nthe process of establishing standardized names and index terms for use in archival or bibliographic description and ensuring their consistent applicationDeWhitt 1983, 477–478Project activities in 1983 will include determining cataloging standards, establishing guidelines for authority control, entering records into the RLIN data base, and producing user documentation for dissemination to other RLG institutions.Berner and Haller 1984, 134Rules for proper form of name entry are employed as an authority control.Evans 1986, 249An authority control-based system focuses upon record-generating entities; it consists of descriptions of the histories and functions of organizations and of the administrative relationships between them. The authority control system is an intellectual construct, susceptible to emendation as institutions evolve, as functions change, and as administrative structures are altered.Michelson 1987, 195Authority control files are the key mechanism for ensuring consistency within bibliographic catalogs by distinguishing names, showing relationships (among variant forms of names, parent bodies, and earlier to later names), and documenting decisions. Such files thereby promote consistency in the subsequent determination of relationships and identification of headings.Bearman 1989b, 296The shortcomings of library-system-based authority control for retrieval of archival materials should encourage us to look to other options. When we realize that we need to focus more on the benefits of expanded lead-in vocabulary and less on achieving consistency of indexing, we will be attracted to reference files instead of term lists and will place greater value on the benefits of authority control from the searchers perspective as a means to identify alternative access points than on its value for headings management.Durance 1993, 38Authority control is an umbrella term for the means of providing access to the holdings of a repository through names, subjects and functions—these being constructed in such a way that their relationships, or nonrelationships, to each other are apparent. In effect, authority control in an archival setting introduces order into, and a road-map through, the complexities of corporate organizations and their predecessors, personal names, functions, and subjects of documents, and their interrelationships. It also provides provenancial data and documentation about material held in the archival repository(ies).LoC 2005MARC authority records contain the standardized forms of names for people, corporate bodies (for example, societies, businesses, institutions, etc.), meetings, titles, and subjects. In doing this, authority records provide authority control. Authority control means establishing a recognized form for an entity name and using that form whenever the name is needed as an access point in a bibliographic record.Gracy and Lambert 2014, 113RDA may also be used for authority control purposes. Cory Nimer suggests that, in these circumstances, use of RDA may actually lead to better management of archival materials as it is more closely aligned to DACS than its predecessor, AACR2.Sweetser and Orchard 2019, 339In contrast, authority control and bibliographic description have long been separated within the cataloging realm whereby a single record (i.e., an agent such as a personal name) serves as the authority record.
Authority control systems often also provide relationships between terms. Examples of such relationships include references from nonpreferred forms to preferred forms, references among earlier names and later names of corporate entities, references between higher and lower levels of institutional hierarchies, and references among topical terms that may be broader, narrower, or simply related.