Disambiguating the Departed: Using the Genealogist’s Tools to Uniquely Identify the Long-Dead and Little-Known Public Deposited

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  • The need to uniquely identify persons with the same name will be just as important in a linked data environment as it is in traditional library catalogs. Although older cataloging rules allowed multiple identities to share space in an authority record, the current rules are more stringent, requiring that all authorized access points for persons be disambiguated. While this task has been made much easier in recent years because of the amount of biographical material on the Web, deceased and obscure persons can pose a complex challenge. This is especially true for special collections materials, which are being given greater attention but which often deal with people who are long-dead and little-known. This article builds on previous research on the use of online resources to perform authority work by providing an in-depth analysis of the genealogist’s toolkit and examining how freely available online genealogical sources can be used to find the types of distinctive information needed to create unique access points for persons.
Date Issued
  • 2016-01-01
Academic Affiliation
Journal Title
Journal Issue/Number
  • 4
Journal Volume
  • 60
File Extent
  • 236-247
Last Modified
  • 2019-12-09
Resource Type
Rights Statement
  • 0024-2527