Creating, Editing, and Ingesting Corporate Body Entity Descriptions

Purpose: This proposal serves to solidify SNAC policy and practice for establishing and editing names for corporate entities in SNAC. It is in compliance with current practice at the Library of Congress and NACO (Name Authority Cooperative) authorities cataloging requirements.

Definition: Corporate bodies are a “social construct”, and exist only on paper. They are groups of persons who may or do act together as a group, are identified by a particular name, and that acts or may act as a unit. It is important to understand that corporate bodies ...

  • create records; archives, works, etc.
  • create series; newsletters, quarterly reports, journals, etc.
  • create monographs; manuals, proceedings, catalogs, directories, etc.
  • create electronic resources (e.g., company websites, blogs)
  • can be the subjects of works
  • must be identified by a particular name, not a general description
  • include associations, institutions, non-profit enterprises, governments, government agencies, projects and programs, religious bodies, local church groups identified by the name of the church, and conferences. Ad hoc events (e.g., athletic contests, exhibitions, expeditions, fairs, and festivals) and vessels (e.g., ships and spacecraft) are also considered to be corporate bodies.

RDA (Resource Description and Access) defines corporate bodies as “A collective agent who is composed of persons who are organized for a common purpose or activity.” [RDA Toolkit, viewed January 21, 2022.]

Required elements for corporate body entity components:

  1. Preferred name for the corporate body
  2. Controlling jurisdiction name component for subordinate government agency entities:
    • Justification: In its mission as an international authority file, SNAC requires the appropriate controlling jurisdiction component for a subordinate government body when warranted no matter how the name arrives in SNAC, whether by manual input, manual edit of an existing name, or data import from an outside source. A jurisdiction component serves to differentiate identical or nearly identical corporate body names in governments around the world.

N.B.: SNAC will stay compliant with any and all Library of Congress Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) and NACO (Name Authority Cooperative) policy and guidance pertaining to the formation of corporate body entity names. As it relates specifically to naming subordinate corporate bodies of government bodies:

LC/PCC practice: Apply the option. If the preferred name of the subordinate or related corporate body includes the name of the body to which it is subordinate or related, construct the authorized access point by recording the authorized access point for the body to which it is subordinate or related, followed by a period and space, followed by the preferred name of the subordinate or related body, retaining in the last the name of body to which it is subordinate or related if required for clarity. [Teleconference with Paul Frank (Policy, Training, and Cooperative Programs Division, Library of Congress), December 17, 2021.]


  • Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
  • Boone Hall (Plantation : S.C.)
  • British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913)
  • Canada. Department of Agriculture. Economics Division
  • Center for Physical Science and Research (Canada)
  • Duke University. University Archives
  • France. Administration des tabacs
  • Jefferson County Historical Society (Jefferson County, W. Va.)
  • Jefferson County Historical Society of Indiana (Jefferson County, Ind.)
  • National Institute of Health (U.S.)
  • United States. Department of Agriculture
  • United States. Marine Corps. Office of the Commandant
  • United States. Office for Energy Management

For more examples of corporate body names and name components, refer to the Name Elements PDF and the SNAC Editing Cheat Sheet - Corporate Bodies PDF.

Posting Name Changes and Variant Name Entries for Corporate Bodies

Related to the issue of person and family name changes addressed with variant name entries, there are three factors to consider when deciding whether to divide one corporate body entity into two or more distinct, new entities:

  • Has the jurisdiction of the corporate body changed?
  • Have the responsibilities of the corporate body changed?
  • Has the activity of the corporate body changed?

If the answer to all three questions above is "No," then the corporate body really is the same corporate body; only the name has changed, not its work, nor its jurisdiction, nor its mission. SNAC editors should err on the side of not creating a new SNAC entity [record] just because the name changed, especially if the functions of the entity are still the same.

Use the most recent name form as the preferred name and then use earlier name forms as variants. Remember to add Exist Date elements for Establishment and Disestablishment to further contextualize the variant names when warranted.