2.1 Creating and Revising Name Authority Records


This policy governs the creation and revision of name authority records for use in the Harold B. Lee Library Catalog and for contribution to the NACO program. Authority records are created to ensure consistency of access points, as well as to provide increased access to library users through appropriate references in the catalog. They also serve as descriptions of bibliographic entities, such as persons, corporate bodies, families, works, expressions, and places. These are referred to as “entities” “entity descriptions” or “entity access points” below.

The policy is designed to identify the aims of authority work. It does not prescribe specific procedures for accomplishing these aims, but should be used as a guide.


A. Creating new authority records

An authority record should be created for every entity represented in the online catalog in accordance with the rules outlined in the NACO Participant’s Manual and RDA, and subject to the limitations below. Variant access points should be included as prescribed by RDA. Library of Congress-PCC Policy Statements (LC-PCC PS) that apply to PCC should be followed when applying RDA.

All entity access points used in new bibliographic records should be checked against the local authority file and the NACO authority file. Existing forms found in these files should normally be accepted and used. If no authority record is found, a new one should be created.

Care should be taken at all times that no new access point is established for an entity that has already been established under a different form or that no new access point is identical to an access point already established for a different entity.

Catalogers should use judgment in deciding whether sources in addition to the resource being cataloged need to be checked before an access point can be established. Always consult OCLC for forms that may have been used. Simple Internet searches about the entity are encouraged. Encyclopedias and other reference sources may also be used. Exhaustive research, however, is not required and no more time should be spent than is needed to gather information to formulate the access point and its appropriate variants, and to record other RDA elements related to the entity that are judged important by the cataloger. In some cases, no sources other than the item in hand and the online bibliographic/authority files need to be consulted.

B. Evaluating previously used access points

As they search the authority files to check new access points, catalogers should routinely be aware of access points already in the file and make quick evaluations based on their knowledge of cataloging rules. Sometimes additional information on items in hand can assist in this evaluation.

Access points that do not appear to be in compliance with RDA should be further researched and revised as new items are cataloged using these access points. This evaluation applies even to records that have been re-coded to RDA, because many of them were re-coded by machine processes that were not always accurate.

Evaluation may result in additional references on the authority record, revision of the access point, addition of missing RDA elements, or creation of a new authority record where one did not previously exist.

C. Authority work for copy cataloging

The Authorities Specialist, other cataloging specialists, and faculty catalogers evaluate access points used in bibliographic records entered by copy catalogers. Access points not established may be created by the specialists or faculty catalogers.


A. Creation of original authority records

Original authority records will be created as needed and should contain, in addition to the access point, references as prescribed by RDA, other appropriate RDA elements, and a record of research done to establish the access point, including sources consulted and relevant information found.

B. Access points already established

No authority record should be created for an access point that already exists in the authority file. Catalogers are encouraged to upgrade these records to RDA if needed. Forms deemed not in compliance with RDA should be revised.

All authority records that are already established in the NACO authority file should be used as the established access point in the local authority file, regardless of how much or how little information they contain. These records will be added to our file through our outsourcing process, or SmartPorted through Z39.50.

C. Access points not found in online files

  • Catalogers and Specialists

Faculty catalogers and specialists are generally expected to create PCC BIBCO bibliographic records; in these records all access points must be established in the NACO authority file. Original authority records should be created for access points not found there. All new records should be created and submitted though the NACO program for inclusion in the NACO authority file.

  • Authorities Specialist

The Authorities Specialist will use the following criteria to determine when to establish name access points in the NACO authority file for copy cataloging records.

Personal name access points will be established if:

-The access point is a compound name, unless language expertise is needed. The Authorities Specialist will send these cases to the appropriate cataloger for authority work.

-The name access point requires a 400 or a 500 field.

-There is a conflict.

-Dates are required.

Corporate Bodies will be established as needed, except for foreign corporations or foreign language materials, which will be sent to the appropriate cataloger.

Geographic Names will be established for:

-Anything pertaining to Utah and the Western United States.

-Most places in the United States or Canada.

-Foreign geographic names will be sent to the appropriate cataloger.

Meetings will be established as needed, except for foreign meetings or foreign language materials, which will be sent to the appropriate cataloger.

Access points for works and expressions will be established as needed. Foreign language materials will be sent to the appropriate cataloger. Access points for works and expressions will not be established by the Authorities Specialist. Our outsourcing vendor will retrieve records for these access points if they have been established in the NACO authority file. If catalogers want these access points established, they should create them through NACO.


A. Establishing access points and creating authority records

The work of establishing access points and creating authority records requires a thorough understanding of RDA and the principles underlying the organization of an online catalog. It is thus a professional responsibility and should normally be done by a professional catalog librarian. Professional catalogers are responsible for establishing access points in all bibliographic records they create and for creating the authority records necessary to support these access points. Catalogers who choose to relegate this responsibility to staff members under their supervision remain responsible for the quality of the output and should regularly review this work before it is submitted to the Authorities Specialist.

The authority work for bibliographic records input by copy catalogers, records received electronically, and records received or input via other methods that bypass the Catalog Department, will be performed by the Authorities Specialist after the cataloging is done.

B. Maintenance of the online file

The inputting and online editing of authority records, as well as the reconciliation of access points in the bibliographic file with authority records, is the responsibility of the Authorities Specialist. Catalogers, if they wish, may import NACO records. The Authorities Specialist and the outsourcing vendor will work together to input any other authority records needed.


Training in NACO for authorities is part of the initial training given all new catalogers at appointment. Renewal training will also be offered periodically to the entire department.

Maintained by: Elizabeth Tobiasson

Location / Hours

The Catalog Department is located on Level 6 of the Harold B. Lee Library. The Department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.