Contact: John Sayers, (202) 707-9216; Barbara Tillett, (202) 707-4714

May 6, 2009

New Partners Added to VIAF Project

The Library of Congress has announced that the National Library of the Czech Republic and the National Library of Israel have joined the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) project, which virtually combines multiple name bibliographic authority files into a single name authority service. They join existing partners the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, the Research Office of OCLC, and the Sveriges Nationalbibliotek (National Library of Sweden). At least seven more national libraries are expected to join during 2009.

VIAF is an international service to provide free access to the world’s major authority files that record the standardized form of name and variant forms of names for research use on the web. The VIAF system is envisioned as one of the building blocks for a system called the Semantic Web to enable future switching of the displayed form of names for persons in the language and script requested by web users.

The long-term goal of the VIAF project is to include authoritative names from many libraries into a global service that will be freely available via the web to users worldwide. By linking disparate names for the same person or organization, VIAF will in the near term provide a convenient means for a wider community of libraries and agencies to better repurpose bibliographic data produced by libraries working in varying languages, and is expected to provide the same advantages to a wider assortment of language communities in the years to come.

To execute a search in the prototype interface of the VIAF go to http://orlabs.oclc.org/viaf/. For more information on the VIAF project visit www.oclc.org/research/projects/viaf/.

The National Library of the Czech Republic is the central and national archival library responsible for national bibliographic services. It acquires, preserves, continuously updates and provides access to rich collections of both domestic and foreign documents, especially of Bohemica and documents from the spheres of social and natural sciences. Historical collections are mostly of Czech and European origin. The core of the manuscript collection is formed by a set of codices donated by Charles IV to Prague University after the foundation of its first college in 1366. The library participates in external cooperative projects on the national and international level. More information is at www.nkp.cz or, for an English version, www.nkp.cz/_en/.

The National Library of Israel, previously the Jewish National and University Library, has three principal mandates, giving it very broad scope. As the National Library of the State of Israel, it has statutory responsibility to collect, preserve and provide access to all materials that have been published in or about Israel. As the national library of the Jewish people, it is the world's richest and most important repository of Judaica and Hebraica, documenting the history, religion and intellectual heritage of the Jewish people. The Library also serves as the Humanities Research Library of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As such, it serves scholars in all the humanities, with particular emphasis on Jewish studies, Middle Eastern studies and Islam and Asian and African studies. For more information about the Library visit http://jnul.huji.ac.il/eng/.

The Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. For more about the Library of Congress, visit www.loc.gov.

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PR 09-081
05/06/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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