Archive for the ‘VIAF’ category

VIAF new to Cataloger’s Desktop

May 12, 2009

Although I haven’t been blogging lately, some news today brought me out of lurkdom.  In an email to the Desktop discussion list earlier today, Bruce Chr. Johnson announced:

Normally when we add new resources to Cataloger’s Desktop between issues we hold off announcing them until the new issue is rel[e]ased.  In this instance we have just added several resources that we would like to bring to your attention.  New to Desktop are:

* The 2009 release of the “Statement of International Cataloguing Principles” from IFLA, in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Swedish.
* The Preliminary Consolidated Edition of ISBD from IFLA in English, Spanish, and French.
* The list archives of the SACO discussion list, SACOList.  (A description is available at <>.)
* “Authorities & Vocabularies” from the Library of Congress
* VIAF, the Virtual International Authority File

I’m happy to see access to the VIAF spreading.


Authority Control on the Web : 2000 presentation by Barbara Tillett

September 8, 2008

I have been reading the final version of a presentation that Barbara Tillett gave in Nov. 2000 to the Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium. There is also a print version,  Proceedings of the Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium (2001), 574 pages, ISBN 0-8444-1046-2.  I especially like her concept of “access control”:

This also gets to a point I’ve been pushing for a long time – that of “access control” instead of “authority control.” I still haven’t found another term to use for this concept, but the idea is to control collocation, so the library or the user can select the form of the controlled heading they want to see – the system could switch the display to the chosen form or a default form set by the library. Authority control pulls together all the various forms and relates entities in a way that leads the user to the desired materials and provides a big picture of what is available. With “access control” the same underlying authority records provide control, but the display form is user-selected.

Strides have been made in some areas since this presentation, particularly in the prototype of VIAF and the conceptual model for FRAD, but the library world still has a way to go in implementing her vision.

Lorcan Dempsey’s post on name authorities

July 15, 2008

Yesterday Lorcan Dempsey had an excellent post on name authorities

Libraries have invested significantly in name authority work over the years, and have created extensive infrastructure to help manage names of people and organizations. The relationship between this work and broader interest in this topic is something that will need to be addressed in coming years if this work is to continue to have utility.

He goes on to highlight the VIAF, explain areas where consistent names are needed, and point out other projects in this area.  One question he raises is

should I, for example, be able to augment the authorities data held about me?

This is a question that has occurred to me also.  Who better than the author to know what works are theirs, and which belong to somebody else with a similar name.  But without some kind of a gatekeeper, our carefully constructed authority data could be opened up to something like the Wikipedia wars.

Future of authority control

July 14, 2008

One of the areas this blog will cover is trends in authority control.  I think there will be more cooperation in the establishment of authority records.  This is covered in section 1.3 of the LC working group’s report, On the Record.  I see cooperation happening in a number of areas, from more participation through activities like funnel groups, such as the new ATLA SACO Funnel Project, to a broadening of responsibility in the area of training.  I also see the VIAF (see yesterday’s post) growing to include the abstracting and indexing community.  My ideal would incorporate all worldwide forms of an author’s name, with appropriate computer coding to spit out the right form based on the origination of the query.  Apparently work incorporating publishers and indexers, with input from the library community, has begun, as I found evidence of a meeting that took place early in 2007, reported here.

VIAF: The Virtual International Authority File

July 12, 2008

I am reading Deanna Marcum’s response to On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control.  There are several places where she mentions VIAF, which is 

a joint project of the Library of Congress (LC), the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), and OCLC. The project’s goal is to match and link the library authority files.


 so I decided to go check it out.  Try playing with the heading Wilms, Johann Wilhelm which includes links to authority records from all the participants.  I like the way you can see from the combined authority record the form used by each library, and click to get a full view of the individual records.