After my last post, I wanted to read more about the concept of access control and found the best explanation in this presentation given by Linda Barnhart at Authority Control in the 21st Century: An Invitational Conference. She gives a history of the concept, which was under discussion as early as the mid-seventies, and gives a definition, including the following:
One of the key concepts with the access control record is removing both the label and the notion of “authority.” The access control record is evolved from the current authority record by the fact that it links the variant forms of a name without declaring any one as the “authorized” form. A central concept is that a library or user should be allowed to choose their preferred form of name, or to have displayed a default heading.
There are also numerous examples of current authority records and hypothetical access control records, with an emphasis on cataloging music.