Authority files

Authority files provide for informational jumps from a transcription to a local authority file and/or from a local authority file to a public linked data resource (a remote authority file). As we can see from the example, the same mechanism links the transcription to the local authority file and the local authority file to the remote authority file.

To point from an element to an external authority record we would typically use either ref or key attribute. (They serve the same purpose, but ref is a URI, thus more useful when the referent is available on the web; key is arbitrary, thus more useful when the referent is not on the web.)

A remote authority file, like the Library of Congress, is an external data resource that can provide additional and/or authoritative information about something in your transcription or local authority file (see next slide for an example). Why would one want to use a local authority file? First of all, you can say things in a local authority file (perhaps things specific to your project) that the remote file doesn’t. Second, it means you only have one source to manage. If a remote authority file changes (or the link is broken), you’ll only have to update the reference to the remote authority file in your local authority file (as opposed to changing every instance in your transcription(s)).

Contextual Nuances, slide 2 of 11