There has been a lot of critical thinking about what we need now versus
what we needed in the past for authority control.  Some forthcoming
examples: there will soon be a special issue of CCQ devoted to last
year's international conference on authority control; and also soon to
appear will be a follow-on conceptual model of FRBR extended to
authority control that will be out for worldwide review shortly.  I
welcome the suggestion of new models for the data that we include and
the uses we make of authority data, especially those that move us to
more flexible models, while retaining the control that enhances the
precision of searches in very large files.  That control does not
require a single authorized form that everyone uses (however, a form
governed by cataloging rules remains very useful as a default), but
enables users to choose among the variant forms the one preferred for
their purpose.

I've spoken and written for several years about the concepts of a
virtual international authority file.  One use is for international
displays to let the user decide the language/script they want to prefer,
while enabling the clustering/linking of variant forms to enhace the
precision of searches.  Other possibilities are to provide
links/navigation to resources by or about the entity identified by the
authority data (links to authoritative biographical references, links to
bibliographic databases for works by/about the person or corporate body
or family or on a particular subject (concept, event, place, time,
object)).  There are many possibilities, and I'd love to see MADS enable
more than we can do with MARC. - Barbara Tillett

Dr. Barbara B. Tillett, Ph.D.
Chief, Cataloging Policy and Support Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4305

tel.: +1 (202) 707-4714
fax: +1 (202) 707-6629
email: [log in to unmask]

>>> [log in to unmask] 6/10/2004 12:41:11 PM >>>
Please forgive me for wading in where I no doubt do not belong, not
being a cataloger, but I wonder if we aren't sometimes allowing our
current structures and systems to dictate those of the future, which I
think is a potentially dangerous and damaging enterprise. Is the
concept of a "heading" as a fixed data element still valid? That is,
isn't the real purpose of an authority heading to specify a unique
organization or individual for the purposes of record retrieval and
display? Doesn't the structure below provide a method to encode enough
information on a person to perform that function? If so, can't a
database entry for indexing or display be constructed either in batch
mode or on-the-fly by using specific rules for parsing the structure
below? Whether this is good enough or not, I think we would do well to
reconsider virtually all of the things we now take for granted in
of new technologies and opportunities. If it turns out that we can't
live without the concept of a "heading" as a fixed data element, then
so be it. But at least we would have considered the alternatives and
thought critically about what we need _now_ rather than simply what
we've needed in the _past_.

On Jun 10, 2004, at 9:26 AM, Ruth Bogan wrote:

> Bruce,
> I haven't had time to absorb all your comments, and I would like to.
> Since
> my background is in traditional library authority control, the MADS
> schema
> makes sense to me, but I would welcome some alternative vision.
> As I look at your suggested structure--
> So, structure might be:
> person
>   names
>     primary
>       given
>       family
>     variant
>       given
>       family
>   roles
>     roleTerm
>   temporaral
>     birth
>     death
>   place
>     address
> etc.
> it occurs to me that what you are outlining is a bit of a biography.
> The
> person, the various forms of name, roles, dates, etc. In fact--at
> least to
> catalogers--authority records are not so much biographies as records
> of a
> standardized and unique form of heading. That heading may, depending
> on the
> circumstances, integrate name, dates and/or role. When you
> the
> heading into the biography, you make the record pretty much useless
> an
> authority record. It might be of interest to a metadata creator to
> know that
> a person was born in 1934 and was a doctor of physics as well as an
> author,
> but it wouldn't help her know how to construct a unique heading.
> That said, maybe the concept of uniqueness of headings isn't as
> critical in
> an online environment. Anyway, you gave me something to think about.
> Would it be too much to ask you to "redo" one of the sample MADS
> records at
> the MADS web site, in a way that makes sense to you. I would find it
> interesting.
> Ruth
> Ruth A. Bogan
> Head, Database and Catalog Portal Management Section
> Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
> 47 Davidson Road, Busch Campus
> Piscataway, NJ 08854-5603
> Ph.: 732-445-5906
> Fax: 732-445-5888
> Email: [log in to unmask]