Some things are worth waiting for

The Library of Congress’ CPSO (Cataloging Policy and Support Office) announced today:
The major authority record exchange partners (British Library, Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, and OCLC, Inc., in consultation with Library and Archives Canada) have agreed to a basic outline that will allow for the addition of references with non-Latin characters to name authority records that make up the LC/NACO Authority File. 

These non-Latin script “alternate names” will be added as unlinked references. The established form will still be, for example, Kurosawa, Akira but now users who know the famous movie director as either 黑澤明 or 黒沢明 will be able to use those forms to retrieve all  works by or about Kurosawa.

Some of us have been waiting a long, long time for this. I recall that the original CJK white paper on adding CJK scripts to RLIN also posited adding CJK scripts to authority records at the same time. That paper was written back in 1980!  RLG submitted a MARBI proposal to add “alternate graphic representation to USMARC Authority Records” back in 1991 (proposal 1991-01). It was approved, but no one was in a position to implement it.

OCLC Programs and Research is working with our metadata services colleagues and the CPSO-Unicode group to make this happen. The “Lead an effort to upgrade the LC/NACO Authority file with non-Latin alternate names” is one of the projects in our work agenda under “Leveraging Vocabularies for Effective Discovery”.

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About Karen Smith-Yoshimura

Karen Smith-Yoshimura, program officer, works on topics related to renovating descriptive and organizing practices with a focus on large research libraries and area studies requirements.