SECTIONS
 

UNBIS Guidelines for Name Authorities : Policies and Practice
 


  • Name changes
  • Country codes
  • - AACR2, Chapter 23: Geographic Names


    The established form of a geographical place name should be used, whether as a geographic qualifier (additions to corporate and conference names) or as a subject, and cataloguers and indexers are expected to submit new names to the Authority Coordinator for review.

    DHL used to maintain a separate list of geographic place names indicating the form and spelling to use in UNBIS records. These names are now maintained in the Thesaurus database but they are not treated as Thesaurus terms--they are not translated or incorporated into the Thesaurus structure, nor do they appear in the public version on the Web. A «List of Geographic Names», extracted from the Thesaurus database, is sent periodically to other libraries in the UN system which use the Thesaurus.

    The form of the name and appropriate cross-references are chosen in consultation with the Map Librarian. Normally the English conventional form of a name is preferred (e.g., Vienna, not Wien), but attention also is paid to the spelling on UN maps.

    When a geographical place name is a subject, it is expressed in upper case, just as Thesaurus terms are. Also, the country name is added to city, state and province names but not to geographic features, such as islands, mountains, rivers, etc., if they are shared by two or more countries or other jurisdictional bodies. It may be necessary to distinguish a city and another jurisdictional entity with the same name (Québec, for example, is the name of a city and a province).

    Examples:

      QUEBEC (CANADA : PROVINCE)
      ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK (ZIMBABWE)
      YUKON TERRITORY (CANADA)
      WINDWARD ISLANDS
      RED SEA REGION
      PYRENEES
      PENNSYLVANIA (UNITED STATES)
      PANAMA CANAL
      ORLOVSKAIA OBLAST' (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
      NIGER RIVER BASIN
      NABLUS (WEST BANK)
      MEDINA (SAUDI ARABIA)
      ESFAHAN (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN)
      MACAO (CHINA : SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION)
      LIPTAKO REGION (BURKINA FASO)
      LITANI RIVER (LEBANON)
      [confined to Lebanon]
      AMAZON RIVER
      ALEUTIAN ISLANDS (UNITED STATES)
      LOS ANGELES (CALIF.)
      LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CALIF.)
      SCOTLAND (UNITED KINGDOM)
      CLYDEBANK (SCOTLAND)
      AZORES (PORTUGAL)
      BALTIC STATES
      BARENTS SEA
      BEAGLE CHANNEL
      CENTRAL EUROPE
      CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO
      CROZET ISLANDS (FRENCH SOUTHERN AND ANTARCTIC LANDS)
      DAGESTAN (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
      EAST CENTRAL PACIFIC OCEAN REGION
      FLANDERS (BELGIUM)
      GAZA STRIP
      GREAT LAKES REGION (AFRICA)
      GREAT LAKES REGION (NORTH AMERICA)
      GREENLAND
      GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE (CUBA)
      GUAYANA SHIELD
      GULF OF FONSECA
      HAGUE (NETHERLANDS)
      [note: initial article suppressed]
      JUBA VALLEY (SOMALIA)
      HELMAND RIVER VALLEY
    Note that the Thesaurus does include some geographic names, countries, of course, but also continents, some major geographic regions and a few island groups and bodies of water:
      ADRIATIC SEA
      AFRICA SOUTH OF THE SAHARA
      ANDEAN REGION
      ARAB COUNTRIES
      ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
      EAST AFRICA
      CHANNEL ISLANDS
    This is a legacy issue which becomes a problem when it would seem logical to create reciprocal cross-references between two related headings, but one can't because one is a Thesaurus term and the other a geographical name that does not appear in the Thesaurus. For example,
      FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS) and
      FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS) DEPENDENCIES
    The first is a Thesaurus term and the second (the pre-1985 designation) a "geographic name" term.

    It is sometimes necessary to add an explanatory note, such as:

      BALUCHISTAN
      (Region, W. Asia, encompassing territory lying in E. Iran and SW. Pakistan)

      CZECH REPUBLIC
      (For works published or which cover the period prior to 31 Dec. 1992, use Czechoslovakia as an added descriptor)

      DEMOCRATIC YEMEN
      (Used until May 21, 1990. On May 22, 1990, merged with the Yemen Arab Republic (YEMEN) to form the Republic of Yemen (YEMEN))

    Name changes - see AACR2 23.3A

    When the name of a country changes, if there is no jurisdictional change, the Thesaurus term changes to the latest form of the name, but only after confirmation in a memo from the UN Office of Protocol. The division's Director and the Authority Control Coordinator receive this memo. UNTERM may be consulted for the short form of the name, which is used in UNBIS, e.g. "Iran (Islamic Republic of)", "Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)" and "Bolivia (Plurinational State of)". Also, the country name used as a qualifier in a subject heading must be updated. Thus,

      BUKAVU (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO)
      [formerly: BUKAVU (ZAIRE)]

      DILI (TIMOR-LESTE)
      [formerly: DILI (INDONESIA)]

    On the other hand, if there is a jurisdictional change, both old and new forms of the name are retained, linked by reciprocal cross-references. For example:
      Thesaurus terms:

      CAMEROON
      CAMEROONS UNDER BRITISH ADMINISTRATION
      CAMEROONS UNDER FRENCH ADMINISTRATION

      Corporate name headings:

      110 2 _ $a Democratic Kampuchea
      510 2 _ $a Cambodia

    Country codes

    UNBIS uses the ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 codes, three-letter country codes in the ISO 3166-1 standard to represent countries and dependent areas. The Authority Control Coordinator must be alert for changes in the codes, which are to be expected when a country changes names. New codes will not be adopted immediately, as they are decided by an international committee. The code lists can be consulted on the ISO 3166 website, and approved updates will appear in its newsletter. The changes should be reported to the UNBIS database manager and the Map Librarian. The UN Statistics Division and the Map Library also post the alpha-3 codes on their sites.

    Back to the top


    Maintained by the Department of Public Information (DPI), Dag Hammarskjöld
    Library. Comments as well as suggestions for further additions/enhancements may be directed to the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.
    © United Nations 2007-2009. All rights reserved
    .

    Last updated: 20 August 2009