Hebraic Authorities: A Historical-Theoretical Perspective


  • Bella Hass Weinberg St. John's University, New York, NY




cataloging, Hebraica records, Hebrew names, authority control, Romanization of Hebrew


The standardization of Hebrew names in cataloging and bibliography has its roots in the Anglo-American tradition of Romanized author main entry. Cross-references from Hebrew names to their Roman equivalents are found in some British Hebraica catalogs published in the 19th century. In the Hebrew bibliographic tradition, in contrast, title main entry predominated and, given the nondistinctiveness of Jewish names, author access was rarely provided. Israeli librarians adopted the Western tradition of author main entry while retaining their commitment to original-alphabet cataloging; their Hebraic authority work consisted primarily of standardization of Hebrew orthography.

The Hebraic capability of the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) made American Judaica librarians aware of the advantages of Hebrew name access; they had formerly been accustomed to Hebrew title access only. Many libraries are inputting parallel Hebrew access points to RLIN, with varying degrees of authority control.

The USMARC Format for Authority Data has been revised to allow for parallel non-Roman data; the fields defined for non-Roman data have not been implemented, however, because the Library of Congress cannot handle non-Roman scripts in its processing system. Hebraic authority control is therefore done locally, in manual mode or with database management software.


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How to Cite

Weinberg, Bella. 1994. “Hebraic Authorities: A Historical-Theoretical Perspective”. Judaica Librarianship 8 (1-2):45-55. https://doi.org/10.14263/2330-2976.1230.



Catalog Department