ASI Webinar Replay: Creating Name Authority Files for Large Indexing Projects with Linda Dunn

with Linda Dunn, Dunn Information Organization

This webinar was presented March 12, 2014

LindaDunn2By large indexing projects I am referring to such works as encyclopedias; dictionaries; multi-volume works on any topic; books or collections of letters; intranets; websites; historical documents; and multiple issues of periodical titles.

All large projects, especially those which are written over long periods of time or by a number of different authors, will have some inconsistency in names. The solution to such inherent inconsistencies is the use of an external file which contains records of the decisions made on how each name should be spelled, formatted, and under what part of the name it should be alphabetized. These files are called Name Authority Files. Once created, Authority Files "control" name entries into the index so that every name which is entered into the index is one of the authorized names in the Files. If the name is not yet in the file, it must be added, researched, and a decision made by using the rules developed for the index – and then entered into the Authority File before being entered into the index.

This webinar will answer these questions:

  • What makes an Authority File an authority?
  • How does creating an Authority File help the indexer(s) in completing large indexing projects?
  • What has to be done to create a Name Authority File?
  • Which sources will help the indexer to determine the format of special kinds of names, to differentiate between similar names, or to discover acceptable authorized names?

Linda Dunn has been a periodical indexer for over thirty years and has been interested in authority files since she began indexing. Through her work with multiple databases she has become familiar with many types of authority files both proprietary and open source.

Linda teaches an annual professional development workshop on Periodical/Database Indexing for Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science which includes sections on controlled vocabularies and thesauri. In October 2014, she will launch a new workshop on all types of authority files, including personal names, corporate entities, geographic places, and subject terms or topics. She has a chapter on "Names in the Performing Arts" in Indexing Names edited by Noeline Bridge (2012) and a chapter "The Heart of the Matter: an Introduction to the Challenges of Periodical Indexing" in Index It Right! Advice from the Experts, Volume 3 edited by Enid L. Zafran (2014), both published by Information Today, Inc. of Medford, NJ.

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