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The Authority Record

- General Information
- Searching and Using Headings
- Gathering Information for Creating Authority Records

General Information

Authority work is performed to achieve consistency of headings in catalog records. Authority records also explain the use of headings in a catalog record, and they provide the reference structure which guides users to the desired bibliographic information. In the Yale University Libraries, authority records are created for headings that meet criteria outlined in Authority Control Workflow for Yale Catalog Librarians.

Generally, Yale's criteria specify that an authority record is created when necessary to break a conflict, for headings that require cross references, or in cases when research on the heading should be documented in the authority record. In addition, the Manuscript Unit will always create an authority record for a name used as the main entry for a collection of personal papers. Research should be documented only to justify the form of the heading and the necessity of any cross references. Further research on biography or historical context should be documented in the biographical/historical note in the bibliographic record.


Smith, Jane, |d 1897-1973.
Dates needed to distinguish from an already existing heading: Smith, Jane.

Luhan, Mabel Dodge.
Requires cross reference from: Dodge, Mabel

Wilbur, George W.
Main entry for: George W. Wilbur Papers

Carroll Trail (Mont.)
Cross references:
Helena-Carroll Wagon Road (Mont.)
Helena Road (Mont.)

Salsbury, Nathan, |d 1846-1902.
Cross references:
Salsbury, Nate, |d 1846-1902
Salsbury, N. |q (Nathan), |d 1846-1902
Research justifying dates, cross references, and verifying identity:
Nathan Salsbury papers, 1860-1965 |b (Nathan Salsbury; b. 1846; d. 1902)
RLIN, Jan 17, 2003 |b (hdg.: Salsbury, Nate, 1846-1902; usage: Nate Salsbury; N. Salsbury)
Nat. cycl. of Amer. biog.: |b v. 8, p. 166 (Salsbury, Nathan; actor and manager; b. Feb. 28, 1846; d. Dec. 24, 1902)

Yale participates in the Name Authority Cooperative Project (NACO) and Subject Authority Cooperative Project (SACO). Only those catalogers who have been trained in NACO are authorized to create name authority records. This section is meant to serve as a guide to the use of established names and subjects in catalog records, and to the information needed in creating or amending authority records. To route a proposed heading to an authorized cataloger, see the Cataloging Coordinator. For further information see the Authority Control at Yale website.

Searching and Using Headings

When looking at an established authority record in Orbis, check the Descriptive Cataloging Rules code in the 008 field for code c or d. These codes mean the record is AACR2 or AACR2 compatible and the heading may be used.

If there is no authority record, review any bibliographic records retrieved. Check the Cataloging Form code in the Leader for code a. This code means the record is an AACR2 record and the heading may be used.

If you find no AACR2 record, or no records at all, search LCDB the same way.

When an authority record is required and none can be found in Orbis or LCDB, gather the materials to create one, according to the instructions on the page below.

Gathering Information for Creating Authority Records

In gathering information for an authority record, search the following (in order) as appropriate:

    The Orbis database (Local Database)
    The LC Resource File (LCDB)
    The National Union Catalog
    Reference works

Print out or photocopy the following types of information from the item in hand and the sources listed above, and pass all information on to the Cataloging Coodinator or another NACO-authorized cataloger:

Elements for the 100 field (Heading, Personal Name), including as needed:
    |a Personal name
    |b Numeration
    |c Titles and other words associated with the name
    |d Dates associated with a name
    |q Fuller form of name
Elements for the 110 field (Heading, Corporate Name), including as needed:
    |a Corporate name or jurisdiction name as entry element
    |b Subordinate unit
    |c Location of meeting
    |d Date of meeting or treaty signing

Elements for the 111 field (Heading, Meeting Name), including as needed:

    |a Meeting name or jurisdiction name as entry element
    |c Location of meeting
    |d Date of meeting
    |e Subordinate unit
    |q Name of meeting following jurisdiction name entry element

Information for the 151 field (Heading, Geographic Name)

|a Geographic name

For all headings:Any variations on these names for "See" tracings (400, 410, 411) constructed the same way as their 1XX counterparts. Any "See Also" tracings for those names (500, 510, 511) constructed the same way as their 1XX counterparts. Every 5XX reference must also be separately established as a 1XX heading.

Information on the collection or item in hand on which the heading is based for the 670 field (Source Data Found), and as necessary, variant forms of the heading found in the collection or item in hand. Multiple 670 fields may be created if the form of heading varies in other manuscript, published, or reference sources. This information usually includes the title, and date or date span of the source from which the heading is drawn. For each source, give the exact form of the name as it is found in that source. For published sources, give the page number on which the name appears ( t.p. for title page).

Copyright 1997. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
All rights reserved.