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Authority Control: Sharing Cataloguing Experiences Practiced at the Library of Open University of Sri Lanka


Damayanthi Gunasekera

The Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Damayanthi
Senior Assistant Librarian
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The article discusses the nature and importance of subject analysis and the retrieval tools used in subject authority control at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) library. The article documents the cataloguing practices used at OUSL library and how objectives of the catalogue as mentioned by Cutter are achieved by creating an efficient catalogue. Further, how authority control is done at the OUSL library to create an efficient catalogue which is needed for an efficient retrieval of information is also analyzed. The article explains further, the three types of authority files that are maintained by the OUSL library and the importance of maintaining authority control in digital environment. In addition to that, how cataloguing and classification are practiced to keep the consistency of the catalogue is also discussed. The purpose of the article is to inform others how OUSL has developed and maintained the authority lists with the aim of effective retrieval. The problem that influenced the author to write the article is that there are no proper guidelines available nationally to be used by the professionals. Each institution/country is responsible for authority headings for its own personal and corporate authors. IFLA emphasizes that national authority lists should be available in each country for everyone to use but   it is not available in Sri Lanka. This article will be an eye opener for the LIS professionals to think about such as important attempt. The objective of the article is to share OUSL library practices among LIS professionals and to inform the value of maintaining authority control in digital environment. Action research method was applied to conduct the study to achieve the objective. Archival data and author experiences were used to write the article. Survey and observation methods were used to collect archival data. Accordingly, findings were presented with examples. Further, included in the discussion are the requirements for effective subject retrieval from OPAC, bibliographic databases, full text systems, digital archives and the Internet. It attempts to project the nature of subject analysis systems requirements into the future and to draw some conclusions about what new information professionals should be taught and what skills they need to acquire to develop and operate subject analysis systems into the next century. Finally, it challenges information professionals to seize the opportunity and to take responsibility for subject analysis in retrieval of information now and into the future.
How to Cite: Gunasekera, D., 2019. Authority Control: Sharing Cataloguing Experiences Practiced at the Library of Open University of Sri Lanka. Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka, 22(2), pp.56–73. DOI:
Published on 28 Aug 2019.
Peer Reviewed


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