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OCLC makes new moves connecting Wikipedia and Libraries

Max Klein

Extract taken from the OCLC Annual Report 2012/2013

OCLC has joined the British Museum, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Smithsonian Institution and other cultural heritage organisations that are working with the Wikipedians-in-Residence program to facilitate greater cooperation between institutions and the Wikipedia community. Wikipedians in Residence work from within a host institution to facilitate the improvement of Wikipedia content on the collections held by that institution. 

OCLC’s residency has a unique twist—to explore the special role that library data, such as the OCLC Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) and WorldCat, can play in the world’s largest and most active online encyclopedia.

The collaboration has resulted in development of the VIAFbot, an automated process that will create reciprocal links between Wikipedia articles about people and corporations, and those in VIAF. A total of 25 million reciprocal links from VIAF have now been added to Wikipedia which were algorithmically matched by name, important dates, and selected works.

Max Klein, Wikipedian in Residence at OCLC, and co-developer of the VIAFbot said:

“VIAFbot is important on two different levels; on the surface it’s a large scale bridge between two useful resources, but it’s also emblematic of a style of Wikipedia collaboration I envision. I wanted to go beyond the handiwork of manual improvement and focus on big data linking and analytics. VIAFbot is a proof of concept that we can dream big, and dream algorithmically about organizations contributing to Wikipedia.”

OCLC Research and the Wikipedians are exploring other ways that authoritative library data can be linked to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, such as Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons.

VIAFbot research article

There is also a Blog available on the platform.