Help:Authority control

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Authority control is a method of creating and maintaining index terms for bibliographic material in a library catalogue. It is used mainly to enable cataloguers to disambiguate items with similar or identical headings. It is commonly used where more than one person with the same name needs to be identified separately but it can be used for other subject material.

When used, authority control data links can be found near the bottom of Wikipedia pages.

As an example, the Wikipedia authority control information for Alexander Graham Bell looks like this:


WorldCat is a global cooperative union catalog which itemises the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories.

Supported files

The supported authority files on the English Wikipedia are:

  1. Universal Authority File (Gemeinsame Normdatei or GND)
  2. Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)
  3. Virtual International Authority File (VIAF)
  4. LIBRIS by the National Library of Sweden (SELIBR)
  5. Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID)
  6. Outdated: Name Authority File (Personennamendatei or PND), now part of GND
  7. Outdated: Corporate Bodies Authority File (Gemeinsame Körperschaftsdatei or GKD), now part of GND
  8. Outdated: Subject Headings Authority File (Schlagwortnormdatei or SWD), now part of GND