Tag Archives: Authority records

Take a look at VIAF (the virtual international authority file)

As all catalogers know, name and subject authorities differ from country to country.  That is why your library has to set the ground rules for which authority file you are going to follow and stick with that one.

Just in case you were unaware, there exists a virtual international authority file (VIAF) in which you can search a name or subject and get all the various authorities associated with that topic/name.

For example I searched my favorite novelist, Ruth Rendell.  Here is the result of my search:viaf capture



Sewing NOT Dressmaking


Just cataloged an instructional DVD titled “Sewing beyond the basics: kitchen accessories”.  The DVD includes a bonus CD-ROM with patterns.

I wanted to add the subject heading: 150 — |aSewing|vPatterns  but this is invalid.

Instead it is a reference for 150 — |aDressmaking|vPatterns  or

sewing-machine-close-up150 — |aTailoring|vPatterns

the DVD’s accompanying patterns are NOT about dressmaking – they are about sewing kitchen accessories.

Bombay (India) not valid for use as a subject

Bombay (India) is now Mumbai (India)

Mumbai mapMumbai

LC still authorizes use of Bombay (India) as a corporate name heading. However Bombay (India) IS NOT VALID FOR USE AS A SUBJECT! When cataloguing a work ‘about’ use Mumbai (India) The city’s name was officially changed in 1996.

Gee…. I sure miss those old Cataloging Service Bulletins!  I would have amended our database way before now…


I catalog a lot of fiction.  A popular topic  involves the historic Christian military order the Knights Templar – an organization that existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle AgesKnights Templar

When cataloging works about this historic order I notice that a lot of libraries incorrectly use the subject heading:

Knights Templar (Masonic order)  n 80001259

which is an international philanthropic group affiliated with Freemasonry

For works about the historic Christian military order of the Knights Templar the correct subject heading is:

Templars    n 80113860

These groups are easily confused.  I hope this posting sheds some light on this topic…



Cataloging Service Bulletins: do you miss them?

ImageI mourn the discontinuation of the Cataloging Service Bulletins.  I found them to be a vital resource for keeping up-to-date on new and changed subject headings and name authorities.  The Library of Congress site states that they are a discontinued publication. All back issues are available (in html) for free, but we need NEW issues.

Do you miss them as much as I do???

Name authority problem noted

I have just finished cataloging the new Clive Cussler novel “Storm” which is co-authored by Graham Brown.
The dust jacket reads: Graham Brown is the author of Black Rain and Black Sun, and is a pilot and an attorney, he lives in Arizona."Storm" by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
The authority for Graham Brown, 1969-   no2010062412  states
670 — |aHis Black rain, 2010:|bt.p. (Graham Brown) cover p. 3 (b. in Chicago, Ill. ; is a pilot and attorney ; lives in Tucson, Ariz.)
Obviously the correct choice.
under the authority for Graham Brown  (with no date), n 81067181 which was amended in March of this year you can find the following:
670 — |aStorm, 2012:|bECIP t.p. (Graham Brown, co-author with Clive Cussler)

I have notified LC of the error and hope they will amend the affected authorities sooner rather than later…

Authorities and coding

I’ve often wondered about the coding LC uses in some of their authority records.    There is a or b coding as to whether the authority should be used as a main or added entry, a subject, or a series.   With a meaning YES and b meaning NO.

If you see aaa then the authority can be used for all three.  baa means it cannot be used as a main or added entry,  but can be used as a subject or series.  bab means it can only be used as a subject.  bba means it can only be used as a series, etc. etc.

Why then do the authority records for airplanes, ships etc. have the coding aab?  This denotes that the airplane CAN be a main or added entry.  When is the last time you saw a work written by an airplane?  Is there any instance when the authorities for airplanes, boats, ships, etc. should display in the author authority database?

Example: 001       n 2004029426
003       DLC
005       20040714143836.0
008       040714n| acannaabn |n ana
010 —    |an 2004029426
040 —    |aDLC|beng|cDLC
110 2-    |aBuzzer (Airplane)
670 —    |aYedlin, Benedict. Brother men who fly, 2002:|bp.
1-2 (The Buzzer; B-24 “H” model, serial no. 41-29307;
crashed in Italy Dec. 9, 1944)