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Catalogers are responsible for authority work related to the works they are cataloging. This includes assuring that all name headings follow those in the NAR file or, if authority records are not available, are set up in prescribed RDA form. Topical headings should conform to LCSH.

Authority record standards and practice are governed by the Harvard University Library policy document Authority Records for Names, Series and Uniform Titles in Aleph (last updated in 2004 and now not up to date) and MARC 21 Concise Format for Authority Data.

Index Resolution & Authority Record Maintenance

  • Catalogers are responsible for cleaning up split files (including those due to duplicate authority records) of fewer than twenty-five records; split files larger than twenty-five records, catalogers should be reported to LTS through the use of the trigger function in Aleph or by using the online forms on the LTS site. Remember to run names through subject indexes.
  • Duplicate or conflicting authority records can only be deleted by the Head of the Rare Book Team and the Head of Technical Services.
    Catalogers should forward all such records to the Head of the Rare Book Team; include both authority records, indicating which one is to be deleted, and a print-out of the index of bibliographic records with those bibliographic records that are affected circled.
    • Word of caution: While it is possible to overlay a local authority record with an NAF heading from Connexion (insert an 035 into the OCLC record with the Aleph number, then export), the preferred way of dealing with local headings that have been superseded by NAF headings is to have them deleted
  • Proposed corrections to NAR authority records (which should be few and far between) should follow the same path.
  • Catalogers are responsible for adding 4XXs to existing authority records (either local or NACO) when they are suitable for resolving conflicts in HOLLIS; those 4XXs should be coded with a subfield 5 "hou" or "the".
  • Catalogers are encouraged to bring authority records into HOLLIS immediately from OCLC when it is helpful in their cataloging and/or resolves immediate conflicts (rather than wait for/assume those headings will come in via MARS processing)

Creating Authority Records

  • Catalogers can create local name authority records but do not, in general, establish topical headings (except for names); these should be referred to Bruce Trumble in HL ITS.
  • We have learned over the years that Harvard's MARS processing is less than perfect, so catalogers should observe caution in the creation of headings and bringing them into HOLLIS. This includes:
    • Assume nothing
    • Check all possible variations of headings carefully in HOLLIS before creating new headings
    • After a record has been added to the NAF (i.e. "distributed"), it is wise to bring the heading into HOLLIS manually. This is a good time to address any pre-existing split files