On Fri, 14 Aug 1998, John Riemer wrote:

> At ALA this past June MARBI gave final approval to extending use of the
> 856 field to authority records, and the corresponding revisions to the
> USMARC format documentation are due to appear next month.  It is now up
> to specific groups such as the PCC to make decisions on the situations
> in which the field will be used in authority records.

[snip, snip, snip]
> The subfield $3 could be used in 856 fields to point to supplementary
> material about the body, such as historical information or the latest
> mission statement for the body.  Such access may be more efficient and
> cost-effective than selecting and inputting excerpts of the same data
> into the authority record's 678 field.  If a library, faced with
> organizing large numbers of corporate annual reports (in electronic
> form), is already to the point of cataloging at minimal level, a great
> deal of time could be saved by adding URLs to the corporate authority
> records, preceded by "annual report" as a mere genre-like term in a
> subfield $3.


> While these bibliographic control techniques, including use of subfield
> $3 and the 856's repeatability, are theoretically applicable in all
> types of authority records, I am proposing that we adopt their use
> within NACO, primarily for corporate names.  Some examples:
> 110 20  Library of Congress. $b Copyright Office            (n79-117971)
> 856 4_  $u
> 111 20  International Conference on the Principles and Future
> Development of AACR
> 856 4_  $u
> A secondary priority would be application of this technique to
> professors' personal web pages and portraits of famous people.
> This expanded use of authority records opens up a lot of exciting
> possibilities for extending the reach of traditional bibliographic
> control efforts, simultaneously increasing the convenience of the
> cataloger and improving the value of the authority record.
> Is there any reason why the PCC should not adopt usage of the 856 field
> in daily NACO work?
> John J. Riemer
> Assistant Head of Cataloging
> University of Georgia Libraries
> Athens, GA  30602
> (706)542-0591
> (706)542-4144fax
> [log in to unmask]

Many of Mr. Riemer's points are well-made, and I have snipped them.  The
paragraph I kept seems to be pointing toward advocating a practice that I
am less willing to support -- that of substituting a pointer to a document
that is being cited as a reference source for a citation containing the
desired information.  I'm not sure why Mr. Riemer mentioned the 678 field,
unless he is advocating that its use be resumed, since the USMARC
Authority Standards instruct NACO participants not to use it.  This
leaves the 670 field as the available field.  670 field are meant to
document and justify the choice of heading, and also references for name
headings.  The tacit expectation is that information recorded there is
fixed, or that the citation at least identifies the time frame in which
the information in subfield b was true.  If I understand Mr. Riemer
correctly, he would consider it sufficient to justify the choice of name
for a corporate body, for example, by simply providing a link to the
body's Web site or a page therein.  He addresses the concern with changing
URL's; I would be more concerned with changes in the data at the Web site.

I have no problem with providing the links as a *public* service, and his
idea of an authority record standing in for a bib record for a particular
site in some instances has merit.  I'm not ready to buy linking to a
dynamic entity as the means of documenting headings and references without
some permanent indication of the time frame in which the desired
information was true.

If my understanding of this is flawed, I hope Mr. Riemer or others will
clarify.  Thanks.

Mark Scharff, Music Cataloger
Gaylord Music Library
Washington University in St. Louis
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