Announcing: Heading Tracker a death date fix and more

Backstage Library Works is pleased to announce Heading Tracker, a much-anticipated enhancement to the MARS Authority Control Service. This enhancement is free to MARS clients using ongoing authority control services — Current Cataloging, Notification Services, or both.

In response to requests from many of our clients, the MARS team has developed this Heading Tracker enhancement to bridge the gap between antiquated and updated headings provided by the Library of Congress, when LC does not formally establish a see reference to connect the old heading to its new version.

This gap is most often noticeable in the problem whose solution we’ve long referred to as the ‘death date fix’ — where LC adds a death date to a name heading, causing a disconnect between your records with open death dates and the new authorized headings with closed dates — but it shows up in changes to uniform titles and other headings as well.

To resolve this problem, the Heading Tracker subroutine automatically generates a see reference (4XX) in your authority record, using the old Library of Congress heading. This see reference is marked as a local tag with a subfield ‘5’ and Backstage’s institution code: $5UtOrBLW. The see reference is also prefaced with a subfield ‘w’ and the appropriate coding to hide the reference from the library’s public access module: $wnnea.

An example of a see reference (4XX) correcting for the addition of a death date would look like this:
(Note that the $w and $5 are highlighted in yellow.)

001 __ n 50000918
003 __ DLC
005 __ 20090218072944.0
008 __ 800208n| acannaabn |a aaa
010 __ $an 50000918
035 __ $a(OCoLC)oca00036619
040 __ $aDLC$beng$cDLC$dOCoLC
100 1_ $aParker, Fan,$d1908-2004
400 1_ $aPockrose, Fania M.,$d1908-2004
400 1_ $wnnea$aParker, Fan,$d1908-$5UtOrBLW
670 __ $aOCLC, Feb. 17, 2009$b(hdgs.: Parker, Fan, 1908- ; Parker, Fan, 1908- ; usage: Fan Parker)

As with most functions of MARS 2.0, options for the Heading Tracker can be selected in your profile. For instance, if you want to display in the Public Access module, we can do that. If you want the enhancement, but you would rather not include undifferentiated or generic headings, we can specify that, too. The standard options available for this feature are listed below.

  • Display in public access, or not. The default will be to not display.
  • Create an undifferentiated or generic see reference, or not. The default is to create the reference.
  • Clean up see references (other than a 430) by making the second indicator of that tag blank, in compliance with Library of Congress standards. The default is to not adjust the LC-provided indicator.
  • Run a second file without Heading Tracker data, directly after the first file, to remove the Backstage-created see references. This provides the connection between old and new headings when importing the files to your ILS, but removes the old references when the second file is loaded. The default is to not provide a second file.

If there are options that you are interested in that are not listed above, let us know and we’ll work to accommodate your needs.

To incorporate the Heading Tracker process on your next Current Cataloging or Notification run, please contact your MARS project manager.

The MARS staff hopes this enhancement will further streamline your automated authority control process. Your input is always appreciated. Contact us if you have questions or concerns.

To learn more, ask questions, or make comments on this enhancement, click over to the Heading Tracker thread on our Control Center Community Forum.


John Reese
Vice President, Authority Services
Backstage Library Works
1-800-288-1265 x.249

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