Task Force on Authority Control Implications : Charge


Design of the current online catalog was based on an assumption that keyword access to bibliographic data would become the predominant and preferred method for searching the catalog. Although this method has proven very successful for some types of research, new opportunities for the structure of bibliographic databases, and the enormous development of international, shared authority databases, have demonstrated the advantages of providing a local authority structure to enhance access for catalog users. Because of the large size of the catalog database, this requires contracting with a vendor (LTI) to provide (1) global correction of headings in the bibliographic database to bring them into conformity with the international file, and (2) authority records for the headings in the bibliographic database. The vendor will also be asked to provide frequent periodic updates of these data, which will ensure the ongoing maintenance of Dartmouth authority and bibliographic data.

The national authority file (NAF), now international in scope, is a shared file to which over 330 libraries contribute new records (and update existing records) through the NACO program.

The highly dynamic nature of the NAF means that each time a NAF record that Dartmouth has used is changed, Dartmouth will receive a new copy of the record. That new copy, when loaded into the Innopac, will replace the earlier version. If the changes affect data that are also stored in bibliographic records, the bibliographic records will be automatically updated to conform to the NAF as well.

To accomplish this, our authority control vendor will maintain a mirror copy of the Dartmouth bibliographic and authorities databases in its own computer, and will base its assessment of which updates Dartmouth needs on examination of the mirror copy. This means that we must maintain parity with the content of the NAF at all times to ensure that ongoing maintenance will be successful. Changes to authorized headings cannot be made. This also means that we may want to consider ways to store local data associated with a heading in our authority records in a manner that will protect those data from overlay.

If a heading in our catalog is not included in the NAF, the authority control vendor will create a provisional record. If a record is subsequently added to the NAF, the vendor will send Dartmouth the new record to replace the old. If a heading change occurs in this transaction, all associated bibliographic records will be updated as well. Innopac upload tables will be created which will protect all "non-headings" fields in bibliographic records from overlay.


To ensure completion of this task during FY2000, we will need to receive the data back from LTI by May 30, 2000. LTI requires 8 weeks for processing, which means that we will need to ship our data to LTI before April 1st. The task force will need to identify those tasks that must be completed prior to shipping our data, which can be completed during the 8-week processing time, and which can or have to be completed after our data are returned and reloaded. Some items in the charge may be deferred until a later time if that is what the task force recommends.

Purpose of the Task Force

Performing authorities processing on the database will change the nature of some data that are currently used in a variety of processing functions. Ongoing vendor-supplied maintenance of those data may have an impact on existing record creation and maintenance work in the library. The task force will examine the implications of these changes, and make recommendations for modifications to local workflows if necessary.

Charge to the Task Force

The task force will examine existing workflows which may be affected by authority work and recommend alternative workflows as necessary. The task force will identify any clean-up projects that need to be accomplished prior to sending the bibliographic file to the vendor and provide a timeline for these projects. (This timeline should be relative to processing the file, e.g. one month before, two weeks before, etc.) The task force will also recommend any necessary changes to workflows after the updated file has been re-loaded.


In addition, the task force will address the following issues:

  1. The S-8 file will no longer be used to establish the authorized form of monographic series headings. In some cases, the form of a heading as it is recorded in the S-8 file will not agree with the authority file. In addition, all series headings, whether the series is received on standing order or not, will be under control. Given these changes, what is the role of the S-8 file?
    • Examine the relationship of series processing control data and routines to series authority records, bibliographic records for series, and other record types in Innopac: where is such data best stored; how does this affect workflows for monographic series?
    • Identify any changes to existing workflows.
  2. In order to make series authorities work, the practice of providing a cataloging record in the public online catalog for monographic series that are cataloged and classified separately will be discontinued. The primary role of these records will be to hold the checkin and order records for standing orders.
    • Identify any workflow implications.
    • Determine methods for the creation and maintenance of these records in the future.
    • Is there any connection between these records and authority records?
    • Do these changes present opportunities that will make checkin easier?
  3. Serial analytics (classed together) present special issues. The title data in the serial record title field (245) may not be the same as the corrected series statements in the monographic records (440/830) after processing.
    • Determine whether there is any need for cataloging records for the series title to appear in the public catalog in the future.
    • Determine whether any access or processing problems will result if 245s and 440s/830s disagree, and recommend alternatives if necessary.
  4. The vendor has requested 6-8 weeks to process our file.
    • Is it necessary to freeze any aspects of bibliographic record updating during this time?
    • Are there fields that we cannot update?
    • How will we handle deletes?
    • Develop a procedures statement on records maintenance during the processing period.
  5. Use of the on-going maintenance service may make the maintenance of local authorities data difficult.
    • Develop a policy statement for the creation of local notes and cross references. When will local data be necessary?
    • Under what conditions would such data be added to authority records, who would add it, and how would it be coded?
  6. After processing, there will not be any attempt to send all our updated records to RLIN in a one-time batch. Normal monthly RLIN batch loads will continue as is, however. In the future, Dartmouth records in RLIN may or may not contain different headings than those in Innopac.
    • Are there any implications for current workflows?
  7. Acquisitions records, reserves records, withdrawn/discard records, and other local processing records present special issues for the conversion, and for on-going maintenance of authority and bibliographic records.
    • Should any types of records be excluded from the files sent to LTI?
    • Develop a list of Innopac codes which will specifically identify any records to be excluded.
  8. Identify records to be included in the test file.
  9. Identify training needs and refer to CSG.


Task Force on Authority Control Implications Timeline
January 6, 2000
May 31, 2000 Receive data from LTI and load to local systems.
Prior to May 31 Issue #1 (S-8 file workflow changes)
Issue #3 (serial analytics workflow changes)
Issue #5 (interim maintenance policy)
Issue #6 (RLIN upload)
March 31, 2000 Send data to LTI for processing
Prior to March 31 Issue #3 (serial analytics, IF clean-up is required)
Issue #4 (workflows during LTI processing)
Issue #7 (exclusion of records)
Prior to March 15 Issue #8 (test file)