Standards for authority files were often part of national cataloguing rules like AACR2 or RAK in the past. With the development of RDA as an internationally used cataloguing rule set, RDA authority control requirements will become broadly used within the global library community. The content designationthe codes and conventions established explicitly to identify and further characterize the data elements within a record and to support the manipulation of that data – is defined by each of the MARC formats. The content of the data elements that comprise a MARC record is usually defined by standards outside the formats.

Examples of authority standards include:

  • The MARC 21 Format for Authority Data is a widely used standard for the representation and exchange of authority files.
  • MADS (Metadata Authority Description Schema) is an XML standard for an authority element set.
  • ISAAR (CPF), the International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families was published in 2004 by the International Council on Archives for archival authority records, to accompany ISAD(G), the General International Standard Archival Description. It is a real content standard.