name authority file

n. (NAF, abbr.)A compilation of authority records that describe the preferred forms of names used as headings in a catalog, along with cross-references from variant forms of the name.


A name authority file often includes a few key facts about the entry to help ensure that the name being checked matches the entity represented by the authority record. For example, a heading for John Smith might note a middle name, birth and death dates, and other details to distinguish one John Smith from another. The authority record might include notes about his works, his nationality, or his occupation to ensure that the heading is applied correctly.