|January 28, 2003 [posted]|
|NLM Authority Records Accessible in
n January 21, 2003, NLM implemented the Web Authorities feature in LocatorPlus, NLM's online public access catalog, making its authority records accessible to library users worldwide. This new feature allows users to search and browse the name authority records established in NLM's internal authority file, reinstating a capability that has not been available since 1995 when the Name Authority File (NAF) was removed from the MEDLARS system. The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms and term/subheading combinations used in cataloging at NLM are also now accessible in LocatorPlus 1. Of particular interest to librarians, 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.
Types of Authority Headings Available
Associated references and scope notes are also provided.
Limitations of Web Authorities
How to Search for Authority Data in LocatorPlus
For example, to search the MeSH subject heading "Ethics, medical" with the topical subheading of "education", input the string without punctuation in the search box and highlight the choice "Browse MARC Subject Authority" in the Search In box as shown in Figure 1.
To search for an authority record of an individual, input the string without any punctuation as "last name first name" in the search box and highlight the choice "Browse MARC Name Authority" in the Search In box as shown in Figure 2.
To search for an authority record for an organization, input the string without punctuation in the search box and highlight the choice "Browse MARC Name Authority" in the Search In box as shown in Figure 3.
Headings List Display
Table 1 - Icons Indicating Availability of Authority Information
Note: LocatorPlus includes all types of bibliographic records, cataloged as well as uncataloged (e.g. on order, regional holdings, collaborating producer records. See "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 subject search "Ethics Nursing" displays as shown in Figure 4.
Note that clickable icons leading to authority records appear in the left hand column only for the first three items on the list. The last item in the figure appears in the list because it represents a series/uniform title heading that is coded as being also appropriate for use as a subject heading. To retrieve the actual authority record for this series/uniform title, it must be searched again using the selection "Browse MARC Title Authority"; in the retrieval for this second search, this string appears with the authority icon "References" in the left hand column.
Display and Download of Authority Records in MARC 21 Authority Format
Further Information and Comments
Comments or questions regarding this feature in LocatorPlus should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 The MeSH Browser, available online at
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.
By Alice E. Jacobs
Jacobs AE. NLM Authority Records Accessible in LocatorPlus. NLM Tech Bull. 2003 Jan-Feb;(330):e4.