Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Anticipating the Use of Hebrew Script in the LC/NACO Authority File

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Anticipating the Use of Hebrew Script in the LC/NACO Authority File

Article excerpt

The North American library community is looking at ways to enhance authority records with nonroman scripts. The Library of Congress Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) Authority File (LC/NAF) is limited to Latin script. This paper looks ahead to the use of other scripts in LC/NAF. The author examines the options for using Hebrew script in MARC 21 authority records, and considers the prospects for cooperative authority work between American and Israeli libraries.

Authority control is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but is a crucial aspect of bibliographic control. National and international standards for machine-readable cataloging (MARC) permit nonroman scripts to be used in authority records. The creation of multiscript name authority records for the Library of Congress Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) Authority File (LC/NAF) by catalogers at the Library of Congress (LC) and NACO participants has been deferred until all LC/NAF's partner sites support the same scripts. The principles and guidelines that determine when and what kind of nonroman script headings or references to add to name authority records (NARs) remain unresolved.

This paper introduces the background and use of nonroman scripts in MARC and the current practices for providing Hebrew script access points (personal names, corporate body names, and uniform titles) in bibliographic records in the Research Libraries Group (RLG) Union catalog. The author looks ahead to when Hebrew and other nonroman scripts can be used in NARs that are contributed to LC/NAF. The options for using Hebrew script in MARC 21 authority records are examined. The prospects for the creation of a Hebrew authority file and its possible link to LC/NAF and cooperative authority work between American libraries and libraries in Israel are considered.

Background

MARC Formats

The MARC format became available for bibliographic records in 1968. (1) The North American library community also has used the MARC format as the standard for organizing authority information up to the present. Institutions share and acquire this information, thus avoiding duplication of effort and creating records that are predictable and reliable.

LC issued a preliminary edition of a MARC format for authorities in 1976. (2) Authorities: A MARC Format, 1st ed. followed in 1981. (3) The USMARC Format for Authority Data superseded the first edition in 1987. (4) MARC 21, the most up-to-date version of the MARC formats, appeared in 1999, following the harmonization of the Canadian Marc (CAN/MARC) and USMARC formats. (5) The MARC 21 Format for Authority Data replicates features of the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data that are used for nonroman script data in bibliographic records. (6)

UNIMARC, a set of formats for machine-readable data published by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), includes a format for authority records. More than one established heading in different scripts may reside in a single record, or they may exist in parallel, linked records. The second option is analogous to the use of 7XX fields in MARC 21. (7)

Hebrew and Other Nonroman Script Implementation in Library Systems

The first implementation of nonroman scripts in machine-readable bibliographic and authority records was in Israel. In 1981, the Automated Library Expandable Program (ALEPH) system, utilizing locally developed software, implemented both roman and Hebrew scripts in its library network. The system also offered authority file to bibliographic file linkage. (8)

The 1980s witnessed advances in technology that led to the implementation of nonroman scripts for use in the online catalog in the United States; RLG added the capability to encode Hebrew script to its bibliographic database, then known as RLIN, in 1988. (9)

Presently, the RLG Union Catalog contains almost half a million catalog records in Hebrew-script languages, with approximately half of these containing Hebrew script data. …

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