Authority data sources

Two data sources that are a little different from the others are the Thesaurus and Persons and institutions. Known as Authority data sources, these are used for vocabulary control and they manage the many names and terms referenced by records in almost every other data source. The purpose of a controlled vocabulary is to ensure consistent use of names and terms throughout your records and this is achieved by specifying that a name or term is preferred; then when a non-preferred version of a name or term is selected in a Linked fieldClosed A type of field used to link one record to another. A Linked field is a drop list of values (records that the field can link to). When a link is made, the field stores a reference to the linked record (a linkref). drop list, it is automatically replaced with the preferred name or term.

Note: Persons and institutions actually serves a dual purpose: it is both an Authority data source for preferred names, but also a source of information about people and organizations involved with your collection in some way.

Other relationships between terms / names are also managed in Authority data sources. In the Thesaurus we can build hierarchical relationships between terms (broader, narrower, related and equivalent) and in Persons and institutions we can identify pseudonyms and equivalent names. And, finally, we manage the status of terms and names in Authority data sources by indicating whether they are approved, obsolete, rejected, etc.

Linking records and vocabulary control go hand-in-hand: the Authority data sources hold records for names and terms and fields in your other data sources link to these records.