Posts Tagged ‘ILS’

Blind References

Friday, May 22nd, 2009


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.

Loading Replacement Authorities into Polaris

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

An update from Polaris Integrated Library Systems – $z in the 010 tag

Polaris ILS versions prior to version 3.5 do not allow an incoming authority record to overlay if the Library of Congress authority record is replaced by an older version of that authority record.  When a newer record replaces an older record at the Library of Congress a “$z” with the old authority control number is added to the 010 of the new record.  This tells the library that there was an old version of this record and it has been replaced with this new version.  Prior to Polaris version 3.5, the Polaris system would not recognize the $z as the old record and the overlay would not take place.

According to Brad Rogers, Director of Implementation Services at Polaris, version 3.5 addresses this issue with a new dedupe rule added specifically for authority record importing.  Version 3.5 is slated for release by Polaris in just a few weeks.  The following Polaris importing setup screen reflects the change.

Screenshot showing new import rules allowed by the soon to be released latest Polaris update.

Screenshot showing new import rules allowed by the soon to be released latest Polaris update.

Always Load in Correct Order

Friday, March 20th, 2009


We have often had clients ask us in what order they should load their authorities, if they have several groups to load.  Perhaps you’ve found yourself in the situation where you haven’t loaded your last set of authority updates and now you’ve sent in new bibliographic records to be processed, or maybe your next scheduled update has arrived.  You find yourself looking at two or more batches of authorities and you wonder, “Does it really matter which goes first?”  Absolutely!  And here’s why:


    *  Say you had a scheduled authority update in December, but things went crazy busy and you haven’t had time to load those authorities yet.  Now it’s March and you have a large group of new bibliographic records that need processing, so you send them in.  Thinking you can save time by loading both the December updates and the bibliographic authorities at the same time, you wait for the new group to be returned.  But now … which to load first?  You should load the December updates first.  Example:

    *  You have a heading for Doe, John,$d1955-   and sometime last year LC updated that to Doe, John Joseph,$d1955- (and if we’re lucky, LC added the “old” heading as a 400 see-reference).  This changed authority would deliver with the December group you hadn’t loaded yet.

    *  Now you’ve sent in your bib records and in there is the heading for Doe, John,$d1955-  .  However, between December and today’s date LC decided to edit the record again and they put out a new authority with the new heading of: Doe, John J.,$d1955- (and still kept the original “old” heading of Doe, John,$d1955-  in a 400 see-reference tag).

    *  With the processed bibs you’d get back the very newest authority for Doe, John J.,$d1955-, which is what you’d want in your system.

    *  But if you decide to load the bibliographic records and associated authorities first and the December authority updates second, the middle version of Doe, John Joseph,$d1955-  (from the December updates) would overwrite the newest authority sent with the bibs, and you would be stuck with an older, not current LC version of this heading.

Which is why it’s always wisest to load oldest-to-newest, when you’re working with several projects at once.

Written by: Judy Archer