Lead an effort to upgrade the LC/NACO Authority File with non-Latin alternate names

Note: This project has been completed.

In 2007, the major authority record exchange partners (British Library, Library and Archives Canada, Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, and OCLC) agreed to a plan (.pdf: 18K/1 pp.) that will allow for the addition of non-Latin characters in references on name authority records distributed as part of the NACO program. Implemented in 2008, users for the first time can look up Arabic-, Chinese-, Cyrillic-, Greek-, Hebrew-, Japanese-, and Korean-script names in those scripts without knowing their romanizations and to correctly identify authors who write in those scripts.

OCLC Programs and Research pre-populated the LC/NACO Authority File with non-Latin references derived from the non-Latin bibliographic heading fields in WorldCat, using the same data-mining techniques developed for WorldCat Identities which already includes non-Latin script “alternate names”. (See, for example, the Chinese, Japanese, and Hebrew scripts represented in the WorldCat Identity for Sun Yat-sen.) Harvesting non-Latin heading forms that correspond to entities in the authority file provides an immediate value for the authority file, based on the significant intellectual work of the many libraries that have provided non-Latin headings on bibliographic records for over two decades. The 500,000 non-Latin references that are being added to name authority records represent a significant re-use of existing metadata in new contexts. The number of non-Latin script alternate names will be expanded by the non-Latin script forms included in the Bibliothèque national de France authority file that has been added to the Virtual International Authority File.

All NACO contributors have the opportunity to review and verify the non-Latin script forms as part of their normal workflow. Catalogers can reflect on past practices related to non-Latin headings, and are now in a better position to recommend future best practices for the LC/NACO Authority file. The Library of Congress maintains Non-Latin Script Data in Name Authority Records: Frequently Asked Questions and the Cataloging Policy and Support Office issued a White Paper: Issues Related to Non-Latin Characters in Name Authority Records (.pdf: 56K/8 pp.) for comment in January 2008.

Hangingtogether.org blogs related to this project:

For more information

Karen Smith-Yoshimura
Program Officer