SACO: Research tips
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Princeton University Cataloging Documentation

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When to Propose a New Heading

Proposal Instructions

What Happens Once a Proposal is Submitted

Research Tips

Princeton Reference Books

SCM Memos for Common Topics

2007 NjP SACOs

Research tips
  • The purpose of doing authority research and listing the sources consulted in the 670 (Sources found) and 675 (Sources not found) fields of the subject authority record is to demonstrate the form(s) in which the terms proposed as the heading and UF references are found in existing literature, or to document the fact that no citation to the term can be found in likely sources other than the work being cataloged.

  • It is usually not acceptable to cite only the work cataloged as authority for the new concept. It is necessary to seek corroboration or verification of the term in other sources. Any individual work may or may not be accurate, may or may not be authoritative, or may or may not present or advocate a particular point of view.

  • Although the concept may be found only in the work being cataloged, other sources appropriate to the subject area in question should be cited to demonstrate that the concept was properly investigated. There will be some situations, for example, with archeological sites or computer languages, where the only information may be in the work being cataloged. In those cases, it is helpful to cite definitions or explanatory information in the work.

  • Preference is given to reference sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes, and thesauri. Finding usage in titles in databases like LOCIS or OCLC's World Cat may demonstrate that a particular term is in use but does not necessarily indicate that it is the best or predominant way of referring to a topic. Checking for usage in titles is a good means of finding variant terminology for UF references.

  • General dictionaries like Webster's Third and/or Random House should be checked for all general topics. Appropriate sources should be checked for special topics, like MeSH and Dorland's medical dictionary for medical terms, AAT for art, NASA Thesaurus for astronautics, chemistry dictionaries for chemicals, etc.

  • How much authority work is sufficient will vary with the topic and what is found in reference sources. If conflicting information is found in the first two sources checked, further sources may need to be checked in search of a "tiebreaker." It is sometimes necessary to weigh the information found in various sources and to determine which source is more authoritative or current. If the information in the work cataloged is confirmed in an authoritative source, that is probably all that is needed.

    SACO does not require exhaustive research. The goal is subject authority research that is good enough to indicate a consensus of usage in relevant sources