Archive for the ‘Automated Authority Control’ Category

Adding to Authorities

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Sometimes a national authority record just lacks some of the key information that your library needs. Maybe it’s an important cross-reference, a note, or some sort of field identifier. If you just receive the latest Library of Congress authority, for example, you could lose all that hard work that you and your staff have gone through to find the information and add it to your authorities. (more…)

Announcing: New 300 Field Validation

Friday, April 9th, 2010

We’re excited to announce that the 300 field validation that we’ve been working on is now in place and working.  We add this to the hundreds of other corrections and validations that we make to bibliographic records as we process them. Judy, one of our Project Managers, explains the new process:

In an effort to continue improving our bibliographic validation services, we’ve been writing some cleanup steps for the 300 field.  Nothing drastic of course — just some “straightening out” changes.  The cleanup takes place only on records marked with ‘a’ in leader byte 6 … non-print bibs such as media, electronic resources, microforms, etc. are left as-is.  Here’s a list of what the programming will do:

  • * 300 $a = ‘unp.’ [or] ‘n.p.’ is changed to ‘1 v. (unpaged)’
  • 300 $a = a comma is added to #### page numbers if missing (ex.: 5332 p. becomes 5,332 p.)
  • 300 $a = ‘l.’ is changed to ‘leaves’
  • 300 $a = ‘approx.’ is changed to ‘ca.’
  • 300 $a = preliminary leaves and it’s abbreviation (p.l.) are removed (ex.: 4 p.l., xv, 312 p. = xv, 312 p.)
  • 300 $a = ‘unnumbered’ is removed and brackets added (ex.: 48 unnumbered leaves = [48] leaves)
  • If the p. is up against the :$b or the illustrative matter is up against the ;$c we add a space to separate
  • 300 $a = Missing periods are added to ‘p’ (ex.: 135p. = 135 p. )
  • 300 $b = The illustrative matter is rearranged to be in correct order
  • 300 $b = Obsolete illustrative matter is replaced with ‘ill.’ (ex.: ‘tables’ or “fronts.’ = ‘ill.’)
  • 300 $b = If ‘ill.’ is followed by the parenthetical illustrative matter, ‘ill.’ is dropped and the parenthetical matter remains (example: $bill. (ports.) = $bports.)
  • 300 $b = illus. is changed to ill.
  • Adds missing semicolon before $c
  • Adds ;$ccm. if missing from 300 field
  • [various pagings] = changes brackets to parentheses
  • If there is no 300 and the record is a book, the default of $ap. ;$ccm. is added
  • If there is numbered plate info in the $b that is moved to the $a – if plate designation is not numbered, it’s deleted

As with any of validation rules, these are optional, and if necessary, we can work with you to develop exactly what you’d like. These rules are now being included by default in our processing. We hope you find them useful!

Authority Control Interest Group (ACIG)

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Authority Control Interest Group (ACIG)

About twenty years ago I attended my first American Library Association Conference.  I was relatively new to the library world and really looking forward to the ALA experience.  I had heard so much about the great meeting being held about all topics known to “Library” Mankind.  It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember the details of any of the meetings I attended with the exception of one.  It is as clear today as it was some twenty years ago.  I stepped into a rather large conference room, standing room only, as I recall.  There was a panel of experts placed at the very front of the conference room on a stage with microphones for each and pitchers of water placed strategically on the table for all to share.  There was a standing microphone placed in the middle of the isle and as the panel completed their discussion, an anxious group of librarians lined up behind the microphone to say their piece.  Soon an angry tirade of heart felt opinions emerged.  I don’t remember the exact discussion, but I do remember it had something to do with the creation of an authority control record for “nuns”.* I was amazed at the passion and at times anger expressed in the varying opinions.  I remember thinking to myself, “What is wrong with these people!

That, ladies and gentlemen, was my first introduction to what we know today as the ALA Annual Session of the Authority Control Interest Group.  Oh yes, there is great passion in authority control.

So, you may ask: what is the Authority Control Interest Group (ACIG), and why should I care?    We will start with the group’s history and mission.  The ACIG was established in 1984 by Barbara Tillett.  Its original name, “Authority Control in the Online Environment Interest Group” highlights the original purpose of the group, which was to bring about awareness to technical service librarians who were moving to the online environment. At that time most of the existing ILS systems had not configured authority control into their ILS systems.  In 2006 the name was shortened to, “Authority Control Interest Group”.   The goal of the group was to provide a forum for discussion of issues related to authority control for online cataloging.  The forum is used to raise the level of awareness on authority control issues and to encourage ideas for new approaches to authority control.  Each year officers are elected to coordinate overall activities of the interest group.  The group is co-sponsored by the LITA and ALCTS divisions of the American Library Association.  A program is presented at each ALA conference.  The programs typically address what is new in the world of controlled vocabulary.  A representative for the Library of Congress typically gives an update of what is going on with authority control within their organization.  OCLC usually sends a presenter to update the library world on OCLC involvement with authority control.   The rest of the panel usually consists of people who are either experts in an area the group is focusing on for that particular meeting, or people who have done research in the area that the group is focusing on for that meeting.  The sessions are usually well attended.  You can expect several hundred for the summer session.

Upon completion of the presentations, the ACIG group gathers to have a business meeting.  All who are interested are invited to attend.  In this meeting officers are elected and the next conference presentation is discussed.  Over the next six months, the Vice-Chair works with the library community and the ACIG committee to put together a presentation for next conference.

I have been involved with the Authority Control Interest Group for the last four years.  I found it a very good vehicle for keeping a pulse on the authority control world.  The group is always looking for volunteers and welcomes new members.  For more information on the ACIG please visit their wiki site at

*Out of curiosity, I looked to see if there was a heading for nuns and there is.  It is listed below.  For the life of me, I don’t remember what the debate was about!

LDR                   00385cz   2200145n  4500
001                     sh 85093287
003                     DLC
005                     19961001105801.6
008                     860211i| anannbab|          |a ana |||
010                     $ash 85093287
040                     $aDLC$cDLC$dDLC
150         0         $aNuns
450         0         $aSisters (in religious orders, congregations, etc.)
550         0         $wg$aChristians
550         0         $aMonasticism and religious orders for women
Record Info
Ctrl No: sh 85093287
Record Date: 10/1/1996 10:58:01 AM
Last Updated/Loaded: 3/4/2009 1:56:25 AM
Usages: Subject
Rec Status:

**Post by John Reese, Chief Operating Officer of the Utah dept. of Backstage Library Works

Your New Automation Services Department

Friday, October 9th, 2009

John Reese, the former Product Manager for Authority Control, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer within our company. John is still available to all of us and we welcome his input whenever we get a chance to hear it (

Nate Cothran has been promoted to Vice President of Automation Services and continues to look for innovative ways to serve you better. Nate has chosen Jeremy Myntti ( as the new Project Manager for Authority Control services, which also includes Judy Archer (  All of us look forward to working with you on your future projects and welcome any questions, concerns or suggestions.

Backstage Library Works Automated Services

Monday, August 31st, 2009

You may have noticed that we’ve recently changed the name of this blog from MARS Authority Control to MARS Automation Services. Why the change? I’ve asked our Chief Operations Officer of the Utah location, John Reese, to explain why. Here is what he had to say.


Before the purchase of MARS from OCLC, Backstage Library Works ran several bibliographic automated products.  These services include Non-MARC or Brief MARC Record Upgrades (Machine Matching), Deduplication and Consolidation of bibliographic data, Union Database creation, Marcadia and Custom Programming.  Prior to this week, these services were run independent of the MARS 2.0 Automated Authority Control Service.  Backstage is happy to announce the consolidation of all of the above mentioned services and MARS 2.0 Automated Authority Control under one division to be called, “Backstage Library Works Automated Services.”

We found that there was a lot of overlapping in client needs involving authority control with the above mentioned automated bibliographic services.  All of these services require technical knowledge of the automated process.  At Backstage we are now sharing this valuable resource under one umbrella, Automated Services.  We look forward to having one department work with your sales representative in offering the most efficient automated solution for you.  Below is a list of all of the services under our newly formed Automated Services department.  If you have question about this change please contact John Reese,

MARS 2.0 Automated Authority Control:

MARS 2.0 service is one of the oldest and most reliable automated authority control offerings on the market. With our new system upgrade introduced in 2008, managing your authority records has never been easier.  MARS 2.0 offers name and subject authority control based on the Library of Congress name and subject authority databases (and other available National databases like MeSH, NLC, etc.).  The authority control process standardizes name, subject, series and Uniform title headings.

Automated Machine Matching:

This service offers several options to upgrade non-MARC or brief MARC records to full MARC bibliographic records.  This process searches electronic records against Backstage Library Works database and the Library of Congress Bibliographic Database to return a full standard MARC record.  There are over twenty million records to match against in this database.

Automated Deduplication:

Backstage Library Works offers a deduplication process that consolidates bibliographic or authority records in a library’s database(s).  This process is performed according to the profile specifications of the library and is often used when a library or a library consortia is forming or adding new libraries.

Union Database Creation:

Library consortia or library districts often require a central database for their consortia to work from. Backstage helps libraries create Union Bibliographic as well as Union Authority databases.


Marcadia is an automated batch copy cataloging service offered jointly by OCLC and Backstage Library Works.  This product finds, evaluates and delivers catalog records from OCLC WorldCat.  It is based on search records you supply from your local system and a selection criterion you provide.  Marcadia selects matching records from WorldCat and delivers them to you.

Custom Programming:

It has been a long standing Backstage Library Works’ tradition to customize our services to the needs of our libraries.  Many libraries require special programming to accommodate either earlier cataloging practices that no longer meet current standards and need to be changed or special programming to create unique processes for their library.  Backstage takes pride in its ability to accommodate these special needs.

Juvenile Subfield Additions

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Adding a Juvenile Subfield $v to your Library of Congress Heading

Children’s subject headings are a separate file within the LC subject file. They are designated by a second indicator of 1 in the 650 tag. The adult representation found under Library of Congress Subject headings uses a $Juvenile qualifier. The LC Children’s authority file contains just over 950 authority records.

In the automated authority control world many of our libraries are interested in changing all of their children’s subject headings to their Library of Congress equivalent.  We have always had the ability to search these children’s headings against their adult equivalent.  Recently, our clients requested that we add a juvenile subfield $v at the end of a heading that we flipped from Juvenile to Adult.  That was easy enough to do we simply added a $vJuvenile at the end of the tag once the heading was flipped to an adult heading.  However, this still did not adequately define the type of juvenile subdivision we wanted to represent the heading.

We knew that there were fixed fields within the bibliographic record that more precisely defined the type of Juvenile book we were looking at.  What we decided to do is base the juvenile designation on these specific codes.  If the bibliographic record is a book format (leader/06 = ‘a’or ‘t’) then we check byte 33 of the fixed field to determine what type of juvenile heading this is.  There are fourteen different characters that define the Juvenile book from Comic Strips to Speeches.  However, there is not a valid subfield $vJuvenile …. for each representation.  What we decided to do was translate the ones that did have a valid representation to that heading.  For instance if byte 33 was a ‘d’ we created the juvenile heading $vJuvenile drama.   The following charts indicate what heading are assigned to what code in byte 33.

= “1” : add “$vJuvenile fiction”
= “d” : add “$vJuvenile drama”
= “h” : add “$vJuvenile humor”
= “p” : add “$vJuvenile poetry”

All headings that did not have a valid subfield $vJuvenile representation in byte 33 were defaulted to Juvenile literature.

We also looked at leader byte six to determine if the bibliographic record was something other then a book and assign an appropriate juvenile designator to the headings.  For example, if leader byte 6 is ‘e’ or ‘f’ for maps we add $vMaps for children or if byte 6 is a ‘g’ and byte 7 ‘m’ or ‘v’ we add $vJuvenile films to the adult heading.  The following example illustrates what this change will look like once your juvenile headings have been converted to Library of Congress.

        Child heading:
        650   1 $aRain forests.
        650   1 $aCollies$vFiction.

        Matched LC adult with "Juvenile" description added:
        650   0 $aRain forests$vJuvenile literature.
        650   0 $aCollies$vJuvenile fiction.

For a more detailed account of subfield $vJuvenile assignments please review section 3.8 of our planning guide: