Friday, September 25, 2009

Virtual International Authority File Now Linked Data

Some interesting news about the VIAF.
As promised in an earlier post, VIAF (the Virtual International Authority File) is now available as linked data. For those not familiar with VIAF, it is a merger of nearly 20 national-level name authority files (currently we are only dealing with personal names). There are some 9.5 million personae described in VIAF and have established more than 4 million links between the files.

To us linked data means:
  • URIs for everything
  • HTTP 303 redirects for URIs representing the personae our metadata is about
  • HTTP content negotiation for different data formats
  • An RDF view of the data
  • A rich a set of internal and external links in our data

In addition to using the extensions (e.g. m21), HTTP content negotiation can be used to get the various versions of the record.

The canonical URI currently returns an XML version of the VIAF record (which gets rendered into HTML in the browser via XSLT), but in the future we expect to return HTML. As more of the authority files contributing to VIAF become available on the web we will be including more links to external sites.

For RDF we are currently returning a fairly rudimentary Friend of a Friend (FOAF) record.

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