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Yale NACO Independence

Report given by Deborah J. Leslie, Catalog Department meeting, 21 November 1996

Yale has now been given independence for its NACO contributions, with some exceptions. Being granted independence is something we can congratulate ourselves for--it represents a vote of confidence on the part of our NACO liaison, Anthony Franks, and attests to the high quality of our records. I would like to thank everyone who has gone through the training, has contributed or has plans to contribute to NACO.

What being independent means is that Yale is solely responsible for the quality control of its own records. We do not have to have our original NARs or updates approved by Anthony or anyone else at LC. The exceptions to this are Tibetan and Arabic headings; until further notice, anyone doing Tibetan or Arabic NARs will still need to notify their NACO reviewer of new and updated NARs and continue to submit surrogates. Since Hebrew is part of the Hebrew NACO Funnel Project and not part of Yale NACO, none of this discussion applies to Hebrew records.

The NACO coordinator at many institutions continues to review on an indefinite basis all new and updated NARs before production. This is a common scenario, and does provide a very high level of quality control. Yale is a big place, however, with lots of catalogers and lots of headings but without a full-time authorities person, and your present NACO reviewers do not want to commit to indefinitely reviewing everyone's headings. Therefore, we have decided to grant independence to individuals; together with Stephen Young, Manon, Mickey and I have agreed on some general principles of what we are looking for before we grant independence.

1) Quantity--we would like to see at least 50 original NARs from an individual before granting independence.

2) Quality--we are looking for roughly a 95% accuracy rate at a minimum. We do make a mental distinction between major errors and minor errors. Major errors are those that affect a heading, the references, or fixed or variable field coding. For example, a typo in a heading is a major error, as is the omission of a required reference. Most of the corrections we ask you to make in the 670, or the references cited fields, are minor errors, although the absence of a 670 needed to justify something in the heading or cross-references is considered major.

These are not rigid guidelines. What we mean to emphasize is that your NARs should attain a level of being consistently error-free, and that what errors that do occur are minor rather than major, before we grant independence to an individual.

Your reviewer may make you independent in stages, typically giving independence first in personal names, followed by corporate and geographic names later on.

What independence means for individuals is that they will no longer have to notify their reviewer ofnew and updated NARs before submission. After individual independence, you will continue to be responsible for all the searching you have been doing: searching the heading and references in the RLIN authority file to prevent duplicate or conflicted headings, the bibliographic files for headings for that entity on an LC record, for searching the prp file before production to make a duplicate or conflict isn't in save, and researching the production authority file if it has been a day or more since you searched it initially.

Being given independence does not sever all relations with your reviewer. If LC needs to do bibliographic file maintenance on their records because of a new or updated NAR you have done, you will need to notify your reviewer, who will then be responsible for notifying LC. You may continue to ask questions of your reviewer, just as we three can continue to ask Anthony to review specific records. We strongly encourage you to run any changes to established headings you make by your reviewer.

Once you are independent, we also encourage you to have someone else do a quick proofread of your records, since we all can be blind to our own errors. We strongly encourage each unit to set up some sort of a mechanism so that each persons's NARs are looked at by someone else.

We do not know what kind of procedures will be put in place for long-term quality control of Yale NACO records. It may well be some kind of spot-checking, or something based on the Princeton model of rotating teams of reviewers. Once the new Dept. head is in place we will consider that issue.



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