Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Idaho Participation in NACO: The Effect on Idaho Corporate Name Authority Control

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Idaho Participation in NACO: The Effect on Idaho Corporate Name Authority Control

Article excerpt

In 2005 five Idaho institutions joined the Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging in order to expand the underlying data that help library users find and identify resources and to improve cataloging efficiencies within the state. The objective of this study was to determine what effect this participation by Idaho institutions in the NACO program had on the authority control of Idaho agencies and other Idaho corporate entities. Data analysis of Idaho corporate name authority records showed this participation significantly increased authority control for these entities. In less than three years, Idaho institutions created more than 12 percent of the 1,763 Idaho corporate name authority records identified in the Library of Congress NACO Authority File.

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Authority control in library catalogs has been described as "a traffic-direction system, gathering information under authorized headings and steering patrons away from dead-end searches." (1) Name authority records in the library catalog contain information on people, companies, and places that tell the catalog user what form of a name is used in the catalog regardless of other names that the entity may use or have used in other contexts. This authorized name provides consistency for searching within the local library catalog or a larger shared catalog and enhances the ability of catalog users to find and identify resources in a library's collection. In an effort to help catalog users find and identity information on or by Idaho people, companies, or jurisdictions, several Idaho institutions joined the Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), an international cooperative cataloging effort to create and maintain the underlying data for name authority control. NACO (www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc/naco) allows individual institutions and groups of institutions, following a common set of standards and guidelines, to create and maintain (i.e., modify) authority records in the Library of Congress/NACO Authority File (LC/NAF). Institutions that complete basic NACO training and achieve independent NACO status are authorized to create and maintain name authority records in the LC/NAF for persons, corporate bodies (including jurisdictional areas), and uniform titles. Authorization to create and maintain series and music uniform title authority records requires additional training. The current study investigates what effect this participation by Idaho institutions in the NACO program had on the authority control of Idaho agencies and other Idaho corporate entities. An analysis of the 1,763 Idaho corporate name authority records identified in the LC/ NAF showed that Idaho institutions created 213 of those records.

The importance of authority record creation and maintenance has recently been reaffirmed in the final report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. (2) The Working Group was convened and charged by the Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress (LC) to look at the future of bibliographic control in the twenty-first century. In its report, issued in early 2008, the Working Group noted speculation from many members and clients of the library community that improvements in machine-searching capabilities would eliminate the need for authority control. The group concluded, "While such mechanisms as keyword searching provide extremely useful additions to the arsenal of searching capabilities available to users, they are not a satisfactory substitute for controlled vocabularies. Indeed, many machine-searching techniques rely on the existence of authoritative headings even if they do not explicitly display them." (3) The Working Group recommended that the LC and the library community increase collaboration on authority record creation and maintenance as part of a strategy to continue to provide effective authority control and help manage the associated costs. …

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