Name Authorities: Background

The inclusion of standard access points in bibliographic records aids users in retrieving information and identifying and locating specific resources.

  1. To facilitate consistency, RDA, AACR2 and other standards provide for the establishment of personal names, corporate body/conference names, jurisdictional geographic names, multiparts (collective titles), series, series-like phrases, and works and expressions.
  2. These standards provide for the creation of authority records, cross references for variations, and updating of existing authority records.
  3. GPO is a member of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging's (PCC) Name Authority Cooperative component, NACO.
  4. GPO catalogers access Library of Congress (LC) name authority records via OCLC's authority file. GPO has its own name authority records in its ILS, Aleph. The local versions of these records are essentially the same as their counterparts in LC or OCLC. Except for cataloger codes and other minor proprietary information, GPO currently adds no additional information to its local versions of name authority records.
  5. GPO creates new name authority records, and updates existing ones, according to the instructions in RDA and AACR2. In this way, GPO contributes to the LC/NACO authority file.
  6. With the exception of personal names, all name access points appearing in GPO records must be validated (or authorized, or controlled) in the OCLC authority file. This includes corporate/conference and jurisdictional geographic names, and titles (series, works, expressions, etc.) that appear in the 1XX, 7XX, and 8XX fields of bibliographic records. Titles in 7XX fields (700 ǂt, 710 ǂt, 730, 711 ǂt) are authorized by authority records if available, or by bibliographic records if no authority records exist. In these cases, Congressionals or other priority titles may be produced with unauthorized access points (at I level), as a temporary measure, while name authority work for these is still in process.
  7. Catalogers are responsible for correctly assigning and recording name and title access points in the 100, 110, 111, 700, 710, 711, 730, 810, and 830 fields. Except for personal names, these must be authorized in the OCLC name authority file, and follow RDA or AACR2 instructions. If a name or title authorized access point is needed for the resource cataloged, that is not found in OCLC's name authority file, or if the authority record is found but requires additional work, such as the addition of cross-references, the cataloger creates a new name authority record or updates the existing one, following NACO procedures. See Name Authorities: Policy Overview.

Instructions to Consult

GPO catalogers consult the sources listed below for instructions on name heading assignment, checking and revising name headings in existing records, and creating new and updating existing name authority records needed for cataloging.

The primary sources consulted are:

  • RDA and associated LC-PCC PSs (GPO follows all LC-PCC PSs)
  • AACR2
  • LCRIs (GPO followed all LCRIs)
  • DCM Z1 (Always consult and follow, unless instructed otherwise)
  • MARC 21 Format for Authority Records  
  • LC Guidelines (at the end of MARC 21 Format for Authority Records)

In addition, catalogers must consult:

  • Carroll's Federal Directory, Carroll's Federal Regional Directory (all paper issues for current and previous year retained; one issue for each past year retained permanently)
  • NACO home page (includes: Documentation & Updates, Cataloging FAQs, and Training) 
  • NACO Normalization
  • PCC NACO Training 
  • NACO Training for OCLC Libraries, rev. May 2001. Program for Cooperative Cataloging, Library of Congress
  • Congressional Directory  (all tangible, e.g., paper, issues retained permanently; current issue also available via Internet)
  • The United States Government Manual (all tangible, e.g., paper, issues retained permanently; recent issues available via Internet)