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From The CriticsReviewer: Rob Behary, MLS, MBA (Duquesne University)
Description: Simultaneously published as Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, v. 38 n. 3/4 and v. 39 n. 1/2, this hefty tome is a collection of essays from the International Conference on Authority Control held in Florence, Italy, in February 2003.
Purpose: Authority control is a difficult and at times misunderstood concept in librarianship today. These strong essays do indeed help to define and bring international scope to this complex issue. The conference's essays are almost without exception of high quality, and the wise inclusion of selected essays from outside the conference, especially Mirna Willer's paper on UNIMARC, add depth to an already strong book.
Audience: With the abundance of metadata schema being developed in nearly every discipline, professionals outside the library world who develop such schema will find some value in this book. For instance, Michael Gorman in his prefatory essay describes in plain language that there is folly in creating metadata without the appropriate accompanying authority controls. Most of the appeal, however, will be for the librarians who seek an increased understanding of cooperative and future directions for authority control projects.
Features: One might question the inclusion of the conference's opening and closing remarks in an already very full book, but other features, including a logical organization and a complete and useful index, help the reader locate specific sections and examples with little effort. Some illustrations seem troublesome to interpret with ambiguous arrows complicating what are already difficult to understand relationships.
Assessment: The two editors are preeminent figures in the discipline of library cataloging. As such, they clearly understand the potential for librarians to lead the effort of providing authority control for information in all formats. The challenging issues of learning new standards, collaborating on an international scale, and increasing educational efforts, all of which are well represented in this book, light the pathway for the future of librarianship in the area of authority control.