There are some basic guidelines that have been followed in the NAF from the beginning.  A name is generally established based on the work being cataloged, and if the name is unique, no further research is required to establish birth dates or other information.


Martin Jacques was established over 30 years ago when his first work was cataloged at the Library of Congress.  This is his authority record:

In those days, only fairly minimal information was recorded.  However, as far as I know, it has always been the policy to include a birth date if it is available at the time the heading is established.  So we can assume it was not available to the cataloger at the time.  If a birth date becomes available later, it can be added as information to the NAR, but it is not added to the authorized access point unless necessary to break a conflict.  It is perfectly acceptable to have an access point that consists of just a surname and a forename, even if it doesn’t feel satisfying. J


It is fairly certain that the person on that NAR is the one born in 1945 because examining the bibliographic record for the work originally cataloged shows it to be published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, with which Jacques was active (


VIAF consists of records from many national libraries and some had access to his birth date and included it in their authority records.  When we reach the promised land of linked data we may be able to create displays that take data from different sources and present customizable name forms to our users, but for now, PCC libraries have to use the access points in the NAF.



John Hostage

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Harvard Library--Information and Technical Services //

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From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Amy Laurel Nadell
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 17:59
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PCCLIST] Novice question regrading Name Authority


I come across this issue, rather frequently, and it may be just because I am not fully schooled on RDA but let me explain my dilemma...

I need an authorized heading for Martin Jacques.  A short web search finds Martin Jacques birth year which I hope to correspond to one of the names in the list.  However there is no Martin Jacques with the birth year 1945.  Second step is to click on each of the Martin Jacques, around the right birth year or with a middle name, hoping to stumble upon something that I can relate to.  Eventually, I stumble upon Jacques, Martin with no birth year and no middle initial.  Many of the names I have had to look up in the NAF do not have a birth year, or middle initial.  I just don't feel satisfied by a heading like that, last name, first name only.  So my question is, I am supposed to be adding something locally?  These people are the subject of the work, rather than the creator of the work.  

I hope someone can help me to understand why in NAF it is only Jacques, Martin and in VAIF it is Jacques, Martin, 1945 (and the one I think is more helpful for users).

Thank you,

Amy Nadell  


Amy Laurel Nadell
Metadata Librarian
Access Educational Media
P. 1-800-480-3928
C. 602-323-4604