Authority Control in a Bilingual OPAC: MultiLIS at Laurentian

By Slater, Ron | Library Resources & Technical Services, October 1991 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Authority Control in a Bilingual OPAC: MultiLIS at Laurentian

Slater, Ron, Library Resources & Technical Services

Authority Control in a Bilingual OPAC: MultiLIS at Laurentian

In a recent study on bilingual subject authority control, Rolland-Thomas and Mercure describe four necessary conditions for a bilingual online public access catalog (OPAC): (1) reciprocal references in the same file; (2) subject or term searching in either language from one bilingual thesaurus, with retrieval in either the language used in the search or the second language; (3) equivalencies between forms in different languages; and (4) access to and retrieval from the whole collection in either language. [1] Another fundamental criterion for the management of multilingual thesauri, and one, it would appear, that system vendors have had limited success in implementing, has been noted by Mandel. In her study prepared for the Library of Congress (LC), she observed:

A relatively few library bibliographic systems

have been designed to support a

library in maintaining more than one controlled

vocabulary in its catalog ... None

has yet been employed specifically to assist

patrons in retrieval from multiple thesauri.[2]

The whole question of the management of database access points in more than one language, or from different thesauri, has been the focus of several articles published since the introduction of online databases and multiple, noncompatible, indexing thesauri.[3] The future importance of multithesaurus authority control is further underscored by Jonhston's survey of authority-system vendors, which found, as far as the possible sources of authority records are concerned, that

One respondent . . . uses the National

Library of Medicine's Medical Subject

Headings (MeSH), and one vendor reports

that Sears Subject Headings may be used

as well as headings from LC and the

National Library of Canada.... Other

sources named were ... Vedettes de l'Universitaire

[sic] Laval, and "any source."[4]

Such is the rate of development for authority control systems that even as the essential criteria for subject retrieval in a bilingual system were being discussed, as in the comments above, one major vendor was introducing an automated authority control system that satisfies many of the conditions for a bilingual OPAC and associated thesaurus management.[5] The authority control module of MultiLIS has been in use at Laurentian University, a bilingual institution in Northern Ontario, since June 1989, and manual authority entry for subjects, as well as for personal and corporate authors, has been done on an extensive basis. In this article the major features of the MultiLIS authority module and its current use in a bilingual setting, as well as its potential in a multilingual or multithesaurus environment, as described. A brief evluation and critique of the authority module is also presented, principally in terms of its success in meeting the criteria for a multithesaurus management system, as outlined by Mandel.

Founded in 1960, Laurentian University is one of Ontario's three bilingual universities. The university's bilingual nature is emphasized in its statement of objectives, which appears in the academic calendar: "The University has pledged itself to the maintenance and promotion of both the English and French languages and cultures, inside as well as outside the classrooms."[6] Current full-time-equivalent enrollment is approximately 5,000 students, of which 25 percent are francophone. There are three federated colleges at the Sudbury campus; one is bilingual, and the other two are unilingual (English). In addition, there are three affiliated campuses located in other centers of Northeastern Ontario, one of which is unilingual (French).

The university offers most programs at the Sudbury campus in the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools in both official languages; many first-year introductory courses in the pure and applied sciences are also available in both languages.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Authority Control in a Bilingual OPAC: MultiLIS at Laurentian


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?