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Introductory Note

Stuart Ede and Winston Tabb

Stuart Ede (left) and Winston Tabb sign the Memorandum of Agreement of the Convergence of Cataloging Policy at the Library.

Another significant milepost of international cooperation in cataloging was reached on February 26, 1996, when Winston Tabb, associate librarian, Library of Congress (LC) and Stuart Ede, acting director of Acquisitions Processing and Cataloguing, British Library (BL), signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Convergence of Cataloguing Policy. The memorandum puts into effect the provisions of an accompanying document, Cataloguing Policy Convergence Agreement (CPCA) that is the result of nearly three years of discussions and negotiations between staff at the BL and LC aimed at aligning cataloging practices between the two institutions.

The groundwork for this event was laid in spring 1993, when Pat Oddy, now Head of Cataloguing at the British Library, visited the Library of Congress and expressed interest in initiating exploration of ways in which the BL and LC could reconcile differences of cataloging practices, particularly in the area of access points, so as to facilitate international exchange of bibliographic and authority records. Although the BL and LC share a common cataloging code, AACR2, differences in cataloging policy and the context in which particular headings were established had resulted in cases where differing forms of headings were used for the same entity. In addition to the duplication of effort in establishing the headings, the different forms used created a barrier to effective sharing of cataloging because of the need to adjust headings from the "UK form" to the "U.S. form" or vice-versa. The Library of Congress responded enthusiastically to Ms. Oddy's proposal, and a working group, chaired by John Byrum, chief of the Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division, was formed to support the initiative at LC.

From that time on, LC and BL staff have been in regular communication through electronic mail and through several visits Alan Danskin, head of Authority Control at the British Library, made to LC. Mr. Danskin and Diane Humes, cataloging policy specialist of the LC Cataloging Policy and Support Office, in consultation with other staff at both institutions worked to analyze and resolve differences in policies for establishing name headings with the goal of reducing as many divergent practices as possible. The Executive Council of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging as well as other bodies and persons consulted about possible changes strongly encouraged this effort to achieve greater uniformity. Compromises were made on both sides, with the result, as stated in the CPCA, that the British Library and the Library of Congress have now reached agreement on a common interpretation of AACR2 with regard to the formulation of access points for most names. There are still some areas where agreement has not yet been reached -- for example, romanization of headings from non-roman scripts and use of the abbreviation "Dept." for the English Word "Department" where the two libraries follow different policies that have resulted in large number of bibliographic records too great for either to change at this time. But, the parties are resolved to explore strategies to resolve them as well.

The British Library has mounted the United States National Authority File in its own system, and has already begun to make use of existing headings where agreement practice has been reached and also to contribute new and changed headings to the shared authority file. This BL contribution to NACO will increase significantly during 1996, and, in the longer term, the forms of headings in the BL's own Name Authority List (BLNAL) will be gradually superseded by the equivalent LC/NACO headings to create a truly international joint authority file. This Anglo-American file will reduce duplication of effort in establishing headings, and provide greater consistency in headings used in cataloging records created on either side of the Atlantic.

Together with programs on subject authorities and to achieve alignment of MARC formats, these developments mark the growing strength of the cooperative relationship between the Library of Congress and the British Library.

The text of the Cataloguing Policy Convergence Agreement follows:

Cataloguing Policy Convergence Agreement

Anglo-American Authority File
AAAF 9404(AD) [Product U2]

20th February 1996


Introduction & statement of aims
Standards, policies and formats
Part 1 - NACO

I - New authority records
II - Additions and changes to authority records

Part 2 - LCRIs

Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26

Part 3- Romanisation

I - British Library Policy
II - Convergence of Romanisation schemes
III - Romanisation of Chinese

Part 4- Monitoring & reviewing

I - Consultation
II - Monitoring arrangements
III - Review Process

Part 5- Conclusion

Cataloguing Policy Convergence Agreement

Introduction and statement of aims

A prerequisite to the creation of a unified Anglo-American Authority File (AAAF), comprising name, uniform title and series headings created by the Library of Congress and the British Library and their respective co-operative partners is the agreement of the minimum acceptable contents of the authority record and the form of authority headings. This document affirms the commitment of both institutions to AAAF and details the specific actions required from both partners to ensure compatibility is achieved.


Headings will be contributed by the British Library and Library of Congress in accordance with AACR2 and USMARC Authorities Format, until such time as the proposed Common MARC Format is realised.


The British Library and the Library of Congress have reached agreement on a common interpretation of AACR2 with regard to the formulation of access points for names with the following exceptions:

Headings in non-Roman scripts - conventional forms
Headings in non-Roman scripts - Romanised headings
Preferred forms of Dep[artmen]t. and House [of Representatives]
Headings for Exhibitions and Fairs
Headings which cannot be reversibly converted between formats
Uniform titles

Part 1 - NACO

The British Library accepts the obligations and responsibilities consequent on membership of NACO, The Library of Congress agrees to the requirements listed below.


Library of Congress will appoint a member of staff to liaise with the British Library on matters relating to NACO contribution. The point of contact at the British Library will be the Head of Authority Control (AP&C), or his nominee.

New Authority Records

Exchanges of data

The British Library will supply name and uniform title records which meet the criteria set out on p. 1 of the NACO Participants' Manual, i.e. they include:

A. 008/32 - fixed fields for Undifferentiated personal name [consolidated headings]
008/29 - reference evaluation
008/33 - level of establishment (Heading used/not used in Bibliographic record]

B. 1XX - the new heading

C. Appropriate references 4XX/5XX

D. Source data for the work catalogued (670)

E. Source of additional data/references (further 670s)

F. Further note fields where appropriate

The British Library will configure its systems to accept series authority records, but initially will not contribute series authority records. The British Library will contribute all authority headings created, upgraded or amended for use on AAAF with the exception of those categories listed above. The British Library will receive all authority headings created, upgraded or amended by Library of Congress or its NACO partners for use on the AAAF.

Database Search Procedures

The British Library undertakes to search the AAAF and select authority records according to the following table of precedence:

a. AAAF AACR2 heading.

b. An AACR2 heading created for the superseded British Library Name Authority File may be recommended in place of an AACR2 compatible or AACR1 heading.

c. AAAF AACR2 compatible heading AAAF AACR1 heading

d. AAAF AACR1 heading

e. AACR2 heading from the BL Catalogues

f. Subject to technical feasibility, OCLC or RLIN heading.

053 Field

The British Library will not request the assignation of class numbers for authors of belles lettres.

4XX and 5XX (see also Rule Interpretations Chapter 26 below)

The British Library:

will add appropriate 4XX and 5XX fields when variant headings are encountered

will delete redundant 4XX/5XX fields

will code 5XX TAGs as earlier or later headings

The 670 tag

The British Library will adopt the practices detailed in the NACO Participants' Manual and the Library of Congress Descriptive Cataloguing Manual.

When months are cited in the 670 they will follow the abbreviated forms given in AACR2 Appendix B15. This will not be applied retrospectively.


The 675 will be added by the British Library when appropriate. The 675 will be used to record unsuccessful searches of commonly used reference works.

footnote: The additional searching would be a further operational cost for Authority Control.

II. Additions and Changes to Authority Records

AACR2/AACR2 Compatible

The underlying principle is that the preferred heading will be the "First in." Exceptions to this principle are set out in Parts 2 and 3.

AACR2/AACR2 Compatible headings will not otherwise be changed except:

to add qualifiers to distinguish otherwise identical names
to correct erroneous data
to correct erroneous coding
in response to a request from the author

When further information becomes available but none of the above criteria apply, the date will be recorded as additional data In a source of data (670) note.


The British Library will "upgrade" Library of Congress pre AACR2 headings in the following circumstances:

i. if the AACR2 record would be the same as the pre AACR2 record

ii. in preference to creating a new record. The pre-AACR2 record may be upgraded to correspond to a British Library authority heading, if one exists.

Cancellation of Authority Records In the Shared NAF

Only the Library of Congress is authorised to delete headings. The British Library undertakes to retain the LC control number when upgrading AACR2 Compatible/AACR1 Records.


The British Library will adopt NACO normalisation and filing rules.

Bibliographic File Maintenance

The British Library agrees to inform the Library of Congress of changes to headings necessitating bibliographic file maintenance.

The British Library will be informed by NACO participants prior to any changes being made to the 1XX tag in records it has contributed in order that bibliographic file maintenance may be carried out.

Part 2 - Rule interpretations

The British Library and the Library of Congress have reached an understanding on common interpretation of AACR2 with regard to access points with the exception of the categories listed in I above. Part 2 sets out the interpretations of specific rules agreed between the British Library and the Library of Congress.

Chapter 21.18
Named/Unnamed Conferences

The British Library will follow the definition of a named conference provided by the LCRI, The LCRI has been amended to reflect the more flexible interpretation currently permitted by Library of Congress.

The British Library will contribute authority headings for successive manifestations of a named conference. The Library of Congress will continue its current practice of making a general authority record to represent each conference as a whole.

Chapter 22 Personal Names
22.28 Multiple pseudonyms

The British Library is in the process of tracing all multiple pseudonym forms.

22.2B3 Contemporary Authors

The LCRI has been revised to read, "Consider all living authors and any author who has died since December 31st, 1900 to be a contemporary." In case of doubt, do not consider the person contemporary." This definition has been proposed to JSC by the British Library for revision of AACR2.

22.3C Names written In a non-Roman script (See also Part III) The British Library does not apply the option to employ conventional spellings of names written in a non-Roman script. The British Library will not authorise headings formulated according to the option for use in its catalogues.

The British Library undertakes not to contribute systematically Romanised headings for authors for whom Library of Congress has established a conventional form.

22.4 Initial Articles

The provisions of 22.4 will be applied unless the name should be entered under the provisions of 22.5D1.

22.8A1 Entry under given name etc.

The LCRI has been revised to read "In languages other then English there are examples of a single name that cannot be broken down into the components "name" and "phrase", Do not punctuate these with a comma. (However make a reference from the form using a comma.)"

22.12B British Terms of Honour/22.15B Terms of address of married women

In the short term, the British Library will withhold headings of this kind.

The British Library and Library of Congress will seek an amendment to AACR2, abolishing the requirement to consider terms of honour and terms of address as part of the name.

22.18 Additions to Personal Names - Fuller Forms (Punctuation)

The British Library policy statement will be withdrawn. The British Library will include full stops following initials used in the parenthesis; such initials will no longer be filled out as further information becomes available, other then to resolve a conflict between identical headings. Such additional data will be stored in the 670.

22.19 Distinguishing Terms

The British Library will prefer floriat or century dates to descriptive phrases.

The Library of Congress will continue its practice of preferring distinguishing terms in some cases.

Both institutions agree to accept whichever form enters the file first.

Chapter 23

The Recommendations of the PCC Task Group on Names and Subjects have been accepted by the Executive Council and will be implemented by Library of Congress.

The British Library has agreed to treat headings regarded as jurisdictions, as geographic terms within its own files.

Those categories for which the Task Group has made no recommendations or was unable to reach agreement on will be excluded from AAAF.

23.2 Sources

The Library of Congress will follow British Library guidelines for establishing names of places in the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland.

The British Library will follow Library of Congress guidelines for establishing names of places in the United States.

The British Library will follow the recommendations of this RI when creating/upgrading headings for AAAF.

EXCEPTION: The British Library will not contribute headings which require romanisation.

The Library of Congress has revised the LCRI on 23.2 Modifications of the name to conform with British usage:

If the name is based on the form found in a recently published gazetteer generally use in the heading the form found on the item being catalogued rather than a shortened or unabbreviated form found in a gazetteer, unless 23.5A is applicable.... However for "Saint or "St." or "Mount" or "Mt." always use the spelled out form regardless of the item being catalogued or other evidence unless the name is for a place or jurisdiction within the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. In which case the abbreviation form should be preferred to the spelled out form "Saint."

The Library of Congress has amended existing headings which conflict with British usage.

23.4F1 Distinguishing between otherwise identical place names

The British Library will withdraw its policy note on this rule. The British Library undertakes that an appropriate gazetteer will be consulted prior to establishing new place name headings.

Chapter 24 Headings for Corporate Bodies

24.1 General Rule


Library of Congress has made the following revision to the RI.

Add a comma to a series of words appearing in an English-language name except before an ampersand.


1) For British headings follow the punctuation in the publication, which normally will not include a comma before the conjunction in the series of words, e.g.:


Great Britain, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food NOT Great Britain. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food

The British Library agrees to follow American usage when establishing American corporate bodies.

The Library of Congress agrees to follow British usage when establishing British corporate bodies.

24.4B Names not conveying the idea of a corporate body

The British Library will conform to the qualifiers prescribed by the LCRI.

24.4C Two or more bodies with the same or similar names

The British Library accepts the provisions of this RI.

24.6 Governments Additions

The British Library will withdraw the policy note on 24.6 prohibiting qualification by type of government.

24.8 Exhibitions and Fairs

The British Library will not contribute headings for exhibitions and fairs until the tagging differences are resolved.

The British Library undertakes to initiate an amendment to the UKMARC bibliographic format revising the tagging of exhibitions and fairs to conform with USMARC.


The British Library will amend its House Policy to incorporate those words specified by the LCRI as "type 2".

LC has amended the RI to include the following words: "Directorate", "Executive" and "Inspectorate."


The British Library accepts the exclusions in the RI for TYPE 6.

TYPE 2 (CF 24.13 Type 2)
24-21 B/C House of Representatives

The British Library will investigate the feasibility of amending its bibliographic backfiles to conform to the Library of Congress'preferred form, "House",

The British Library will not contribute headings for this body until it has amended its backfiles.

Chapter 25 Uniform Titles

Uniform titles have been excluded from the agreement.

Chapter 26 References [See also 22.213 supra]

The British Library and the Library of Congress agree that each institution will provide references in accordance with its own practice.

But the British Library will make references from variant forms of personal names entered under surname even if the variant has not been used in authorship.

A project will be initiated to review Chapter 26 and prescribe the minimum references required.


The British Library accepts the provisions of the RI and undertakes to construct references in the same form in which they would be constructed if chosen as the heading.

Complex references

The British Library undertakes to provide tracings from each headingreferred to In a complex reference.

Appendix B9. Roman alphabet abbreviations

The British Library will not contribute headings containing the fully spelt out form.

The British Library will not authorise headings containing the abbreviated form for use in its catalogues.

Library of Congress undertakes to investigate the feasibility of retrospectively amending headings containing the abbreviated form "Dept." when the availability of a global update facility makes this practical.

Part 3 - Romanisation

I. The British Library will not contribute headings which require transliteration, It will receive and store AAAF headings which have been transliterated, but it will not use them in its bibliographic records.

II. The British Library and the Library of Congress will investigate the extent to which romanisation varies in practice and work towards the application of common romanisation rules.

III. Future developments

It is recognised that Romanisation provides only an imperfect representation of the title page form. It is recommended that in future AAAF is developed to permit the storage and display headings in the original script.

Part 4 - Monitoring and Reviewing

I. Consultation

It is recommended that the agreement is issued as a consultation document to other parties (e.g. NACO members, CLSCP Libraries) for consultation, with the provision that responsibility for the final text lies with the British Library and Library of Congress.

II. Monitoring

Monitoring of the operational functioning of the Agreement is the responsibility of the personnel identified in Part 1. They shall consult and act to resolve the problems by taking steps as necessary to satisfy the provisions and stipulations of the Agreement.

III. Review Process

The parties to the Agreement should be represented by managers at an appropriate level (i.e. they should have the authority to commit their organisations to implement changes) who have technical understanding of the issues involved. Either party may issue proposals to change or expand provisions of the Agreement at any time. They will exchange views on these proposals in advance of other consultations and endeavour to reach agreement as to their implementation as expeditiously as possible. As an interim measure, pending Library of Congress's development of an independent authority file, the British Library will not contribute authorities to the AAAF for headings affected by proposals to which they do not agree.

Part 5 - Conclusion

By its nature this memorandum has focused on the problems attendant on implementing the AAAF, but these should not obscure the much larger tract of common ground that unites the British Library and the Library of Congress. AACR2 provides the solid foundation for the development of a joint authority file and it is important to remember that formats and IT systems are simply tools which enable us to manipulate and exchange data and, although they may seem to impose considerable obstacles in the path of convergence. In the final analysis, they are neither immutable nor irreplaceable.

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