In library science, authority control is a process that organizes bibliographic information, for example in library catalogs by using a single, distinct spelling of a name or a numeric identifier for each topic. The word authority in authority control derives from the idea that the names of people, places and concepts are authorized, i.e. they are established in one particular form. These one-of-a-kind headings or identifiers are applied throughout catalogs which make use of the respective authority file, are applied for other methods of organizing data such as linkages and cross references; each controlled entry is described in an authority record in terms of its scope and usage, this organization helps the library staff maintain the catalog and make it user-friendly for researchers. Catalogers assign each subject—such as author, series, or corporation—a particular unique identifier or heading term, used uniquely, unambiguously for all references to that same subject, which obviates variations from different spellings, pen names, or aliases.
The unique header can guide users to all relevant information including related or collocated subjects. Authority records can be combined into a database and called an authority file, maintaining and updating these files as well as "logical linkages" to other files within them is the work of librarians and other information cataloguers. Accordingly, authority control is an example of controlled vocabulary and of bibliographic control. While in theory any piece of information is amenable to authority control such as personal and corporate names, uniform titles, series names, subjects, library cataloguers focus on author names and titles of works. Subject headings from the Library of Congress fulfill a function similar to authority records, although they are considered separately; as time passes, information changes, prompting needs for reorganization. According to one view, authority control is not about creating a perfect seamless system but rather it is an ongoing effort to keep up with these changes and try to bring "structure and order" to the task of helping users find information.
Better researching. Authority control helps researchers get a handle on a specific subject with less wasted effort. A well-designed digital catalog/database enables a researcher to query a few words of an entry to bring up the established term or phrase, thus improving accuracy and saving time. Makes searching more predictable, it can be used in conjunction with keyword searching using "and" or "not" or "or" or other Boolean operators on a web browser. It increases chances. Consistency of records. Organization and structure of information. Efficiency for cataloguers; the process of authority control is not only of great help to researchers searching for a particular subject to study, but it can help cataloguers organize information as well. Cataloguers can use authority records when trying to categorize new items, since they can see which records have been catalogued and can therefore avoid unnecessary work. Maximises library resources. Easier to maintain the catalog, it enables cataloguers to correct errors.
In some instances, software programs support workers tasked with maintaining the catalog to do ongoing tasks such as automated clean-up. It helps users of metadata. Fewer errors, it can help catch errors caused by typos or misspellings which can sometimes accumulate over time, sometimes known as quality drift. For example, machines can catch misspellings such as "Elementary school techers" and "Pumpkilns" which can be corrected by library staff. Sometimes within a catalog there are different spellings for only one person or subject; this can bring confusion. Authority control is used by cataloguers to collocate materials that logically belong together but which present themselves differently. Records are used to establish uniform titles which collocate all versions of a given work under one unique heading when such versions are issued under different titles. With authority control, one unique preferred name represents all variations and will include different variations and misspellings, uppercase versus lowercase variants, differing dates, so forth.
For example, in Wikipedia, the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales is described by an article Diana, Princess of Wales as well as numerous other descriptors, e.g. Princess Diana, but both Princess Diana and Diana, Princess of Wales describe the same person. In an online library catalog, various entries might look like the following: Diana. Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961–1997 Diana, Princess of Wales 1961–1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961–1997 DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES, 1961–1997; these different terms describe the same person. Accordingly, authority control reduces these entries to one unique entry or official authorized heading, sometimes termed an access point: Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961–1997 Generally there are different authority file headings and identifiers used by different libraries in different countries inviting confusion, but there are different approaches internationally to try to lessen the confusion. One international effort to prevent such confusion is the Virtual International Authority File, a collaborative attempt to provide a single heading for a particular subject.
It is a way to standardize information from different authority files around the world such as the Integrated Authority File maintained and used cooperatively by many libraries in German-speaki
Integrated Authority File
The Integrated Authority File or GND is an international authority file for the organisation of personal names, subject headings and corporate bodies from catalogues. It is used for documentation in libraries and also by archives and museums; the GND is managed by the German National Library in cooperation with various regional library networks in German-speaking Europe and other partners. The GND falls under the Creative Commons Zero licence; the GND specification provides a hierarchy of high-level entities and sub-classes, useful in library classification, an approach to unambiguous identification of single elements. It comprises an ontology intended for knowledge representation in the semantic web, available in the RDF format; the Integrated Authority File became operational in April 2012 and integrates the content of the following authority files, which have since been discontinued: Name Authority File Corporate Bodies Authority File Subject Headings Authority File Uniform Title File of the Deutsches Musikarchiv At the time of its introduction on 5 April 2012, the GND held 9,493,860 files, including 2,650,000 personalised names.
There are seven main types of GND entities: LIBRIS Virtual International Authority File Information pages about the GND from the German National Library Search via OGND Bereitstellung des ersten GND-Grundbestandes DNB, 19 April 2012 From Authority Control to Linked Authority Data Presentation given by Reinhold Heuvelmann to the ALA MARC Formats Interest Group, June 2012
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
German National Library
The German National Library is the central archival library and national bibliographic centre for the Federal Republic of Germany. Its task is to collect, permanently archive, comprehensively document and record bibliographically all German and German-language publications since 1913, foreign publications about Germany, translations of German works, the works of German-speaking emigrants published abroad between 1933 and 1945, to make them available to the public; the German National Library maintains co-operative external relations on a national and international level. For example, it is the leading partner in developing and maintaining bibliographic rules and standards in Germany and plays a significant role in the development of international library standards; the cooperation with publishers has been regulated by law since 1935 for the Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig and since 1969 for the Deutsche Bibliothek Frankfurt. Duties are shared between the facilities in Leipzig and Frankfurt, with each center focusing its work in specific specialty areas.
A third facility has been the Deutsches Musikarchiv Berlin, which deals with all music-related archiving. Since 2010 the Deutsches Musikarchiv is located in Leipzig as an integral part of the facility there. During the German revolutions of 1848 various booksellers and publishers offered their works to the Frankfurt Parliament for a parliamentary library; the library, led by Johann Heinrich Plath, was termed the Reichsbibliothek. After the failure of the revolution the library was abandoned and the stock of books in existence was stored at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. In 1912, the town of Leipzig, seat of the annual Leipzig Book Fair, the Kingdom of Saxony and the Börsenverein der Deutschen Buchhändler agreed to found a German National Library in Leipzig. Starting January 1, 1913, all publications in German were systematically collected. In the same year, Dr. Gustav Wahl was elected as the first director. In 1946 Dr. Georg Kurt Schauer, Heinrich Cobet, Vittorio Klostermann and Professor Hanns Wilhelm Eppelsheimer, director of the Frankfurt University Library, initiated the re-establishment of a German archive library based in Frankfurt.
The Federal state representatives of the book trade in the American zone agreed to the proposal. The city of Frankfurt agreed to support the planned archive library with personnel and financial resources; the US military government gave its approval. The Library began its work in the tobacco room of the former Rothschild library, which served the bombed university library as accommodation; as a result, there were two libraries in Germany, which assumed the duties and function of a national library for the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany, respectively. Two national bibliographic catalogues identical in content were published annually. With the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990, the Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig and the Deutsche Bibliothek Frankfurt am Main were merged into a new institution, The German Library; the "Law regarding the German National Library" came into force on 29 June 2006. The expansion of the collection brief to include online publications set the course for collecting and storing such publications as part of Germany's cultural heritage.
The Library's highest management body, the Administrative Council, was expanded to include two MPs from the Bundestag. The law changed the name of the library and its buildings in Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin to "Deutsche Nationalbibliothek". In July 2000, the DMA assumed the role as repository for GEMA, Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte, a German music copyright organization. Since music publishers only have to submit copies to DMA, which covers both national archiving and copyright registration; the 210,000 works of printed music held by GEMA were transferred to DMA. One of the special activities of the German National Library involves the collection and processing of printed and non-printed documents of German-speaking emigrants and exiles during the period from 1933 to 1945; the German National Library maintains two exile collections: the Collection of Exile Literature 1933–1945 of the German National Library in Leipzig and the German Exile Archive 1933–1945 of the German National Library in Frankfurt am Main.
Both collections contain printed works written or published abroad by German-speaking emigrants as well as leaflets and other materials produced or in part by German-speaking exiles. In 1998 the German National Library and the German Research Foundation began a publicly funded project to digitise the “Jewish Periodicals in Nazi Germany” collection of 30,000 pages, which were published between 1933 and 1943. Additionally included in the project were 30 German-language emigrant publications "German-language exile journals 1933–1945", consisting of around 100,000 pages; these collections were put online in 2004 and were some of the most visited sites of the German National Library. In June 2012 the German National Library discontinued access to both collections on its website for legal reasons; the digitised versions are since available for use in the reading rooms of the German National Library in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main only, which caused harsh criticism. The German National Library cited concerns over copyright as the reason, claiming that although the Library and the German Research Foundation had permission from the owners of the publication to put them online, the owners
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library that serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States; the Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C.. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol; the Library of Congress has claimed to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."The Library of Congress moved to Washington in 1800 after sitting for 11 years in the temporary national capitals in New York City and Philadelphia. The small Congressional Library was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century until the early 1890s. Most of the original collection had been destroyed by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812, the library sought to restore its collection in 1815.
They bought Thomas Jefferson's entire personal collection of 6,487 books. After a period of slow growth, another fire struck the Library in its Capitol chambers in 1851, again destroying a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. After the American Civil War, the Library of Congress grew in both size and importance, which sparked a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes, burned; the Library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to deposit two copies of books, maps and diagrams printed in the United States. It began to build its collections, its development culminated between 1888 and 1894 with the construction of a separate, extensive library building across the street from the Capitol; the Library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, carried out through the Congressional Research Service. The Library is open to the public, although only high-ranking government officials and Library employees may check out books and materials.
James Madison is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in 1783. The Library of Congress was subsequently established April 24, 1800 when President John Adams signed an act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress... and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them." Books were ordered from London, the collection consisted of 740 books and three maps which were housed in the new United States Capitol. President Thomas Jefferson played an important role in establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. On January 26, 1802, he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the Librarian of Congress and establishing a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee it; the new law extended borrowing privileges to the President and Vice President.
The invading British army burned Washington in August 1814 during the War of 1812 and destroyed the Library of Congress and its collection of 3,000 volumes. These volumes had been left in the Senate wing of the Capitol. One of the few congressional volumes to survive was a government account book of receipts and expenditures for 1810, it was taken as a souvenir by British Admiral George Cockburn, whose family returned it to the United States government in 1940. Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library as a replacement. Congress accepted his offer in January 1815; some members of the House of Representatives opposed the outright purchase, including New Hampshire Representative Daniel Webster who wanted to return "all books of an atheistical and immoral tendency." Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books in several languages and on subjects such as philosophy, law, architecture, natural sciences, studies of classical Greece and Rome, modern inventions, hot air balloons, submarines, fossils and meteorology.
He had collected books on topics not viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks. However, he believed, he remarked: I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection. Jefferson's collection was unique in that it was the working collection of a scholar, not a gentleman's collection for display. With the addition of his collection, the Library of Congress was transformed from a specialist's library to a more general one, his original collection was organized into a scheme based on Francis Bacon's organization of knowledge. He grouped his books into Memory and Imagination, which broke down into 44 more subdivisions; the Library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, when librarian Herbert Putnam began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure that now applies to more than 138 million items. In 1851, a fire destroyed two thirds of the Jefferson collection, with only 2,000 books remaining.
By 2008, the Librarians of Congress had found replacements for all but 300 of the works that were in Jefferson's original collection. On December 22, 1851 the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thi