Virtual International Authority File

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Virtual International Authority File
VIAF Screenshot 2012
Screenshot 2012
IntroducedAugust 6, 2003 (2003-08-06)
Managing organisationOCLC

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).[1]


Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities. This would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process.[2]

The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress (LC), the German National Library (DNB) and the OCLC on August 6, 2003. The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) joined the project on October 5, 2007.

The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012.[3]

The aim is to link the national authority files (such as the German Name Authority File) to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, and refers to the original authority records. The data are made available online and are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) protocol.

The file numbers are also being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata.[4][5]

VIAF clusters

VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month. As more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records.[6]

Participating libraries and organizations

English Wikipedia entry nameIdentifierNative-language nameLocationCountry
Bibliotheca AlexandrinaEGAXAArabic: مكتبة الإسكندريةAlexandriaEgypt
Biblioteca Nacional de ChileBNCHLSpanish: Biblioteca Nacional de ChileSantiagoChile
Biblioteca Nacional de EspañaBNESpanish: Biblioteca Nacional de EspañaMadridSpain
Biblioteca Nacional de PortugalPTBNPPortuguese: Biblioteca Nacional de PortugalLisbonPortugal
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du QuébecB2QFrench: Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du QuébecQuebecCanada
Bibliothèque nationale de FranceBnFFrench: Bibliothèque nationale de FranceParisFrance
Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc (BNRM)MRBNRArabic: المكتبة الوطنية للمملكة المغربية
French: Bibliothèque nationale du Royaume du Maroc
Biografisch PortaalBPNDutch: Biografisch PortaalThe HagueNetherlands
British LibraryLondonEngland
Danish Agency for Culture and PalacesDanish: KulturstyrelsenCopenhagenDenmark
Danish Bibliographic CentreDBCDanish: Dansk BiblioteksCenterBallerupDenmark
German National Library (DNB)GNDGerman: Deutsche NationalbibliothekFrankfurtGermany
International Standard Name Identifier[7]ISNILondonUnited Kingdom
Israel MuseumHebrew: מוזיאון ישראלJerusalemIsrael
Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo UnicoICCU
Italian: Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo UnicoRomeItaly
Lebanese National LibraryLNLArabic: المكتبة الوطنيةBeirutLebanon
Library and Archives CanadaLACFrench: Bibliothèque et Archives CanadaOttawa, OntarioCanada
Library of Congress
NACO consortium (Name Authority Cooperative Program)[8]
LCCNWashington, D.C.United States
National and University Library in ZagrebNSKCroatian: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica u ZagrebuZagrebCroatia
National and University Library of SloveniaSlovene: Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnicaLjubljanaSlovenia
National Central LibraryNCL
Chinese: 國家圖書館TaipeiTaiwan
National Diet LibraryNDLJapanese: 国立国会図書館Tokyo
National Institute of InformaticsNII
Japanese: 国立情報学研究所TokyoJapan
National Library BoardNLBSingapore
National Library of AustraliaNLACanberraAustralia
National Library of CataloniaBNCCatalan: Biblioteca de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
National Library of EstoniaERRREstonian: Eesti RahvusraamatukoguTallinnEstonia
National Library of IrelandN6IIrish: Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireannDublinIreland
National Library of IsraelNLIHebrew: הספרייה הלאומיתJerusalemIsrael
National Library of KoreaKRNLKKorean: 국립중앙도서관SeoulKorea
National Library of LatviaLNBLatvian: Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēkaRīgaLatvia
National Library of LuxembourgBNLLuxembourgish: Nationalbibliothéik Lëtzebuerg
French: Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg
Luxembourg CityLuxembourg
National Library of MexicoBNMSpanish: Biblioteca Nacional de MéxicoMexico CityMexico
National Library of the NetherlandsNTADutch: Koninklijke BibliotheekThe HagueNetherlands
National Library of New ZealandWellingtonNew Zealand
National Library of NorwayBIBSYS
Norwegian: NasjonalbiblioteketTrondheimNorway
National Library of PolandNLPPolish: Biblioteka NarodowaWarsawPoland
National Library of ScotlandScottish Gaelic: Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba
Scots: Naitional Leebrar o Scotland
National Library of South AfricaAfrikaans: Staats-Bibliotheek der Zuid-Afrikaansche RepubliekCape Town
South Africa
National Library of SwedenSELIBRSwedish: Kungliga biblioteket - Sveriges nationalbibliotekStockholmSweden
National Library of WalesWelsh: Llyfrgell Genedlaethol CymruAberystwythWales
National Library of the Czech RepublicNKCCzech: Národní knihovna České republikyPragueCzech Republic
National Széchényi LibraryNSZLHungarian: Országos Széchényi KönyvtárBudapestHungary
Perseus ProjectPERSEUSMedford, MassachusettsUnited States
RERO (Library Network of Western Switzerland)REROGerman: Westschweizer Bibliothekverbund
French: Réseau des bibliothèques de Suisse occidentale
Italian: Rete delle bibliotheche della Svizzera occidentale
Russian State LibraryRLSRussian: Российская государственная библиотекаMoscowRussia
Système universitaire de documentationSUDOCFrench: Système universitaire de documentationFrance
Syriac Reference PortalSRPNashville, TennesseeUnited States
Swiss National LibrarySWNLGerman: Schweizerische Nationalbibliothek
French: Bibliothèque nationale suisse
Italian: Biblioteca nazionale svizzera
Romansh: Biblioteca naziunala svizra
Narodowy Uniwersalny Katalog Centralny, NUKAT [pl]NUKATPolish: Narodowy Uniwersalny Katalog CentralnyPoland
Union List of Artist Names – Getty Research InstituteULAN
Los Angeles, CaliforniaUnited States
United States National Agricultural LibraryNALTBeltsville, MarylandUnited States
United States National Library of MedicineBethesda, MarylandUnited States
Vatican LibraryBAVLatin: Bibliotheca Apostolica VaticanaVatican City
Vlaamse openbare bibliotheken (VLACC): Bibnet [nl]VLACCDutch: Vlaamse Centrale CatalogusBrusselsBelgium
WikidataWKPBerlin, GermanyInternational

Libraries added for testing purposes

English Wikipedia entry nameIdentifierNative-language nameLocationCountry
National and University Library of Iceland (NULI)UIYIcelandic: HáskólabókasafnReykjavíkIceland
National Library of BrazilBLBNBPortuguese: Biblioteca Nacional do BrasilRio de JaneiroBrazil

See also

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