I’lll bite (Martin Jacques only seems to have one possible heading in the NAF at: but I think you are speaking to a bigger problem of: how does one know that these two entities (author of A and author of B) are the same?

My first point is don’t get too hung up if VIAF (algorithmically) has identified the entity from one authority file as being the “same” as the one in another. This is just form of the heading stuff. Since it sounds like you are working in OCLC you have the LC Authority File at hand, you should to recognize that data available, as you see in VIAF for the same person (, isn’t available to all cataloging agencies at the same time. In fact they probably all have different standards/instructions/policies for how to form the heading or what to include in the “name authority record”. So having the year of birth available if I was a DNB cataloger, in this circumstance, might be a chance thing where the publisher included in submission to the cataloging agency, or it was included in author information in the obverse of a title page for an imprint in our country. Some might be practice there are points in the history of the authority file where additions and choice of heading have gone out and in of style: I am still not clear when date of birth became a "include if available" addition to the heading/authorized access point (LC NAF).

So I hope you can see for many other records, many of these “discrepancies” are historical, or more typically a result of practical considerations. However, since our work (cataloging) needs to be balanced against many different competing interests, efficiency, effectiveness, and expediency: you see many results which in our current environment can leave a cataloger in a lurch. The “new” RDA elements do try to address this, but our older practices with Source Data Cited (670) and the various notes in the authority record have, in the years since I’ve been cataloging, have stood as stop gaps in the identification problem. RDA tries to follow the FRAD user tasks in some manner: Find, Identify, Contextualize, and Justify. Keep those tasks in mind when considering the authority record. That said, I really do think the new optional data really will help in true situations of ambiguity, and leaving that data behind helps the catalogers that follow you.

With the instructions and practicalities as they are: we all find ourselves in your situation: is this person really the person who authored this other work?

My heuristic is:


Sean Chen <[log in to unmask]>
Digital Resources Librarian
J. Michael Goodson Law Library
Duke University School of Law

On Oct 28, 2014, at 17:59, Amy Laurel Nadell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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 JacquesMartin 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
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