UNBIS Guidelines for Name Authorities : Policies and Practice

  • Language of heading
  • Spelling/Capitalization/Diacritics
  • Capitalization of hyphenated words
  • Transliteration
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Sources
  • Duplicate records
  • Incomplete records

  • Language of heading ( AACR2 24.3A-24.3B)

    Except for international organizations, names of corporate bodies are established in the language used, or used predominantly, by the body but if the name of the body appears in English in the publication in hand, and the vernacular form cannot be determined, establish the heading in English. One need not make extraordinary efforts, however, to track down the vernacular form.

      110 1 _ $a Netherlands. Nationale Advies Raad voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking
      110 2 _ $a Badan Koordinasi Keluarga Berencana Nasional (Indonesia)
      110 2 _ $a Union pour la promotion de la femme nigérienne
      110 2 _ $a Konjunktúra-, Piackutató és Informatikai Intézet (Budapest)

    In the case of an international body, such as the UN, if English is one of its official languages, the headings will be established in English, with cross references from other forms of the name (see AACR2, 24.3A-B). Thus,

      110 2 _ $a UN. ECLAC. Division of International Trade and Integration
      410 2 _ $a UN. ECLAC. División de Comercio Internacional y Integración

    Originally, an attempt was made to provide at least both the English and French forms of UN names, but it proved impossible to continue the practice. However, where it seems logical to provide the non-English form, the attempt should be made, for instance, a peacekeeping mission in a French-speaking country or the name of an ECLAC meeting.


    UN spelling conventions should be followed for all UN names. The latest edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary and the UN Editorial Manual should be consulted as needed. In general, do not provide cross-references from the variant spellings of such words as programme (program) or labour (labor) unless found in the publication at hand.

    As regards capitalization, follow the rules for the language of the heading, consult AACR2, Appendix A, which contains specific instructions for English and other languages. Follow these rules even when the name appears differently in the text at hand.

      110 2 _ $a Deutsche Stiftung für Internationale Entwicklung. Zentralstelle für Öffentliche Verwaltung
      410 2 _ $a Organisation afro-asiatique pour le développement rural
      410 2 _ $a Organización Iberoamericano de Seguridad Social

    Where feasible, try to reproduce the diacritics as they appear in the publication; however, it is not necessary to go to extraordinary lengths. In the past, only a limited set of diacritics was available.

    It should be noted that we work in a multicultural environment and the required language expertise is often at hand.

    Capitalization of hyphenated words (AACR2 Appendix A.31-A.32)

    Always capitalize the first element. Capitalize the second element of the compound word if it is a noun, a proper adjective or if the first and second elements are of equal value.

      111 2 _ $a UN. Subregional High-Level Seminar on the Examination and Implementation of the Recommendations Contained in the Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa (1999 : Yaoundé)
      410 2 _ $a French-German Institute of Environmental Research
      410 2 _ $a North-South Institute (Ottawa)
      130 _ 0 $a Ministerial Declaration of the Second High-Level Meeting on Transport, Environment and Health (2002)
      130 _ 0 $a UN Long-Term Strategy on Road Safety (Proposed)
      111 2 _ $a Workshop on Water Safety in Small-Scale Water Supplies in the European Region (2008 : Bad Elster, Germany)

    Capitalize both elements when a word is preceded by a hyphenated prefix. Although this practice deviates from AACR2, it is in accordance with Article F.2 XIV of the printed version of the UN Editorial Manual, 1983.

      111 2 _ $a UN. Committee on Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories
      110 2 _ $a UN. Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (1984, special sess. : New York)
      111 2 _ $a Trans-Pacific Seminar (3rd : 1975 : Vińa del Mar, Chile)
      110 2 _ $a UNDP. Inter-Agency Procurement Services Unit
      110 2 _ $a Anti-Slavery International
    In all other compound words, including hyphenated single words, the initial letter of the second element is entered in lower case.
      410 2 _ $a UN Special Fund for Land-locked Developing Countries
      110 2 _ $a UN. International Law Commission. Working Group on the Review of the Multilateral Treaty-making Process
      110 2 _ $a Movimiento Ecumenico Nacional de Puerto Rico. Communications Co-ordinator
      110 2 _ $a Council for Cultural Co-operation (Strasbourg, France)
    In the past many names were established that are not in conformity with these guidelines. In the future, when UNBIS is hosted on a more flexible platform, it will be easier to update records globally in order to eliminate such anomalies.

    More information on hyphenation will be found in UNBIS Instruction No. 26/Add.5.


    Automated library catalogues and integrated library systems are only beginning to accommodate non-roman scripts, and for many years it was UNBIS policy either to transliterate names and titles in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, etc., or to establish the headings in English. While Russian names have always been transliterated, the practice with other languages has been inconsistent--for example, in some cases Chinese corporate name headings have been established in English, while in others transliterated Chinese. An effort should be made, however, to be more consistent and to regularize existing headings.

    Transliteration of official languages should only be done according to the Romanization schemes used by the UN, which, at least in some cases, differ from those used by LC (UN Arabic transliteration tables - available for internal use only).

      110 2 _ $a Rossiiskaia akademiia nauk. Institut mirovoi ekonomiki i mezhdunarodnykh otnoshenii

    In the future, when UNBIS is housed on a more advanced platform, it will be possible to include JACKPHY (Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, Hebrew, and Yiddish) and other non-Roman script text in both bibliographic and name authority records.

    Abbreviations and acronyms

    In UNBIS practice, no space is left between the characters of an abbreviation. Currently most acronyms appear without punctuation (i.e., without full stops between the characters), and it is not necessary to make a cross-reference from a punctuated form unless it appears this way in some sources. Abbreviations and acronyms are acceptable in the 110 tag (established form of the heading) if that is how the entity is predominantly known or refers to itself in its publications (e.g., NATO, OPEC). For clarification, one may add a descriptive phrase, such as "Organization", as a qualifier.

      110 2 _ $a INTERTECT (Firm : Dallas, Tex.)
      110 2 _ $a DANCED (Organization : Denmark)
      110 2 _ $a SAPRIN (Organization)

    Consult AACR2, Appendix B.14 for abbreviations of U.S. states. See also the section "Geographic Names".

    In UNBIS, the acronym «UN» is always used when «United Nations» comes at the beginning of a name. Acronyms are also used for UN specialized agencies: IBRD, WHO, etc. When «United Nations» appears within a name, it is spelled out in full.

      110 2 _ $a UN Office on Drugs and Crime
      110 2 _ $a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
      110 2 _ $a UN. Committee to Review United Nations Public Information Policies and Activities


    Add a separate 670 tag for each source cited. The first source cited should be the document or publication at hand.

    If the heading is found in the Library of Congress name authority file, this should be noted in a separate 670 note, where it is abbreviated as "LC name auth.". When searching the LC name authority file, one must keep in mind the differences in some of its headings and those in UNBIS. For example, compare:

      In LC. name auth. In UNBIS
      Dept. Department
      Great Britain United Kingdom
      United States. Congress. House United States. Congress. House of Representatives
      World Bank IBRD

    Additional sources of information may be consulted when there is a need to obtain or verify specific information. Since documents are sometimes indexed long after issuance, information about proposed conferences or a body called for in a draft resolution, for example, may be available from more up-to-date information sources on the Web. It is a good idea to consult routinely the UN Journal, the UN News Centre, press releases, as well as to stay abreast of current events in general. Other useful sources are Resolutions of the General Assembly and Resolutions of the Security Council both detailed in the UN Documentation Research Guide. If a website is cited, it should be a creditable one, the homepage of an organization, for instance, (but citations to Wikipedia have been spotted in the LC name authority file). Note that sometimes documents that are not in the ODS are posted on the issuing body's website and can even be found by entering the symbol directly in the Google search window. Committee websites may provide other useful information about the body and its meetings. The UN online telephone directory is useful for checking the hierarchical structure of UN departments; sometimes a simple phone call to someone within the organization can provide needed information (although it may be difficult to determine just whom to call).

    Calendars of meetings are a further source of information.

    Duplicate records

    If duplicate records are found, they should be merged but only after examining them carefully. Special care should be taken with personal and corporate/conference name headings, which may have a subfield $g qualifier attached. Records containing a subfield $g must be retained and a separate authority record created for the person or corporate/conference body.

    Duplicate Library of Congress name authority records (or two differently established headings for the same entity)— or other errors—can be reported to the LC Cataloguing Policy and Support Office using the form on their website.

    Incomplete records

    An incomplete authority record has only a few tags: LDR, 008 and 1XX. If it was not created recently, it is probably an old one that was never submitted for revision. It may be used in bibliographic records but should be submitted for revision.

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    Last updated: 19 August 2009