National Library of Australian joins international program to assist searchers

National Library of Australian joins international program to assist searchers
9 June 2005

Information seekers face enormous challenges in finding the resources they need. With millions of books and other materials for users to discover, libraries have established a cooperative scheme to help searchers find the right resources, by recording author and series names through an international standard system. This system, the Name Authority component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloguing (NACO), enables users all over the world to find resources easily through their library’s catalogue.

Libraries record the names which relate to each publication and also the authoritative version of all authors names to assist searchers. Library catalogues can then be used to easily find all the publications of an author, no matter what names they used, or everything about a particular publication. For example works by Agatha Christie, including those published by her under the name Mary Westmacott, can be founding one search because of the information provided by the records from the international file. If you are searching for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, whether printed, audio, braille or online you can find them all by clicking on the heading “Shakespeare,William, 1546-1616 MacBeth.

In Australia, the National Library has managed the Australian equivalent, the Australian Name Authority File, with contributions from every state library, most university libraries and many other libraries over many years. It has been used by over 1000 Australian libraries to make sure that their users can find material easily and accurately. There are now over 1.6 million names recorded with many new names added each year.

To help users around the world the National Library has now joined the Library of Congress’ Name Authority (NACO) service, and will contribute information about Australian authors to the over 2.3 million database. It will mean users of libraries around the world can locate material by Australian authors, even when the authors have used pseudonyms. If a searcher is interested in publications of Miles Franklin, works that she published under then name Brent of Bin Bin can be found because Australian libraries have shared information about authors pseudonyms.

“A key role for libraries around the world is to help users find materials successfully,” commented Jan Fullerton, Director-General, National Library of Australia. “By working together libraries are able to share their knowledge to be able to help users all around the world locate resources in our collections. The National Library’s collaboration with the Program for Cooperative Cataloguing means that material by Australian authors will be able to be used more easily in libraries in all nations.”

“We are able to share this information internationally only because of the commitment of Australian libraries to share their knowledge through online systems. I congratulate libraries for continuing to support users through their contribution to Libraries Australia and the Australian Authority file and encourage libraries to contribute in the future,”

Associate Librarian for Library Services Deanna Marcum remarked, "The Library of Congress, as the secretariat for the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, is delighted to have the National Library of Australia as the newest national library to join the Program. The National Library will add a unique and valuable contribution to the sharing of bibliographic data for worldwide use."

Australian libraries have also contributed for many years to the international subject database, through the Subject Authority Co-operative Program coordinated by the Library of Congress. Accurate names for many Australian indigenous names and languages, and Australian events are now recorded in international library catalogues to assist searchers because of the Library’s contribution.

“The National Library is pleased to have a key role in developing services which can be used to assist searchers to find all resource held in libraries,” commented Fullerton, “These services can also be used by Internet search engines. The Library is committed to developing new services in the future which will improve successful access to Australian material through the Internet.”

Further information:

Roxanne Missingham, Assistant Director-General
Resource Sharing Division,
National Library of Australia
Phone: 02 6262 1143
Email: rmissingham@nla.gov.au

Margaret Kennedy
Director, Libraries Australia Database Services
Phone: 02 6262 1129
Email: mkennedy@nla.gov.au