I think it’s worth remembering that in AACR2 one of the primary goals was to establish a unique string; if that was achieved, there was no requirement that any information be given about the person.  (I certainly did more than a few that way, and of course it can be frustrating down the road.  But there was nothing fundamentally wrong with these ARs.)

    One of the few unambiguously good things I can say about RDA is that it forces us to identify persons, to the best of our ability, regardless of the uniqueness of the character string.

Chuck Herrold

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh



From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ted P Gemberling
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 11:19 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Novice question regrading Name Authority



I agree. But the unqualified authority Laura brought to our attention was not the worst I’ve seen. There was at least information in a 670 about what sort of thing the person did. To me, one of the worst sins in cataloging is to create an authority that tells you nothing about the person’s work. Authorities like that are almost useless. When I run into one, I often have to do research to determine whether my author is the same person.



Ted Gemberling

UAB Lister Hill Library


From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Moore, Richard
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 6:17 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Novice question regrading Name Authority


It’s quite correct to say that we don’t add dates to an established authorised access point for a personal name, when we establish a new access point for another person with the same preferred name, that can be qualified.


It’s also enormously frustrating. When we have several access points in LC/NAF, all qualified except one, that one attracts all the uncontrolled bibliographic records that anyone might have, relating to anyone of that name, whether legacy records that have not been authority controlled, or records in process of various kinds. If the name is that of a well-known person whose authority is qualified, the unqualified name is often used by cataloguers, and discovered by users, in mistake for it.


RDA says “Make the additions specified at– if they are needed to distinguish access points representing different persons with the same name”. It doesn’t say “make the additions only to one of the names needing to be distinguished”. That’s a PCC requirement, arising from the desire to avoid BFM, by not changing access points unless absolutely necessary.


Given that we’re now changing hundreds of thousands of access points, manually and by algorithm, for RDA, I would like to have more flexibility to make additions to common preferred names in established authorised access points, if this will avoid confusion in the future.






Richard Moore

Authority Control Team Manager

The British Library


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