Report of the DAMENames Ad Hoc Committee
Institutional Repository Document
In early 2018, the DAMEid group requested that Cataloging and Metadata unit examine the metadata needs for the DAME. When analyzing metadata needs in both OAKTrust and Fedora, it became clear that the lack of name authority control was causing serious problems for users, especially in the case of a single author having many entries in the author index. For example, Steven M. Wright, Royce E. Wisenbaker, Professor II in Chemical and Electrical Engineering, has 10 different entries for his name. This problem is caused by the lack of authority control and the inconsistent ways in which names are inputted into Vireo and OAKTrust. In their report to the DAMEid committee, the Metadata and Cataloging librarians strongly suggested that some type of name authority control be implemented within the DAME. In smaller repositories with few names and fewer entities (e.g., persons, organizations, subjects, etc.), the absence of explicit disambiguation or authority control can be a manageable problem. When only a few authors share a name, it is easy to tell them apart based on the subject matter of the works attached to the name. The problem compounds as collections grow larger and the number of entities with the same name that need to be distinguished from each other increases. For example, in the large OAKTrust IR, it is hard for a user to identify the "Steven Wright" that he or she is looking for, as there are several authors so named with dozens of items in the IR. Another issue that emerges in a system with no authority control such as OAKTrust is that an everyday typographical error (an extra space, no period after an initial, misspellings, etc.) results in a new entry in the author list. This results in multiple names for one person and it means that there is no way for a user to easily identify all the works attributed to one author.