Dear PCCLIST readers (c: [log in to unmask]),

Below are further comments responding to the document The Future of Undifferentiated Personal Name Authority Records and Other Implications for PCC Authority Work.    I hope you'll find some if not all of them useful.  And thanks to all those who've worked hard on this very necessary project.  Sincerely - Ian
Ian Fairclough - George Mason University - [log in to unmask]
"Is it [breaking up personal name authority records] a worthy goal to achieve?"
Yes.  Undifferentiated NARs cause confusion on a range of issues.
- improper maintenance: data not migrated to a newly differentiated NAR
- incomplete information "Record includes additional persons"
- unclear whether a heading with qualifying information such as year of birth should be allowed as undifferentiated (it is done, and is confusing)
- beyond the domain of catalogers: Other librarians don't understand NARs very well.
- people think a NAR is associated with a *individual*, not with a heading
- some undifferentiated NARs have diacritical marks that apply to one person but not another.
"The software will not control a heading to an undifferentiated authority record and so the multiple entities contained within them cannot be synchronized."
Not only that, but they *should* not be "synchronized".  (I'm not sure what synchronized means in this context.)   The data that pertain to one person in an undifferentiated NAR don't also pertain to someone else.  It gets *very* confusing when an undifferentiated NAR has 400 fields in it.  Surely the data in the 400 field pertain to just *one* of the individuals covered?  Or if not-- worse still! 
Another facet to consider is when a Name-Title authority record exists whose name portion is undifferentiated.   This happens when a reference is needed from one name-title to another name-title.  But obviously the name is that of just *one* of the multiple authors in the undifferentiated NAR.
Rather than delete NARs that are not to be used, instead retain them but permanently retire them. This includes all undifferentiated NARs.  If they are retained then we can consult them.  Code them with Name use:  008/14 b  Heading not appropriate for main or added entry and/or Auth status: 008/33 n Not applicable (not an established heading).  Include a 667 field documenting the retirement and indicating the LCCN of any replacement NAR(s).  OCLC headings would not be controlled to such NARs.
Meanwhile, in OCLC's "superseded versions", a very helpful tool at times: It would help further if OCLC can provide access not only to superseded versions of the NAR represented in field 010a, but (separately) also to superseded versions of those NARs with field 010z that have been merged into the retained NAR.
"By redefining the meaning of value ‘b’ in 008/32 in this way, we could both identify those headings whose 1XX forms are knowingly identical and preserve the capacity to detect         inadvertent duplication."
Rather than redefining code b, please introduce new codes:
c to indicate that (1) the heading is not unique AND (2) the heading was formerly represented by an undifferentiated heading in a now-retired NAR (which would be documented in field 667)
d to indicate that (1) the heading is not unique AND (2) no NAR with an undifferendiated heading exists.
"Resolution:  Explore the use of the ID number of the separate authority record as the differentiating characteristic of last resort"
Caution: Use of an "ID number" will be even less popular with some authors than the use of dates.  In recent years, objection to the disclosure of people's birth year has increased.  The use of the year in library catalogs is taken by most catalog users, not as an element to distinguish between authors (as catalogers consider it to be), but as providing information (as is borne out by the users complaints that prompted the change of NACO policy to allow closing of dates for persons known to be dead, even though such work was not required for differentiation purposes).
Again: the differentiation is between headings and not between persons.  It is not widely known that:
1) a NAR is associated with a heading, but not necessarily with a particular individual.
2)  NARs for a specific individual can change.  An initially differentiated but unqualified heading can, through undifferentiation and redifferentiation, represent first one person, later another.
3) An individual can be represented by more than NAR simultaneously (multiple bibliographic identities.
4) Two NARs both representing the same individual can be merged (example: Unabomber - Ted Kosinski).
5) A personal name NAR can represent a group of people, as with some pseudonyms.
"Perhaps the anomaly of undifferentiated personal name authority records will be the catalyst to push us to consider a major change in the nature of authority work."  
Another catalyst, mentioned above, is the preference of users not to disclose identifying information that can be considered (a) confidential (b) endangering the personal security through exposure to account hacking and other crimes.
This is not so much a paradigm shift, but a change in fashion.  The use of differentiating information vs. provision of linking information that can direct a user of an online catalog, not to other works by or about the same person, but to online resources such as biographical statements (e.g. Wikipedia, and more "scholarly" tools).
Qualifiers have some bizarre consequences, as when one person is given a Ph.D. in subfield c, while another is given "Dr." , and to the cataloger the two headings have been "differentiated" whereas to the catalog user no difference is apparent: both of them have doctorates: and they're unlikely to even notice the different abbreviations in use.
Responses to Cases:

1) Evidently saving the time of the cataloger took priority over saving the time of the user.  This was ecomically necessary but had unfortunate consequences.  We do however now recognize that catalog users do in effect use the catalog as an authoritative source for a person's dates of birth and death.
2) Marsha Paiste recently asked on OCLC-Cat about such harvesting, and how to perhaps do a "global change".
3) A name heading must become a link to other data, not just bibliographic.  A heading can be "flexible" in what data are displayed.  In some case, just a name (even just a surname); in other cases, birth year, occupation - all encoded in fields 3XX, and all unique to the individual represented.  To accomplish this, we must move towards having NARs represent individuals rather than headings or "bibliograhic identities."
4) This is an important move.  Already, anyone can access NARs via  However it is rare for that site to be accessed via an Internet search engine.
By no longer focusing on the uniqueness of the text string of an authority heading itself but rather on the uniqueness of the entity it represents
-- an essential aspect of the paradigm shift for authority work
"Recommendation:  Have the PCC NACO program review the impacts that the elimination of the need for a unique text string in an authority record."
I differ in part.  A unique text string might not be feasible, but it is desirable when practicable.  And in all cases, assemblage of appropriate and pertinent data to the individual (or perhaps to the "bibliographic identity") must be rendered practicable.
For example:
Winston Churchill, American novelist
Winston Churchill, British journalist, Boer War correspondent
Winston Churchill, British novelist, British historian
Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, 1940-1945 and 1950-1955.
Sir Winston Churchill
All of the above are "identities" of some kind or another.  All but the first represent the same individual.  But in different contexts, the various data elements can be appropriate.