Virtual International Authority File


August 13, 2022

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is a virtual international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and library associations operated by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). The project was initiated in 2003 by the German National Library and the Library of Congress and went into regular operation in 2012.

Content and goals

The aim of the VIAF is to link national authority files (such as the joint authority file managed by the German National Library) into a globally uniform virtual authority file. The databases of 25 authority files are merged and identical data sets are linked in a concordance file. The data is offered online and is available for research, data exchange and data sharing. The Protocol for Metadata Harvesting of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI-PMH) is used to update the database. Once a month, a pattern matching takes place, in which new data sets are merged with the existing ones. For referencing, a VIAF data set is given its own authority data number as an identifier, from which a form as a Uniform Resource Identifier for linked data applications emerges. It contains references to the merged records of the participating authority files and their headings.

Participating Libraries

The following libraries or library networks are participating in the project (as of May 2020): Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt National Library of the Argentine Republic, Argentina National Library of Australia, Australia Open VLACC (Flemish Public Libraries), Belgium Brazilian National Library, Brazil Chilean National Library, Chile Dansk BiblioteksCenter, Denmark German National Library, Germany Estonian National Library, Estonia Bibliotheque Nationale de France, France Système universitaire de documentation (SUDOC), France Greek National Library, Greece Irish National Library, Ireland National and University Library of Iceland, Iceland Israel National Library, Israel Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico, Italy National Parliament Library, Japan Kokuritsu Jōhōgaku Kenkyūjo (NII), Japan Library and Archives Canada, Canada Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Quebec, Canada Korean National Library, Korea National and University Library Zagreb, Croatia Latvian National Library, Latvia Lebanese National Library, Lebanon Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library, Lithuania Bibliotheque Nationale de Luxembourg, Luxembourg Bibliotheque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc, Morocco Royal Library of the Netherlands, Netherlands BIBSYS, Norway Nasjonalbiblioteket, Norway Polish National Library, Poland Narodowy Uniwersalny Catalog (NUKAT), Poland Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Portugal Russian National Library, Russia Royal Library in Stockholm, Sweden Swiss National Library, Switzerland Reseau des bibliothéques de Suisse occidentale (RERO), Switzerland National Library Board, Singapore Slovak National Library, Slovakia Slovenian National and University Library, Slovenia Biblioteca Nacional de Espana, Spain Biblioteca de Catalunya, Spain National Central Library, Taiwan National Library of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic Széchényi National Library, Hungary Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican Getty Research Institute, United States Library of Congress, United States Perseus Project, United States Syriac Reference Portal, United StatesEntries from the following databases are also displayed: International Standard Name Identifiers Sources Musicales International Repertoire Wikidata


Rick Bennett, Christina Hengel-Dittrich, Edward T. O'Neill, Barbara B. Tillett: VIAF (Virtual Int