If you are thinking of doing name or subject authority control you
might want to check out OCLC's VIAF AutoSuggest service  and FAST
AutoSuggest . There are also autosuggest searches for the name and
subject authority files, that are lightly documented in their
OpenSearch document .
In general, I really like this approach, and I think it has a lot of
potential for newer cataloging interfaces. I'll describe two scenarios
that I'm familiar with, that have worked quite well (so far). Note,
these aren't IR per-se, but perhaps they will translate to your
As part of the National Digital Newspaper Program LC has a simple app
so that librarians can create "essays" that describe newspapers in
detail. Rather than making this part of our public website we created
an Essay Editor as a standalone django app that provides a web based
editing environment, for authority the essays. Part of this process is
linking up the essay with the correct newspaper. Rather than load all
the newspapers that could be described into the Essay Editor, and keep
them up to date, we exposed an OpenSearch API in the main Chronicling
America website (where all the newspaper records are loaded and
maintained) . It has been working quite well so far.
Another example is the jobs.code4lib.org website that allows people to
enter jobs announcements. I wanted to make sure that it was possible
to view jobs by organization , or skill  -- so some form of
authority control was needed. I ended up using Freebase Suggest 
that makes it quite easy to build simple forms that present users with
subsets of Freebase entities, depending on what they type. A nice side
benefit of using Freebase is that you get descriptive text and images
for the employers and topics for free. It has been working pretty well
so far. There is a bit of an annoying conflict between the Freebase
CSS and Twitter Bootstrap, which might be resolved by updating
Bootstrap. Also, I've noticed Freebase's service slowing down a bit
lately, which hopefully won't degrade further.
The big caveat here is that these external services are dependencies.
If they go down, a significant portion of your app might go down to.
Minimizing this dependency, or allowing things degrade well is good to
keep in mind. Also, it's worth remembering identifiers (if they are
available) for the selected matches, so that they can be used for
linking your data with the external resource. A simple string might
I hope this helps. Thanks for the question, I think this is an area
where we can really improve some of our back-office interfaces and
On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Kyle Banerjee <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> How are libraries doing this and how well is it working?
> Most systems that even claim to have authority control simply allow a
> controlled keyword list. But this does nothing for the see and see also
> references that are essential for many use cases (people known by many
> names, entities that change names, merge or whatever over time, etc).
> The two most obvious solutions to me are to write an app that provides this
> information interactively as the query is typed (requires access to the
> search box) or to have a record that serves as a disambiguation page (might
> not be noticed by the user for a variety of reasons). Are there other
> options, and what do you recommend?