The question whether conflicts in authorized access points other than those found in LC's catalog should be resolved came up in discussion recently. I'm firmly in favor of resolving conflicts within the database that a cataloger is using, which for many of us will be OCLC WorldCat. This view is supported in DCM Z1 Introduction:
In constructing authorized access points, variants, and recording information, NACO participants and LC catalogers not working in the LC Database may make use of all records on the file against which the searching and cataloging is being done: OCLC, British Library, SkyRiver, etc. NACO participants may choose to use only LC records found on the file being searched. For LC catalogers working in the LC Database, the file is the set of records comprising the "LC database" (see 670 section of this document). In this document, "database" refers to whatever file is being used for searching and cataloging.
When a personal name access point is unqualified, and the same access point is used as an undifferentiated heading for various people, it is appropriate to disambiguate them within the file used. Other NACO participants may differ with this view, and their viewpoint is supported by the second sentence in that paragraph. Many catalogers will likely be subject to the direction of a local policy and/or supervisor.
However, Module 7 “Making Changes to Existing Name and Work/Expression Authority Records” slide 8 “Why Update an Existing NAR ?” has: To change an existing authorized access point to resolve a NACO conflict. Recent discussion focused on the phrase “NACO conflict”, which seems to be taken as intending that a conflict is to be resolved only if it occurs between NACO authority records. That interpretation prevents NACO work from being undertaken with a view to resolving conflicts within bibliographic databases such as WorldCat. The rationale for resolving conflicts in WorldCat is (1) that it helps the users of that database, and (2) when catalogers encounter a situation that can be improved by their attention to it, they should be allowed, if not required, to do so. The same might be said for other bibliographic databases.
Perhaps the phrase “NACO conflict” might be reviewed and replaced in favor of one which permits a broader application on the part of NACO contributors other than LC catalogers.
Sincerely - Ian
Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian
George Mason University