Changes to authority records

RDA mandates many changes to authority records, because, according to the Functional Requirements for Authority Data, there is a great deal more information about persons and corporate bodies that needs to be recorded. Fortunately, most of the changes are additions to authority records, and the main structure of the authority record remains unchanged from its current configuration. The following is a brief review of the new authority MARC fields. It may be useful, in considering these changes, to look at sample RDA name authority records at the bottom of this page.  All the information on determining this information is in RDA. Chapter 9 of RDA provides instruction on “identifying persons,” and chapter 11 on “identifying corporate bodies.”

Full documentation on all these fields—including their many subfield codes—can be found at For most of the fields, there are “common” subfields for recording the source of the information in the field: $u is for a URI from which information is taken; $v is for any other source.

Also note that some of these fields are meant to be used only for work or expression authority records, which are not in common use now.

046 field: Special coded dates (e.g., birth and death date for a person, dates of a conference, etc.) Subfields used to specify the meaning of the date.

336 field: Content type. Just like the 336 field in bibliographic records. (Used for authority records for works and expressions only.)

368 field: Other corporate body attributes.  Used only for corporate body authority record. (E.g., “$a Television station”).

370 field: Associated place, with subfields for place of birth, death, residence, etc. LC gives following example for Ernest Hemingway, showing places of birth, death, and residence: $aOak Park, Ill. $bKetchum, Idaho $eOak Park, Ill. $eToronto, Ont. $eChicago, Ill. $eParis, France $eKey West, Fla. $eCuba $eKetchum, Idaho.

371 field: Address. Contact information for a person or corporate body. Many subfields.

372 field: Field of activity. For person or corporate body. Apparently, there isn’t a clear distinction between this field and 374. Stay tuned for changes.

373 field: Associated group. For person or corporate body. Formerly called Affiliation.

374 field: Occupation. Used only with personal name. Occupation is what a person is paid to do. Start and end dates may be given.

375 field: Gender. Used only with personal name. May be most useful for names not specific to one gender or foreign names.

376 field: Family information. E.g., type of family ($a Dynasty) or prominent family member. Used only with family name authority records.

377 field: Associated language. For language used by person/corporate body in the works it produces.

378 field: Fuller form of personal name. Used for personal name when, for example, preferred form is an abbreviation.

380 field: Form of work. May be used to differentiate works with same title. Used for authority records for works and expressions only.

381 field: Other distinguishing characteristics. Used for authority records for works and expressions only.

382 field: Medium of performance. Used only for music.

383 field: Numeric designation of musical work. Used only for music.

384 field: Key. Used only for music.


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