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Below is a brief introduction to OCLC's Authority History file, a new
feature accessible to all cataloging authorizations via Connexion
Browser with the November 12 system installation and via the Connexion
Client 1.70, planned for release in December. Functionality is basically
the same in both interfaces. Some details specific to the client will be
added, and this introduction will be redistributed before the release of
client 1.70. This introduction is for browser users. 

 

OVERVIEW

Use the Authority History database to view superseded versions of
records in order to trace the changes made to a given heading and/or the
history of an LCCN.  Access to Authority History is available to all
cataloging users.  Records are read-only.  You cannot edit records. You
can copy and paste, as well as flag and/or print superseded authority
records.

 

Using the Connexion browser, you can access the Authority History
database from the Authorities tab. Select Authority History under Search
Option or Browse Option.  The indexes for the Authority File and
Authority History database are different.   One important distinction is
that all 1xx and 4xx heading fields (100, 110, 111, etc.) are combined
into a single 'Heading' index for both searching and browsing.  

 

Search the browser Help for the term "indexed fields" for details on
indexes.

 

Browsing in the Authority History database does not currently support
Root and Expanded indexes, and the index terms in the browse results
display in all UPPERCASE LETTERS.   Also, diacritics and subfield codes
are not included in the browse list display for the Authority History
database.   

 

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AUTHORITY HISTORY DATA 

OCLC's Authority History database is retrospective to 2001.  As part of
the RLG merger, OCLC is in the process of loading RLG's superseded
authority file, comprised of approximately 5 million authority records
dating back to 1985.  The RLG records selected for comparison and
loading include all deleted records distributed by the Library of
Congress, as well as all superseded records not already represented in
the OCLC Authority History database.  

 

Current versions of distributed records are being compared to ensure
completeness of the Authorities file.   At this time, OCLC is continuing
to compare and load the superseded records into the Authority History
database.  A separate message will be posted to appropriate listservs
when this project is completed. 

 

OCLC added an OCLC ARN to each RLG authority record.  When superseded
versions of an existing authority record were added, the OCLC ARN of the
distributed version was added to each superseded record.  When no
distributed version of a record exists, a newer ARN was used.   

 

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NAVIGATION BETWEEN AUTHORITIES AND AUTHORITY HISTORY

 When a user retrieves a record in the Authority File, it can have an
unlimited number of superseded versions.   For *each* record in
Authority File (a distributed record), an exact copy of the distributed
record is in the Authority History database. 

 

Using the Connexion Browser, users can access the Authority History
database by selecting Authority History from the Search Options or
Browse Options lists on the Authorities tab.  

 

When viewing a distributed authority record, you can access the
superseded versions of the record by selecting 'View Authority History
Record(s)'.  If only a single record exists in the Authority History
file, the system displays the single record.  If more than one record is
retrieved, a list of all matches is presented.

 

From a displayed Authority History record, select 'View Authority
Record' to view the distributed record.    However, if there is no
distributed version (e.g., the record has been deleted) a message
informs you that no record was found and shows a list of superseded or
deleted versions in the Authority History database. 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Navigation between the Authority File and the Authority
History database uses the OCLC ARN as the search key. As a result, to
research a merged record, you may want to search the Authority History
database using the LCCN.

 

There are also two instances when navigation between Authorities and
Authority History databases is *not* supported:

1.    Navigation to access the Authority History is not available from a
Saved or Submitted authority record. 

2.    When you click a linked heading and an authority record is
displayed in a new window, no navigational functionality to the
Authority History database is available from within that window. 

 

If, when viewing a record in the Authority History database, you select
to view a 5xx heading, the distributed version of the record (from the
Authority File) opens.  

 

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NEW LABELS:

 

In Distribution:

When an OCLC NACO participant adds a new record or modifies an existing
record, the label IN DISTRIBUTION appears in the record.  This label
indicates that the authority record is in the distribution cycle. The
labell remain  until the record is distributed by the Library of
Congress.  Only records in the Authority File can have the IN
DISTRIBUTION label.  

 

A version of the new or modified record is in the Authority History
database, but it will *not* have the IN DISTRIBUTION label.

 

TimeStamp: 

In the Authority History database, each record includes a TIMESTAMP. The
timestamp notes the date/time when the record was loaded into the
Authority History database.  Except for the RLG load of superseded
records, the TIMESTAMP label is *not* the 005 date--no change was made
to the location or format of the 005 field.  For the RLG superseded
records, the timestamp is the same date as the date in the 005 field and
was used to ensure correct sorting.  

 

The timestamp is unique to records in the Authority History database. It
does not appear in records in the Authorities File.   

 

Search the browser Help for the term "timestamp" for more details.

 

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--Becky Dean
OCLC
6565 Kilgour Place 
Dublin, OH 43017
[log in to unmask]
1-800-848-5878, ext. 5144