Virtual International Authority File

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The Virtual International Authority File ( VIAF ) is a virtual international authority file . It is a joint project of several national libraries and library associations operated by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). The project was initiated in 2003 by the German National Library and the Library of Congress and began regular operations in 2012.

VIAF: Screenshot (2012)

Content and goals

The aim of the VIAF is to link national authority files (such as the common authority file maintained by the German National Library ) to form a globally uniform virtual authority file. The databases of 25 authority files are merged and identical data records are linked in a concordance file. The data is offered online and is available for research, data exchange and data sharing. The Protocol for Metadata Harvesting of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI-PMH) is used to update the data . Pattern matching takes place once a month , in which new data records are merged with the existing ones.

For referencing, a VIAF data record is given its own authority data number as an identifier , from which a form as a Uniform Resource Identifier for linked data applications emerges. It contains references to the merged records of the authority files involved and their headings .

Participating libraries

The following libraries or library associations are participating in the project (as of May 2020):

Entries from the following databases are also displayed:


Web links


  1. However, the targeted monthly comparison is sometimes not carried out, so that the VIAF data are only current for some of the authority files involved. For example, at the beginning of October 2012 there were still entries dated May 2012.