music materials: access through generic titles such as “sonata” is often frustrating. There is thus the need to create controlled access points through content-related data such as medium of performance, musical form, thematic catalogue number, music incipit. Since 1951, the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Music Documentation Centers has faced issues of authority control promoting the publication of an international cataloguing code, specific working groups (on the structure for uniform titles, on UNIMARC, on exchange of authority data, on indexing of music performances) and international cataloguing projects. Keywords: Authority control in music, Uniform titles, name authority control, access points for music, multilingual authority control, UNIMARC, IAML activities.

The CERL Thesaurus File
by Claudia Fabian

Abstract: The Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) builds up a Thesaurus file for place names, printers and publishers, and persons as related to early printing (1450 - ca. 1830). The paper explains the creation and logic of the CERL Thesaurus and its function relative to the Hand Press Book Database (HPB) and as a separate information tool for early printing. It also points to the general problem of standardization and authority files and gives indications about further developments of this Thesaurus. Keywords: Consortium of European Research Libraries, CERL, Hand Press Book Database, HPB, CERL Thesaurus, authority control in early printing, place names of early printing, printers and publishers in early printing, persons related to early printing, standardization of names in early printing

The German Name Authority File (PND) in the Bavarian Union Catalogue: Principles, Experiences, and Costs
by Gabriele Memer

Abstract: This paper gives a short overview of the library situation in the Bavarian Library Network and the authority files used in German libraries. It deals with the implementation of the authority file for personal names into the Bavarian Union Catalogue and the experiences in using it. Finally, it looks into costs and benefits of the use of authority files in the Bavarian Network Catalogue. Keywords: Bavarian Library Network, German name authority files, authority file for personal names, costs and benefits of authority work

Project InterParty: From Library Authority Files to E-Commerce
by Andrew MacEwan

Abstract: InterParty is a project that aims to develop a mechanism that will enable the interoperation of identifiers for “parties” or persons (authors, publishers, etc. – persons and corporate bodies in library authority files) across multiple domains. Partners represent the book industry, rights management, libraries, and identifier and technology communities, united by their perception of a common benefit from interoperation in terms of access to “common metadata” held by other members to improve the quality of their own data. The InterParty solution proposes a distributed network of members who provide access to “common metadata,” defined as information in the public domain, sufficient to identify and distinguish the “public identity” of a person. At a minimum the InterParty network would provide access to multiple domains of data about persons, including multiple library authority files, author licensing data files, etc. It will also add value by providing a facility for linking records between different data files by means of a “link record.” Link records will assert that an identity recorded in one database is the same as another identity recorded in another database. Linked data will be mutually enriching and therefore more reliable and supportive of accurate disambiguation of persons within and between databases. InterParty has potential to develop a common system that supports both the emerging needs of e-commerce and the traditional requirements of library authority control. Keywords: InterParty, common metadata, public identities, InterParty links, rights management, book industry, identifiers

Commercial Services for Providing Authority Control: Outsourcing the Process
by Sherry L. Vellucci

Abstract: This paper examines the commercial services available for providing authority control in online catalogs. It identifies common reasons cited by libraries for outsourcing authority control and examines in-depth the types of authority control services. These include retrospective cleanup of the authority and bibliographic files, ongoing authority control work for newly cataloged bibliographic records and previously cataloged records where headings have changed, and periodic file reauthorizations when there was a one-time retrospective authority control database cleanup, but the library did not contract ongoing authority control services. The three phases of the outsourced authority control process are discussed, including preprocessing, machine matching, and manual record review. Finally, reports produced by the vendors are mentioned and challenges for automated international authority control are discussed. : Authority control, outsourcing, automated authority control, authority control vendors

Multiple Names
by Lucia Sardo

Abstract: This paper tries to explain what a multiple name is and how it was and is used. The paper goes on with the examination of the treatment of multiple names in library catalogs, providing some examples from national libraries OPACs, and with a preliminary analysis of the multiple names using FRBR attributes. Keywords: Multiple names, authorship, shared pseudonyms

Chinese Name Authority Control in Asia: An Overview
by Lily Hu, Owen Tam, Patrick Lo

Abstract: This research paper provides an overview on the latest developments of Chinese authority control work implemented in Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong. In this research, a variety of authority databases developed by different national libraries and leading academic institutions are featured, together with detailed statistical data on coverage, size, and subscription rates of individual databases. Authority record samples collected from individual databases are also documented. This research study provides materials for discussions that can generate an increased understanding of the practical manifestations of authority control works carried out by different libraries among the regions of East Asia. It is hoped that the research findings documented in this paper can facilitate better cooperative cataloguing and resources sharing of Chinese/Japanese/Korean (CJK) materials among libraries on a global scale. Keywords: HKCAN, NACSIS-CAT, Authority control work – Asia, Authority control work – Japan, Authority control work – Hong Kong, Authority control work – China, Authority control work – Taiwan, CNMARC, CMARC

Progetto Lombardo Archivi in INternet (PLAIN) (Lombardy Project for Archives on the Internet): Identification, Retrieval, and Display of Creators of Archives and of Archival Fonds
by Maurizio Savoja, Paul Gabriele Weston

Abstract: The Progetto Lombardo Archivi in Internet (PLAIN), which is coordinated by the University of Pavia, on the basis of an agreement with the Regione Lombardia, an agreement in which the State Archives of Milan is also represented, intends to create an environment enabling easy public access to the wide heritage of descriptions in electronic format of historical archives preserved in Lombardy. Databases produced over the years that include a remarkable quantity of descriptive records are made available for consultation as a whole, while the system is implemented by the inclusion of further descriptive records processed within ongoing archival inventory and census projects. In addition, PLAIN should provide a structure able to receive, organize and display on the Web the descriptive records created from 1997 onwards within the project Civita, also promoted by the Regional Authorities. More evolved instruments of integration will therefore be provided in order to enable integrated searching. This paper is focused on some of the problems concerning the organization and presentation of archival descriptions, with particular reference to the creation of a system of lists referring to archival collections and the creators of archives described in the system. The conclusions indicate how the adopted solutions foreshadow further integration between the whole body of archival descriptions and the historical-institutional profiles of the Civita project, and how they open up promising perspectives of communication with other external systems. Keywords: Historical Archives on the Web Project, archival descriptions, archival fonds, archival repositories, Lombardy cultural heritage, PLAIN Project (Progetto Lombardo Archivi in Internet), archival information system architecture, management of concurrent descriptive records, list entry headings

Modeling Authority Data for Libraries, Archives, and Museums: A Project in Progress at AFNOR
by Françoise Bourdon

Abstract: To give a national basis to the considerations developed at IFLA with FRANAR, a working group devoted to modelling authority data was created in the framework of the French Organization for Standardization (AFNOR) in 2000. The Working Group aims at developing interoperability among libraries, archives and museums. Composition, goals, and the working plan of this Group are presented. Keywords: Modelling authority data Libraries, Archives and Museums, interoperability, AFNOR

A First Contribution in the Field of Religion: the ACOLIT Project
by Fausto Ruggeri

Abstract: This paper presents a description of ACOLIT, an authority list of names of persons, corporate bodies, and works associated with the Catholic Church. Keywords: ACOLIT, authority list, Catholic Church, liturgical works, Catholic authors

French Official Corporate Bodies of the Ancient Regime (COPAR) and Religious Corporate Bodies (CORELI): Two Operations in Creating Authority Records in Order to Standardise the Entries of Bibliographic Records in Bibliothèque Nationale de France Retrospective Conversion
by Nadine Boddaert

Abstract: During the retrospective conversion of its printed and card catalogues, the Bibliothèque nationale de France was confronted with the existence of old bibliographic records without corporate body headings, because this concept was unknown when the books were catalogued. The Library launched two programs aimed at creating authority records for specific fields important for the access to the national bibliographic heritage, respectively named COFAR – for the official corporate bodies, mainly national and preceding the French Revolution – and CORELI – for the religious corporate bodies (parishes, dioceses, confraternities, orders and congregations, etc.). The 2550 records created by the COFAR and CORELI programs have been included in the authority file of BNOPALE PLUS; so they are visible either via the online catalogue or separately with other authority records. They give librarians an extra tool for identifying entities. They represent also a valuable source of information accessible to anyone who takes an interest in the history of French government institutions or religious entities. Keywords: Authority files (Cataloging), France, Corporate headings (Cataloging), Catholic Church, Government headings (Cataloging), French Administrative and political divisions, 1500-1800

The Project ‘Authority File’ for Names Relating to Perugia and Its Area
by Claudia Parmeggiani

Abstract: The project Authority File by Biblioteca Augusta, the State Archives of Perugia, and the Archive Superintendence of Umbria aims at the creation of an experimental aid for reference and bibliographic control addressed to librarians, keepers of archives, and historians interested in the study of the Perugian area in the period prior to the nineteenth century. This paper describes the project to build this authority file. Keywords: Perugia, Italy; Umbria; authority file; archives

The Catalogue as Language, Quality in Terms of Service: An Experience at the University of Florence
by Luciana Sabini

Abstract: This contribution gives an account of the experience at the University of Florence, where a common language for its numerous libraries and collections was found, at the end of the eighties, in the Servizio bibliotecario Nazionale, by assuming a common cataloguing practice. These years were important years for academic libraries, that define their position in the growth of the information needs and oriented their mission to service management and customer satisfaction. So at the Florentine library system a new concept was adopted: a client-centred library with a user-oriented catalogue, able to communicate and retrieve information. The key concept of the whole process was: the catalogue as a service. To realize this it was necessary to provide a permanent training plan for the library staff and a common working method based on quality. The Work Group for the Management and Maintenance the Catalogue was formed, and entrusted with the tasks related the control of the access point and the ordinary management of the SBN catalogue. Keywords: academic library; client-centred library; user-oriented catalogue; University of Florence; Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale

Authority Control in the Academic Context: A Hobson’s Choice
by Guido Badalamenti

Abstract: This paper presents a case study of a shared authority control systems in Tuscany, Italy, involving academic libraries, the Central National Library of Florence, and civic and provincial libraries. Keywords: Shared authority control; Tuscany, Italy; LACoBit, LAIT, BNI, SBS

Ancient Italian States: An Authority List Project
by Annarita Sansò

Abstract: The project to create an authority list of the Italian states arises from the lack of such a list in Italy. The standardization of headings for the ancient states has taken into account all the problems and difficulties arising from the nineteenth-century concept of ‘state,’ as we mean it today. That concept is quite difficult to apply to Italian states established before that time. This paper describes making this list. Keywords: Authority lists, Italian states

The Authority File of the Biblioteca di Cultura Medievale
by Maria Teresa Donati

Abstract: The Authority File of the Biblioteca di Cultura Medievale is an archive of personal name forms and uniform titles (about 34,000 entries of authors’ names and subjects) that have been indexed while producing a catalog for a substantial specialized bibliographic collection: it covers the classical and late-antique periods through the humanistic period, and comprises all literary genres, disciplines, and texts relevant to the institutional history of the time. Considering the complexity and multiform nature of the entries registered in the library, and due to the international character of its use, a large number of analytics were created for the works from the classical period through the sixteenth century (about 5,300 entries). The development of the Authority File has been completed thanks to the automated tools and particularly favorable circumstances that have enriched it, making it useful both to librarians and students who want to consult the catalog. The collaboration of BISLAM, for example, besides ensuring the scientific character of the archive’s content and assisting in the research of relevant repertories, has helped to distinguish the characteristics of the respective products and, consequently, the diversity of methodological approaches as well as other choices. The choice of the ALEPH500 software, a program which effectively and completely supports the format UNIMARC, has led the Biblioteca not only to discover and resolve the problems connected with the structure and content of the archive, mainly through the use of UNIMARC/Authorities, but also to search for every possible interaction with the bibliographic catalog. Moreover, the specificity of the proper names and of the titles selected by us in addition to the international profile of our users, have required us to consider from the first phases of the Authority File the rules of national and international catalogs and other issues concerned with them, such as the language of the catalog itself, the standard formulation of the proper names and uniform titles for all the cases of ambiguous or pseudo-epigraphic works, and the cross-references between them. Keywords: Authority file, Biblioteca di Cultura Medievale, analytics.

The Compilation of an Authority List of Medieval Latin Authors: Objectives, Methodological Issues, and Results
by Roberto Gamberini

Abstract: A census of the authors of the Middle Ages and the creation of an authority list for them pose various methodological problems. In developing such a program, it is necessary to consider – in addition to the diverse needs of its users – the specific type of proper names in question, the peculiarities of Medieval Latin philology, the relative lack of such specialized programs, and the historic literary tradition. The project BISLAM, which studies onomastic sciences for SISMEL, has developed a program entitled Authors in "Medioevo latino", available both in print and on CD-ROM, which is comprised of an authority list of nearly 5,300 entries for about 12,500 nominal forms. The research criteria and the development of this program are the results of a collaboration between the Bibliographic and Onomastic divisions of the Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino and the Biblioteca di Cultura Medievale, which serves the Società and the Fondazione Franceschini. The purpose of such a joint project is to offer a program useful both to scholars of medieval Latin literature and to specialists in bibliographic catalogs and repertories. Keywords: BISLAM, authority list, medieval authors, Middle Ages, medieval Latin, authority control, personal names

by Luigi Crocetti

Abstract: This paper provides a conclusion to the International Conference on Authority Control: Definitions and International Experiences, held in Florence, 10-13 February 2003, stressing the importance of authority work in Italy and internationally, and offering a tribute to Mauro Guerrini, the conference organizer. Keywords: Authority control, international cooperation, Mauro Guerrini

OCLC’s MARS and Innovative’s Millenium: Authority Control Procedures
by Lihong Zhu

Abstract: Discusses the three major facets of authority control and provides guidelines on authority control procedures for libraries that use OCLC MARC Record Service (MARS) as their authority control vendor and Innovative Millennium as their local automated system. Keywords: Authority control, database maintenance, cataloging, OCLC MARS, Innovative Millennium

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