Posts Tagged ‘authority control’

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].

Why Convert Legacy Data to RDA: Public Libraries Weigh In

Written by Joan on November 3, 2014. Posted in Blog

Converting legacy data to RDA is a challenging idea to take hold in public libraries because of a school of thought regarding the short-lived nature of the collection. If your collection flips over every 15 years, why do anything with the legacy data?

Converting to RDA preps your data for the next generation systems and organizes your records in a layout that is easier for patrons to understand. Public libraries, in particular, have more formats than many other types of libraries, so the blanket term “electronic resource” is no longer relevant in today’s information environment. But don’t take our word for it, here is why some of our happy customers converted to RDA:

Cuyahoga County Public Library
Lori Ann Thorrat, Catalog Department Manager

“Cuyahoga County Public Library chose to convert our data to RDA for simplicity. Having our data in RDA format created a level of consistency that simplifies the configuration of the public catalog, improving our customer’s ability to find and retrieve materials. Dates are very important both for searching and sorting data.  Just having all of our publication dates in a single MARC field allows us to streamline how records display and sort in the public catalog. Because RDA is an internationally recognized standard, having our data already in RDA format will facilitate the conversion of our legacy data to Bibframe, the next generation schema for bibliographic data.”

Somerset County Library System
Adele Thoma Barree
, Head of Technical Services

“We know that we will not have our current ILS forever, and that RDA is designed to handle links and connections among all types of data.  Getting our database in the best possible shape for the future is something MARCIVE can help us with by modifying our bibs to reflect basic RDA format.  We are very glad you offer this service!”

Thousand Oaks Public Library
Stacy Gordon, Cataloging Librarian

“Legacy data is worth converting so that older materials become as discoverable as new materials, especially as library management systems and other discovery layers begin to take more advantage of the new fields for content, media, and carrier type.  Since these fields (336, 337, and 338) have controlled vocabularies, greater consistency will be achieved between older and newer records.  As well, when BibFrame is ready to replace MARC, more of your records will be ready to be crosswalked to the new metadata standard that will be more compatible with other information systems in the greater linked data world.

Library catalogs have gone through many changes, and a recent change is to the new cataloging standard,  RDA.  Among the benefits of RDA are fewer abbreviations (no more “ill.” for illustrations or  the Latin “s.l.” for “Place of publication not identified,” and many others), more relationships identified between works, entities, manifestations, and items, as well as between persons, families, and corporate bodies and these FRBR requirements, and a catalog that’s data conform better to what’s being seen in the wider world outside of libraries.  Conversion would provide for greater consistency within your catalog, and will allow users to find information more easily, with RDA’s allowance for a greater number of access points, increasing discoverability.

We had no trouble deciding to go with MARCIVE for performing the retrospective conversion of our database to RDA.  We have had MARCIVE do our authority control for 12 years, and they have been extremely fast, reliable, and with gracious customer service.”

 –written by Ligia Groff, MLS