My view: it's PCC best practice to use controlled vocabulary terms in both the fields in your example. It might be reasonable to leave the uncontrolled term "Law professor" in 374, in case the contributing institution requires it, and make an additional 374 entry following best practice, using a term from LCSH or another controlled subject vocabulary. However, I see no argument against upgrading the uncontrolled form of Durham Law School in 373 to the authorised form in LC/NAF.

I assume no2007019345 is the record concerned. The discrete metadata fields were added in 2012, when use of controlled vocabulary was not as well-established as it is now. The record was not re-coded as RDA when they were added - I don't think it would be unreasonable to give the record a best practice RDA makeover while upgrading it. If I recall, NLM's local requirement was for a 374 matching a 100 qualifier. There is no 100 qualifier in this access point, and it's not an NLM record (I don't know whether NLM routinely add uncontrolled 374 fields to NACO records they haven't created).


Richard Moore
Authority Control Team Manager
The British Library

Tel.: +44 (0)1937 546104
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ian Fairclough
Sent: 07 April 2015 13:32
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PCCLIST] Best practices in updating authority records

PCCLIST readers,

Diane Boehr said, in her message of Feb. 25: "We are seeing a disturbing trend of libraries removing various 3XX fields from authority records created by NLM to substitute LCSH terms.  We would like to remind PCC libraries that not everyone uses LCSH and while it is perfectly permissible to add an additional 3XX from your preferred controlled vocabulary, please do not remove the existing data from authority records."  Is there any way that fields such as Diane identifies can be labelled with a code, say in subfield 2 or 5 (which is not currently valid in some pertinent fields), so that people can know that they should not be edited to other forms?  It would be nice, for example, for NLM to have its own code applied in such cases.

I ask in the context of encountering a NAR having these fields:

373  Durham Law School ǂa Durham University
374  Law professor

I found no NAR by browsing for Durham Law Schoo in lthe NACO authority file.  The NAR retrieved by Durham University (n  80050517) has: University of Durham.  NAR no2011030739 has: University of Durham. ǂb Department of Law.

Among other factors we have here a cultural distinction between U.S. and English practice in referring to universities and their departments.  (The Durham in question is Durham, England, in case you're wondering!)  To the English "Durham University" is just another less formal way of saying "University of Durham", whereas in the U.S. some institutions can be confused by such a liberal use of the language, and people don't usually say, for example, "New York University" to refer to the State University of New York.  Ditto for "Law school" - the University of Durham technically hasn't got one; it has a Department.  But the source in hand uses "Durham Law School", and without further investigation you wouldn't necessary know about these subtleties.

Similar remarks can be made about field 374.  In this case the source in hand reads "Professor of Law." Elsewhere I've written about the U.S./British differences in use of the term professor.  The converse applies in that U.S. usage is more liberal.  To be titled Professor is a tremendous achievement in British academia, whereas anyone teaching a college course in the U.S. can get called "professor".

According to Diane's message we should leave the existing fields alone, resisting any notion of "correcting" them and, if desired, add new ones for the forms found in NARs.  But it would help to be able to designate all such fields with an institution code, so that we know that they are valid within that organization's terms.  Sad to say, the fact that a record originates from a particular institution isn't necessarily an indication that it is free of error.

In any case, the person in question is now at "Essex Law School"!  In case you're interested the book in hand is "Moral rhetoric and the criminalisation of squatting", OCLC 878117385 LCCN 2014014882, and the NAR which prompts this message is no2011030739.  I was about to make some edits to the NAR, but didn't.

Sincerely - Ian

Ian Fairclough
George Mason University
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