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Authority Control: State of the Art and New Perspectives

ByBarbara B. Tillett

Barbara B. Tillett, PhD, MLS, BA, is Chief, Cataloging Policy and Support Office, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20504-4305 (E-mail: [email protected]).

http://www.haworthpress.com/web/CCQ Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J104v38n03_04 23

The virtues of authority control have been debated and restated for decades. Catalogers for at least a century and a half have documented their decisions on how the single, authorized form of name for each entity should be represented in their catalog. They traced the various forms of names given to an entity to record the cross references they provided to users of their catalogs. They brought together their notes to further identify the entity for themselves and other catalogers building the catalog, documenting their research in the process of authority work. Some said it was unnecessary, most said it was essential to fulfill the objectives of the catalog to find and collocate the records for bibliographic resources. Still others said, stop debating and just get on with it, and we have, but ever mindful of the costs.