(Talis Alto 4.2.0 Build 47)

What is an authority file?Edit

A persons name can be written in a great variety of ways or they may write under a pseudonym. For example:
Russell, George William,1867-1935
Russell, G. W.(George William),1867-1935

The titles of series can also differ or change over time. Subject headings too allow for variation. There are rules about entry order to try and restrict the variation but these are many and varied.

Use of authority files ensures that one form of the name is consistently used. It also provides 'see' references for the user should they be looking for the person or subject under one of the variants.

U's, P's, & F'sEdit

On the left hand side of the bibliographic record you will see some letters in green or red. These appear beside 1XX, 4XX and 6XX fields, i.e. fields giving a name or subject heading.

U = unauthorised.
P = preliminary, i.e. heading is only temporarily authorised until further work can ascertain the correct form to use.
F = fully authorised.

How to choose an authority heading for inclusion in a bibliographic recordEdit

  • In the bibliographic record click once on the field to be authorised
  • Click on 'Check authority' F5
  • If the heading exists a new window will open listing the headings available. Select the form you want and click on 'Use heading' F2
  • If no heading appears in the new window or if you suspect that the authority files contain the name but it has not appeared then click on 'Authority search' F8
  • In the box type in the name or title you are looking for and select the appropriate heading from the scroll down box.
  • Check the index by clicking on 'view index'. This sometimes shows entries that may not appear on a search.
  • Exit the index
  • Click on 'Search' F9
  • Select the form you want and click on 'Use heading' F2

If you want to see a list of items that use the same authority heading:

  • Select the heading
  • Click on 'Full record' F3
  • Click on 'Display bib. records' F5

How to fully authorise an entry:Edit

You can check for the correct version of a name, title or subject heading using the Library of Congress Authorities website.

  • In the bibliographic record click once on the field to be authorised
  • Click on 'Check authority' F5
  • Select the heading
  • Click on 'Display authority' F3
  • Click on the + symbol beside the 008 field
  • Scroll down until you reach the tag 'Level of establishment'
  • Click on F2 to open the field
  • Change to 'a' = fully established
  • Click on 'Save' F9
  • When asked if you want to use the record, click on 'Yes'.

How to alter an authority entryEdit

  • In the bibliographic record click once on the field to be authorised
  • Click on 'Check authority' F5
  • Select the heading
  • Click on 'Display authority' F3
  • F2 opens up a field
  • F4 adds a new line below the line you have highlighted.
  • 400 fields create 'see' references should a library user type in the variant of a name on the OPAC.
  • 500 fields create 'see also' references. These are especially useful for authors who use different names for different types of work and when you want to retain a different authority file for each name. Normally, however, you would just keep to one main entry and put all the variants in 400 fields.
An example of an authority record:
100 1# $aRussell, George William,$d1867-1935

400 1# $aRussell, G. W.$q(George William),$d1867-1935
500 0# $aAE,$d1867-1935

If you are unsure what to add please ask AL Cataloguing.

The Library of Congress Authorities website is very helpful for authority work.


How to add a new authorityEdit

  • Ensure the heading does not already exist by browsing BOTH the index AND using the search function.
  • In Talis Alto go to Cataloguing > Authority
  • Click on 'Add new' F4

How to merge authoritiesEdit

  • In Talis Alto go to Cataloguing > Authority
  • Click on 'Authority Search' F8
  • Type in the entry you want to merge and choose the correct heading from the drop down menu.
  • Click on 'Search' F9
  • If the entries all start with the same letters then all headings should appear in a list in a new window and you can check the headings you want to merge.
  • If the entries start with different letters then type the first entry into the first field and choose the correct heading from the drop down menu. Then choose the OR option and then type in the second entry and so forth. Then click on 'Search' F9
  • Once the new window has opened with the list of headings check the headings you want to merge.
  • Then highlight the entry you want to keep as the main entry and click on 'Host' F10
  • Click on 'Merge'F7
  • Remember do not merge authorities with no refs as we did before. Due to a defect in the system this no longer works properly. Instead delete an authorities with no references attached.

How to delete an authorityEdit

Authorities with no references attached need to be deleted. This cannot be done within the search system but needs to be done using the actual authority record.

  • Return to the initial authority screen
  • Type in the authority control number and click on 'Continue' F9
  • Click on 'Delete Record' Sh+F8

Authority merge reportsEdit

These reports can be found on your own PC under Maintenance XXX/(C:)/Program Files/Talis/Alto

This is a handy way of seeing a list of authorities that you have edited or merged. Each computer holds the information for its own user.

  1. Open up Windows Explorer
  2. Go to the drive named 'Maintenance', then to the hard disc drive (C:)
  3. Find Program files/Talis/Alto
  4. Here you will find a folder for Authority edit reports and Authority merge reports.
  5. Click on the document you want to see.

Problems to watch out for with the current version of TalisEdit

A few problems have arisen with the upgrade to the new system. These problems are related to the software and so are affecting all libraries who use Talis. Talis are aware of these and hopefully they will soon be sorted.

Full stops
Authority files should not have full stops at the end of them. 1XX, 4XX and 6XX fields in the bibliographic record should. Normally the system would be able to cope with this but there has been a problem with the new system. Therefore:

  • When creating or amending an authority file ensure there is no full stop.
  • Make sure there is one in the bibliographic record. This often means that once you have selected the correct authority, you have to go back into the relevant field in the bibliographic record and add a full stop.

Reference numbers in authorities Talis gives reference numbers to show how many items an authority is linked to. These are not correct at the moment. If you need to find out how many items an authority is linked to, it is best to click on 'Display bib. records' which will generate a list of items that the authority file is actually linked to.

Classification numbers in authority files The previous version of Talis allowed you to see which classmarks had been used on items attached to an authority file. This is very useful when trying to assign a classmark. The new version gives you the option of showing a classification column when you list the bibliographic records attached to an authority file. However, whilst the column appears the numbers do not. At the moment, the best way to get around this problem is to search for the term as a keyword using Talis Prism. The classmarks are displayed in the list of results.

CDB 20.11.2007

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