Bibliographic Standards

Authority Records for Geographic Headings

Background : For the purpose of creating authority records, the National Authority File is divided into two parts: the LC/NACO Authority File (sometimes referred to as the Names File) and the LC/SACO Authority File (sometimes referred to as the Subjects File). This division is based on two factors: the way the headings can be used on bibliographic records and the rules governing the creation of the authority records.

Headings in the LC/NACO Authority File can be used in 1XX, 6XX or 7XX fields in bibliographic records and are established according to the appropriate rules in AACR2. (Some headings in the LC/NACO Authority File have limitations with respect to their use as subject headings. These restrictions are normally given in a 667 note field. If the fixed field 008/15 is coded b, the heading is not valid for use as a subject.)

Headings in the LC/SACO Authority File can only be used in 6XX fields on bibliographic records and are established according to the appropriate rules in the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings. If it becomes necessary to use a heading residing in the LC/SACO Authority File in a 1XX or 7XX field on a bibliographic record, the existing authority record is cancelled and a new authority record is created in the LC/NACO Authority File. (The Library of Congress control number of the cancelled authority record is recorded in a subfield z of the new authority record. The Library of Congress control number, field 010 on authority records, begins with the prefix n for authority records in the LC/NACO authority file and sh for authority records in the LC/SACO authority file.)

Geographic headings: Geographic headings are of two types, jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional. Jurisdictional headings can be used as corporate bodies in 1XX or 7XX fields on bibliographic records ("they are capable of authorship") and reside in the LC/NACO Authority File. In most cases they can also be used as subject headings. They are established according to the rules in AACR2, Chapter 23 and the corresponding Library of Congress Rule Interpretations. Names of countries and political or administrative divisions within countries, such as provinces, states and cities are jurisdictional headings. Entities that can be called jurisdictions include countries, principalities, territories, states, provinces, counties, administrative districts, and cities. Examples of jurisdictional headings are:

Bavaria ( Germany )
Boston ( Mass. )
Massachusetts
United States
Great Britain
British Columbia
Monaco

Non-jurisdictional headings can only be used in 6XX fields in bibliographic records and reside in the LC/SACO Authority File. They are established according to the rules in the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings. Included in this category are geographic features such as lakes, mountains, plains, valleys, rivers, deserts and non-jurisdictional islands. Examples of non-jurisdictional headings are:

Great Lakes
Himalaya Mountains
Great Plains
Death Valley ( Calif. and Nev. )
Charles River ( Mass. )
Mojave Desert ( Calif. )
Nantucket Island ( Mass. )

It is important to note that the authority record for a jurisdictional heading such as France resides in the LC/NACO Authority File, but if a subject heading string is established using this heading plus one or more subject subdivisions (subfields v, x, y or z), the resulting heading is considered a subject heading and resides in the LC/SACO Authority File. For example if one does a search of the heading France in the subject headings section of Classification Web, there is a long list of heading/subdivision combinations of the type France |x Antiquities, France |x History |y Francis I, 1515-1547, etc. However, the authority record for the heading France itself is not listed there because it is a jurisdictional heading and resides in the LC/NACO Authority File. Conversely, if one searches the LC/NACO Authority File (on a utility, for example), one finds a list including the unsubdivided heading France and a list of headings consisting of the heading France and various subdivisions usually in subfields b or t, e.g., France |b Agence de l’informatique, France |t Code civil, etc.

Note also that geographical headings are coded 151 on authority records regardless of whether they are in the LC/NACO Authority File or the LC/SACO Authority File. For example:

Authority record:
151 France

Bibliographic record:
110 1# France
651 #0 France

Authority record:
151 Himalaya Mountains

Bibliographic record:
651 #0 Himalaya Mountains

Catalogers may create name authority records for jurisdictional place name headings (of the LC/NACO Authority File type ) directly in Aleph. These records will not be contributed to the national authority file. New headings for non-jurisdictional place names should be proposed through the SACO program for inclusion in the LC/SACO Authority File.

If you have questions concerning these procedures, contact Bruce Trumble.