Voyager Authority Control Tips

QUESTION: How do I recognize authority records in Orbis?

Authority records are easily recognizable in the Orbis database. They have a salmon-colored background. They also have a yellow star-shaped icon that looks like a "sheriff's badge" in the upper-left corner. And the record number in the title bar is preceded by "Auth." Here is an example of an authority record:

Record image

Although background color, star icon, and record number are the quickest ways to identify authority records in Voyager, they can also be recognized by their fairly distinctive MARC tagging structure:

Each authority record will have a 1XX tag (e.g. names of persons will be tagged 100, names of organizations will be tagged 110, topical subject headings will be tagged 150, etc.). Most of the time, the 1XX field contains the authorized form of the heading (i.e. the form we should be using as an access point in our bibliographic records). Occasionally the 1XX contains a heading that is not authorized for use (e.g. a series-like phrase) and the record provides further instructions for the cataloger to follow.

Authority records may also have one or more 4XX tags containing variant forms of the authorized heading. These variant forms display as "see" references in the catalog and help direct users to the correct heading.

Authority records will sometimes have one or more 5XX tags. These contain headings that are somehow *related* to the authorized heading. These headings display as "see also" references in the catalog and help direct users to other headings that they may find useful.

Finally, authority records usually have one or more 670 tags. These contain citations to works consulted by catalogers when establishing headings and cross references. These citations do not display to the public but they can help staff determine whether they have found the correct authority record.

Other more specialized MARC tags do occur in authority records (e.g. most series authority records have 64X fields that detail classification, tracing, and analysis decisions) but the 1xx, 4xx, 5xx, and 670 tags are the most common ones.

Effective Date: 
March 3, 2014