Metadata Input Guidelines: Contributor

Element Name



A person or organization that has played an important but secondary role in creating the content of the resource and is not specified in the creator element.

Where Can the Contributor Information be Found?

Contributors include any person/company/organization that was involved in creating the item (but who were not primarily responsible) and may be found on:

Item Type Information Sources
For text
  • title page
  • cover
  • end of document
For images
  • bottom or back of a photograph
  • envelope, slip cover, or case
For maps
  • statement in a caption
  • notes around the outside of the map
For music scores
  • top of page
  • title page
  • table of contents
For videos
  • title screen(s)
  • label on disc
  • container cover
For sound files
  • information on disc/cassette
  • container information
For computer files
  • title page/screen
  • statement in a header/footer

In some cases contributors may come from accompanying or supplementary information.

How Contributor Works in the Metadata Form


  1. Contributor name – text field
  2. Contributor type – drop-down menu
  3. Contributor role – drop-down menu
  4. Contributor information – text field


Yes - to include multiple contributors, click ‘Add’ to repeat all field parts


No (more information)

How Should the Contributor be Filled in?

General Contributor Rules

  • If no contributor information is readily available, leave the field blank
  • Only include individuals/organizations who had secondary responsibility for the item or who were only responsible for a portion of the work
    • Primary ‘contributors’ should be entered as creators instead
    • Contributors should not also be entered as creators; if they act in multiple capacities, see the Role section for clarification
    • For more information about when a person/organization is a creator or a contributor, see our definition page
  • An entity must have a direct relationship to the item that can be explicated in order to be included as a contributor (or creator)
    • If there is information about a person/organization that cannot be expressed as a role, it may be appropriate to add it elsewhere, such as a Note or Info in relation to an established creator or contributor
  • Include as many contributors as are readily available
    • Place them in order of importance
    • If contributors are equally important, list them in the order that they appear
    • If a document has an excessively large number of creators or authors (e.g., several hundred researchers) include the parent organizations as creators and the individual persons as contributors
  • For each contributor, the name, type, and role are required
  • If possible, consult an authority file to find the correct form of the name, including:
  • Note that organizational names generally reflect the name of the agency at the time the item was created – e.g., Texas (Republic) vs. Texas, or North Texas State University vs. University of North Texas – however, if possible, personal names will generally reflect a single, most current version when multiple names (initials, maiden names, etc.) are known to be used by a specific person

Contributor Names

Personal Names

Guideline Example(s)
  • Means, Thomas H. (Thomas Herbert), 1875-196
  • If no authorized version is available, enter the most complete version of the name that is known using proper formatting:
    • Invert names (Last, First Middle)
    • Use initials if the full names are not known
    • Use spaces between initials
    • Do not move first initials to the end when a middle name is written out
    • Separate hyphenated first names with a hyphen instead of a space if only initials are known
    • Put additional middle names after the first name
    • Consider both parts of a hyphenated name the 'last name'
    • Consider multiple parts (von, de la, etc.) as part of the last name
  • McCaleb, Walter Flavius
  • Seastone, Charles V.
  • Henderson, C. L.
  • Mitchell, A. Cameron
  • Fang, H.-C.
  • Sonneck, Oscar George Theodore
  • Ala'i-Rosales, Shahla
  • de la Peña, L. R.
  • If it is unclear which part of the name is the surname, enter the name as it appears on the item
  • Use appropriate abbreviations:
    • Only include known titles (Dr., Rev., Capt., etc.) before the first name if:
      • The title is necessary for clarification of the name
      • The title is the only part of the name known (aside from a surname)
    • Include suffixes that are a part of the name (Jr., Sr., etc.) at the end of the name after a second comma
  • Hastings, Mrs. F. S.
  • Jones, Dr.
  • Roberts, Frank H. H., Jr.
  • Do not include:
    • nicknames
    • abbreviations
    • titles that do not fit the criteria above
    • job or educational qualifiers (C.E., D.D.S., Ph.D., etc.)
  • Some common historical personal name abbreviations:
    • Chas. = Charles
    • Geo. = George
    • Jas. = James
    • Jno. = John
    • Thos. = Thomas
    • Wm. = William
  • These can all go in the information section of the field.
Name: Alwin, Lawrence F.
Info: CPA; State Auditor

Name: Dunlap, George P.
Info: Geo. P. Dunlap
  • If the same person is responsible for multiple items:
    • Enter the name as consistently as possible in every record
  • If the name changes and it is certainly the same person
    • Use the latest/most current name for all items
    • Include the former name as contributor information if it is used on the text
  • When in doubt, enter the name as it appears on the specific item
Name: Gaines, Ann

Name: Gaines, Ann
Info: Ann Sanders
  • Only include names of specific persons (or organizations)
  • In cases where the name is not known (e.g., "Staff Photographer") either:
    • Leave the contributor field blank
    • Include the name of the parent organization and add details as contributor information
Name: Associated Press
Info: Staff photograph

Organization Names

Guideline Example

For non-government or single-level bodies:

  • Use the names as they appear in the item
  • Do not invert personal names that are parts of organizational names
  • Write out names instead of using acronyms
  • Camp Wolters Public Relations Branch
  • Julius Bien & Co.
  • Monsoon Asia Integrated Regional Study
For hierarchical agencies:
  • List the highest level agency or body at the beginning and the lowest at the end
  • Separate the elements of the hierarchy with periods
  • Preface names of government agencies with the name of the country or state
  • If a hierarchy is unclear, record the name as it appears on the resource
  • University of Texas. Bureau of Research in the Social Sciences.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Chemical Technology Division.
  • Geological Survey (U.S.)
For United States agencies:
  • Spell out "United States" unless there is an authorized version that abbreviates it
  • In the case of a long (well-known) name, it may be shortened by eliminating unnecessary parts
    • For example, to enter the CIA, use the form from the Library of Congress Authorities (not: United States. National Security Council. Central Intelligence Agency.)
  • United States. Navy. Training Division. Bureau of Aeronautics.
  • U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency.
For foreign agencies:
  • Use an authorized form of the name, if there is one
    • If the name is written in a language other than English, add the English translation (if known) in the information section of the field
    • If the name is written in English, additional forms of the name can be included in the information section of the field as needed
  • If there is no authorized form of the name, use the name as it appears and follow general formatting rules
  • Instituto de Investigaciones Geológicas (Chile)
  • Mexico. Secretaría de la Economia Nacional Direccion General de Minas Y Petoleo.

Contributor Type

Choose the appropriate contributor type:

Guideline Example
If the contributor is an individual Person
If the contributor is a company, organization, association, agency, or other institution Organization

If it is unclear whether the contributor name belongs to an individual or an organization, use 'Person' and format the name appropriately.

(If it is important to clarify this choice, you can include a Non-Displaying Note.)

In some rare and very specific cases, other options may apply:  

If the contributor is a conference or other event that produces papers and materials

(e.g., A statement drafted by all members of a symposium or conference as part of the activities of the meeting)


If the contributor is a computer program that generates data or files

(e.g., A file created while a computer program was running)


Contributor Role

Entering Roles

Choose the appropriate contributor role from the controlled vocabulary

Guideline Example
If the role is not listed:
  • Choose 'Other'
  • Include clarification in the 'Information' section
Name: Caffey, Wiley L.
Role: Other
Information: Business Manager
If more than one role applies to the contributor:
  • Choose the primary or most encompassing role (or the one listed first)
  • Explain the details in the information section
Name: Etter, Amanda Perez
Role: Editor
Information: Managing Editor; Sponsor

Assigning Roles

  • Although the same list of roles is available for both creators and contributors, some roles will only apply to contributors:
    • Agents who only had responsibility for a part, e.g., author of introduction, etc.; witness; consultant; expert
    • Agents who had an indirect relationship, e.g., funder, sponsor, former owner, donor
      (Additional explanation is on our creator and contributor definition page
  • The role should describe the action that the agent took in creating the item and it may not align with job titles or credentials, for example:


  Agents Role Example
  • director of a performance (film, play, concert, etc.)
Director Creator
Name: Homer, Paula
Type: Person
Role: Director
Info: UNT Opera Theater
  • executive director of an agency with no apparent contribution to the item
n/a Creator
Name: Texas. Department of Transportation.
Type: Organization
Role: Author
Info: Phil Wilson, Executive Director
  • executive director of an agency with a described or understandable role (e.g., author of transmittal letter)
Author of introduction, etc.
(or another appropriate role)
Name: Camargo, Gene
Type: Person
Role: Author of introduction, etc.
Info: Director of Building Inspections
  • musician in a recital or concert
  • actor in a play or movie
Performer Creator
Name: North Texas Wind Symphony
Type: Organization
Role: Performer
  • a person/organization that "performed" work or research
    (aside from, or in addition to specific person/s who authored a report or created some product of the work)
(or another appropriate role)
Name: Quigg, Antonietta Salvatrice
Type: Person
Role: Author

Name: Texas Water Development Board
Type: Organization
Role: Originator
  • a consulting company or person that authors a report
Author Creator
Name: Kerley, Gerald I.
Type: Person
Role: Author
Info: Consultant, Kerly Technical Services
  • a consultant who provided information as a contribution to a report
  • a consultant who spoke during recorded/transcribed proceedings (could also be an "expert" or "witness" depending on context)
Consultant Contributor
Name: Kanto, Leonard E.
Type: Person
Role: Consultant
Info: State of Texas Professional Engineer; Consultant Engineer

Contributor Information

  • This field is only for information about the contributor listed in or directly related to the object
  • The info field is not intended for biographies or lengthy descriptions of the agent
  • It is not necessary to do research to find information; this field is only used for readily-available notes
Guideline Example
  • Include information that clarifies the role of the contributor
  • For composers, this includes the name of the piece
  • For journals or compiled documents, this may include the title(s) of pieces that the contributor authored
Consulting Engineer

Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in C Major, K. 548 (1788)

The Route to Capitalization: The Transcendent Registration Exemptions for Securities Offerings as a Means to Small Business Capital Formation
  • Include other relevant information known about the contributor that relates to the object:
    • Additional forms of the contributor's name
    • Addresses
    • Birth and death dates
    • Organizational affiliations
    • Other information associated with the name
(If an authorized form of the name is used, it is not necessary to repeat the details)
Judge Sam'l A. Roberts

LMSW; Manager, Purchased Health Services Unit

Houston, Texas
  • Format information appropriately:
    • List each name, fact, or statement individually and separate them with semicolons or periods
    • Use sentence form when relevant or when taken directly from the object
    • Quotation marks may be used when quoting information directly from the object
Rev. R. G. Mood, M.A., D.D.; Secretary and Editor of the North Texas Conference

"Under Four Flags on Texas Soil, By A. Garland Adair, Editor, The Mexia Daily News"

Other Examples


  • Name: Ben C. Jones & Co.
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Printer
  • Information: “Printers, Electrotypers and Binders, Austin.”


  • Name: Richards, Olan
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Editor
  • Information: Art Editor

  • Name: American Beauty Cover Company
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Artist

  • Name: Abilene Printing and Stationery Company
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Printer

  • Name: Thurman’s Studio
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Photographer

  • Name: Southwest Engraving Company
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Engraver

Journal issue

  • Name: Baldwin, Dan
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Editor
  • Information: Assistant Editor

  • Name: Riddle, Peggy
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Editor
  • Information: Assistant Editor

Research Report

  • Name: Texas Water Development Board
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Sponsor

  • Name: Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (Tex.)
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Funder

  • Name: Upper Guadalupe River Authority
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Funder

  • Name: Headwaters Groundswater Conservation District
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Consultant

  • Name: Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Consultant

  • Name: Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District #1
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Consultant

  • Name: Kerr County (Tex.)
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Consultant

  • Name: Kendall County (Tex.)
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Consultant


  • Name: United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Educational Services Section.
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Distributor
  • Information: [United States.] Navy Dept. BuPers. Educational Services Section.; Navy distribution. Washington, D. C.

  • Name: Harrison, Richard Edes
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Cartographer
  • Information: Base map for “Pacific War in the Air” drawn by Richard Edes Harrison. Copyright, Fortune.

  • Name: United States. Office of Strategic Services.
  • Type: Organization
  • Role: Cartographer
  • Information: Map of South Burma and Thailand “prepared in the R and A Branch, O.S.S.”
  • Name: Sayles, Mary E.
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Other
  • Information: Transferee

  • Name: Turnee, Sam
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Author
  • Information: Notary Public

  • Name: Collins, E. H.
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Witness


  • Name: Wilhelm, Ronald
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Chair or Major Professor
  • Information: Major Professor

  • Name: Ausbrooks, Carrie Y.
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Committee member
  • Information: Minor Professor

  • Name: Cowart, Melinda
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Committee member

Opera score

  • Name: Harding, Bertita
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Librettist

  • Name: Ballenger, Kenneth L.
  • Type: Person
  • Role: Author of introduction, etc.
  • Information: Prof. Kenneth L. Ballenger; Author of synopsis (page ii).


  • Name fields are connected to the UNT Name App, which will try to match text against local authority files. Editors should always choose an authorized form from the list if it is available.
  • The contributor field is not constrained by the AACR2 practice of limiting creators/contributors to three or fewer names. Include as many contributors as are readily available.
  • Input entities responsible for digitizing an existing resource in the Institution element instead of the contributor element.
  • Individuals or organizations with greater or complete responsibility for creation of the intellectual content of the resource should be recorded in the Creator element instead of the Contributor element. Some examples of creators are author, editor, compiler, etc. (when applicable to the whole item rather than a part).
  • The contributor roles come primarily from MARC relator codes; not all of the Library of Congress roles are included in the UNT system and several local roles have been added to the UNT list.


More Guidelines: