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.

Like the single-record technique for noting the existence of Internet
equivalents on bibliographic records for print titles, this is another
potential labor-saving technique that can be added to the cataloger's
repertoire.  In practical terms, we catalogers are expected to keep up
with all the print-title cataloging customarily on our plates, plus take
on electronic resources so that we stay relevant in the information
community, all with no additional staff.

In theoretical terms, when the definition of seriality is undergoing
reexamination, it may make sense to bypass entirely the choice between a
serial or monograph workform for an organization's web site.  If that
site has been designed to represent the body as a whole, if it leads to
many or all of the body's publications, one could equate the site to a
corporate author and then reasonably and simply add the corresponding
856 field to the authority record.  In treating the site as yet another
work by (and about) the body, the more time-consuming-to-create
bibliographic record may contain an empty title proper like "Welcome to
the [name of organization]."  The Library of Congress home page
( has had several different title-screen titles,
while the URL has remained constant.

It might seem at first thought that bibliographic records are better
equipped than authority records to provide a subject approach to
corporate web sites.  For many organizational web sites, the primary
(only) subject heading on a bibliographic record would be the name of
the body itself, something already contained in the 1XX field of the
authority record.

On the occasions that an additional, topical heading is warranted, e.g.
a subject heading reflecting the body's area of activity, this could be
provided for in a bibliographic record, so long as that topic is
reported on in the work cataloged.  Regardless of the presence of an 856
field in a name authority record, nothing would preclude institutions
from subsequently using a bibliographic record for the same web site,
should they desire.  This would be no more redundant or objectionable
than the coexistence of a serial bibliographic record and a series
authority record for the same entity.

URLs might become outdated, but if they are sitting in the same 856
fields as in bibliographic records, then the same link-maintenance
software can operate on URLs in both sets of records.  Since
organizations pay money to reserve fairly mnemonic domain names, the
URLs in authority records may have greater stability.  The inclusion of
more volatile and lengthly URLs in bibliographic records has not been
seriously questioned.

Opening authority records to the 856 field will not increase the amount
of time required by a cataloger to establish a heading.  The 053 field
is instructive here: to establish a personal author, one is not required
to search to see if that field is applicable.  Typically it is another
cataloger, aware of the relationship to the classification schedule, who
comes along later to add that field.  Likewise with the 856: one would
not be required to search for corporate web sites as part of
establishing a corporate heading.

Mapping relationships is an appropriate role for authority records.
Just as the 053 field in a personal name authority record provides users
with the beginning portion of all the literary author's LC-based call
numbers, the 856 fields on many corporate authority records will
indicate the initial segment of all the hierarchically-based URLs
associated with the body.  The same principle governing inclusion of 053
fields in subject authority records, namely the existence of a one-to-
one relationship, can guide the addition of URLs to authority records.

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.

At least one library is already including URLs in its OPAC display of
authority records (Charleston County Library Catalog and Databases
<URL:>).  An author browse search on
"Charleston (S.C.)" produces a web display featuring clickable headings
that can take a user to the bibliographic records totalled to the right
of those headings.  Sandwiched between a heading and the number of hits
is the parenthesized word "about"; when clicked, the resulting public
display of the authority record includes the URL for the body's web
site, labelled "Electronic Access:" near the top of the screen.

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
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