Authority Work Procedures:
Verifying and Establishing Headings

Document sections

Introduction OCLC-member copy
General notes Original cataloguing


The following instructions deal with procedures for performing in-house name and uniform title authority work.  These instructions do not apply to series, geographic, or topical subject heading authority work; they also do not deal with verifying and establishing literary class numbers.

The procedures vary somewhat, depending upon the type of bib record copy in which the heading appears, so these instructions are generally broken down by type of copy.

General Notes

Variant forms Suspected problems Cross-references Unresolved problems and questions
1xx and 5xx relationships Searching Voyager Authority records
Order of steps NLC records Abbreviations

  1. Variant formsSearch all possible forms of the heading, truncating online search keys when possible (for example, to incorporate first initials as well as spelled-out first names).  Examine the piece quickly for variants if necessary.

    If, at any point during your searching, you learn of another possible form of the heading, go back and repeat earlier searching steps, including a search in the LC/NACO file.  For example, if you find a reference to an author’s real name when you previously knew only the pseudonym, re-search the LC/NACO file for the real name.

  2. 1xx and 5xx relationships:  Local authority records:

  3. Order of steps:  The following outlines are intended as guidelines on the steps to follow.  You may use judgment as to the order of the steps, as long as all necessary steps are covered.  Do not stop searching before you have found a heading with a source acceptable for your category of cataloguing.

    For example, in copy cataloguing, if you recall verifying the same heading recently, you may prefer to begin by simply searching the Voyager authority file.

  4. Suspected problems:  If you suspect a problem in a heading that you find in an acceptable source for your type of bib record copy:  Unless other procedures are specified, go on to the next step and continue until the problem is resolved.

  5. Searching Voyager:

    See also “Voyager Authority Searching

  6. NLC:  The term “NLC” is used here to refer only to English-language National Library of Canada records (040 $a NLC $b eng $c NLC or 040 $a Ca ... $b eng $c NLC).  French-language NLC records (with 040 $b fre) should be treated as any other OCLC-member copy.

  7. Cross-references:  Please see “Useful Types of Cross-References and Additional Information about Headings.”  Keep in mind variant forms found in the piece as well as variant headings and usage that you find while searching outside sources.  Once you have established an acceptable heading for your category of bib record copy, however, there is no need to continue searching just to find cross-references.

  8. Authority records:  Once you have verified or established an acceptable heading:

  9. Abbreviations:  For the significance of abbreviations used in this document, see the appendix.  [Not yet in HTML document.]

  10. Unresolved problems and questions:  If after following (or attempting to follow) these instructions, you still encounter problems, have difficulty making a decision, or have any other questions, please consult with your trainer or the Database Management/Authority Control Librarian.

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27 April 1991; slightly revised 11 January 2000, pending further workflow revision

HTML document last reviewed:  24 March 2004