Personal name file

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The personal name file ( PND ) was an authority file of people, which was used primarily for indexing literature in libraries . It was run cooperatively by the German National Library and all German and Austrian library associations until 2012. It has gone into the common authority file .

Application and motivation

The personal entries of the PND should enable the successful search for persons in the German National Bibliography and the holdings of other libraries, archives and museums in the entire German-speaking area; Without PND, only the search for names would have been possible with the problem of namesakes and spelling variants. The PND contains around 3.6 million data records, of which, however, currently (as of July 2011) only around 1.8 million individualized person records are.

There were three main reasons for the libraries to set up a common personal name file:

  1. The PND made it possible to rationalize the use of the author's name. Here the research effort used to be significantly higher, especially in problem cases such as non-Latin names or nobility titles.
  2. The introduction of electronic data processing made uniform application at national level urgently necessary, as this is the only way to ensure reliable data exchange.
  3. The (individualized) PND made it possible to clearly assign a name to a person, so that - as was already common practice in the USA at the Library of Congress - authors with the same name can be distinguished from one another.

For each person recorded in the personal name file , there was a data record that could be referenced using a unique identifier , the PND number . The PND contained both so-called individualized data sets with additional information (especially life data, occupation and pseudonyms) and non-individualized data sets that only contained a name that could be used by several people .

History and Development

German Library Institute

After initial considerations, based on a Franco-German expert meeting in May 1987 at the German Library Institute (DBI), the "Steering Committee of the DFG for the ZDB and transregional location records" decided in May 1988 to set up a working group. However, the working group met with cautious interest from the library associations; More urgent would be a heading aid for "difficult names, z. B. Names that need to be transcribed in Latin and old names ”.

A first personal name file was created in 1989 by the collection of old holdings of converted bibliographic data from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and the SUB Göttingen at the German Library Institute. The names were administered in an IBAS database, which was available to all libraries both online and in microfiches . This "PND-DBI" contained in 1993:

  • Names up to 1850 from the old inventory conversion of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
  • Names up to 1940 from old stock conversion SUB Göttingen
  • Ancient personal names (PAN)
  • Medieval personal names (PMA)

The editorial office was based at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

The central tasks of this PND were the uniform application of the names up to 1850 and the acceleration of other legacy records. The use of the PND-DBI was compulsory for all projects of the old inventory survey funded by the German Research Foundation.

The German Library

At the beginning of the 1990s, the library committee of the German Research Foundation (DFG) recommended expanding the scope of tasks and transferring “PND-DBI” to an authority file owned by the German National Library , which at that time was still called “The German Library” (DDB ) was to be transferred. From 1995 to 1998 the introduction of a general personal name file (PND) was funded as a project by the DFG.

While the indexing of literature was in the foreground at first, the PND was later used in archives and museums to describe archival material and exhibits . In November 1997, the personal data from the Central Register of Autographs (ZKA) of the Berlin State Library flowed into the database. Another source in March 1998 was the personal names of the subject headings authority file, which were included in the PND.

In 2008, the personal data of the German Music Archive (DMA) was also integrated into the general personal name file. Dialogue with libraries reported at the time: “As the largest authority database of the DMA, around 110,000 individualized personal data records and around 8,000 non-individualized personal name records were integrated into the national PND. Almost 70,000 standardized data records for musical corporations were imported into the GKD. "


Individualized data records can be assigned to exactly one person. This means that at the entry of the person on the basis of their name features must be added that uniquely identify the person who usually serve this purpose, the life or activity data. As a rule, origin and occupation were also noted. In the German-language Wikipedia, biographical articles were linked to the PND (today part of the GND ) from May 2005 to April 2012 .

In addition to individualized data sets that uniquely identify a person , there are data sets that only contain a name, ie can apply to several people. Each data record contains a unique number, the PND number, as an identifier (or key) . Whether it is an individualized data record cannot be seen from the PND number, since the individualization could also take place after it was created by assigning the name to a specific person, for example by adding a year of birth.

The range from 10000000 to 14999999 (without check digit, with check digit i.e. nine characters) was originally reserved as a number contingent, so the first digit was always 1. Due to massive imports of old personal data previously held locally by the regional associations in the run-up to the introduction of the GND However, this area was exhausted. Since April 2011, the numbers along with those of other types of data records have been assigned consecutively during operation. They are now ten digits (and still start with 1).

Numbers are only assigned that are valid according to the modulo 11 process, which is also used for the ISBN , among other things . The last digit is a check digit that is calculated as follows: The last digit is the remainder of: 1 * 1. Digit + 2 * 2. Digit + 3 * 3. Digit +… + 9 * 9. Digit divided by 11, filling the left with zeros until the number of digits with the check digit results in 10.

The rules for alphabetical cataloging (RAK) were used to put personal names in the PND . There was a separate machine exchange format for libraries (MAB) for the exchange of authority records.

Example of an individualized authority record

Editing an authority record in the German National Library

PND dataset on Joachim Ringelnatz in the catalog of the German National Library (DNB):

Identification Number
Ringelnatz, Joachim
other names
  • Bötticher, Hans [Actually. Surname]
  • Boetticher, Hans
  • Hester, Gustav [pseud.]
  • Meyer, Pinko [pseud.]
  • Dörry, Fritz [pseud.]
Life dates
German Writer u. painter
Subject areas
12.2p; 13.4p; 15.2p
country code

Further development

At the end of April 2012, the PND was merged with the other two large German authority files, the Joint Authority File (GKD) and the Keyword Authority File (SWD), in the Joint Authority File (GND). Until then, the three files were available online and on a chargeable standard data DVD-ROM. Initially, the authority files were distributed on microfiche .

In the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) project, the PND was virtually linked to other national authority files via a concordance file to form an international authority file. (This task is now taken over by the GND.)

Comparable normative data for people are:


  • Reinhard Rinn: The personal name file project (PND project). In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. 41, 1994, ISSN  0044-2380 , pp. 543-545.
  • Reinhard Rinn: The national authority file for personal names (PND). Report on the project status September 1995. In: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie. 42, 1995, pp. 617-637.
  • Claudia Fabian: Development and establishment of the personal name file in Germany. Report on conception and implementation since 1989. In: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie. 42, 1995, pp. 605-616.
  • Ronald Michael Schmidt: The use of the national personal name file in network systems. In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. 44, 1997, pp. 117-125.
  • Brigitte Wiechmann: Individualization test in the German library. In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. 46, 1999, pp. 227-241.
  • Christel Hengel: Authority data and metadata. The idea of ​​an international authority file. In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. 50, 2003, pp. 210-214.
  • Gabriele Meßmer: The German Name Authority File (PND) in the Union Catalog: principles experiences and costs. In: Mauro Guerrini (ed.): Authority control. Definizione ed esperienze internazionali. Atti del convegno internazionale, Firenze, 10-12 February 2003. = Authority Control. Reflections and Experiences. Florence, Italy. 10-12 February 2003. Firenze University Press et al., Florenz 2003, ISBN 88-8453-110-1 ( Att 10), online version ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  • Katrin Teichmann: Application of the authority data of the German library in the museum documentation. Using the example of the portrait collection in the German Museum of Books and Writing at the Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig. K. Teichmann, Leipzig 2003 (final thesis at the Institute for Information and Documentation at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, 2003).

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Klaus Haller: Considerations for the structure of a personal name file . In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. Special issue 50, Klostermann, 1989, ISBN 3-465-02209-2 , p. 94.
  2. Barbara Kohn, Barbara Pfeifer, Silke Sewing: The integration of authority data of the German Music Archive in the PND and GKD . In: Dialogue with Libraries , 2008/2, p. 13 f.
  3. Mail from the DNB of April 27, 2011 to those receiving the authority data services, documented in the BSZ Wiki
  4. Check digit calculation - iltis - German National Library - Wiki .
  5. ^ Catalog of the German National Library .
  6. ^ Library of Congress Authorities .