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Cataloging

NLM Authority Records Accessible in LocatorPlus

 

 

1. Introduction

NLM has implemented the Web Authorities feature in LocatorPlus, making its authority records accessible to library users worldwide. This feature allows users to search and browse the name authority records established in NLM's internal authority file. The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) terms and term/subheading combinations used in cataloging at NLM are also accessible in LocatorPlus ¹. This feature also provides the capability for display and download of NLM authority records, including those for subjects, in a modified MARC 21 authority format.

2. Types of Authority Records Available

Users have the ability to search and browse authority records, including:

  • Subject authority records structured as MARC 21 authority records
    (including subject terms and subject term/topical subheading combinations and names and
    titles used as subjects)
  • Name authority records (personal, corporate, meeting, and geographic names)
  • Series and uniform title authority records
  • Name/title authority records

    Associated references and scope notes are also provided.

3. Limitations of Web Authorities

The Web Authorities do not include:

  • Z39.50 functionality
  • Full MARC 21 character set for display and download of authority data
  • Use of diacritics in searches
  • Retrieval of an associated authority record with keyword searches of authority data

4. Searching for Authority Records in LocatorPlus

4.1 MARC Authority Browse Indexes

Special search indexes have been established which support searching of authority records and allow access to the MARC 21 formatted authority data.  To search NLM authority records most effectively, it is important to understand the differences between each available search type. Limits may not be used in any searches.

Use one of the following search indexes available in the "Search In" box:

AuthoritySearch For
Browse MARC Subject Authority -- use to search for MeSH terms and subject/topical combinations
Browse MARC Name Authority-- use to search for personal, corporate, or meeting names
Browse MARC Title Authority -- use to search for series and uniform title headings
Browse MARC Name/Title Authority-- use to search for name headings associated with titles

4.2 Search Tips

  • For Browsing, begin with word roots
    • Start with a word (or root of a word) that describes the topic
    • Review the search results and identify desired headings
  • Truncation is automatic
    • Searches are automatically truncated and retrieve authority records
      that begin with the words or phrases entered
    • Do not use the question mark (?) for truncation
  • Case is irrelevant

4.3 Examples

4.3.1 How to Search for a MeSH Authority Record (Subject Heading with Topical Subheading)

To search the MeSH subject heading "Ethics, Medical" with the topical subheading of "education", input the string with or without punctuation in the search box as follows:

Search example for a subject authority record using ethics medical education

4.3.2 How to Search for an Authority Record for a Personal Name

To search for an authority record for an individual, input the string with or without any punctuation as "last name first name" in the search box as follows:

Search example for a personal name authority record using Remington Jack

4.3.3 How to Search for an Authority Record for an Organizational Name

To search for an authority record for an organization, input the string with or without punctuation in the search box as below:

Search example for an organization name authority record using National Library of Medicine

4.3.4 How to Search for an Authority Record for a Series/Uniform Title

To search for an authority record for a series/uniform title, input the string with or without punctuation in the search box as below:

Search example for an authority record on a series and uniform title using nursing clinics of north

4.3.5 How to Search for an Authority Record for a Title Associated with a Name

To search for an authority record for a title associated with a name, input personal names as "last name first name" in the search box and input organizational names in direct order and highlight the choice "Browse MARC Name/Title Authority" (cf. 4.2-4.3.3 How to Search for an Authority Record for a Personal Name/Organization Name). The authority record for the title associated with the name will appear in the headings list display (cf. 5.1 Headings List Display).

Search example for an authority record for a title associated with a name using royal college of nursing

Search example for an authority record for a title associated with a name using royal college of nursing and display under Headings

5. Browse Search Results

5.1 Headings List Display

All initial browse search results are presented as a "Headings List" — a list of all headings that fall alphabetically nearest to the first words used in the search, whether the headings have authority records associated with them or not.

Important

Authority records are available only for those headings in the list that display with one of the icons below in the leftmost column.

ButtonFunction
Authorized Heading Button Clicking this icon leads to a display of the authority record; authority records identified with this icon contain no notes or references
See/See Also Button Clicking this icon leads to a display of references to the authority record
AuthNote Button Clicking this icon leads to a display of the authority record and scope note
Auth/Ref/Note Button Clicking this icon leads to a display of the authority record, references, and scope note

Note: LocatorPlus includes all types of bibliographic records, cataloged as well as uncataloged (e.g. on order, regional holdings, collaborating producer records cf. "What kinds of bibliographic records will I find in NLM LocatorPlus?" at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/services/cat_bibrectype.html). This is the reason that the "Headings List" in a search may include many headings that do not have associated authority records.

For example, the retrieval for the name search "Hornauer" displays as follows:

Search retrieval results for personal name search using Hornauer

Note that a clickable icon leading to an authority record does not appear for the second item. Cf 8.1. Bibliographic Records Linked to Older Forms of Headings.

Clicking on the term in the heading column will lead you to bibliographic records containing this term.

5.2 Record Displays

From the headings list, after selecting an icon, you will be linked to an information screen, containing the heading, references, and/or scope notes indicated by the icon you selected.

5.2.1 Authority Details Display

The Authority Details is the default display for authority records in LocatorPlus. It provides basic authority information, including headings, tracings and notes with textual labels. Consult the MARC View to see all of the data elements with field tags and content designation specified by the MARC 21 format.

5.2.2 MARC View Display

The MARC View is an alternate display in LocatorPlus that includes all of the data elements with field tags and content designation specified by the MARC 21 format (a communications standard that enables exchange of bibliographic, holdings, and other data among electronic systems.) The leader is displayed; the directory is not displayed. More information about the format of MARC 21 authority records can be found in the MARC 21 Concise Format for Authority Data. Consult the Details Display for a labeled display of the information.

6. Download of Authority Records in MARC 21 Authority Format

Authority records may be downloaded individually, one at a time, from LocatorPlus following the steps outlined below.

  • Locate and mark the authority record of interest.
  • At the bottom of the display labeled "SAVE OPTIONS", select the download format. Click on the drop-down menu, which shows the default setting of "Full Record with holdings", to change the selection to the MARC 21 format desired. The options are:
    • Latin1 MARC which provides a MARC-formatted record utilizing the ASCII character set, including the "common" diacritics that often occur in languages that employ the "Latin" alphabet; or
    • Raw MARC which provides a MARC-formatted record inclusive of special characters.
  • Then, click on the "Print/Save" icon which appears to the right of the drop-down
  • At that point, click on "File/Save As" in the Menu Bar of the browser. Then indicate a file name in the appropriate box depending on the browser, specifying where in your local environment you wish to save the records.   If using Internet Explorer 5.50, change the "Save as Type" box to "Text File" before saving.
  • As the final step, use the MARC record import functionality of your local integrated library system to load the records into your local database.

7. Heading Keyword Searches

Heading Keyword searches are useful in finding entries when you do not know the word order or exact form of the heading.

The following heading searches are available:

  • Name Heading Keyword
  • Name/Title Heading Keyword
  • Series Heading Keyword
  • Subject Heading Keyword

7.1 How to perform Heading Keyword Searches

To search for an authority record using the keyword search, input the desired search term(s) in the search box. Choose the desired Heading search.

Display of a Heading search using pediatrics

7.2 Heading Keyword Search Results

This search will retrieve any authorized heading in the database that contain the keywords that have been searched. Clicking on the term in the Headings column will take you to bibliographic records containg this term. You cannot retrieve the authority records themselves with this search. To see the authority record, copy the authorized heading you found into a Browse search.

List of heading results for pediatrics

8. Known Problems

8.1 Bibliographic Records Linked to Older Forms of Headings

Not all authority records in LocatorPlus conform to the rules codified in the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) and its most recent edition.

NLM applies the rules from the most current edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, at the time of cataloging, when establishing name and title headings used in LocatorPlus bibliographic records.

Many records in LocatorPlus were cataloged prior to the adoption of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules and thus, the headings used may reflect earlier cataloging practicies.

NLM commonly reexamines older authority records for conformance to AACR only as thes headings are used again in the current cataloging process.

In addition, LocatorPlus contains a mixture of cataloged and uncataloged materials, including records crated by contributing special producer organizations. Access points on these types of records may not be under authority control.

Users may identify records for cataloged titles in LocatorPlus by clicking on the MARC VIEW tab and examining the full MARC 21 bibliographic record. NLM identifies cataloged records by adding the value "AUTH" in an NLM locally-defined MARC 21 field 999. If a value other than "AUTH" appears in the MARC 21 field 999, the record has not been cataloged by NLM.

8.2 Bibliographic Records Linked to References, rather than to Established Heading Forms

One reason this may occur is the fact that LocatorPlus contains a mixture of cataloged and uncataloged materials, including records created by contributing special producer organizations.

8.3 Multiple NLM Authority Records are found for Geographics

Multiple NLM authority records for geographics appear because there are two legitimate authority records in LocatorPlus, used for different aspects of authority control. There is one authority for the geographic as a jurisdiction (i.e., Alaska) that is established according to AACR and is appropriate for use as the governmental body or as a qulifier in corporate headings. In addition, the NLM authority file contains a subject authority record for the MeSH term in the "Z" tree for use in the MARC 21 field 651; the records originating as MeSH contain an 035 $a beginning witht he letter "D". Therefore, users will encounter a retrieval such as the one below when searching the "Browse MARC Subject Authority" index:

Search Results for Alaska, a geographic heading

8.4 Duplicate NLM Authority Records are found for Other Types of Headings

NLM is aware that there are other duplicate authority records in LocatorPlus and is undertaking a project to resolve these problems. However, this process is likely to be ongoing.

8.5 Two series entries appear in the Headings List display for many series/uniform titles, but only one series authority record exists

In the LocatorPlus retrieval, series appear twice, listed as "series title" and "non-series title" headings.

This is a result of treatment of the 008 coding for bytes 14 and 16 in the authority record. The same authority record can be viewed via either entry.

Example: A Title Authority Headings search for the title "Nursing clinics of North America." The Headings List shows the heading first as a non-series title with no associated bibliographic records. The second listing indicates that seventy-seven (77) bibliographic records are associated with the heading as a series title.

Series authority records may be retrieved by a Title or a Name-Title Headings search, as appropriate. For these searches (as for Name Heading searches), the heading appears in the Headings List when byte 14 or byte 16 of the 008 field contains value 'a'.

  • 008, byte 14: value "a" indicates heading is appropriate for use as a main or added entry (as a 1XX/7XX field in a bibliographic record; i.e., not as a series entry)
  • 008, byte 16: value "a" indicates heading is appropriate for use as a series

Display results of authorized uniform series heading for Nursing clinics of North America

8.6 Some NLM Authority records not coded as contributed to the NACO, the name authority component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC)

Many authority records in LocatorPlus pre-date NLM's participation in NACO. In addition, NLM does not contribute all authority records to NACO (e.g., headings associated with bibliographic records cataloged at the limited level are not generally contributed).

To determine whether or not a particular heading exits in NACO authority file, look in the MARC View; those records that contain an LC control number in the MARC 21 field 010 should appear in the NACO authority file.

8.7 Some NLM Authority records for series/uniform titles contain the 6XX fields, while others do not

NLM did not fully adopt the content designation provisions of the MARC 21 Format for Authority Data, particularly those regarding series information, until the implementation of Voyager at NLM. Therefore, authority records for series created before December 1998 do not contain this detailed information.

9. Comments

Comments or questions regarding this feature in LocatorPlus should be directed to custserv@nlm.nih.gov.


¹The MeSH Browser available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/MBrowser.html is the authoritative source for NLM controlled vocabulary and provides access to the hierarchical arrangement of MeSH. The subject authority records in LocatorPlus are structured for use in the creation and maintenance of bibliographic records.


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