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Virtual International Authority File
""VIAF Screenshot 2012
Screenshot 2012
Acronym VIAF
Introduced August 6, 2003 (2003-08-06)
Managing organisation "OCLC
Example 106965171
Website viaf.org

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[edit]

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[edit]

English Wikipedia entry name Identifier Native-language name Location Country
"Bibliotheca Alexandrina EGAXA "Arabic: مكتبة الإسكندرية "Alexandria "Egypt
"Biblioteca Nacional de Chile BNCHL "Spanish: Biblioteca Nacional de Chile "Santiago "Chile
"Biblioteca Nacional de España BNE "Spanish: Biblioteca Nacional de España "Madrid "Spain
"Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal PTBNP "Portuguese: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal "Lisbon "Portugal
"Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec B2Q "French: Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec "Quebec "Canada
"Bibliothèque nationale de France BnF "French: Bibliothèque nationale de France "Paris "France
"Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc (BNRM) MRBNR "Arabic: المكتبة الوطنية للمملكة المغربية
"French: Bibliothèque nationale du Royaume du Maroc
"Rabat "Morocco
"Biografisch Portaal BPN "Dutch: Biografisch Portaal "The Hague "Netherlands
"British Library "London "England
"Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces "Danish: Kulturstyrelsen "Copenhagen "Denmark
"Danish Bibliographic Centre DBC "Danish: Dansk BiblioteksCenter "Ballerup "Denmark
"German National Library (DNB) GND "German: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek "Frankfurt "Germany
"International Standard Name Identifier[7] ISNI "London "United Kingdom
"Israel Museum "Hebrew: מוזיאון ישראל "Jerusalem "Israel
"Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico ICCU
"Italian: Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico "Rome "Italy
"Lebanese National Library LNL "Arabic: المكتبة الوطنية "Beirut "Lebanon
"Library and Archives Canada LAC "French: Bibliothèque et Archives Canada "Ottawa, "Ontario "Canada
"Library of Congress
NACO consortium (Name Authority Cooperative Program)[8]
LCCN "Washington, D.C. "United States
"National and University Library in Zagreb NSK "Croatian: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica u Zagrebu "Zagreb "Croatia
"National and University Library of Slovenia "Slovene: Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica "Ljubljana "Slovenia
"National Central Library NCL
"Chinese: 國家圖書館 "Taipei "Taiwan
"National Diet Library NDL "Japanese: 国立国会図書館 "Tokyo
"National Institute of Informatics NII
"Japanese: 国立情報学研究所 "Tokyo "Japan
"National Library Board NLB "Singapore
"National Library of Australia NLA "Canberra "Australia
"National Library of Catalonia BNC "Catalan: Biblioteca de Catalunya "Barcelona "Spain
"National Library of Estonia ERRR "Estonian: Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu "Tallinn "Estonia
"National Library of Ireland N6I "Irish: Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann "Dublin "Ireland
"National Library of Israel NLI "Hebrew: הספרייה הלאומית "Jerusalem "Israel
"National Library of Korea KRNLK "Korean: 국립중앙도서관 "Seoul "Korea
"National Library of Latvia LNB "Latvian: Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka "Rīga "Latvia
"National Library of Luxembourg BNL "Luxembourgish: Nationalbibliothéik Lëtzebuerg
"French: Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg
"Luxembourg City "Luxembourg
"National Library of Mexico BNM "Spanish: Biblioteca Nacional de México "Mexico City "Mexico
"National Library of the Netherlands NTA "Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek "The Hague "Netherlands
"National Library of New Zealand "Wellington "New Zealand
"National Library of Norway "BIBSYS
"Norwegian: Nasjonalbiblioteket "Trondheim "Norway
"National Library of Poland NLP "Polish: Biblioteka Narodowa "Warsaw "Poland
"National Library of Scotland "Scottish Gaelic: Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba
"Scots: Naitional Leebrar o Scotland
"Edinburgh "Scotland
"National Library of South Africa "Afrikaans: Staats-Bibliotheek der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek "Cape Town
"South Africa
"National Library of Sweden SELIBR "Swedish: Kungliga biblioteket - Sveriges nationalbibliotek "Stockholm "Sweden
"National Library of Wales "Welsh: Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru "Aberystwyth "Wales
"National Library of the Czech Republic NKC "Czech: Národní knihovna České republiky "Prague "Czech Republic
"National Széchényi Library NSZL "Hungarian: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár "Budapest "Hungary
"Perseus Project PERSEUS "Medford, Massachusetts "United States
"RERO (Library Network of Western Switzerland) RERO "German: Westschweizer Bibliothekverbund
"French: Réseau des bibliothèques de Suisse occidentale
"Italian: Rete delle bibliotheche della Svizzera occidentale
"Martigny "Switzerland
"Russian State Library RLS "Russian: Российская государственная библиотека "Moscow "Russia
"Système universitaire de documentation SUDOC "French: Système universitaire de documentation "France
Syriac Reference Portal SRP "Nashville, Tennessee "United States
"Swiss National Library SWNL "German: Schweizerische Nationalbibliothek
"French: Bibliothèque nationale suisse
"Italian: Biblioteca nazionale svizzera
"Romansh: Biblioteca naziunala svizra
"Berne "Switzerland
Narodowy Uniwersalny Katalog Centralny, NUKAT (pl) NUKAT "Polish: Narodowy Uniwersalny Katalog Centralny "Poland
"Union List of Artist Names – "Getty Research Institute ULAN
"Los Angeles, "California "United States
"United States National Agricultural Library NALT "Beltsville, Maryland "United States
"United States National Library of Medicine "Bethesda, Maryland "United States
"Vatican Library BAV "Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana "Vatican City
Vlaamse openbare bibliotheken (VLACC): Bibnet (nl) VLACC "Dutch: Vlaamse Centrale Catalogus "Brussels "Belgium
"Wikidata WKP "Berlin, "Germany International

Libraries added for testing purposes[edit]

English Wikipedia entry name Identifier Native-language name Location Country
"National and University Library of Iceland (NULI) UIY "Icelandic: Háskólabókasafn "Reykjavík "Iceland
"National Library of Brazil BLBNB "Portuguese: Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil "Rio de Janeiro "Brazil

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kelley, Michael; Schwartz, Meredith (2012). "VIAF service transitions to OCLC". "Library Journal. "Media Source Inc. 137 (8): 16.  "closed access publication – behind paywall
  2. ^ O'Neill, Edward T. (12 August 2016). "VIAF: Origins" (Video presentation). Authority Data on the Web, a Satellite Meeting of the 2016 "IFLA World Library and Information Congress. "OCLC. 
  3. ^ Murphy, Bob (4 April 2012). "Virtual International Authority File service transitions to OCLC; contributing institutions continue to shape direction through VIAF Council" (Press release). "OCLC. Dublin, OH. 
  4. ^ Klein, Max; Renspie, Melissa (7 December 2012). "VIAFbot Edits 250,000 Wikipedia Articles to Reciprocate All Links from VIAF into Wikipedia". "OCLC. 
  5. ^ Klein, Maximilian; Kyrios, Alex (14 October 2013). "VIAFbot and the Integration of Library Data on Wikipedia". The Code4Lib Journal (22). "ISSN 1940-5758. 
  6. ^ Hickey, Thomas B.; Toves, Jenny A. (July 2014). "Managing Ambiguity In VIAF". "D-Lib Magazine. "Corporation for National Research Initiatives. 20 (7/8). "doi:10.1045/july2014-hickey. 
  7. ^ MacEwan, Andrew (12 August 2016). "ISNI and VIAF" (Video presentation). Authority Data on the Web, a Satellite Meeting of the 2016 "IFLA World Library and Information Congress. "OCLC. 
  8. ^ "NACO - Name Authority Cooperative Program". "Library of Congress. 

External links[edit]

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