Author Archive

The Significance of Authority Control in Library Catalog Searching

Written by Ligia Gomez on September 18, 2023. Posted in General

Authority control plays a pivotal role in ensuring efficient and accurate library catalog searching. This essential process involves the standardization and management of names, subject headings, and other bibliographic data to maintain consistency and coherence within library catalogs. Here are the key reasons why authority control is indispensable for library catalog searching:

1. Enhanced Retrieval Accuracy: Authority control minimizes the chances of retrieving irrelevant or duplicate search results. By establishing standardized forms of author names, subject headings, and other metadata, users can more precisely locate the materials they need.
2. Improved User Experience: Consistency in catalog data makes it easier for library users to navigate the catalog and discover relevant resources. This improves user satisfaction and encourages them to return to the library for their information needs.
3. Effective Cross-Referencing: Authority control allows for the creation of cross-references, guiding users to related topics, authors, or terms. This feature facilitates serendipitous discovery and helps users find materials even when they may not know the exact terminology or authorship.
4. Interoperability and Sharing: Libraries often share cataloging records and resources. Authority control ensures that cataloging records are compatible and can be exchanged seamlessly between libraries and library systems, promoting resource sharing and collaboration.
5. Reduced Ambiguity: Names and subjects can be ambiguous, especially when dealing with multiple authors with the same name or terms with multiple meanings. Authority control disambiguates such cases, reducing confusion and ensuring the correct identification of authors and subjects.
6. Support for Browsing: Library users often browse the catalog to explore topics of interest. Authority control assists in organizing catalog entries into logical hierarchies, making browsing more productive and informative.
7. Facilitation of Collection Development: Librarians rely on authority control to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their collections. It enables them to identify gaps in subject coverage and make informed decisions about acquisitions and deselection.
8. Adherence to Cataloging Standards: Authority control is essential for complying with established cataloging standards, such as MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) and RDA (Resource Description and Access). This ensures that library catalogs adhere to industry best practices and are readily compatible with other systems.

In conclusion, authority control serves as the foundation for efficient and effective library catalog searching. By maintaining consistency, accuracy, and standardization in catalog data, libraries can provide a superior user experience, promote resource sharing, and support the discovery of valuable materials, ultimately fulfilling their mission to connect users with knowledge. Learn how MARCIVE can automate authority control for your library at [email protected].

MARCIVE processing of Rare Book and Special Collections Cataloging (RBMS) updated, and authority records now available

Written by Ligia Gomez on June 8, 2023. Posted in General

June 8, 2023

The Controlled Vocabulary for Rare Materials Cataloging (RBMS CVRMC) has officially launched. RBMS CVRMC is a linked data thesaurus that combines the former RBMS Thesauri (Genre, Binding, Type, Printing and Publishing, Paper, and Provenance) into a single resource with a redesigned structure. It is hosted by the Library of Congress Linked Data Service at  This thesaurus provides standardized vocabulary for retrieving special collections materials by form, genre, or by various physical characteristics that are typically of interest to researchers and special collections librarians.

This vocabulary was previously represented by one of 7 codes in genre terms (655 _7) subfield $2 (rbgenr, rbbin, rbpap, rbpri, rbpub, reprov, or rbtyp).  These codes have been consolidated into one code ($2rbmscv) and many of the terms have been changed. In order to properly update these terms, all current customers receiving RBMS processing will have terms with any of these obsolete codes updated to the new $2 rbmscv code automatically.  These changes will be done near the beginning of processing so the code will be correct for the authorities matching step.

In the past, authority records for this thesaurus were not available, but libraries can now choose to receive the authority records for matched terms.

Examples: ____________________________________________________________________________

Incoming bib record:           655 _7 $a Manila fiber papers. $2 rbmscv

Changed by MARCIVE to:  655 _7 $a Abaca fiber papers. $2 rbmscv

Incoming bib record:           655 _7 $a Buckskin bindings. $2 rbmscv


Incoming bib record:           655 _7 $a Buckskin bindings. $2 rbbin (obsolete code)

Changed by MARCIVE to:   655 _7 $a Deerskin bindings. $2 rbmscv

Authority record provided: _________________________________________________________________

001    cv00504

003    IlChRBM

005    20230531074559.0

008    230426|| anznnbabn          |a ana     c

024 8 $acv00504 $0

035    $a(IlChRBM)cv00504

040    $aIlChRBM $beng $cIlChRBM $dDLC $dMvI $frbmscv

155    $aDeerskin bindings

455    $aBuckskin bindings

455    $aDoeskin bindings

555    $wg $aLeather bindings

If you are an existing customer, please contact your MARCIVE representative to find out how to add this processing to your current profile.  If you are not a customer yet and want to know more about this processing, please contact [email protected] for further information.

Denise Thompson Retiring from MARCIVE

Written by Ligia Gomez on January 3, 2023. Posted in Blog

January 1, 2023

Many of our customers likely would have had at least minimal contact with Denise, who retired in December after 39 years with the company.

Her association with the company began in 1981 as a Computer Operator at Trinco which was a Trinity University-owned corporation providing computer services throughout Texas. MARCIVE was originally conceived as a cataloging service to meet the needs of the Trinity University Library, but as word spread to other libraries about the automated and economical services the MARCIVE project was providing Trinity’s library, other libraries were added. When Trinity University decided to close Trinco in 1981, Robert Fleming asked Jim Plaunt, Bill Terry, and Richard Smith to partner with him to purchase the rights to the MARCIVE project and start MARCIVE, Inc. Denise joined the small staff in 1983 as one of the support staff that was on board right at the beginning.

Taught largely by Jim Plaunt (who retired in 2014) the intricacies of the MARC format, she learned much of the customized programming that was the core of all of the company’s services. Over the years, she has worked as programmer and customer support in many areas including Brief Record Upgrade, GPO Services, Retrospective Conversion, Reclassification, and authority control. From the “olden days” of dealing with boxes of shelflist cards, wrangling label printers, mounting magnetic tapes to the age of the Internet and RDA Conversion, Denise was able to maneuver the myriad of changes that have taken place in the industry of library automation with finesse. Her vast mental storehouse of accumulated knowledge will be sorely missed by MARCIVE staff and our customers.
Denise plans to spend her retirement with her family and in particular her adored three grandchildren, watching her Dallas Cowboys, traveling, and learning to bake. We wish her the best in this next phase of her life.

What changes are really made in a RDA Conversion project?

Written by Ligia Gomez on December 1, 2014. Posted in General

Technical services staff often has to either 1) create a proposal for database cleanup projects or 2) create an analysis of what was accomplished in the project.   Either way, it is to provide justification for expenditures that are sometimes considered unnecessary by anyone not in Technical Services.

Illustrating why a RDA conversion project is needed is often a hurdle. It’s not as easy as pulling together circulation statistics. Kirk Doran of Dickinson University (currently use SirsiDynix Symphony) created a slideshow that gives clear-cut examples of what was accomplished in a project involving automated authorities processing with a RDA conversion. His examples show how RDA conversion projects will prep your database for today’s information environment and make your OPAC more user-friendly to patrons. Click here for the link!

Written by Ligia Groff, MLS

Special thanks to Kirk Doran, Technical Services Librarian at Dickinson University for allowing us to share his presentation.

Outsourced Authority Control: Why isn’t this working?

Written by Ligia Gomez on October 16, 2014. Posted in Blog

These are some common misconceptions as to why outsourced authority control may not be working:

1) Not sending all your records. Of course it is better to apply authority control to all records, so patrons can access the content they seek. This one is usually unavoidable due to budget constraints. For example, some libraries do not have permanent rights to some e-book resources. They can potentially drop out of their catalog at any time, so they don’t see the benefit of processing these records. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. Many of those records are patron driven, and if the patron can’t find it, it will remain unused and drop from the catalog.

2) Not sending your new bibliographic records for processing on a consistent basis. MARCIVE does not set up a pre-defined schedule for a customer to send new bibliographic records for upgrade. Each library has the option of sending whatever number of records (no minimum order) on whatever workflow is best for them. If we receive them by 3pm CST, you will receive the updated bibs and matching authority records to load into the system the very next business day. Over time, it causes a back-log of outdated headings if they are not sent on a consistent basis. Some libraries have created programs to automatically send the records to us, so the only staff time involved in workflow is the picking up and loading of the records.

3) Not signing up for our Notification service. This is a “biggie.” Library of Congress makes constant changes to authority records. MARCIVE receives about 100,000+ new or changed authority records per month. All of these records may not pertain to your library, but we keep track of that for you and bundle it in a monthly file for you to load via ftp. Keeping the authority file current also keeps your bibliographic access points current. Not naming names, but some libraries who have signed up for this service never retrieve their files. Sometimes this is due to changes in staffing and poor documentation by the staff member who left. A good reason to keep re-evaluating your in-house procedures!

4) Not notifying us of deleted authority records. This is another “biggie.” Libraries weed their collections and MARCIVE does not have a live feed into the catalog. If a library deletes a bib record that results in the last use of a particular heading, the library needs to send us the control number for that authority that no longer exists in the database as a delete.  We will then remove the control number from the library’s history file so updates to the heading are not sent.  If not, we could potentially give you an updated version of that same authority record the following month. This leads to blind headings. Please contact your MARCIVE Technical Representative if you need assistance setting this up.

We would love your feedback! Please leave a comment in the comments section. If this is regarding an individual libraries concern, please contact your Marketing Representative or the general contact page.
-written by Ligia Groff, MLS