Authority Records

Authority records are the foundation of the DLL Catalog. They provide anchors for specific instances of Latin texts so that the various ways of spelling the names of authors and the titles of works will not stymy efforts to organize the catalog’s content.

For example, Virgil (or Vergil, or Vergilius, or Publius Vergilius Maro) wrote a work called Eclogues (or Eclogae, or Bucolica). If a user wants to browse the works of Virgil, all of those works, regardless of the spelling of their title or the author’s name, should be included in the results. We accomplish this by anchoring every instance of a work to a work authority and, if the author is known, to an author authority. All of the search and browse features of the DLL’s Catalog depend on these records.

The more data we can collect for an authority record, the more authoritative it will be. Consequently, the accuracy and usefulness of search results increase in direct proportion to the authoritativeness of the authority records. That is why we have gone to considerable length to verify the identities of authors and their works with as many external authorities as possible.

To develop the list of authors and works in need of authority records, we have consulted such standard print resources as:

  • Oxford Latin Dictionary (ISBN: 9780199580316)
  • Thesaurus Linguae Latinae
  • Clavis Patrum Latinorum (ISBN: 9782503504636)
  • Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature (ISBN: 9780195394016)
  • Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (ISBN: 9780199948178)
  • Brill’s New Pauly Supplements I - Volume 2 : Dictionary of Greek and Latin Authors and Texts (ISBN: 9789004167834)

We have also consulted many online resources, including:

This research has yielded several thousands of author and work authority records, but we continue to add more to the catalog, since every encounter with a new resource yields new items. 

Author Authorities

Most of the DLL Catalog's author authority records feature multiple forms of the author’s name, and they are linked to independent authority records at the U.S. Library of Congress ( and, Virtual International Authority File (VIAF,, and the national libraries of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, among others. Author authority records are also linked to the author's International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI,, Wikidata entry (, English Wikipedia page (, and WorldCat identity ( They also include dates of birth and death (if known), the century or centuries of activity, geographic identities (if known), and the general era of Latinity (Classical, Medieval, or Neo-Latin). Most records also include an identifier for Canonical Text Services (

As of this writing, there are nearly 3,000 author authority records in the DLL Catalog.

Work Authorities

Work authority records include the authorized title for use within the DLL’s Catalog and as any alternative titles as we have found in various resources. They are also linked to the authority record(s) of the author(s) who created them. If a work does not have a known author, the author field does not have a value. This silent way of treating anonymous works obviates the need for thousands of records for anonymous authors, or the conceptual difficulties with a single Anonymous or multiple Anonymi for different time periods. If a work has been attributed to an author, that author’s name appears in a separate field for attributions. If a work is commonly said to have been written by a particular author, but the attribution is spurious or dubious, a boolean field denotes that status. This avoids the need for separate “pseudo” authors. Work authority records also have a DLL identifier and as many external identifiers (e.g., PHI or Stoa numbers) as possible. Most records also include an identifier for Canonical Text Services (

As of this writing, there are over 5,000 work authority records in the DLL Catalog.


However robust the DLL Catalog’s framework of authority records might be, it is of little use without records of items that users can retrieve and read. Read more about the DLL Catalog's individual items that contain information about texts on the internet.