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Searching Name Authorities (Library of Congress Authorities Help)

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Searching Name Authority Headings

Select the search type Name Authority Headings on the main search screen to browse...
  • Personal authors and creators, including editors, performers, photographers, artists, etc.
  • Group authors and creators, including corporate entities, government bodies, conferences, jurisdictions, etc.

Name authorities are established by the Library of Congress (and cooperating partners) and used in LC Online Catalog records.

Most personal and group authors/creators are searchable as both Name Authority Headings and Subject Authority Headings. To ensure retrieval of all relevant records, however, it is recommended that the Name Authority Headings search type be your primary search type.

Subject headings for Geographic Names (151 field in MARC 21) may also be searched using the Name Authority Headings search type.

Name Authority Search Examples:

Name type . . . Search Examples . . . personal name weber carl maria von
napoleon i emperor
compound last name de la mare walter government agency united states congressional budget office
california administrative office
organization battelle memorial institute
metropolitan museum of art
company american telephone and telegraph conference international symposium on antarctic glaciology geographic subject
(MARC tag 151) ararat mount turkey

Search Tips:

  • Retain punctuation found in the middle of words and numbers
    Punctuation (e.g. semicolons, periods, hyphens, slashes, etc.) found at the end of words or phrases is ignored. However, you need to retain punctuation found in the middle of words and numbers (e.g., U.S. and US display in different places in Headings Lists).
  • Truncation is automatic
    Searches are automatically truncated and retrieve name heading authority records that begin with the words or phrases entered. You do not need to use the question mark (?) for truncation.
  • Personal author/creator
    • Enter the last name of an author/creator followed by the first name: mitchell margaret
    • If you are unsure of the spelling of an author/creator's last name, enter as much as you know: dosto (omit first names, titles of nobility, etc.)
    • Retain the hyphen in a hyphenated name: evans-pritchard
    • For names with connectives (van, von, der), follow the conventions of the person's country or language: gogh vincent van
  • Group authors/creators (government agencies, organizations, conferences)
    • As with individual authors, search enough of the name to distinguish it from other names
    • Search hierarchical names in full descending order: united states congress
    • Search both acronyms and full names to retrieve all relevant catalog records. Search US as well as United States
    • Proceedings of conferences and meetings can be found by searching on the full name of the conference: international symposium on x-ray microscopy

How to View Authorities and References:

Your search results will be presented as a browsable Headings List of name headings in the LC Online Catalog, whether the headings have authority records associated with them or not.

Note: Headings in the LC Online Catalog that end with the legend "[from old catalog]" were assigned before the online cataloging era and may not be associated with a records in Library of Congress Authorities. In addition, the Headings List may display headings from in-process catalog records for which authority records will be made in the near future.

You will be placed at the point in the Headings List most closely matching your search words. To browse through the Headings List, select to view headings that precede your search words alphabetically or scroll down to view headings following your search words. To retrieve authority information, references, and/or notes for a heading, select the icon shown to the left of the heading.

Please consult the following Help Screens for more detailed information:

Use the browser's [Back] button to exit help and resume searching.
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December 4, 2015