12 Pages

Authority Control in the Context of Bibliographic Control in the Electronic Environment

KEYWORDS. Authority files, cataloguing, descriptive cataloguing, Dublin Core, MARC records, metadata, vocabulary control

There is a sense in which authority control and bibliographic control are coterminous-two sides of the same coin. At the very least, bibliographic control is literally impossible without authority control. Cataloguing cannot exist without standardized access points, and authority control is the mechanism by which we achieve the necessary degree of standardization. Cataloguing deals with order, logic, objectivity, precise denotation, and consistency, and must have mechanisms to ensure these attributes. The same name, title, or subject should always have the same denotation (in natural language or the artificial languages of classification) each time it occurs in a bibliographic record, no matter how many times that may be. Unless there are careful records of each authorized denotation, the variants of that denotation, and citations of precedents and the rules on which that denotation is based (i.e., authority control), the desired and necessary standardization cannot be achieved.