Press Contact: Sarah Thomas (202) 707-5333

July 29, 1994

Library of Congress Name Authority File Expanded, Becomes Anglo-American Authority File

This year, with the addition of contributions from the British Library, the Library of Congress Name Authority File has expanded to become the Anglo-American Authority File (AAAF). Negotiations with the National Library of Canada are also under way to enable it to contribute electronically to this name authority file, and the Library has begun discussions in a similar vein with the Australian Bibliographic Network.

The AAAF, an authoritative source of information for catalogers, provides standardized forms of more than 1 million names, representing authors of more than 100 million works held by the Library of Congress and the British Library. Authors may write under pseudonyms, nicknames, or under names in non- romanized languages that may be transliterated in a variety of ways. To provide consistency of access, a single form of name is chosen in a library catalog as the authoritative form, and other forms are listed as cross references.

Sarah Thomas, director for cataloging at the Library of Congress, said: "Major cooperative efforts, such as those with the British Library and the National Library of Canada, will make high-quality cataloging data available to a wider audience at a time when LC's data base is being accessed by users around the world via the Internet."

The AAAF is available on-line to thousands of libraries that can eliminate formerly redundant work spent to control the form of names used in individual library catalogs.

Before the shared authority file, different libraries often chose different authoritative forms for a name and thus could not easily share each other's cataloging information. A single, shared authority file facilitates cooperation through the ability of libraries to use cataloging information from other libraries with the confidence that the forms of names will match those in their own catalogs. For library users this means the availability of cross references from variant forms of names to the controlled forms and faster availability of bibliographic information through cooperative programs. Researchers will be able to use the same form of name when accessing multiple library catalogs through computer networks, saving time and effort.

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PR 94-115
ISSN 0731-3527

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