Creating Organization Name Authority within an Electronic Resources Management System

By Blake, Kristen; Samples, Jacquie | Library Resources & Technical Services, April 2009 | Go to article overview

Creating Organization Name Authority within an Electronic Resources Management System


Blake, Kristen, Samples, Jacquie, Library Resources & Technical Services


Staff members at North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries have identified the need for name authority control within E-Matrix, a locally developed electronic resources management (ERM) system, to support collection intelligence, the process of collecting, collocating, and analyzing data associated with a collection to gain a sophisticated understanding of its qualities for strategic planning and decision making. This paper examines the value of establishing authority control over organization names within an ERM system in addition to describing NCSU's design for conducting name authority work in E-Matrix. A discussion of the creation of a name authority tool within E-Matrix is provided along with illustrations and examples of workflow design and implementation for the assignment of authoritative headings. Current practices related to authority control and ERM systems in academic libraries and within organizations such as the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) are also investigated and summarized to provide context for this project. Future possibilities for the use of this type of authority control on the part of librarians, vendors, and standards bodies are explored.

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As electronic resources management (ERM) systems become more advanced and their use more widespread, libraries have begun to consider the potential of these systems to aid in collections decisions by performing advanced data analysis functions. Name authority control is of critical importance if ERM systems are to be put to this use because information drawn into a system from different sources must be collocated to produce accurate and useful analyses and reports. Throughout the development of E-Matrix, a homegrown ERM system, North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries has focused on the application's potential to facilitate effective collection intelligence, the process of collecting, collocating, and analyzing data associated with a collection to gain a sophisticated understanding of its qualities in order to strategically plan and make decisions. E-Matrix centralizes information from the library's catalog, link resolver, and assorted flat files within a single database and can perform analysis functions that include data from all of these sources. A challenge presented by this process is the identification and collocation of data elements imported to E-Matrix in a multiplicity of uncontrolled formats.

Data about organizations, such as the names of publishers, vendors, providers, and licensors of serials and electronic resources, has been the most difficult element to normalize within E-Matrix. Because organization names are imported from unformatted fields created for outside applications, the data in E-Matrix naturally lacks consistency. The names of organizations appear in dozens of variant and erroneous forms, with neither any indication of connections between entities that indicate business relationships nor authorized forms of names. In aiming to use E-matrix as a sophisticated reporting and collection intelligence tool, NCSU Libraries came to the conclusion that the application must apply authority control to its organization name data to correct these inherent irregularities. Following that decision, library staff members have implemented a project to create a set of singular authorized headings to control and normalize the organization name data stored in E-Matrix.

This paper reports on the process of creating authoritative data for organization names within E-Matrix at NCSU Libraries. The discussion begins with a brief literature review and an analysis of how libraries and library organizations have been using electronic resource management systems to manage organization names. It then describes the planning and implementation of an organization name authority at NCSU Libraries. The paper concludes with an analysis of future possibilities for data use and control within ERM systems.

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