MARS Authority Control

Automated Services for Libraries, Authority Control, Machine Matching, and Marcadia

Browsing Posts published in May, 2009

Helpful links on RDA, FRBR, and FRAD

Here are some links on related to RDA (Resource Description and Access), FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), and FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data) that I have found very helpful and informative. This is the RDA main page at the JSC website.  There are links to the full draft, background information, and much more.  The links under Scope and Principles are particularly good, especially the mapping.  Also the FAQ’s are really helpful. – This site is where a demo of RDA online will be up sometime in the near future.  When I last checked it, they said they plan to have the demo ready in May.  Don’t hold your breath, but keep checking the site. – This is the IFLA site for FRBR – This is the IFLA site for the draft of FRAD. – This paper from 2007 gives really good background on FRAD. – This site has two really good presentations by Barbara Tillett of LC.  You can download the needed player from the website.  They are about an hour each, but well worth listening to.  There should be more webcasts coming up in the future so keep an eye out.,%20Goodbye%20AACR2!_15April2008.pdf -This is a great presentation.  It gives a very good overview in some detail with very understandable language. – Libraries Australia have done a lot with FRBR and RDA.  This is a good presentation and at the end there are more good links. – This very thorough presentation talks about RDA and MARC.  A lot of it is concatenated from other presentations, but it brings everything together nicely. – This has copies of the Proposals and Discussion Papers for changes to the MARC21 formats.  Just click on MARC Proposals or MARC Discussion Papers.  They are arranged by year, most recent first.  Most of the 2009 proposals and discussion papers deal with RDA elements.  Also take a look at 2008-05/1-4, as these deal with RDA too.  You may also gain insights by looking at older ones.  Also see link below for the decisions made on the ones discussed at ALA midwinter. – Summaries of what was discussed at ALA midwinter 2008 and the actions taken. – Here are the report of the 2009 ALA midwinter meeting of MARBI. – From this site you can access the presentations from the CCS Forum: FRBR and RDA: a glimpse into the future of cataloging and public displays.   Barbara Tillett’s and John Espley’s on the VTLS OLE project were particularly pertinent. – This from John Espley’s presentation.  It’s an example of a FRBRized catalog.  From this page, click on Virtua Enriched User Searching Presentation.  It takes a couple minutes to download because its rather long.  It automatically pages down and it went rather quickly, but scrolling up or down would move between the slides, so you can go back and get what was missed. – This is another well written and easy to understand explanation of FRBR. – This is an article titled “Identifying FRBR Work- Level Data in MARC Bibliographic Records for Manifestations of Moving Images.  In code[4]lib journal  Issue t, 2008-12-15. – This blog  post has lots of really good links in it.

There are lots more link out there.  These are just the ones I have found most helpful.  If you know of some others, please share them.

Happy reading!

Karen Anderson

Authority Control Librarian

Backstage Library Works


Blind References:  A subject, name or series title authority record contains a blind reference if there is no heading in the database corresponding to the valid form stored in the authority file.  Usually the last bibliographic record that contained the heading has been deleted.  These authority records are to be deleted from your ILS system authority file.

On a library’s ILS system the blind reference will either not be included in the authority index or will be included in the index with zero hits (bibliographic connections) associated with it. When an authority file is in place on an ILS system only the authorized heading 1XX or the see also reference 5XX of the authority record can be a blind reference. The nature of the see reference 4XX always points to the authorized heading 1XX and can not be a blind reference though on some ILS systems a search on the see reference will have the same result as a search on the authorized heading if the authority record is a blind reference. That is no bibliographic record will be found.

Example of a Blind Reference: Note the 0 that is in yellow is a blind reference.  The other 0 under Topographic Brain mapping is a see reference.

Subject                                                                                    Titles

Topographic brain mapping.                                      0 

  • See: Brain mapping.                                           1

Topographic maps – Databases. 2

Topographic maps — Databases — Software. 0

Topographic maps — Software. 2

How a Blind Reference gets on a Library’s ILS system

There are several ways an ILS system produces Blind References.  The following is a list of a few.

1.      If a library deletes the last bibliographic record associated with an authority it will become a blind reference unless it is removed from the system.

2.      If a new authority does not match up to an existing authorized bibliographic heading it will become a blind reference.

3.      If an authority automation vendor delivers an authority that the library no longer owns it will become a blind reference.

The first description of how a blind reference gets on a library system can be avoided by making sure that you delete any authority associated with a deleted bibliographic record.  Most ILS systems automatically generate a report of these occurrences.

The second blind authority problem occurs during the automation authority control process.  In the past these had to be reconciled or connected through a semi automated and sometimes time consuming process.  Backstage now has a process called “Heading Tracker” that makes manual reconciliation almost obsolete.

The last blind authority problem also occurs during the automated authority control process but can be easily remedied by routine maintenance described below.


The library needs to send their authority deletes to their automation vendor.  There is no automatic removal from the master authority file your vendor keeps with the library’s authority database.  The process can be part of a simple routine maintenance. Most ILS systems automatically generate a file of deleted authority records that can be accessed through reports.  If a list of the deleted records is sent to Backstage we can remove them from your master authority file.  That list should include the control number (001) of the authority record.

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