NISO/DCMI Webinar: Cooperative Authority Control: The Virtual International
Authority File (VIAF)

DATE: December 4, 2013
TIME: 1:00pm - 2:30pm Eastern (17:00-18:30 UTC) [World Clock:]



Libraries around the world have a long tradition of maintaining authority
files to assure the consistent presentation and indexing of names. As
library authority files have become available online, the authority data has
become accessible--and many have been published as Linked Open Data
(LOD)--but names in one library authority file typically had no link to
corresponding records for persons and organizations in other library
authority files. After a successful experiment in matching the Library of
Congress/NACO authority file with the German National Library's authority
file, an online system called the Virtual International Authority File was
developed to facilitate sharing by ingesting, matching, and displaying the
relations between records in multiple authority files.

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) has grown from three source
files in 2007 to more than two dozen files today. The service harvests some
30 million authority records, enhances them with information from 100
million bibliographic records to produce a file of 20+ million clusters,
each representing a person, organization, jurisdiction, work, or expression.
In addition to supporting a Web browser HTML interface, the API to VIAF
supports content negotiation for other views, such as RDF-XML and
MARC-21.With English, French, German, Spanish interfaces (and a Japanese in
process), the system is used around the world, with over a million queries
per day.

The NISO/DCMI webinar, Cooperative Authority Control, will cover some of the
challenges VIAF meets in dealing with many different formats and approaches
to describing identities, the relationship of VIAF to the source authority
files, to other identity systems such as ORCID and ISNI, VIAF's approach to
sustainability, governance and persistence, and how ambiguity is recognized
and managed.


Thomas Hickey (
is Chief Scientist at OCLC where he helped found OCLC Research. Current
interests include metadata creation and editing systems, authority control,
parallel systems for bibliographic processing, and information retrieval and
display. In addition to implementing VIAF, his group looks into exploring
Web access to metadata, identification of FRBR works and expressions in
WorldCat, the algorithmic creation of authorities, and the characterization
of collections. He has an undergraduate degree in Physics and a Ph.D. in
Library and Information Science.


Registration is per site (access for one computer) and closes at 12:00 pm
Eastern (16:00 UTC) on December 4, 2013 (the day of the webinar). Discounts
are available for NISO and DCMI members and students.

For more information and to register, visit the event webpage:



Cynthia Hodgson

Technical Editor / Consultant

National Information Standards Organization



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