Press Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191

December 29, 1997

Machine-Derived Name Authority Records Available For Music

The Library has begun loading machine-derived music name authority records into the National Authority File it maintains. The new action is a result of the Uniform Title Corrections Project, a joint research effort between the Library of Congress and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). It is expected that some 66,000 files will be loaded by the end of February.

Machine-derived authority records are authority records that have been created by an algorithmic process. Some can be created with the intervention of a person, while others, like those in the joint research project, are created by a computer program. The program reads the bibliographic record, determines the need for an authority record, extracts the relevant information from the bibliographic record, and reformulates it into the authority record.

Authority files are used by catalogers and reference librarians across the world to identify each person, corporate body or uniform title in a unique way so all of their works are listed in one place. The Uniform Title Corrections Project is developing software to correct and update title headings in bibliographic records, which will help advance large-scale authority control. Previously, titles had been updated and corrected manually. "Correcting titles by computer reduces the labor- intensive authority control process and improves search results by eliminating variant titles under which a work could be listed," said Deta S. Davis, of the Cataloging Division at the Library of Congress. "This is the first time machine-generated authority records have been distributed to the world at large," said Susan Westberg, OCLC database specialist. "The records will benefit music catalogers by decreasing the amount of authority work they need to do locally."


As a result of the research project, which began in November 1995, several thousand bibliographic records that have not been examined by Library of Congress catalogers will be added to the MUMS Music File. In order for the music catalogers to continue to have workable access to authoritative headings, the headings currently in the MUMS Music File that are not covered by authority records will have machine-derived authority records created for them.

This project is beginning with music records because, according to established guidelines, music catalogers do not create authority records for all uniform titles used in bibliographic records. For authority control of these uniform titles, the bibliographic file in conjunction with the authority file has served as the authoritative source for all the music uniform titles.


OCLC will compare the headings (personal names, corporate names, and name/uniform titles) against the Name Authority File. If a heading does not already exist in an authority record, a new one will be created. The machine-derived authority records will include a 1XX field, a 670, and a 667 with the legend "Machine-derived authority record." The 670 will contain a shortened form of the 1XX main entry (if there is one); a title citation, which will include a citation from the 245 subfield a; date; and, if the heading appears in the subfield c of the 245, a usage citation. The 1XX main entry is included because it was determined that due to the high number of music records that contain a nondistinctive 245 title, the additional information could be essential in many instances to identify the source record. The date is taken from the 008/7-10 of the source bibliographic record. In some instances, cross references may be generated if certain formulaic situations occur, such as a compound surname. The encoding level of these records in the 008/33 will be "d" for "preliminary." These records may be used, modified and upgraded according to normal Library of Congress / Names Authority Cooperative Program authority procedures. However, if appropriate, the "Preliminary" encoding in the 008/33 should be replaced. If encoding becomes available for machine-derived authority records, the legend "Machine-derived authority record" will be retroactively removed from the 667 and replaced by an appropriate code in the fixed fields.

OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization. More information is available at the OCLC Web site:

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PR 97-209
ISSN 0731-3527

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