An interesting discussion. All I want to add is that we are seeking to
establish as the heading the form by which a body is commonly
identified, which will not necessarily be the "official" name. In cases
of variant names, the "official" name is the very last choice in the
24.2D pecking order (unless it is also the form by which the body is
commonly identified). 
The perplexing cases are those where one form is de-emphasised by the
body in favour of another, but the previous preferred name persists as a
variant. It's often impossible to be certain whether to treat as a name
change, without the benefit of considerable hindsight. 
Richard Moore 
Authority Control Team Manager 
The British Library
Tel.: +44 (0)1937 546806                                
E-mail: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>



From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Watters, Tim (MDE)
Sent: 12 August 2011 19:23
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] sources to use for establishing certain academic

I agree completely.


In at least one case the name appeared before the entity was legally
organized. Michigan Public Act 135 of 1885 provides "... the asylum
located at Traverse City shall be known, when organized, as the Northern
Michigan Asylum" ( ) but
the corporate name authority record is based on an 1882 publication of
those in involved in creating the new asylum and that name is what is
reflected in the authority record:


110 2_ Northern Asylum for the Insane at Traverse City (Mich.)


In 1903 the legislature reiterated in Public Act 217: "... the asylum
located at Traverse City shall continue to be known as the Northern
Michigan Asylum ... " 


Unfortunately, the chain of name authority records continued to not
reflect the official name:


110 2_ Northern Michigan Asylum at Traverse City 


Consequently the most comprehensive history of the asylum does not have
the official name in the subject headings, although it is in the title
of the book:




Tim Watters

[log in to unmask]

Special Materials Cataloger

Library of Michigan

702 W. Kalamazoo St.

P.O. Box 30007

Lansing, MI 48909-7507




From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Brueck, Vicki
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 11:07 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] sources to use for establishing certain academic


Chris Baer,


Thank you for your clear discussion of a convoluted issue; it is one
that we are dealing with as well.  We mainly create name authority
records for state agencies that routinely use variant or previous names
on their published materials.  As an example, The "Division of
Occupational Safety and Health" was changed by order of a General
Statute to "Occupational Safety and Health Division" in 2005.  However
in 2011, six years later the Division still sometimes calls itself
"Division of Occupational Safety and Health" on its publications.  It is
a difficult issue to manage.


Thanks for your thoughts,



Vicki Brueck

Senior Cataloger

Resource Management Services Branch

State Library of North Carolina

4641 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC  27699-4641

[log in to unmask]

Office: (919) 807-7451 Fax: (919) 733-1843


From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Chris Baer
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 10:36 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] sources to use for establishing certain academic


There is a legal-historical approach to this conundrum that is at odds
with library practice but more solidly grounded.  It goes something like


1) Unlike mere self-constituted groups such as garage bands or criminal
gangs, a formal bureaucratic subdivision can only be created by the
action of such hierarchically higher body that is legally empowered to
create it.  In principle, that body too is the creation of a higher
authority, and so on back in a chain to someone or something possessing
sovereign power, such as a monarch or legislature.


2) In order for the creation to be valid and undisputed, the creating
body needs also to create a record or otherwise register its decision,
such as in the minutes of a meeting, resolution, law, decree,
memorandum, bulletin, etc.


3) The form of the name thus registered is THE valid name, unless
changed later in the same fashion, irrespective of how it might be
transposed, abbreviated, truncated or confused in colloquial speech and
writing, as for example, when journalists might alternately refer to the
Secretary of the Treasury or Treasury Secretary.  In the same way, my
name is always what it says on my birth certificate, no matter what
variation of elements I use in a specific signature aimed at a specific


In a case like this, the answer may lie in the records of the higher
body.  Institutional catalogs or directories might indicate if the
higher university administration has a uniform usage for the names of
its subdivisions, if a foundational document cannot be found.


Frankly, it is hard to think an archive lacks an authoritative source,
unless it is a mere fragment or artificial collection of documents, such
as those preserved by an individual employee.  The minutes and other
foundational documents or digests constructed from them constitute THE
authoritative source of an organization's existence, name and structure.
With these, it is very easy to create, as we do, accurate descriptions
of large corporations having thousands of parts.  Without them you are
groping in the dark or depending upon mere gossip and need to employ
legal-historical rules of evidence to judge the reliability of sources
and witnesses.


Also, a caveat on web sites.  Most web sites, especially the more
prominent ones, are really a form of advertising.  They tell you what
the organization wants you to think about it and entice you into buying
what it is offering, which is often less than the whole truth and much
less than precise.  I was just creating a name authority record for the
local Wilmington Friends School, which apparently called itself simply
the Friends School at an earlier time in its history.  Its web site
proclaims that it was founded in 1748.  No doubt some provision for
Quaker education may have been made at that date, but almost certainly
the institution received its present form and governance much later.
The site is big on ethos, ambience and educational opportunity, and
short on hard facts, such as the exact circumstances of its creation,
performance statistics, etc.  Corporate web sites are often like this,
trying to convince the reader that some giant, opaque conglomerate is
simply carrying on from some 19th century local shopkeeper or artisan
whose business has been bought and sold ten times over.  Often the real
name is in the fine print as the owner of copyrights and trademarks used
in the body of the text.  A companion check of an official registry, in
this case the data base of the Delaware Division of Corporations,
reveals  the Wilmington Friends School, Inc., to have been created in
1971.  This confirms that the current name begins with "Wilmington."
However, since only current names are in the free online data base,
there is no hard evidence outside the undigitized files of the Division
of Corporations or of the School itself as to the name and nature of the
organization between 1748 and 1971.


Christopher T. Baer

Hagley Museum and Library




From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ian Fairclough
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 2:57 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PCCLIST] sources to use for establishing certain academic


PCCLIST readers:

Thank you for all the contributions so far!  Yes, we recognize that the
department web site is an appropriate source, and it was very helpful to
have this fact pointed out.  Obviously, opinions vary, from those who
would follow a uniform pattern for the sake of consistency between
departments, to those who insist on basing headings on source documents
regardless of consistency (an application of literary warrant).  My
colleague is working with an archival collection having no such
authoritative source.  I even thought of asking the department for a
copy of their letterhead stationery!


Below is another message sent privately and forwarded with permission.
Any further comments and insights will continue to be welcome.  - Ian

Ian Fairclough
George Mason University
[log in to unmask]
703-993-2938 (office)

From: Mark H Danley (mdanley) <[log in to unmask]>
To: Ian Fairclough <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, July 25, 2011 10:16 PM
Subject: RE: [PCCLIST] sources to use for establishing certain academic

Dear Ian,


The exchange on the PCC list is interesting, and in following it I
noticed something:


Is this not the department's actual webpage?  At first I thought I was
just looking at a cached page, but I followed it from several links on
your university's current website.


So would that now allow you to establish the NAR with "Dept." ...?


Just wondered!  (The question you asked on the PCC list is still a valid
one, though, and might help other institutions.)

Best regards,





Mark H. Danley, Ph.D.

Catalog Librarian/Associate Professor

University Libraries

University of Memphis


126 Ned R. McWherter Library

Memphis, TN 38152-3250



fax: 901-678-8218