December 2, 2020

Metadata: Virtual International Authority File Continues Expanding, Adding More Records and New Contributors

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) and important and useful tool for catalogers, metadata specialists, and other researchers continues to expand adding a number of new contributors and national libraries during 2012-2013.

VIAF became an OCLC service during the Spring, 2012.

From OCLC Research:

  • VIAF Contributors grew from 19 agencies in 22 countries to 34 agencies in 29 countries since 2012.
  • 8 new national libraries became VIAF Contributors in the last year. 24 national libraries now contribute to VIAF, and an additional 11 national libraries provide data to VIAF through federal library agencies, consortia or other arrangements, bringing the total of national libraries represented in VIAF to 35 national libraries from 30 countries.

This and other VIAF news was shared during the 2013 VIAF Council Annual Meeting held in Lyon, France during the IFLA World Library and Info Conference last month August.

Additional info (including several charts) are shared in the complete 2013 VIAF Annual Report.

Here are a Few Highlights From the Meeting and Report (via OCLC Research)

  • unanimously elected Beacher Wiggins (Library of Congress) to serve as VIAFC Chair-Elect in 2015 and VIAFC Chair in 2016
  • provided recommendations to OCLC on the draft guidelines for admission of contributors to VIAF
  • VIAF now includes two scholar-oriented Other Data Provider sources (Perseus Digital Library and the Syriac Reference Portal) and a multilingual data enrichment Other Data source (xR) OCLC Research Authority File.
  • VIAF’s source data increased from 33.6 million to approximately 45 million authority records.
  • In addition, 10 Million personal name source records have been added, the number of title records has increased from 1.7 million to 3.8 million, and the number of intra-source-file matches has increased from 43.5 million to 96.5 million
  • VIAF’s interface was refreshed and enhanced to include a map display and a Polish language interface.

Direct to 2013 VIAF Annual Report (16 pages; PDF)

Note From Gary Price

When I speak to non-librarians I am often asked what does a librarian do? If I’m not asked I try my best to bring up what some librarians (or can do) do that they might not know about or have even considered.

I believe this knowledge is important for our entire profession because some/many people have little to no idea about what we do beyond “books”. Plus, they often don’t understand our value especially in a Google and Wikipedia world.

One of my favorite resources to use in this pursuit is the VIAF to illustrate how librarians utilize this and other tools to help organize information and bring “like things together” so finding can be easier, faster and more precise.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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