If you’ve been searching the Library of Congress permalink service recently you may have noticed that the Library has expanded the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) Permalink Service to name and subject authority records.
LCCN Permalinks are now displayed on authority record entries in Library of Congress Authorities.
The notice circulated on the EAD email list provided this explanation of how LCCN Permalinks work:
An LCCN Permalink retrieves a MARCXML-formatted record using the Z39.50/SRU protocol. Both valid and cancelled LCCNs (MARC 21 fields 010a and 010z) are searched. Authority record displays for LCCN Permalink follow the labeled display found in LC Authorities. MARCXML and MADS versions of the records are also available. Displays link to entries in LC Authorities and the LC Online Catalog — and, where appropriate, to entries in the Virtual International Authority File and LC Authorities and Vocabularies.
Additional information is available on the LCCN Permalink FAQ. I’m really interested in the idea of permalinked authority records, but it’s still a little hard to see where this is all going, especially for archives. I noticed today that the Archivists’ Toolkit doesn’t have a dedicated field for URLs in the names or subject modules and neither does ICA A-to-M. Even if there was a place to enter the links, what would you do with them?
I also wonder how these LCCN permalinks (and the LC Authorities in general) will interplay with other authority control projects like the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Project and the Virtual International Authority File project. The prototype for SNAC is enough to show the limitations of MARC encoded authority files and the benefits of Encoded Archival Context. And it creates more URLs. VIAF, on the other hand, is taking MARC to new heights, linking authority files from disparate national catalogues – and providing more URLs. Providing users with a handful of URLs to choose from seems confusing – there could be LCCN, VIAF, and SNAC URLs all coexisting – so it will be interesting to see how these various authority initiatives pan out.