VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) Transitions from OCLC Research Prototype to OCLC Service

OCLC will continue to make VIAF openly accessible and will also work to incorporate VIAF into various OCLC services.

VIAF is a project that virtually combines multiple name authority files into a single name authority service. This transition from an interim, shared-governance arrangement to OCLC having primary responsibility for maintenance of VIAF and offering it as an OCLC service is done in agreement with institutions participating in VIAF.

"VIAF represents an enormous collective investment by the library community in structured data about names," said Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Research, and OCLC Chief Strategist. "We are pleased to be able to provide VIAF in a way that allows a broad web community to benefit from that investment. We hope that VIAF becomes an important reference point."

Since 1998 VIAF has been developed and operated as an OCLC Research prototype system, under an arrangement where governance was shared among the four Principal participants: the Library of Congress, the German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, or DNB), the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France, or BnF), and OCLC.

Under the new arrangements, which were developed in agreement with the VIAF participants, OCLC will have primary responsibility for maintenance of VIAF and will offer it as an OCLC service. The institutions contributing to VIAF will continue to help shape its direction through participation in a newly-formed VIAF Council. At present, 22 agencies from 19 countries have contributed data to VIAF. Data is contributed on a non-exclusive basis.

More information is available in the full news release and the new OCLC VIAF service page.

More Information

Full News Release

VIAF Service page

For more information:

Thomas B. Hickey, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist
OCLC Research

Eric Childress
Consulting Project Manager
OCLC Research