Ethical Questions in Name Authority Control

Editor: Jane Sandberg

Price: $35.00

Published: March 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63400-054-3

418 pages


Catalogers hold very specific types of power when they describe people, families, and corporate bodies. When creating a personal name authority record, for example, catalogers determine the authorized name by which an individual will be known, then identify a few characteristics of the individual that distinguish them from others, while balancing their judgment with respect for the individual’s self-concept and management of their public identity. This is a powerful position, and that power must be exercised ethically.

As name authority control moves toward an identity management model, catalogers are taking on new roles, authority data is used in innovative ways, and libraries increasingly interact with non-library datasets and name disambiguation algorithms. During this transition, it is imperative that the library community reflect on the ethical questions that arise from its historical and emerging practices.

This collection explores and develops this framework through theoretical and practice-based essays, stories, interviews, taxonomies, content analyses, and other methods. As it explores ethical questions in a variety of settings, this book will deepen readers’ understanding of names, identities, and library catalogs. The chapters from this volume are intended to spark conversations among librarians, archivists, library technologists, library administrators, and library and information science students.

Jane Sandberg received her MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the Electronic Resources Librarian at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon, where she coordinates library cataloging and systems. Her research interests include linked data approaches to name authority control, queer and trans local histories, open source software in rural communities, and historical dimensions of online transgender activism.


Table of Contents


Self-determination and Privacy

“My Zine Life is My Private Life”: Reframing Authority Control from Detective Work to an Ethic of Care
Violet B. Fox and Kelly Swickard

Identity Theft: How Authority Control Undermines Women’s Agency
Michelle M. Kazmer

When Public Identity Meets Personal Privacy: Ethical Considerations for the Use of Dates of Birth in Name Authority Records for Living Persons
Jennifer M. Martin

Demographic Characteristics in Personal Name Authority Records and the Ethics of a Person-Centered Approach to Name Authority Control
Thomas A. Whittaker

Impacts of Colonialism

This is the Oppressor’s Language Yet I Need It to Talk to You: Native American Name Authorities at the University of Denver
Erin Elzi and Katherine M. Crowe

Cataloging Kurdistan: Imagining Liberated Geographies
Heather K. Hughes

Gender Variance and Transgender Identities

Who Asked You?: Consent, Self-Determination, and the Report of the PCC Ad Hoc Task Group on Gender in Name Authority Records
Kalani Adolpho

Free to Be… Only He or She: Overcoming Obstacles to Accurately Recording Gender Identity in a Highly-Gendered Language
Ahava Cohen

Violent Cis-tems: Identifying Transphobia in Library of Congress Name Authority Records
Hale Polebaum-Freeman

Accuracy of Identity Information and Name Authority Records
Naomi Shiraishi

Finding “Miss Betty” Joe Carstairs: The Ethics of Unpacking Misnaming in Cataloging and Biographical Practices
Travis L. Wagner

Challenges to the Digital Scholarly Record

From Personal to Corporate and from Names to Titles: the Challenges of Iranian Scholars with Scientific Publications
Sholeh Arastoopoor and Fatemeh Ahmadinasab

Barriers to Ethical Linked Data Name Authority Modeling
Ruth Kitchin Tillman

The Tale of Three Service Types for Researcher Identifiers and the Ethical Implication on Access to Information and Representation of Authors
Anchalee Punigabutra-Roberts

Emancipatory Collaborations

What’s in a Name? Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia and the Impact of Names and Name Authorities in Archival Description
Alexis A. Antracoli and Katy Rawdon

Authority Work as Outreach
Tina Gross and Violet B. Fox

Creating Multilingual and Multiscript Name Authority Records: A Case Study in Meeting the Needs of Inuit Language Speakers in Nunavut
Carol Rigby and Riel Gallant

An Indigenous Global Perspective of Policy, Procedures and Best Practice
Naomi R. Caldwell

Contributor Biographies