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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > NACO > Frequently Asked Questions on Establishing Geographic Names for NACO

For geographic names used as jusrisdictions see the FAQ on Corporate Names

  1. When establishing geographic names how are degrees, minutes, and seconds to be represented when supplying the coordinates in the 670s?
  2. Why is it when a large jurisdiction changes its name a see-also is made from the old form of name to the current form but when adding that new jurisdiction's name to a smaller jurisdiction a see reference is made ...?
  3. Why are geographic names for some countries not changed even though the new name is in common usage?
  4. Are PCC catalogers required to search GEOnet or GNIS in order to establish a geographic name?
  5. Do all geographic names used as qualifiers for corporate headings need to be established?
  6. What is the underlying principle of whether a geographic name is established through NACO or through SACO?
  7. Should catalogers add a 667 note to NARs to show subject usage, such as when there is a Predecessor/Successor linear jurisdictional change?
  1. When establishing geographic names how are degrees, minutes, and seconds to be represented when supplying the coordinates in the 670s?

    Degrees are represented by the degree symbol, minutes by the mi︠a︡gkiĭ znak, and seconds by the tvërdyĭ znak. LC-PCC PS 1.4 prescribes treatment as:

    Inch/inches, second/seconds = hard sign, double prime (tvërdyĭ znak) (")
    Foot/feet, minute/minutes = soft sign, prime (mi︠a︡gkiĭ znak) (´)
  2. Why is it when a large jurisdiction (e.g., country or state) changes its name a see-also (earlier/later) is made from the old form of name to the current form but when adding that new jurisdiction's name to a smaller jurisdiction (e.g., state or city) within that country a see reference is made (4XX)?

    Example 1: Example 2: Example 3:
    151 $a Southern Rhodesia 151 $a Salisbury (Zimbabwe) 151 $a Salisbury (Zimbabwe)
    551 $i Successor: $a Zimbabwe $w r 451 $wnne$a Salisbury (Southern Rhodesia) 551 $i Predecessor: Harare (Zimbabwe) $w r

    (Note: complete reference structure not given in these examples)

    In example 1 the jurisdiction changed names thus a Successor reference is made on the NAR. In example 2 the smaller jurisdiction (city, state, etc.) has not changed its name, what has changed is the cataloger's addition to the name; therefore, one cannot apply RDA 11.2.2.6 but instead RDA 11.3.3.4 is applied. In other words, the name of the city had not changed at the time the larger jurisdiction changed names; thus, the earlier form of the heading is converted into a see reference (note that it is coded "nne" in the subfield $w to denote an earlier authorized form of name). In example 3 the Predecessor reference is made because the name of the smaller jurisdiction has now changed.

  3. Why are geographic names for some countries not changed even though the new name is in common usage (e.g., Myanmar vs. Burma)?

    The Library or Congress does not change a country's name unless the new name is recognized by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN) (cf. LC-PCC PS 16.2.2.3).
  4. Are PCC catalogers required to search GEOnet external link or the Geographic Names Information System GNIS in order to establish a geographic name?

    Yes, note that according to LC-PCC PS 16.2.2.3, place names in the U.S. must be based on the form found in GNIS. For most foreign place names the LC-PCC PS states that these may be established using the item being cataloged with consideration of the form found in the GEOnet Names Server (GNS) or an appropriate gazetteer if access to the web is not an option.

    Note: For names in Great Britain, base the name on a recent edition of The Ordnance Survey gazetteer of Great Britain (external link). Use this Great Britain site link (external link) to search for a particular place name.

    Note also: The Web Resources for SACO Proposals page has a large number of links to electronic geographic names sources, including official gazetteers for Australia, N.Z., and Canada, that may be used for establishing geographic names for NACO.

  5. Do all geographic names used as qualifiers for corporate headings need to be established?

    Yes.
  6. What is the underlying principle of whether a geographic name is established through NACO or through SACO?

    A geographic name heading (151) may be established in either the subject or the name authority file; however, it is only the geographic heading established in the name authority file that is also eligible for use as a jurisdiction or government heading (110). Therefore, jurisdictional status is the primary difference between geographic name and subject headings. Geographic subject headings are typically geographic features, regions, and collective names for groups of jurisdictions that do not also function as national governments (cf. SHM H 690 and the Alphabetic list of ambiguous entities SHM H 405)
  7. Should catalogers add a 667 note to NARs to show subject usage, such as when there is a Predecessor/Successor linear jurisdictional change?

    Yes. See DCM Z1, 667 section, for additional information and wording examples. Note that for jurisdictional mergers or splits a 667 subject usage note is not required. See SHM H 710.