NACO: 053 field
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053 field for Literary Author Numbers

As a NACO library, we may request assignment of literature class numbers for authors of belles lettres from LC. This means that catalogers have the option of having their new literary author numbers verified by LC, and included in an 053 field in the authority record for that author. Authors who died before 1875 and authors with pseudonyms are not eligible for an 053.

This is not a requirement. Catalogers may decide for themselves if they wish to avail themselves of this option.

The advantage of doing so is that LC will reserve a place in their shelflist for the author in question, and use the same author number that we have used if/when they receive works by or about that author for their collection. Future LC copy for works by that author should not show a differing author number. In addition, when catalogers subsequently search the authority file for the established form of the author's name, they will have the convenience of also finding the author number.

Local Policy:
The Authorities Committee will provide this service only for literary authors that we are establishing in the NAF for the first time. If you wish to add an 053 field to an existing authority record, please consult the Authorities Coordinator. All 053 author numbers, regardless of source, must be verified by LC before including them in an authority record. Author numbers taken from LC copy or NUC are not routinely added to authority records, without current verification.

The procedure for cataloging staff is as follows:

  1. Find a cutter number that fits into LC's shelflist and, if possible, also into our shelflist.Guidance on searching LC's catalog.
  2. Catalog the book on Voyager as you would ordinarily, including the assignment of a complete call number in the 050 _4 field, except do the following:
    1. Leave the record in "save" by NOT checking the "OK to export" box.
    2. Do NOT write the call number in the book.
    3. Do NOT put the call number in the holdings record.
  3. Complete an authority record for the author; write "053 request" at the top.
  4. Charge the book to the Authorities Decision Shelf.
    Create the appropriate 902 field--the item will not be returned.

  5. Place the book (with jacket, if any), together with the SAVED bib record and the completed NACO form on the designated shelf.

The Authorities Committee will then perform the following:

  1. Forward the numbers to LC for verification in the LC shelflist. LC will accept our classification in virtually all cases, but may alter the ending digits of the cutter number as required for their shelflist.
  2. When LC returns the verified author numbers, check them in Voyager (whether changed or not), to ensure that they have not been used. (If a number has been used for a different author, LC is again contacted for a different number.)
  3. Add an 053 field to the authority record, and retain the record for further processing.
  4. Produce the bib record, adjusting the call number as necessary.
Please remember to:
  • Check to make sure that the heading on your authority record matches the heading on your bibliographic record, before submitting your request. LC will reject any requests if these are not identical.
  • If other authority records are required for your book in addition to the author (e.g. editors, translators, etc.), complete them and turn them in separately.

Searching LC's catalog:

  • Access LC's catalog online (
  • Choose the EXPERT SEARCH option.
  • Type the index code "05xx" then the classification number followed by a question mark (truncation symbol), the classification number should be in quotes:
      Example: 05xx "pr9199.3.t3?"
  • If you get no result, try removing a digit or two from the cutter and try again.