Western Name Authority File: A Pilot Regional Name Authority Project


digital libraries, authority control, controlled vocabularies, Linked Data, metadata


The prospect of authority control in digital libraries creates unique challenges. Digital library systems and software often do not support integrated authority control, which can create issues in consistency for personal and corporate names representation in descriptive metadata. Standard practice for library metadata is to use existing controlled vocabularies such as the Library of Congress Name Authority File, but what can be done if the personal names and corporate bodies in local or regional digital collections are not represented in the Library of Congress? As digital collection managers look towards providing metadata for regional and statewide shared repository systems and national digital collection aggregators like the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), issues in digital collection authority control are magnified. This article explores the process in creating a shared regional authority file of personal names and corporate bodies existing in digital collection metadata records in several institutions throughout the Western United States. Steps in the process included reviewing data models, metadata collection, metadata deduplication and wrangling, vocabulary reconciliation, and data enhancement. Details on the process in making the Western Name Authority File accessible to the public and assessing project outcomes are included.

Original Publication Citation

Neatrour, A. and Myntti, J. (2019) Western Name Authority File: A pilot regional name authority project. Journal of Library Metadata, 19(1-2), 19-38. doi:10.1080/19386389.2019.1589685 Preprint: https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6xq1nbv

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







Harold B. Lee Library

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor