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Authority Control

The British Library uses the Library of Congress / NACO Authority File (LC/NAF) to control the forms of names in its catalogues. The British Library is one of the major contributors of authority data to the Name Authorities Co-operative (NACO) component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

In May 1993 the British Library and the Library of Congress agreed the goal of establishing a single, shared name authority file to be created from the merger of their two independent files: the British Library Name Authority List (BLNAL) and the United States Name Authority File (USNAF - now known as LC/NAF). This agreement led to the establishment of the Anglo-American Authority File project (AAAF). The project has been carried out in three phases. In Phase 1 (1994-1996) cataloguing policies were converged; during Phase 2 (1996-1997) the British Library began to contribute authority data directly to LC/NAF. Phase 3, the retrospective alignment of the British Library Name Authority List with LC/NAF, was dependent on implementation of global change functionality in the British Library Integrated Catalogue and began in earnest in 2004.

The British Library has developed guidelines for the most frequently used name headings in order to assist users of BNB records in managing the migration of their catalogues to MARC 21.

ISO 27729:2012 International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI)

The British Library was part of the committee which developed ISNI and provides one of the directors of the International Agency (ISNI-IA) acting as the representative of the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), one of the founding members of the consortium that established the ISNI-IA.


The British Library is a partner in the Names Project, which is working to uniquely identify individuals and institutions involved in research in the United Kingdom. The Project is funded by JISC and led by MIMAS.

For further information please contact:

The British Library
Authority Control
Boston Spa, Wetherby
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BQ
United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0) 1937 546806
Fax: + 44 (0) 1937 546586