Recent VIAF changes

This release of VIAF (The Virtual International Authority File) includes some substantial changes to the RDF output.

Rationale for the Changes

The VIAF RDF changes in this release intended to align the VIAF and Wikidata datasets more closely. Some of the changes provide additional information to help disambiguate entities, such as schema:location and schema:description. Language tags have also been added to schema:name in order to make it easier for applications to select a language-appropriate label for display. Additionally to align with Wikidata, the new response is focused on the entity itself and depends on the related entities to describe themselves via Linked Data.  

For more detailed information on the rationale behind these changes and how they fit in evolution of VIAF see Thom Hickey's post on the recent release.

Change Details

Specific new features included in the RDF.

  • Added language tags to schema:name, whenever possible
  • Changed from schema:sameAs to owl:differentFrom when linking to undifferentiated names
  • Added schema:description whenever possible
  • Added schema:sameAs links to Wikidata, ISNI, National Diet Library of Japan, National Széchényi Library (Hungary), FAST
  • Added schema:location for organizations that are associated with a named place
  • Added schema:gender when known
  • Added pto:Pseudonym as an additional type, when known

Specific hanges to the RDF output which would be considered backwards incompatible:

  • Changed schema:name and schema:alternateName from inverted order to direct
    order, whenever possible:
    Old:
    <http://viaf.org/viaf/102333412> <http://schema.org/name> "Austen, Jane" .
    

    New: 
    <http://viaf.org/viaf/102333412> <http://schema.org/name> "Jane Austen"@en-US .
    
  • Dropped rdfs:seeAlso (i.e. non-semantic) links. This means linkages between an author and their creative works have been removed from the author's graph
    <http://viaf.org/viaf/266415900> 
    <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#seeAlso> <http://viaf.org/viaf/183264674> .
    
    <http://viaf.org/viaf/266415900> 
    <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#seeAlso> <http://viaf.org/viaf/sourceID/ISNI%7C0000000110568415#skos:Concept> .
    
  • Changed links from VIAF to external SKOS-based sources (like LCNAF) from skos:exactMatch to schema:sameAs
    <http://viaf.org/viaf/179424283> <http://schema.org/sameAs> <http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n80152151> .
    
  • Karen Coombs

    Karen Coombs

    Senior Product Analyst