Top 10 Tactics for Tackling an
Authority Control Project
Lisa Bodenheimer
Sarah Lohmann
Clemson University Libraries
• Clemson: medium-sized research university in South
• 1.09 million bib records in our catalog;
• over 250,000 ebooks and e-media; and almost 115,000
• Our ILS is Millennium; we migrated in 2005.
• A recommendation from a strategic task force in the
Libraries led to the decision to outsource authority control in
• Competitive bid process; vendor awarded contract.
Outsourcing Authority
Control, the Basics…
• Outsourcing authority control is made up of two different projects:
• Backfile or basefile: the library extracts all appropriate existing
catalog data and sends it off to the vendor for data massaging
and provision of authority records.
• Ongoing, where you send your newly cataloged records to the
vendor at an agreed upon interval of time (we’ll do quarterly) for
provision of name and subject authority records.
More basics
• We sent 1.08 million bibliographic records to our vendor.
• What the vendor did for us:
• returned our bib records and about 700,000 name
authority records and 200,000 subject authority
• ran our locally created authority records against the
LC file and returned them with updated information, if
available, and with local practices intact.
• sent us 440 separate reports!
Tactic 1: Use your experts!
• Vendor project manager.
• References from the vendor, who are libraries similar
in project, size, and mission and who use the same
ILS. Talk to these people. You can learn from their
• III people. There were questions only III folks could
answer for us.
Tactic 2: Training
• General Millennium system training
• Both of us participated in a week of Millennium
training held at our library.
• Load profile training
• Enabled us to create our own load profiles for
the project.
• Not required because III has profiling services,
but very helpful.
Tactic 3: Know your bib and authority data!
• Very helpful in profiling with the vendor.
• Some resources we used:
• Institutional memory in the library, long-time
• Documentation from our migration to
• Millennium online documentation to answer
questions about current system setup.
Tactic 4: Do a sample file
• The vendor will offer to process a sample file of
a few thousand records from your catalog.
• This is HIGHLY recommended!
• To create a sample file:
• create review files of records of all types of
formats and practices, old and new.
• This sample file will also be the data that you
will test the system load profiles on.
Tactic 5: Test, and test, and test again!
• You must know how your data will behave when it is
returned by the vendor and reloaded into Millennium.
• So, you must test load sample file records, using the load
profiles you or III created for the project.
Tactic 6: Timing and Scheduling
• School breaks and holidays
• Service disruptions
• Library employees whose job duties involve batch record loading
and cleanup
• Authority control vendor contract deadlines
Tactic 7: FTP Capability
• Vendor file-handling options
• Examples: Web upload or FTP
• Put functions in Data Exchange
• Put PC and Put FTS
• Sending to vendor’s FTP server
• IP address
• Username and password
• ‘In’ and ‘out’ folders
Tactic 8: Test Environment
• Good – Innovative’s System Refresh Training
• Better – In-house server-to-server transfers
• Examples: Legato, rsync
• Best – Innovative’s Training/Test System Refresh Service
• Backup medium
Tactic 9: Transaction File (aka “bibtemp” file)
• Three basic transaction types of a file processing system
• Add (Insert) – Data Exchange
• Delete – Delete Records
• Update (Amend) – Global and Rapid Update
• Check transaction file percentage on a daily basis
• File sizes
• Transaction file
• File(s) of bibliographic records
• File(s) of authority records
Tactic 10: Communicate and collaborate!
• It is very important that the library’s project manager work with the
library’s systems support manager. It took both of us to make this
project work effectively. We broke down the work in house like this:
• Lisa: overall project manager and library’s liaison with vendor;
created and uploaded sample files; created and tested load
profiles; created review files of basefile records; worked with
vendor to remaster local authority records.
• Sarah: tested load profiles and served as moral
support/researcher on funky profiling and system issues;
arranged for test database refresh and other system
modifications; liaison with III; uploaded basefile records to
vendor; reloaded basefile bibs and authorities.
• Contact us
• Sarah Lohmann, [email protected]
• Lisa Bodenheimer, [email protected]

Top Ten Tactics for Tackling an Authority Control Project with