From strings to things: Transitioning from authority control to identity management at Stanford University Libraries
The cataloging community has arrived at a pivotal time of transition from traditional authority control to identity management. Originally, authority control relied on text strings to differentiate names and direct users to their authorized forms. However, with the rise of Linked Data, URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) can fulfill the role of entity differentiation aiding in needed disambiguation. The transition comes at a time when the PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging) was already looking for ways to make NACO (Name Authority Cooperative Program) more inclusive to institutions who wanted to contribute, but did not have the resources to meet the program’s rigorous requirements. To involve more organizations, the PCC and the ISNI International Agency decided to establish a PCC umbrella membership in ISNI to be available to PCC members as a part of its cooperative programs. The PCC embarked on a year-long pilot project with ISNI to experiment with ways to reduce the burden on member institutions as they include ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) creation in their metadata workflows and investigate use cases. Professional catalogers and non-catalogers in the Metadata Department at Stanford University Libraries have been participating in the project by creating ISNIs for persons in three categories not under authority control in our discovery environments–authors and advisors of electronic theses and creators of electronic games. We plan to gather feedback from the participants to determine the feasibility of implementing ISNI-based identity management in those categories as an alternative to the traditional NACO-based authority control and will present preliminary findings and recommendations.