During the OCLC Developer House held in Dublin, Ohio in February 2014, experienced library developers worked with OCLC staff to create new services based on OCLC APIs. The projects are archived at GitHub - OCLC Developer House.
We would like to introduce one of the projects which focused on the Virtual International Authority File API. Sara Amato, Joe Atzberger and Bobbi Fox worked with OCLC researcher Ralph LeVan and software engineer George Campbell to create a VIAF Autocomplete Widget.
So what does the widget do? We need to begin with what an Authority Control File is in library science terms. An Authority Control File is a list of topic names with an associated unique identifying ID. Each topic name is used consistently throughout the catalog database to make finding subject matter easier for users. The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) creates master records that link to member nation's authority file records, thus allowing research to extend beyond one nation's catalog in a uniform way.
The widget accesses the VIAF API with a partial word as the user types, and displays the results in a pull down. The plugin could be used in library software such as Dspace to assist the user in searching with valid terms.
Senior Software Engineer