We are also an Ex Libris customer, but have never used the Aleph function of authority matching, relying instead on our authority vendor, Library Technologies Inc.   LTI has done a lot of work disabling cross references that would make inappropriate changes, and adding others to correct common errors. 


LTI provides an ongoing service to change bibliographic records in the catalog as the LCNAF changes.   However, when an authority record is changed to add a date or other data, associated bibliographic records are usually not changed automatically.  Customers get a report of the changed authority records.  If there is a note on the authority record indicating that it was formerly an undifferentiated name, this information is included on the report.  Going through this report, we find many cases where one access point needs to become two, three or more. 


Experience with this report makes one wary of “improving” an authority record by adding dates etc. unless it is truly necessary to resolve a conflict.  It is much easier to change an authority record than it is to have that change reflected appropriately in bibliographic records.  But collocation of bibliographic records is the whole point, isn’t it?




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From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stephen Hearn
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2017 4:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Tom Jackson


Our Alma system at present automatically links any name string to an authority based on a simple string match. We're more adventurous than some Alma customers in also running a job which changes headings based on the authority match. We monitor the changed headings on a daily basis, and can see that the vast majority of the updates are correct. We have not found the time needed to monitor output and resolve incorrect updates to be overly burdensome in our context, but it is a necessary concomitant process.


As Ex Libris rolls out new functionality which pulls data from matched authorities into the bibliographic search process with Primo, the issue of false matches may become a bigger concern, even when heading changes are turned off.


We've advocated in the Ex Libris community for a more conservative authority matching process, which would reduce the number of errors we need to remediate.




On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 8:33 AM, Moore, Richard <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


At the BL we keep a local copy of LC/NAF that is updated daily, and from which we export to LC daily.

Our version of Aleph updates all bib records linked to a heading, when the heading changes. Several years ago we were getting such a volume of errors from the situation described in your first paragraph, that we had the feature turned off.

We do generate a report of all cases where a formerly unqualified heading has been added to, and check for errant bib records for which the new qualifier is not appropriate.  Likewise NARs containing a "Formerly on undifferentiated record" note,  and records that have been deleted, in case we've used the deleted form in the catalogue.

I'm using "heading " as shorthand for the approved RDA terminology, obviously ;-)


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: 10 August 2017 14:25
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Tom Jackson

Dear PCCLIST readers,

Stephen Hearn raises a major concern:

We consider representing the children's author as "Jackson, Tom" an error, but a lesser error than representing an author born in 1972 as "Jackson, Tom, 1932-"; but that's what would happen if the original authority were changed.  Moreover, if a 400 with "Jackson, Tom" were added to the record whose 100 had acquired a date, any future records we load containing "Jackson, Tom" would be subject to the same change process.

Stephen's remarks cause me to wonder how all the world's rival online systems link access points in bibliographic records to headings in authority records, and under what circumstances each of the systems effects a change: whether people receive on-the-fly prompts, notifications via messages, periodic lists, and so forth: or whether the changes "just happen" and no one gets told.

I also wonder whether, for some systems, ANY change to a heading that was previously unqualified (field 100 subfield a only) but now has a qualifier of any kind, will result in ALL instances of that access point in a bibliographic database being changed to the new heading.  In OCLC Connexion, such a change happens when the bib record heading is controlled - and cases happen when an unqualified heading is controlled to a NAR that was created to represent a different individual, as data in the 670 fields indicates.

Actually, personal name authority records represent headings rather than people.  But this distinction is perhaps too subtle for most catalogers to bear in mind when doing name authority work.  I'm guilty of that myself: when writing to authors in the course of creating or updating a NAR, my standard message includes "We catalog librarians attempt to provide unique headings for each person represented in catalogs worldwide."

Sincerely - Ian

Ian Fairclough
Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian George Mason University
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Stephen Hearn, Metadata Strategist

Data Management & Access, University Libraries

University of Minnesota

170A Wilson Library (office)

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Minneapolis, MN 55455

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ORCID:  0000-0002-3590-1242