University of Memphis Libraries Cataloging
Tennessee Resource Materials


Resources for Research to Create Authority Records and Headings for Tennessee Materials

Creating useful authority records often requires a cataloger to consult biographical, historical, geographic or other reference sources. Not all authority records require extensive research, but making the fullest use of sources available creates better authority records, which ultimately helps get patrons to the library resources they want and need.

The following bibliography is oriented towards sources that may help in forming headings for persons, places, and organizations related to the State of Tennessee. Many catalogers of Tennessee materials will likely find some of the entries quite familiar, but hopefully it will lead others to new and useful sources. This bibliography is not intended to be exclusive or static, we hope that participants in the Tennessee NACO funnel will add to it as we find particular sources useful.

General Works on Tennessee

West, Carroll Van., ed. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture. [Nashville]: Tennessee Historical Society, 2002-

A comprehensive work on the history and culture of Tennessee. It includes many biographical entries. A print version is available, but not does include material added to the website since the print version's publication.

Tennessee Electronic Library

Tennessee. Department of State. Tennessee Blue Book. [serial] Nashville: Secretary of State, 1938- (OCLC: 1253733)

The basic official handbook of the state government of Tennessee. It contains a wealth of information on the organization of the state government, including legislative bodies, the executive branch and executive agencies, and the judicial system. Sections on major governmental departments contain brief historical summaries listing former agency names and explaining reorganization, absorption of one body by another, etc. The Blue Book also contains historical data on county names, and previous constitutional officers of Tennessee government. Especially useful for authorities catalogers is the index, which lists individuals and state agencies by name. Many of the state agencies are listed under the heading "Boards and Commissions" in the index.

The Blue Book has been published biennially since 1938, and earlier versions can be especially useful for older government documents and other materials. The current (2011-2013) issue, however, is available online. Users should be aware that the online version can be more difficult to use if one needs to consult the index, as the online version is available only in .pdf segments.

Tennessee Government Agencies

Tennessee Governor's Office

Tennessee Court System

Tennessee Administrative Register

Contents includes text of administrative announcements and rules, and archives of past administrative rule filings; some of these can occasionally be useful for establishing or verifying state government agency names or names and positions of public officials.

Sources for Personal Names

General sources for Tennessee-related personal names

Appointed and elected office-holders

Henry, Mary Ellen. Tennessee Government Officials Directory. [serial] Nashville: M. Lee Smith, 1985- OCLC: 12686389

A loose-leaf volume with updates, it lists officer-holders and other government personnel in state and local governments in Tennessee. It also has lists government offices and administrative bodies and is a useful supplement to the Blue Book. The index lists only government bodies and jurisdictions, not individual people. Each volume also contains supplementary material on local newspapers and some geographic information. Some related similar works starting in 1981-82 may be available.

Tennessee. Secretary of State. Tennessee Open Appointments Annual Report [serial] Nashville: Secretary of State, 1993- (OCLC: 29345981)

While actually published to list vacant positions, this work is also useful to the authorities cataloger because it lists current personnel on "boards, commissions, councils, authorities, task forces or similar multi-member agencies." It is useful both for its information about individuals and the corporate bodies on which they serve, especially when used in concert with other similar directories.

Directory of Tennessee City and County Officials [serial] [Loudon, TN: IMAGES Publications, 1989- (OCLC 20795347)

Newspaper Obituaries

Obituaries are often a useful source of birth and death dates often needed to break conflicts between similar personal names. A number of obituary indexes for various Tennessee newspapers are available. Some are accessible online, but many very useful indexes are still available only in paper format. The list below includes only indexes to Tennessee newspapers, but authorities catalogers are advised to remember that an author of a Tennessee-related work who lived or achieved prominence elsewhere might have an obituary in a newspaper from that locality or region of course. A listing of national newspaper obituary indexes follows.

Index to the Memphis Appeal, 1843-1860 [online]

Compiled by Joyce McKibben, University of Memphis Libraries, this index includes listing of named persons mentioned in the Appeal. Only the index is online; the entries with the actual biographical information must still be consulted on microfilm or paper copies of the newspaper itself.

Sources for Corporate Names

Tennessee state government bodies

The Tennessee Blue Book online (also listed above under General Sources) contains administrative histories of many Tennessee executive department bodies. In the current edition of the Blue Book, entries for some major executive departments contain a statement of the full historical development, name changes and reorganizations. Others give the history of the agency or department only in its present incarnation. In the latter case catalogers may have to consult older editions of the Blue Book to determine all the name changes through which an agency has gone. In cases where the Blue Book mentions the existence of a board, bureau or other subordinate body but provides no information about its origins, catalogers can try consulting:

Tennessee Code Annotated

Comprehensive resources for Tennessee laws provided through LexisNexis ; also includes the Tennessee State Constitutions of 1796 and 1835 as well as the currently in-force Tennessee Constitution of 1870 as amended. Useful for determining origin and history of state agencies and government bodies created constitutionally or by statute. Also useful for determining hierarchical relationships between government corporate bodies. The Tennessee Code Annotated is searchable by keyword.

Acts and Resolutions of the State of Tennessee

Available online from the 100th General Assembly (1997-98) to the present. Includes Audit Reports of State Government Bodies

The audit reports issued by various state executive departments, agencies, etc. often contain organizational charts and diagrams outlining their internal hierarchy and organization. These can be quite useful for determining subordinate relationships of document-issuing entities. Audit reports are usually titled "Audit Report, [name of state agency]. Most OCLC records for audit reports of various departments consider the author to be Tennessee. Division of State Audit; many are also entered under the name of the state department or agency whose audit report the record describes. One example of a state agency audit report with an organizational chart is:

Tennessee. Division of State Audit. Audit report, Department of Labor, Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville: Division of State Audit, 1985- (OCLC 13238566)

Rouse, Franklin O. "Historical Background of Tennessee's Administrative Reorganization Act of 1923" in East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications, no. 8 (1936):104-120.

Late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Tennessee government body names can cause considerable confusion for the authorities cataloger. Much of the twentieth-century administrative structure of Tennessee government owes its foundations to a massive reorganization of state agencies under the Austin Peay administration, codified in the Administrative Reorganization Act of 1923. This law abolished and consolidated a large number of state agencies, departments and offices, creating predecessor-successor relationships that can easily confuse an authorities cataloger or library user. When attempting to identify the relationship between a Tennessee government agency that existed between the approximate dates 1870-1923 and a post-1923 agency, it is often useful to consult sources about the 1923 act such Rouse's article.

In particular, Rouse's article contains a useful (if somewhat difficult to read) chart showing the complex pre-1923 organization of executive, legislative, and judicial agencies.

The full text of the Act itself can be found in Public Acts of the State of Tennessee, 1923, Chap. 7, p. 8-44.

Sources for Geographic Names

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)

A comprehensive sources for geographic names of all types of features (natural features, populated places, etc.) in the United States developed by the USGS and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. A search interface is available from the main page. The data for Tennessee place names (and place names in other states) is available for download as a text file, for manipulation in spreadsheet programs, etc. The NACO Participants' Manual, 2nd ed. (p. 59) prescribes consulting this source when available for creating geographic name headings.

DCM Z1 ("yellow pages") 670 p. 9 prescribes adding GNIS "Feature Class Definitions", coordinates, and variants. A list of the abbreviations used by GNIS for "Feature Class Definitions" can be found here.

Rand McNally ... commercial atlas & marketing guide. Chicago: Rand McNally. 1983

MARC Code Lists for Geographic Areas

Geographic Sources Specific to Tennessee

Miller, Larry L. Tennessee Place- Names. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. (OCLC: 46564719 Available as e-book OCLC: 56635672)

While not as comprehensive as other sources, this work includes information on previous place-names that may be helpful when cataloging and constructing geographic name authority records for other material.

Rohen, Harold. The Tennessee Locator. Chattanooga: BudRo, 1992. (OCLC: 27116443)

Send questions/comments/suggestions to Mark H. Danley

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