Selecting a Staff Heading Index

QUESTION: Which Staff Heading index should I use?

In NOTIS, the "jx" and "fx" searches allowed us to search for authority records using a single index. In Voyager, we are forced to select an index based on heading type. There are four Staff Heading indexes in Orbis:

  • Staff Name Headings Search
  • Staff Name/Title Headings Search
  • Staff Title Headings Search
  • Staff Subject Headings Search

Let's look at each one in turn. 

Staff Name Headings Search

Indexes the following types of authority records:

  • personal names (e.g. "Stitt, Sonny")
  • corporate names (e.g. "New York Public Library")
  • conference names (e.g. "Conference on Aging")
  • jurisdiction names (e.g. "Peru")

Words of Caution: 

Personal names that are *only* valid for use as subject headings cannot be found using this index. Names of families are included in this category (e.g. "Borgia family"). Use the Staff Subject Headings Search to find authority records for names of families.

Staff Name/Title Headings Search 

Indexes the following types of authority records:

  • personal name/titles (e.g. "Joyce, James, 1882-1941. Ulysses. Italian")
  • corporate name/titles(e.g. "Catholic Church. Book of hours")
  • conference name/titles (e.g. "Congreso Obrero (1st : 1918 : Motul, Mexico). Tierra y libertad")
  • jurisdiction name/titles (e.g. "France. Treaties, etc. Portugal, 1886 May 12")

Words of Caution:

Cross references for the name portions of name/title headings are not normally carried in the name/title authority record. Instead they are found only in the authority record for the name by itself. Thus, if you search the Staff Name/Title index using an unauthorized form of name, you may not find any useful cross references to guide you to the record you want.

If you don't know the authorized form of name, a good search strategy is to first search the name portion of the heading in the Staff Name Headings index. Then, once you find the authorized name, you can use it to search the Staff Name/Title Heading index with greater confidence. 


If you search the Staff Name/Title index using "bach j s" you will not find a cross reference to a name-title heading beginning with "Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750." But, if you perform that same search in the Staff Name Headings index you will find out that the authorized form of the name is "Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750." Then, you can use this authorized form of name in the Staff Name/Title index to look for Bach name/title authority records.

Staff Title Headings Search

Indexes the following types of authority records:

  • series uniform titles that do not have a name heading as the entry element (e.g. "Astronomy and astrophysics series")
  • other uniform titles that do not have a name heading as the entry element (e.g. "King Kong (Motion picture : 1933)")

Words of Caution:

It is not enough to simply look at a list of headings and see that a series authority record exists for a particular title. You need to actually open the series authority record to verify such things as whether the series is analyzed or not, traced or not, classed separately or together. Sometimes the record will even tell you that the title is to be transcribed in a note.

Staff Subject Headings Search

Indexes the following types of authority records:

  • topical subject headings (e.g. "Paper airplanes")
  • geographic headings that are not jurisdictions (e.g. "Red River Gorge (Ky.)")
  • any heading with a subject subdivision (e.g. Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Books and reading")
  • almost all other headings

Words of Caution:

Because most name, name/title, and title headings are valid for use as subject headings, authority records for most of these headings can be found using a Staff Subject Headings search. An important exception is headings for superseded names of jurisdictions. These headings are not valid for use as a subject because one is generally supposed to use the current name of a jurisdiction when assigning subject headings (e.g. the former name of "Haiti" is "Saint-Domingue"; "Saint-Domingue" may be used in a bib record as a main or added entry but not as a subject heading; thus, you can only find the authority record for "Saint-Domingue" in the Staff Name Heading index).

You might wonder how Voyager knows the difference. The system is reading one of the fixed fields in the authority record, namely the "Heading Use--Subject Added Entry" fixed field (008/15 in MARC21-speak). In the authority record for "Saint-Domingue" this value is "b" meaning "not appropriate for use as a subject added entry."

Last modified: 
Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 1:37pm