Publisher Names in Bibliographic Data: An Experimental Authority File and a Prototype Application

by: Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Timothy J. Dickey

The cataloging community has long acknowledged the value of investing in authority control; as bibliographic systems become more global, the need for authority control becomes even more pressing. The publisher description area of the catalog record is notoriously difficult to control, yet often necessary for collection analysis and development. The research presented in this paper details a project to build a database of authorized names for major publishers worldwide. ISBN prefix data were used to cluster bibliographic records based on publishing entities; the resulting database contains thousands of variant forms of each publisher's name, and data about their overall publishing output. Profiles of four large publishers were compared: each publisher's languages of publication, formats, and subjects demonstrated their distinctive publishing output, and validated the record clusters. Finally, the results of the research were made freely available on the Web via a prototype set of web pages displaying the publishing profiles of more than eighteen hundred major publishers.

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Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, and Timothy J. Dickey. 2011. "Publisher Names in Bibliographic Data: An Experimental Authority File and a Prototype Application." Library Resources and Technical Services, 55,4. Pre-print available online at: (.pdf: 388.5K/41 pp.) .