Looking for Some Authority? Try the NACO Music Project

Hi. This is Mark Scharff, Coordinator for the NACO-Music Project (NMP), the funnel project that creates and updates authority records in the LC/NACO Authority File (LCNAF), particularly those for musical works and expressions. Perhaps some readers of this blog have thought about joining NMP, but have asked internally, “Is this for me?”

Let me offer some thoughts that might push that answer toward “Yes!” 

  1. The act of determining appropriate authorized access points is something baked into cataloging, particularly records contributed to a national utility. NACO work serves to document the process and products (authorized and variant access points, as well as information helpful in identification) of something you already do.
  2. Being the creator of an authority record guarantees that your catalog conforms to national practice for that AAP (Authorized Access Point). If the entity established has a local connection, you are probably the person best-positioned to ask the questions whose answers inform a good authority record.
  3. NACO work is not just for creating new records, but for revising, correcting, or updating existing authority records. Some friends have nicknamed me “003” because I told them that one power I had as an NMP participant was the ability to “kill off” the “bibliographically undead.” (The number referred to a ranking in my job title). More seriously, this is important work for librarians in sustaining our reputation for providing reliable information.
  4. NMP has expanded my horizons as a professional. I’m part of a community that gets what I do, without contorted explanations. Through the NMP-L discussion list, that community also supports one another in confronting the tough cataloging questions that music materials can pose. NMP member institutions become members of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC); that body is a major force in shaping cataloging practice. NMP members can subscribe to the PCC-L list, a source for information on developments in our field.
  5. Noble intentions aside, participation in NMP can be a feather in the cap for you and for your institution. Institutions large and small can be successful participants; you choose what records you create, in accordance with the material that goes across your desk and the resources you have to do needed research (which includes NMP-L).

If any one of these points has piqued your curiosity, I invite you to visit the NMP page on the CMC website. There is now a link to a document, the NMP Application Form Guide, that walks you through the NMP application form. I also invite you to ask me questions about the application process and what membership entails. The NACO-Music Project, thanks to the efforts of Ralph Papakhian and others, pioneered the funnel concept for cooperative authority work. NMP continues to lead the way in work to, as the old gospel hymn put it, “Brighten the corner where you are.” Consider joining in that journey.