AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVI, No. 2, Fall 1994



AIP Center staff have built a substantial database of "authority" records relating to physics and allied sciences, giving definitive spellings for personal and institutional names as well as topical terms for indexing. These lists were compiled to serve our cataloging of collections reported to the International Catalog of Sources (see INTERNATIONAL CATALOG OF SOURCES article).

For each case we refer to an established hierarchy of sources, starting with the Library of Congress Name Authority (available on CD-ROM and online through the Research Libraries Information Network); when this fails, sources used include the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, American Men and Women of Science, Poggendorf, and other materials among the Niels Bohr Library's rich resources. The name authority database includes names, birth and death dates, source of authority (including a separate field for dates coming from a second source we routinely add death dates from obituaries in reliable publications), and a field for a short biography. The Library of Congress is also the primary source used for authorization of subject headings used in indexing of catalog records; if no appropriate topical term can be found there we create an AIP local term, after consultation with historians of physics on staff. We can also consult the extensive physics thesaurus that AIP uses for indexing its journals.

Over 4,500 names of people and institutions and over 2,300 topical terms have been authorized and entered into our database. Anyone interested in purchasing copies of these authority files at cost, on paper or diskette, should contact the Center.

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AIP History Center Center for History of Physics
Phone: 301-209-3165
American Institute of Physics 2003 American Institute of Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3843. Email: Phone: 301-209-3100; Fax: 301-209-0843