Cross-Referencing Two Authority Files to Match Generic Name Headings

Disambiguating names in a library catalog is one of the core purposes of authority control. Can triangulating data between VIAF and NAF improve matches when a generic name heading comes into play? We think so.

A generic name heading — an X00 field without a $q to show a fuller form of the name or $d containing dates — is notoriously tricky to match. Backstage can cross-reference the name to works in VIAF, the Virtual International Authority File, making a verified match more likely, and still return the preferred LC name authority that you expect.

Sometimes an authority record will have a cross reference that matches your name heading, but it will not actually be the same as the individual represented in your record. Even without a cross reference, sometimes the 1XX is still for a different individual. By incorporating a name/work search against VIAF, we’ve been able to successfully update these names more often and with greater accuracy.
Our process takes your generic 100 and 700 fields that contain a $a only and will search VIAF for that form of the name. If your form of the name is found, we then compare the title within the 245$a of your bib record against the associated works for that name in VIAF.

Most US libraries prefer the LC name authority, though, so if a match to the work is found in VIAF, we select the United States form of that name to pass formally through our authority matching process. The LC authority record will be returned to you as expected and your bibliographic heading will be updated with the authorized form.
The process for a name subject in the 600 field is similar, but due to the 245 $a not being present as a work in VIAF for these name subjects, we only search 600 fields that have a $t title present. We felt we could not accurately attempt to match a 600 without a $t in VIAF to confirm the correct form of heading. We can deliver one of our many free optional reports, the R24 report, to help you review changes to these generic name headings.

Of course, the success of this matching will only be as good as the data represented in VIAF. Through testing we’ve discovered that a work’s title may differ slightly in different contributors’ VIAF records, so some names may be updated while others aren’t.

Any headings that do not have a match in VIAF still go through our authority matching process as outlined within your library’s profile settings.

Backstage announces generic name headings now include VIAF name/work matching

Provo, Utah, May 21, 2019 – Backstage Library Works ( is pleased to announce exciting changes to its authority control and data cleanup processes. The generic name heading matching process now includes VIAF name/work matching. Continue reading

Crossing borders, blazing trails and preserving cultural heritage – Backstage at CIMA & SSA Annual Meeting


May 13, 2019Backstage Library Works’ microfilming, digitizing, and cataloging services will be represented at the 2019 Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists & Society of Southwest Archivists Joint Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona.

Visit with Backstage’s Theresa Kidd on May 16th and 17th at the Tucson Marriott University Park hotel to learn the essentials of how Backstage processes rare and fragile materials, makes metadata more useful, and creates better access to physical and digital collections. Continue reading

History Preserved in Perkasie, Pennsylvania

May 9, 2019 –  What do silk mills, brickyards, cigar manufacturing, baseball stitching, farming, the railroad, and a trolley all have in common? They are part of the unique and colorful history of Perkasie, Pennsylvania dating back to the 1800s.  News of the day included everything from who came to dinner on Friday night to the recent developments of local businesses.

In an effort to preserve this valuable history, the Perkasie Historical Society hired Backstage Library Works to microfilm the fragile newspapers.  Backstage microfilmed The Central News publications dating from 1881 to 1943, and the News-Herald  issues dating from 1943 to 2000.

Perkasie news has been an asset to residents and visitors alike.  Watch the fascinating report by Hayden Mitman, Bucks County Reporter for PBS39 News Tonight as he interviews Louise Doll, Vice President of the Perkasie Historical Society, and Richard Doll, Co-Curator of the Perkasie Historical Society.

To view the entire PBS39 News Tonight segment for April 29, 2019, click on the link below.  The Perkasie Historical Society report starts at marker 13:35.

To learn how Backstage can help with your next preservation project, call 1.800.288.1265, visit us online at, or send an email to