Final Report – November 2000

Working Group on the Revision of FSCH
Examples contributed by the members of the Section on Cataloguing

Compiled and introduced by Ton Heijligers

Working Group Members:
Isa de Pinedo, Ton Heijligers, Natalia Kasparova, Reinhard Rinn, Barbara Tillett, Maria Witt

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC Programme




1.1 From the ‘Statement of Principles’ onwards
1.2 Corporate entry
1.3 IFLA Standard FSCH, 1980
1.4 Completion of the text
1.5 Revision of the standard
1.6 The illusion of a world-wide uniform heading
1.7 Different approach
1.8 The FSCH Exercise
1.9 The follow-up
1.10 State of affairs

2.1 Form of name categories [column 1b]
2.2 Terminology and numbering system [columns 1a, 1b]
2.3 Further specifications [column 2]
2.4 Labelling of catalogue functions [column 3]
2.5 Listing of corporate names [column 4]
2.6 Explanatory notes, observations [column 5]
2.7 List of contributing countries [column 6]
2.8 Integration of the examples into one survey [columns 3, 4, 6]
2.9 A selection of FSCH rules applied [column 7]


[Outcome of ‘FSCH Exercise’, rounds I-III]


At the 1998 IFLA Conference in Amsterdam the Section on Cataloguing decided, on the basis of Recommendations by the Working Group on FSCH (Form and Structure of Corporate Headings), to consider the revision of the 1980 standard FSCH no longer a priority. Instead it was decided to support the recommendations of the IFLA UBCIM Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Records and ISADN, which means that the focus shifted to the promotion of international sharing of corporate name headings in (national) authority files. Subsequently the Working Group on FSCH considered it important to gain better insight in the name structures, word orders, and punctuation patterns of corporate headings as these are actually occurring in bibliographic practice, and started making an inventory by collecting examples. In 1999 all other Section on Cataloguing members were invited to participate in this ‘FSCH exercise,’ so that contributions from 14 countries were received. The outcome, a survey of examples arranged in categories that indicate name structures and form patterns, is rendered in the report presented here.

Part A, section 1, gives a summary of the main procedural steps and actions during the 3-year laborious process that in 1998 brought the Working Group to the recommendation no longer to pursue the actual revision of the FSCH rules. Against the background of important international documents that were meant to standardise the practice of corporate entry, the text also represents an attempt to, so to say, justify the choice the Working Group made. Though the ‘rich’ international history of corporate entry can easily lead to a long discourse, as Verona’s 1975 report has amply shown, in view of the nature of the report in hand it would be overshooting the mark to expand too much on the details of principles and rules that for 40 years have been able to rouse the emotions of cataloguers and compilers of cataloguing codes. But even then it will be difficult enough to be brief. From the illumination of past history the Introduction moves on to the considerations that led to the FSCH exercise, and briefly explains the general set-up of the inquiry. It continues with a summary of the discussions at the 2000 Jerusalem Conference on the survey and the suggested follow-up. Section 1 ends with some tentative remarks on the state of affairs.

The Working Group on FSCH reconfirmed the main goal is to facilitate the adequate listing of corporate names in a ‘virtual database’ for authority records. It recommended submitting the FSCH survey to the new working group on Functional Requirements and Numbering for Authority Records (FRANAR) for further analysis. The Section on Cataloguing approved this recommendation at the Jerusalem IFLA Conference. It is hoped this analysis will inform developers of future library systems about what to expect from the form and structure of corporate names as found in practice, and whether there are consequences for the design of a computer format or the adjustment of existing formats. Later on it may be desirable to compile basic guidelines, as a useful tool for cataloguers. After publication of this report the Working Group on FSCH will be dismissed.

Part A, section 2, gives an extensive explanation of the model used for the inquiry. This section should be read closely before examining the survey.

Part B contains the actual survey of categorised examples.



1.1 From the ‘Statement of Principles’ onwards

The Statement of Principles, approved by the International Conference on Cataloguing Principles (ICCP, Paris, 1961), was intended to give guidance to the compilers and revisers of cataloguing codes. In 1971 an annotated edition was published, with commentary and examples by Eva Verona.¹)

The Paris Principles stated the goals and functions of the author title catalogue. Its users should be offered bibliographic facilities like standard identification of and multiple access to the publication, and collocation of a person’s oeuvre, of an author’s works, and of the various editions of a particular work. The so-called ‘main entry,’ complemented by added entries, and the ‘uniform heading’ were the main concepts and instruments to realise this. They determined the construction of the catalogue. The Statement of Principles also gave prescriptions for the choice of name for the ‘uniform heading’ which was meant to be used world-wide.

The Principles certainly had great influence on professional thinking, and have to some extent been able to promote more uniformity in bibliographic practice. At the same time it must be said that they were conceived in a pre-computer era, when card catalogues and printed bibliographies were still dominant. Since then, the circumstances of the cataloguing process radically changed due to several developments, such as automated data processing, co-operative shared cataloguing, the distribution of OPACs with search techniques that facilitated a much more varied retrieval of bibliographic data, the design of the Z39.50 protocol, the wide use of the Internet, etc. These changes resuscitated the discussions on the raison d’être of principles made for the old catalogue. Which functions stipulated in the Statement of Principles are still valid in an era characterised by the online exchange of information, what is essential to meet the expectations of contemporary users? It is not surprising that in various respects the framework of the Statement of Principles was more and more felt to be outdated, and not only by experts from outside the cataloguing profession.

In 1998 IFLA published the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records ²), a new conceptual model meant to promote a rational approach of cataloguing in the electronic environment. In several respects FRBR may be considered as a successor to the Statement, as a kind of new ‘cataloguer’s bible.’ Time will tell whether FRBR does indeed form an adequate framework that can be used as a touchstone for the re-assessment of the validity of traditional principles.

1.2 Corporate entry

Corporate authorship has always been a problematic issue, but at the 1961 ICCP, corporate bodies were recognised as important access points to bibliographic information, and general principles on corporate entry were laid down in section 9 of the Statement of Principles. However, in spite of the almost unanimous acceptance of these principles, already Verona’s comments in the 1971 edition indicated that there was a large gap between practice and theory. To be able to narrow that gap the need was felt for further analysis. It was undertaken by Verona; the outcome was published in 1975 as Corporate Headings: Their Use in Library Catalogues and National Bibliographies ³). In her introduction to the report Verona wrote that ‘as yet no international standardisation as to application, interpretation, form and structure of corporate bodies has been achieved’, and she noted that ‘most of the procedures as prescribed by various codes or adopted by cataloguing practices, etc., have a distinct tendency to cling to the long-standing cataloguing traditions of their own country.’

Verona submitted the main problems to a critical analysis and also drew attention to differences with regard to technical details such as punctuation, capitalisation, transliteration, etc. She commented that the ‘complete lack of uniformity’ was a very serious obstacle for effective universal bibliographic control, and argued that national barriers had to be broken down, that national and local interests should give place to international interests. Differences in practical application should be reduced to a minimum; complicated and over-elaborate rules should be avoided, as the average user would not understand them. Later research on catalogue use has confirmed that. Verona also delivered a set of ‘Suggestions’, in which she advocated a framework in which variations dictated by national interests are eliminated and simple solutions are given.

1.3 IFLA Standard FSCH, 1980

At the Lausanne Conference in 1976 IFLA installed a Working Group on Corporate Headings, chaired by Lucia J. Rather. It got the assignment ‘to find possible international compromises.’ The group was convinced that international standardisation of corporate headings, combined with authority files, was essential for the realisation of the UBC programme. Goal was ‘to reach agreement on a set of basic principles which could be recommended for international use, particularly in the area of international exchange.’ The Recommendations were approved of by the Section on Cataloguing and the Section on Official Publications and published as the IFLA standard Form and Structure of Corporate Headings 4) in 1980.

One may regret that in FSCH no justification whatsoever was given about considerations and decisions on which the 34 ‘rules’ and subrules were based. On the other hand, it is obvious that the ‘Suggestions’ by Verona played a major role.

The text of FSCH is, unlike the Statement of Principles and unlike Verona’s 1975 report, not concerned with the distinction between main and added entry under the name of a corporate body. In view of the rise of automated catalogues and OPACs, this can easily be understood. Those aware of the need for authority files, will notice the lack of basic guidelines for the use of references or links between different names and different forms of name.

1.4 Completion of the text

FSCH rules 29-34 constitute recommendations for ‘Religious bodies.’ A note to the text states that the recommendations are ‘Provisional’ because of lack of consensus and that they will be subject to further analysis. Some members felt that all religious bodies should be entered (a) as subheadings, (b) under their own names, or (c) under the territorial name. The Working Group went into this, but held on to the FSCH system and proposed minor alterations. At the 1982 Montreal IFLA Conference both Sections approved these. The result was distributed as an amendment sheet.

At the 1989 Paris IFLA Conference the Standing Committee on Cataloguing established a Review Group on FSCH. Nicole Simon, chair of the group, sent an inquiry to the Standing Committee members and national libraries in Europe and the Library of Congress, with a proposal of Marion Mouchot for a change of treatment of abbreviations. A report synthesising the responses was submitted to a special review group which met in Stockholm in 1991 and which also considered the question whether geographic qualifiers should be systematic or not.

It was agreed to transcribe abbreviated forms without dots and without spaces, irrespective of whether the form of name used in the publication is an initialism or an acronym. This rule was meant to complement the 1980 text by Verona. The discussion on the use of geographic qualifiers led to the conclusion that addition was found necessary only whenever it is desirable for distinguishing between homonymous names. At the 1992 Moscow IFLA Conference the Section approved the recommendations.

1.5 Revision of the standard?

The group also discussed the need for a general review of the standard. Already in 1982, in an article in Library Resources and Technical Services, Frans Heymans  5) had described the idea of an ‘international standard control form’ of authority information for names. In his 1990 comment to the review group Ton Heijligers expressed the feeling that in bibliographic practice the FSCH rules were found rather complicated and labour-intensive, while not resulting in the desired uniformity. This made him reflect on the function(s) FSCH should perform. He further developed Heymans’s idea for corporate names in making the distinction between a heading’s ‘universal control form’ to be used for exchange purposes and a ‘uniform heading’ for (national) catalogues. He also advocated the use of more user-friendly ‘natural’ forms of name, instead of ‘constructed’ headings. Eugenie Greig argued that IFLA should indeed conduct a major review of FSCH, but not until online catalogues with keyword access would have become universally available.

As the Oct./Dec.1992 issue of International Cataloguing & Bibliographic Control 6) indicates, the Standing Committee on Cataloguing concluded it did not seem necessary for Verona’s work to be revised significantly.

Only a few years later, in 1995, the Section on Cataloguing became more and more aware that bibliographic practice, in spite of FSCH, did not yet show much uniformity in the treatment of corporate name headings. The Section installed a new Working Group on FSCH (initially chaired by Barbara Tillett, then from 1997 onwards by Ton Heijligers) with the assignment to examine the 1980 standard in order to see how it might be revised. The working group’s initial goals were to modify a number of multi-interpretable and/or controversial rules, to reconsider the phenomenon of ‘constructed headings’ versus ‘natural’ forms of name, and to meet the requirements of modern exchange of information.

Inevitably the discussions soon concentrated on the presumed functions of FSCH. Can one standard serve two purposes at the same time?:

  1. To facilitate the online exchange of corporate names by offering guidelines for the creation of what might be called ‘universal control forms’ per body (preferably linked to an international number), to clearly identify each corporate body and distinguish it from others (including variant names) and to communicate which form is chosen for the uniform heading in the country of origin of the body.
  2. To be a useful guide for setting up international rules for the establishment of a universally accepted ‘uniform heading,’ in spite of the fact that within a country uniform headings are (in terms of form, language, word order, etc.) often moulded according to national needs and traditions? An opinion poll held amongst the Working Group members did not result in a unanimous point of view.


At the 1966 Beijing IFLA Conference it was concluded that an international set of rules that would be accepted by everyone is probably not possible, but that FSCH might be useful to suggest a structure for corporate headings in library catalogues. At the same time it was thought desirable for NBA’s to follow similar rules, though not essential to have identical name forms. In this context there was awareness of the emerging of computer-assisted techniques that allow switching between non-identical authorised name forms from different countries. Yet, it was also considered important to use forms that are familiar and will be understood by the user.

With these tentative opinions on the functions of FSCH in mind, the Working Group members agreed to focus on work reviewing the current text of FSCH, and identified ten subjects (areas and rules) to be considered for revision, the so-called Beijing assignments. The most prominent subjects, and the main FSCH rules questioned, were:

  • Corporate names that include a personal name: (inverted) order of elements (rule 5)
  • Name variants and change of name: limitation of use of see references and see also references? Does removal of a body (change of location) constitute a change of name? (rule 6)
  • Language of qualifiers or identifying characteristics: language meaningful to the user, language of the cataloguing country, or an official language? (rules 7, 7.5)
  • Geographic terms, names of territorial authorities, etc: when are they an integral (first or last) part of the corporate name, when a geographic qualifier? (rules 7.3, 11.1, 13, 23)
  • Composite bodies (bodies with a subordinate section): Is the distinction between ‘organ’ and ‘non-organ’ and between ‘typical’ and ‘non-typical’ relevant and easy enough to handle? Can private and public (territorial) bodies be handled the same way? (rules 15-17, 20-22)
  • Conferences: When to use the serial approach? What is a major variation of name? When to use references? (rule 27)
  • Transliteration schemes: which problems exist with the current ISO standards? How important is reversibility? What recommendations should there be for bi-lingual countries?

The contributions received in the spring of 1997, made without clear terms of reference being available, reflected different perspectives and as such indicated that no revision of FSCH could become operational before unambiguous clarity had been created about the functions to be assigned to FSCH and subsequently about the points of departure for the actual revision.

In an attempt to bring the differing opinions into line, in June 1997 a discussion paper, ‘How to proceed with the FSCH revision?‘ was distributed. To help the continuing reflection on scope and functions of FSCH to be more concrete, a ‘text model for the revision of rules 1-24’ was added. This model was, as best as possible, based on the contributions received, but it was also revolutionary in the sense that it went a long way to meet the less professional conditions outside national bibliographic agencies. As such it was inspired by the just published Dutch simplified rules for corporate entry. In this code ‘presentation rules,’ that are meant to compensate for the unfamiliarity of cataloguers with the formal identity of foreign corporate bodies, allow for ‘provisional’ headings and result in a greater number of ‘natural’ headings and less ‘constructed’ headings.

The comments on ‘How to proceed?‘ were discussed at the 1997 Copenhagen conference. This led to the conclusion that there was still much uncertainty about the direction to go, and that therefore it was too early to actually start with the revision. It occurred to the Working Group that it might perhaps be better to wait for the results of the ‘IFLA UBCIM Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Records and ISDAN’ and the results of the revision activities with regard to AACR and RAK.

Apart from that it was agreed that at least ‘guiding principles’ must be elaborated before rules could be prescribed, and also that the formulation of rules could hardly be achieved in the plenary sessions of the Working Group, that it would take expertise and probably a lot of time. It was then agreed that a consultant should be hired. However, a consultant cannot start with empty hands: to be able to do the job successfully the direction should be indicated by some concrete clues. The following principles and statements were agreed upon:

  • the user as primary focus
  • the economic advantage of a shared standard, but also recognition of national conventions
  • the need for a logical set of rules
  • the use of the form of a corporate name as found, unless there is a good reason for change that can indeed be explained
  • the impossibility to ignore past practice 

Thereupon the Working Group identified the rules for qualifiers and omissions (FSCH rules 7, 13, 23) as the most problematic ones. Also Rule 6 about the effects of change of place had to be closer looked at. A comparison of national cataloguing codes should further identify those rules, particularly those divergent interpretations of the same (FSCH based?) rules that cause different solutions in practice. An overall picture of the most important differences between national practices would be required to ‘test’ the different options against the already agreed upon statements and leading principles. It was also decided to try to hire a consultant to formulate a set of rule principles, on the basis of the results of the rule comparisons.

In the year after the Copenhagen conference the comparison of rules was actually started. It concerned comparisons between examples according to the German RAK and examples found in the database of the Library of Congress, between the Russian rules and the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), and between FSCH rules, AACR2, and the Italian RICA. General remarks about a revision of the rules for qualifiers were received from Germany and Italy.

However, in the spring of 1998 doubts arose whether to continue this work. It would be necessary to specify an adequate format for the results of the comparisons to be presented such that they would be manageable for a consultant, and also the consultant’s task should be specified beforehand. This not only seemed to be complicated, but also the length of time the enterprise would still require from Working Group members seemed underestimated, as they are all volunteers with many other obligations.

1.6 The illusion of a world-wide uniform heading

It became more and more clear, and the comparisons made did not change that perspective, that perhaps the emphasis should indeed be shifted from the ‘content’ of headings to main principles and a common ‘structure’ for headings. One who would try to characterise the discussions up till now might say that Verona’s words, more than twenty years after she spoke them, have not lost much of their validity: there is still a ‘tendency to cling to long-standing traditions.’ And when also the financial consequences of changing standing practices are taken into account, it obviously becomes hard to ‘recognise higher cultural aims than national self-interest.’ Others will perhaps state that it is not so much a matter of tradition or attitude, but the subject-matter itself that prevents the reconciliation between national and international interests, as it is users’ needs in the various countries that in a way forbid uniform results.

Though attempts to revise the most controversial rules, still aiming at rescuing the universal ‘uniform heading’ concept, brought consensus on various details, on the whole they were doomed to be unsuccessful.

FSCH has always been accepted only to a certain extent; the Paris Principles and the FSCH rules have always been deviated from as soon as a national bibliographic agency considered it necessary in order to be able to meet its country’s ‘national needs’. After 40 years it would be naive to expect that this will ever be different. Therefore, elimination of the differences of opinion can not be expected.

To cut a long story short, during the Amsterdam 1998 conference the FSCH Working Group explicitly concluded that requiring the world to all use the same form of (uniform) heading is not a feasible option. As a consequence it was decided, and formulated cautiously, that the revision of the FSCH rules was no longer considered a priority.

1.7 Different approach

Only a few years earlier this conclusion would have brought us ‘back to square one’! But the Working Group did not limit itself to a statement, it also delivered a set of Recommendations, which will not all be repeated here except for the most prominent ones.

In the first place, the Working Group embraced the views as put forward in the 1998 report of the IFLA UBCIM Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Records and ISADN. 7) This group likewise suggested to allow National Bibliographic Agencies to preserve differences in authorised forms that best meet language and cultural needs in their countries, but also proposed to make the national name authority files available over the Internet.

The need for this kind of approach can also be inferred from the Final Report of the ‘AUTHOR Project on European name authority files’ (July 1998) that says that one of the main constraints that prevent adequate downloading of authority data in order to reload them in the national or a local system of another country is ‘that cataloguing rules are different between existing authority files: it is impossible to translate automatically and exactly the content of headings and the order of elements from a file to another in order to preserve intellectual signification of information.’

With the discussions in FRANAR, the new Working Group on Functional Requirements and Numbering for Authority Records, IFLA is taking a fresh view of Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC), one that recognises the users’ need to find headings in the language and script they can read. It is a view that continues to appreciate the essential nature of authority control within a given catalogue, bibliography, etc., while enabling the linking of nationally authorised forms through the use of information technology, especially the Internet. Such linking enables international sharing and use of bibliographic data for the future.

To facilitate international sharing of authority records (re-usability), the Working Group on FSCH also recognised the need:

  1. to match authority records for the same entity;
  2. to use numbers for each entity;
  3. to compile a set of principles and basic guidelines for corporate headings, as an indispensable tool for cataloguers.

The fact that international unification of the intellectual content of corporate headings is no longer considered necessary, does not altogether eliminate the need for international cataloguing rules. Their first purpose with regard to corporate headings will now be to facilitate international exchange of corporate names (even when they are not identical), whether this is from the perspective of joint input in one international authority file or from the perspective of multi-file searching across a range of (national) authority files in different countries. This new angle threw another light on the kind of guidelines to be made and thus on the preparatory tasks of the working group itself and those of a consultant.

1.8 The FSCH exercise

The processing of names of corporate bodies, of corporate name authority data, is not so much hindered by differences in contents, which by the way can to some extent be clarified by indicating the cataloguing source of the corporate name and/or the set of rules used, but by differences in the structure of names, especially those forms that cannot, or cannot easily, be accommodated by different computer communication formats. Therefore, the issue seems to be: which variety of name headings with differently structured names and forms of name (from different countries) can be physically processed and made accessible? And the adjoining question would be: In which way and to which extent is it possible to realise ‘collocation’, that is – in terms of retrieval – to get together differently structured names that pertain to the same corporate entity?

It was thought that – to be able to give an adequate answer to the question of which name structures could be handled – it is necessary to first gain better insight into the differences in the name structures, word orders, and punctuation patterns of corporate headings as these are actually occurring in (national) bibliographic practice. It was therefore decided for the FSCH Working Group to collect examples from the countries represented by the members of the Section on Cataloguing. The survey resulting from this ‘FSCH exercise‘ should disclose ‘all’ practical variations in name forms and thereby should help formulate the specific requirements for a computer format or computer systems to be flexible enough to accommodate all kinds of corporate name headings from any source world-wide. While the assumption is that each country must in principle be allowed to continue its own practice, it is also true that, at least for exchange purposes, name forms constructed in a too eccentric way will have to be adapted to a structure that must be agreed upon internationally. This means that all countries would be encouraged to conform to forms and structures that would more easily be accommodated by computers – in order to take full advantage of the other international links for their users’ sake. It also comes to mind that we as yet have no guidelines for non-roman scripts and may wish to develop such.

At the 1998 Amsterdam conference there was no opportunity for a detailed discussion on the terms of reference in connection with the possible follow-up of an inquiry. Also the model used had to be devised later on. It was based on the supposition that all details that have to do with name structure must be made visible. As it was found difficult to foresee which findings will ultimately be relevant for automated processing, it would have been too risky to judge beforehand particular details as irrelevant. But it was safe to expect that particular form patterns would emerge from the inquiry, and it was thought that the usefulness of the final survey might be furthered by already giving the patterns a place in the model. These considerations resulted in the introduction of ‘form of name categories’ and ‘further form specifications.’ The contributors were requested to list each example of a corporate name heading under one of eight categories. The categories that were identified as possibly relevant reflect the answer that would be given to questions like: Has a qualification been added to the name found? Has part of the name been omitted? Has the word order been inverted? Does it concern an otherwise structured form, instead of the natural form found? Etc., etc. (cf. par. 2.1). The ‘further form specifications’ were added to enable the contributors to give information on particular elements used in the name headings, especially types of additions (qualifiers).

Though there will be no world-wide uniform heading available, the ‘collocation’ of names pertaining to the same corporate body (with indication of the authorisation result per country) is – as has been said before – still considered an important facility to the user. It is perhaps also a condition for the efficient exchange of name information on corporate bodies. In order to better be able to examine potential problems connected with the realisation of collocation, the contributors were asked to indicate the catalogue functions of the headings (authorised form or variant name) and to communicate when ‘references’ were being made from variant forms to the authorised form, and/or vice versa. Separate columns enabled the contributors to give notes on the background or specifics of an example and to indicate the source of the example.

The collecting of examples started in 1999 with a try-out by members of the Working Group on FSCH. After the Bangkok Conference the other Section on Cataloguing members were invited to participate in the exercise. This second round took place in the autumn of 1999 and the spring of 2000. The survey now reflects the bibliographic practice of 14 countries.

Looking back one may of course challenge the merits of the model. Perhaps a somewhat different categorisation might have been chosen, but once the try-out by a few contributors had passed, it was necessary for the sake of consistency through all rounds of the exercise to stick to the system. On the other hand, whatever system would have been devised, there would always have been categories open to discussion. Though the first aim of the survey is to disclose facts about structures and punctuation patterns, an extra column 7 with some information on the application of certain FSCH rules has been added by the compiler. This was not part of the ‘assignment’ and one may see it as a by-product of making the inventory. It is primarily meant to give the number of a FSCH rule of which the application leads to a structure that as such can be recognised in the name form contributed and that corresponds with the category under which the example is listed. By offering some insight in the application of relevant FSCH rules in various countries, column 7 of the survey may also be helpful for better understanding the differences in name structures as they were contributed and are presented in section 3 below.

1.9 The follow-up

In August 2000 at the Jerusalem Conference meeting of the Working Group on FSCH there were two items on the agenda: a discussion of the report of the survey, and recommendations as to a follow-up of the inquiry. Representatives from FRANAR joined the meeting to discuss points of mutual interest and suggested next steps regarding corporate names and headings. It was reconfirmed that the main goal is to facilitate the adequate listing of corporate names in a ‘virtual database’ for authority records, and to inform system developers about what to expect from the form and structure of corporate names as they are today reflected in the cataloguing practices of 14 countries. It was suggested to have the survey further analysed and to find out whether there are corporate name elements that may need separate coding, to enable users to search effectively irrespective of the structure of the name in the corporate heading. In this context questions can be asked such as: 1. Which elements help users to search regardless of format? 2. Which elements are important enough to be as yet made separately searchable for the user? Perhaps specific attention should be given to:

  • additions and qualifiers
  • name points as qualifiers
  • geographic names in various positions.

Though keyword searching in online catalogues will, at least in general, eliminate the need for the same structures, it was noted that the survey would be a very useful instrument to actually check the variations.

It is of course one of a Section’s responsibilities to take care that the policies and activities of different working groups are geared to one another. It was noted that the Working Group on ISBD(S) is looking at a new way to define an ISST (International Standard Serial Title) for ISBD(S), ISSN and AACR2, to include a ‘qualifier’ by corporate name, in case of generic titles. The ISSN is expected to recommend qualifying with the form found on the issue at hand, that is ‘in established form. This will not only lead to differences in the uniform descriptive part of a record, it will also blur the distinction between description and access points, and as such it will present problems because there will be different forms for the name of the corporate body depending on national cataloguing rules and practices. As has been determined before, a uniform heading per country may be controlled (it’s up to the country), but to do this globally is impossible. The Working Group on FSCH agreed that the aim remains to provide flexibility for corporate headings in online catalogues, that is via globally accessible authority records which function as a ‘meeting point’ for all kinds of variations (with source indication), but which do not appoint a world-wide uniform heading. The issue of corporate qualifiers will be negotiated with the Working Group on ISBD(S).

The group agreed that any solution regarding corporate names depends on decisions that include making links between headings and the use of international numbers, such as being considered in FRANAR. This is indeed where the FSCH and FRANAR working groups find themselves on common ground, and why FRANAR is asked to study the survey closely, to take the findings into account in its further activities, and to inform the Permanent UNIMARC Committee of needs for UNIMARC/Authorities, if necessary.

With this arrangement and for the time being there will be no need for a consultant. The near future will tell which computer applications will become operational and what this will mean for catalogue and authority file formats and for the input of names. It may soon be desirable to compile some basic guidelines, as an indispensable tool for cataloguers.

The author of the report went through the draft text taking corrections and suggestions from the Working Group on FSCH, in order to finalise it and have it prepared for publication. In its second Jerusalem meeting the Standing Committee on Cataloguing supported the position taken by the working group, concluded that the survey fulfils the charge to the working group, and agreed to organise the follow-up process as foreseen.

1.10 State of affairs

After this short history of corporate entry it seems appropriate to end with a few remarks on the state of affairs. Though risky to do so while in the midst of developments, the author feels safe in stating that especially 1998 has been a year of progress, probably a landmark in the history of cataloguing. At least two events support that opinion.

In the very first place, as has been noted before, there is the publication of Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. This new ‘model’ for the electronic environment will to some extent put the 1961 Statement of Principles aside and may cause major changes in cataloguing. As yet the impact of FRBR is not quite clear; it is being discussed in a rapidly growing number of (Internet) publications.

In the second place – related to the issue just mentioned – at an obviously more detailed level there is the formal decision to do away with the long cherished but never realised concept of a world-wide uniform heading. The great number of varying uniform headings per body in international practice, as explicitly demonstrated in the FSCH survey, surely justifies the position taken by the Working Group. This decision to no longer fully implement the Paris Principles is somehow the long waited for violation of a taboo. An ‘official’ deviation from a Statement that for so many years has had the legalist aura of a Constitution, forms at least a psychological breakthrough. But is it really the breach of a Principle?

The concept or Principle at stake is known as the ‘collocation’ of a person’s or body’s oeuvre; whereas making a ‘uniform heading’ is in fact part of a particular procedure, a ‘technique’, to realise the desired collocation facility to the catalogue user. The two most prominent steps of this procedure are: 1. the identification of the various names or name forms of a person or body; 2. the appointment of one of them as preferred term (authorised form).

In the national context of most countries the second step does not present problems and the application of uniform headings, in authority files linked to automated catalogues, will continue to produce the desired facility. However, on a world-wide scale this technique does not work, as there will always be differences of opinion about the choice of the form to be authorised. The ‘alternative’ solution to the problem is to accept this inconvenience and to make use of the combination of modern computer techniques and the Internet. That will enable cataloguers and end-users to get an online overview of all relevant name forms pertaining to a particular body, with the possibility of either selecting the uniform heading of the country of origin of the body or of any other authorised form according to a different criterion. Literally, the presentation of indeed several ‘uniform headings’ forms an infringement on the Principles! It seems however productive to adopt the proposed method of working and to update the old definition of collocation: the importance of staying in touch with reality can hardly be overestimated.

Verona, when confronted with the problem, advocated the elimination of national variations, which did not happen, and will no longer be necessary. But who can blame her for that choice, as 25 years ago nobody could foresee developments that would enable us to serve international needs and respect national name forms at the same time!

And permanent change is here to stay. But also in the electronic society the accessibility of information, in print or digital, will remain essential. Therefore, though our ‘specialism’ may get a different name and will perhaps be exercised outside libraries, the book of cataloguing will not be closed. And as corporate names are concerned, the performance of the Working Group on FSCH as described won’t be the last activity in this field.


2.1 Form of name categories [column 1b]

Each example is classified in one (or more) of the following categories:


1. Simple name, as found: simple body, or ‘subordinate part (section) of a composite body’ entered
2. Form found consisting of two (similar) parts: corporate name consisting of name + ‘appositional’ name
3. Form found, with addition(s): unchanged name + addition (qualifier)
[different from categories 7 and 8]
4. Form found, but with omission of part of the name: change in name: authorised form shorter than the official name or name found on publications
5. Structured form: change in name: conversion of part of the name into a qualifier; inverted word order; etc.
6. Structured form (corporate hierarchy): part of the name (section) of a composite body entered subordinately
7. Structured form, with jurisdiction as first part of the name: territorial name indicating jurisdiction, as preceding qualifier (superior section)
8. Structured form, with qualifiers after the name: patterns of qualifiers [different from category 3]: e.g. place name + name of superior body; year + personal name; conference qualifiers: number, year(s), place name; etc.

Double listing of examples (more than one category)

A name form can often be classified in more than one category. In such cases the example is listed in the category of which the name form is most illustrative. Sometimes, dependent on the availability of enough good examples in a category, a double listing has been preferred, especially when a corporate name is represented by two or more authorised forms or variants (cf. par. 2.4) that according to their structure belong to different categories.

In column 1a it is moreover indicated that a name form may also be illustrative of a category other than the one in which the example is listed. In this column a second category is however not listed when this is more than obvious. For instance, when authorised forms in category 1 also belong to category 3, or vice versa, this has not been indicated.

Arrangement of examples within the categories

As an arbitrary arrangement of examples within the categories did not seem useful, an attempt has been made to find criteria for a more meaningful arrangement. When the obvious arrangement according to form patterns (as for instance indicated by the labels of the ‘further specifications’ of column 2) was hardly or not possible, the application of particular FSCH rules was taken as point of reference. The arrangement per category is as follows:

Category 1:
1. Straightforward names;
2. names for which, e.g., according to FSCH 7.3 or 23.2, conversion of place name or inversion of a part of the name might have been considered;
3. names that formally are the subordinate section of a composite corporate body.
Category 3:
As much as possible according to the application of FSCH rules 7 and 13.3.
Category 4:
1. Name headings with the legal term omitted;
2. forms that have been shortened for another reason.
Category 5:
1. Name headings with place name or other element separated and converted into a qualifier;
2. name headings with inverted word order.
Category 6:
As much as possible according to the application of FSCH rules with regard to composite bodies.
Category 7:
1. Headings with the State as first part of the name;
2. headings with a lower territorial authority as first part of the name.
Category 8:
Structured name forms in the order of ‘specifications’ indicated in column 2.

2.2 Terminology and numbering system [columns 1a, 1b]

An example as contributed by a country often contains ‘variants’: 1. the ‘authorised form’ (AF), and sometimes even more than one AF for the same country; 2. one or more ‘variant names’ (V/R). Each variant is placed in a separate row in the table. All entries pertaining to one corporate body form a ‘case’. In column 1a each case has been given a list number of its own, that is per category. (cf. par. 2.1) Column 1b lists the number of the category to which the corporate name heading belongs.

A case may contain more than one ‘example.’ When two countries contributed an example pertaining to the same body but with different AF’s and/or different V/R’s, the two examples have been brought together in one ‘case’ under the same list number, but with a sub-number per example.

Examples are being referred to through the combination of the category number (column 1b) followed by a slash and the list number of the case (column 1a), as follows:

1/4 = category 1, case 4 [= example 4]
1/6-2 = category 1, case 6, example 2

The labels AFa and AFb indicate one and the same example, while AF 1 and AF 2 indicate the same case, but represent two examples [cf. par. 2.4].

2.3 Further specifications [column 2]

Where applicable one (or more) of the following specifications has (have) been added:

a. Type of addition/qualifier (before or after the name)

  1. Place names:

    • a) location of corporate entity: name of country, state, region, city, etc.
      b) jurisdiction
  2. Numerals (in various scripts, cardinal/ordinal variations, etc.)
  3. Dates (‘birth’ and ‘death’, in various scripts, various calendars, etc.)
  4. Other additions: word, phrase, number [other than the additions mentioned sub 1-3; cf. FSCH 7.4]

b. Type of partial or fuller name

  1. Initialisms, acronyms, and the like
  2. Authorised form (AF) shorter than official name (O, O/R) or than variant name (V/R)
  3. Variant name (V/R) or official name (O, O/R) shorter than the authorised form
  4. Variant or official name fuller (longer) than the authorised form

c. Form in different language or script

Selection of elements

The addition of a label to each specification makes it possible to select from the survey and ‘bring together’ all manifestations of a particular qualifying element, also when it occurs in examples that are distributed over several categories. Thus one may get a survey of the different ways that various bibliographic agencies deal with for instance numerals or ‘other additions.’

The listing of labels b2, b3 and b4

Labels b2, b3, and b4 are used in column 2 to indicate the result of a comparison of the fullness of an authorised form and a variant name. When a corporate body is represented by an acronym as well as the full name (cf. several examples in category 1), the situation is clear, but when it comes to the presence or absence of geographic qualifiers (GQ’s), it is less simple.

As was to be expected, the addition of GQ’s to corporate names has not been done uniformly by all contributors. As a consequence of this it was thought that the listing of the labels b2, b3, and b4 should not be influenced by the presence or absence of a GQ. Therefore, a variant name with a GQ was not considered to be fuller than an AF without a GQ, and in that case label b4 was not listed for the V/R, nor label b2 for the AF! However, if a place name is an integral part of the corporate name as found in the publications, and if in the AF this place name is separated from the real name and converted into a GQ (e.g., according to FSCH rule 7.3), the resulting form was considered the shorter one. So, when (as in many examples in category 5) there was also an entry for the integral official) name form (as O or O/R or V/R), then the AF got label b2, and the variant name got label b4.

2.4 Labelling of catalogue functions [column 3]

AF = authorised form (probably uniform heading in the source catalogue)

O, V= official name or variant name, without reference to the AF

O/R,V/R= official name or variant name, with a see reference to the AF, either from the official name or from a variant name

AFa, AFb, … = when with regard to one body there are 2 or more different AF’s from one country, which AF’s are being linked by see also references:

  • AFa Italia : Ministero del turismo e dello spettacolo [Earlier name]
  • AFb Italia : Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali [Later name] This does not exclude the possibility of these AF’s or one of them (e.g., AFa) having a see reference of their own:
  • AFa Italia : Ministero del turismo e dello spettacolo V/R Ministero del turismo e dello spettacolo

AF 1, AF 2, = when with regard to one body there are 2 or more different AF’s (i.e., with either different names or variations in the structure of the names, but still within the same category) from various countries:

  • AF 1 Ordo Fratrum Minorum / Kölnische Provinz GE
    AF 2 Ordre des frères mineurs. Kölnische Provinz FR

AF 1, AF (2), = when with regard to the name of the superior section of the same body there are 2 or more different AF’s from various countries within one category, whereas this common superior section is followed by different subordinate sections (so that actually the examples represent different corporate bodies!)

  • AF 1 Ordo Fratrum Minorum / Kölnische Provinz GE
    AF 2 Ordre des frères mineurs. Kölnische Provinz FR
    AF 3 Cappuccini : Provincia di Basilicata-Salerno IT

Further details

The authorised name form for a corporate body contributed by a second or third country, has been labelled as a second AF (AF 2, etc) as soon as there was any slight difference between the names as to their structure or form. When however the variation in the name forms only pertains to a difference in the use of capitals, the name variants were brought together under one AF. So, in order not to overload the survey, a second or third example has not been given an extra listing only because of different use of capitals.

The function label ‘O/AF’, instead of ‘AF’, has only been used when otherwise it may not be obvious that the AF pertains to the official name (O).

2.5 Listing of corporate names [column 4]

In column 4 the corporate name headings are listed in the exact form they are found in the bibliographic files of the contributing country. For a better understanding of what the Cyrillic examples from Russia stand for, romanised forms have been added. The transliteration was provided by a staff member of the Amsterdam University Library, based on ISO Recommendation R 9, September 1954.

2.6 Explanatory notes, observations [column 5]

Column 5 contains information on the specifics of an example, in most cases with regard to the name form and the punctuation as chosen. A note may also call attention to the fact that there is a different solution in another category, for example, it may indicate a change of name or that two identical forms for different corporate bodies had to be distinguished.

When a note begins with ‘PU’, the punctuation of an example (or of the most relevant part of the example) is written out in words. Sometimes, to save space, punctuation marks (like brackets) have been given as such. They are typed in bold when their use is (more or less) different from what is prescribed by FSCH.

2.7 List of contributing countries [column 6]

Multiple contributing sources for one country were reduced to one, as only one member of the Section made a contribution. In column 6 the following codes are used:

  • ca = Canada: National Library of Canada [Marg Stewart (Ingrid Parent)]
    dk = Denmark: according to Danish national bibliographic practice [Mona Madsen]
    fi = Finland: according to Finnish National Bibliography [Eeva Murtomaa]
    fr = France: Bibliothèque nationale de France [Nadine Boddaert]
    ge = Germany: Deutsche Bibliothek [Christel Hengel (Reinhard Rinn)]
    it = Italy: Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali Istituto centrale per il catalogo unico delle Biblioteche italiane e per le informazioni bibliografiche [Isa de Pinedo]
    nl = Netherlands: Koninklijke Bibliotheek [Angelique Tempels, Teunis van Lopik (Ton Heijligers)]
    no = Norway: [Marit Vestlie]
    ru = Russia: National Library of Russia [Vladimir Skvortsov]
    sl = Slovenia: Narodna in univerzitetna knjiznica [Zlata Dimec]
    sp = Spain: Biblioteca Nacional [Mar Hernández Agustí]
    sw = Sweden: Royal library – National library [Stina Degerstedt (Kerstin Dahl)]
    uk = United Kingdom: British Library [Andrew MacEwan (Paul Bunn)]
    us = United States: Library of Congress [Diane Humes (Barbara Tillett)]

The codes for the contributing countries are given in the following order:

  1. country of origin of the corporate body, or (if this is not applicable) the country that first contributed the example;
  2. the remaining countries, in alphabetical order. 

2.8 Integration of the examples into one survey (columns 3, 4, 6)

The exercise aimed at a survey of possibly all structures and forms as used in the contributing countries. While it was desirable to track down all form structures that occur, it was less important and not necessary to know exactly all countries in which a particular form structure is being used. And indeed, column 6 does not give an exhaustive list of countries codes.

The interconnection of headings (and references) from different sources

After receipt of the contributions from 14 countries the necessity of integrating about 150 examples into one survey created many questions; especially with regard to the interconnection of sets (combinations) of authorised form, variant name(s) and reference(s), in cases in which the combinations (pertaining to the same body) coming from two or more countries did not coincide or did only partially agree. The compiler could not always solve these questions. In order to give the contributors the opportunity to overlook the complete collection of examples and to be able to decide in which way their country’s combination could (or could not) be fitted into a case already listed, a provisional survey was distributed for a quick ‘control round.’ To make the final survey as reliable and consistent as possible, the following detailed instructions were given:

  • 1. With regard to all examples in the survey to which your country code is added, it is necessary to check carefully whether the combination of AF and V/R as listed, does correctly represent the situation in your country.
    2. When already many countries have added their code to a case (an example), it is not necessary to study this case nor to add your country code to it.
    3. If your country uses an AF with a ‘new’ form for a corporate body already listed, you should add a new row to the table for your country’s own AF, and an extra row if your country also uses a V/R (even when this should be identical to another country’s V/R).
    4a. If your country’s AF is identical with one listed but your V/R has a new form not yet listed, you can add your V/R as an extra V/R.
    4b. If your V/R cannot be combined with the AF already listed (e.g. when your country uses a see reference in stead of see also references), an extra listing (as AF 2) is required for the combination of your AF and V/R. So, do not add your V/R form and/or your country code to a case that only agrees partially with the practice in your country.
    4c. If you want to add a new V/R, but the applicability of (the ‘identical-ness’ with) the case already listed is dependent on a condition that is not verifiable (e.g., if you don’t know whether a qualifier was added to the AF listed because there were homonyms in the catalogue of the other country), do not add your new V/R plus country code to this case, and do not make an extra listing either!

2.9 A selection of FSCH rules applied [column 7]

Column 7 may be considered as an almost natural by-product of the inquiry. It is primarily meant to give the number of a FSCH 1980 rule of which the application leads to a structure that as such can be recognised in the name form contributed and that corresponds with the category in which the example is listed.

No attempt has been made to fill in column 7 exhaustively. The main reasons for that were:

  1. that several examples do not result from the application of FSCH rules;
  2. that in a number of cases it is very hard to decide which FSCH rule must be referred to, especially when FSCH allows for different interpretations. Previous discussions by the FSCH Working Group indicated and the results of the exercise will amply show that often no uniform solutions are reached, not even when agencies claim that they apply the FSCH rules.

Especially the complicated rules with regard to ‘composite’ bodies have turned out to be multi-interpretable, even when it concerns a simple issue like ministries. These are subordinate to a State, though one may take the view that it is not necessary to make this explicit in a national context and that for the sake of international exchange there are other means than entering the State as a superior body. Yet, the FSCH logic is playing tricks on anyone who tries to establish which rule must be chosen, because who can explain why the examples ‘Ministry of Commerce,’, ‘Department of Transport,’ and ‘Ministerio del bilanco e della programmazione’ are subject to three different rules (FSCH 20a, 21a and 21b)? In cases of doubt the less than ideal solution has been either to refer to a cluster (e.g., rules 20/21), or to fill in nothing. Even then there will be cases in which the referral to a particular FSCH rule can be disputed. It must therefore be said that the sole responsibility for column 7 is with the compiler.

Nevertheless, it is hoped that the extra column, by offering some insight in the divergent application of important FSCH rules in various countries, will help towards a better understanding of the differences in name structures as presented in the survey. Especially the combination of columns 1b, 2, 3, and 7 may illustrate why the Working Group on FSCH found it impossible to reach consensus about a revision of the text!

The rule numbers are presented in a way that indicates the assumed relationship between the FSCH rule and the example to which it refers. The various kinds of relationship are indicated by a notation of their own, as follows:


  Notation Explanation
 1  7.3 without punctuation: illustration of a FSCH rule relevant to the category
 2  (7.3) between brackets: illustration of the FSCH rule applied, except for a small deviation (e.g., from the punctuation prescribed by FSCH)
 3  -7.3- between hyphens: the name form is in conflict with or deviates substantially from the form prescribed by the FSCH rule mentioned
 4  [7.3] between square brackets: illustration of a FSCH rule that is not or not directly concerned with the aspect treated in the category
 5  [(7.3)] between brackets + square brackets: illustration of a small deviation from a FSCH rule that is not or not directly concerned with the aspect treated in the category
 6  [-7.3-] between hyphens + square brackets: the name form is in conflict with or deviates substantially from the form prescribed by a FSCH> rule that is not or not directly concerned with the aspect treated in the category


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2. Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. Final Report. Edited by the IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. Approved by the Standing Committee of the IFLA Section on Cataloguing. — München : Saur, 1998. viii, 136 p. — (UBCIM Publications – New Series ; 19)

3. Verona, Eva. Corporate Headings : Their Use in Library Catalogues and National Bibliographies. Comparative and Critical Study. — London : IFLA Committee on Cataloguing, 1975. — xiv, 224 p.

4. Form and Structure of Corporate Headings. Recommendations of the Working Group on Corporate Headings. Approved by the Standing Committee of the IFLA Section on Cataloguing and the IFLA Section on Official Publications. — London : IFLA International Office for UBC, 1980. — x, 15 p. + Amendment sheet, pertaining to Rules 29-34 on Religious Bodies, August 1982.

5. Heymans, Frans. “How Human-Usable is Interchangeable? Or, Shall We Produce Catalogues or Babelographic Towers?” Library Resources & Technical Services, 26 (1982) 2 (Apr./June), p. 157-169.

6. “Review Group on ‘Form and Structure of Corporate Headings’.” IFLA Standing Committee on Cataloguing. International Cataloguing & Bibliographic Control, 21 (1992) 4 (Oct./Dec.), p. 53.

7. Mandatory Data Elements for Internationally Shared Resource Authority Records. Report of the IFLA UBCIM Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Records and ISADN. — Frankfurt am Main : IFLA UBCIM Programme, 1998. — 95 p. Also available online