sponsored by the Library of Congress Cataloging Directorate
Barbara B. Tillett, Ph.D.
Director, Integrated Library System Program Office and
Interim Director for Electronic Resources
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4010
Authority Control on the Web
About the presenter:
Dr. Tillett is currently the Director of the Integrated Library System (ILS) Program at the Library of Congress (LC) that successfully installed a new commercial Integrated Library System for LC on time and on budget by Oct. 1, 1999. For that accomplishment, she received LC's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. She also continues as Chief of the Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO), a division of about 60 people that is responsible for various authoritative cataloging tools at LC. She is LC's representative on the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (JSC). In addition, she is the Interim Director for Electronic Resources, serving to coordinate various initiatives related to processing and accessing "born digital" materials and providing bibliographic control for electronic resources. Tillett has a bachelor's degree in mathematics and master's and Ph.D. degrees in library and information science. Her former positions have included: Head of the Catalog Dept., University of California, San Diego; Director for Technical Services, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; OCLC System Coordinator for the University of California, San Diego; Reference Librarian in science, technology, and medical reference at Hamilton Library, University of Hawaii; and bibliographic analyst and programmer for the Tsunami Document Retrieval System, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii. She has also held many positions as teacher and consultant on library automation, cataloging, authority control, and library technical operations, for example, serving as consultant on conceptual modeling to the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Study Group on the Functional Requirements of the Bibliographic Record. She also chaired the IFLA working group on defining the minimal set of data elements needed in computer-based, shared, international resource authority records and currently serves on the follow-on IFLA working group to produce functional requirements for authority records. In addition, she serves on two other IFLA working groups on the revision of "Form and Structure of Corporate Headings" and on the revision of "Guidelines for Authority References and Entries," and chairs the IFLA Section on Cataloguing.
Tillett has been active in ALA throughout her 30 years as a librarian, including founding the Authority Control Interest Group in 1984, being chair of the ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section, and serving on several editorial and review boards for such publications as Library Resources and Technical Services, College and Research Libraries, and the ACRL Publications in Librarianship. She continues to serve on the editorial board for Cataloguing & Classification Quarterly. Her publications have focused on cataloging theory and practice, authority control, and library automation. Her dissertation on bibliographic relationships has been a source for conceptual designs for future computer-based systems for bibliographic control.Full text of paper is available
The addition of library catalogs to the mix of information being searched on the Web will open up the Web to focused, topical collections and resources held in and made accessible through the world's libraries. Catalogs have a basic syndetic structure that facilitates finding and gathering together of those resources in whatever media. Authority control enables "precision and recall," which are lacking from today's Web searches. Authority control provides precision to retrieve only those records or items of interest, and the syndetic structure of authority control's cross references assures recall of all the relevant materials, as well as navigation to reach bibliographically related materials.
Explorations to provide interoperability across multiple authority files, to link and provide switching for displays of authorized headings on an international scale, are underway within the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). The combinations of Unicode and new technologies are opening up access to all scripts and all languages. Crosswalks, like those provided in OCLC's CORC (Cooperative Online Resource Catalog) project, link Dublin Core (DC) metadata and cataloging rule-based records in MARC and other formats with XML and other communication structures, and expand the opportunities for contributing authority records to an international pool. Standards and agreements are emerging, like a DC for Authorities and the basic data elements recommended in the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) "Minimal Level Authority Record."
Other explorations into the use of a standard number for bibliographic entities, as those proposed in the 1970s and more recently by ICA, IFLA, INDECS, and others, may have passed their time of usefulness. Given today's technologies with hyperlinks, URLs, and other mechanisms to connect records and identify and display content, there may be better ways to link, navigate, and display authorized headings.
A pool of authority records for bibliographic entities (persons, corporate bodies, works/expressions, concepts objects, events, and places) to use on the Internet is of interest not only to libraries and their users but also to publishers, copyright and rights management organizations, museums, and archives. We will explore how this all might actually work. Authority control remains the most expensive part of cataloging, but through cooperative efforts like NACO, SACO, and IFLA initiatives, the research done in one library can be shared internationally to lower the cost.