Beyond VIAF

Wikidata as a Complementary Tool for Authority Control in Libraries


This paper aims to investigate the reciprocal relationship between VIAF® and Wikidata and their possible roles in the semantic web environment. It deals with their data, their approach, their domain, and their stakeholders, with particular attention to identification as a fundamental goal of Universal Bibliographic Control. After examining interrelationships among VIAF, Wikidata, libraries and other GLAM institutions, a double approach is used to compare VIAF and Wikidata: first, a quantitative analysis of VIAF and Wikidata data on personal entities, presented in eight tables; and second, a qualitative comparison of several general characteristics, such as purpose, scope, organizational and theoretical approach, data harvesting and management (shown in table 9). Quantitative data and qualitative comparison show that VIAF and Wikidata are quite different in their purpose, scope, organizational and theoretical approach, data harvesting, and management. The study highlights the reciprocal role of VIAF and Wikidata and its helpfulness in the worldwide bibliographical context and in the semantic web environment and outlines new perspectives for research and cooperation.

Author Biographies

Carlo Bianchini, University of Pavia

Carlo Bianchini is Associate Professor in LIS at the Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage of the University of Pavia. He is serving on the editorial boards of “” and “AIB Studi”, and is member of the Cataloguing, indexing, LOD and semantic Web Study Group of the Italian Library Association (CILW AIB). His main research interests deal with KO and faceted classifications, S.R. Ranganathan, cataloguing, LOD and Wikidata, and information literacy and user studies.

Stefano Bargioni, Pontifical University Santa Croce (Rome)

Stefano Bargioni is the Deputy Director of the library at the Pontifical University Santa Croce (Rome). He is member representative of the URBE Network in EURIG - European RDA Interest Group, and Wikimedian.

Camillo Carlo Pellizzari di San Girolamo, University of Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore

Camillo Pellizzari di San Girolamo is a graduate student of Classics at the University of Pisa and at Scuola Normale Superiore; he is a Wikimedian since 2012 and is presently administrator on Wikidata and Italian Wikipedia.


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How to Cite
Bianchini, C., Bargioni, S., & Pellizzari di San Girolamo, C. C. (2021). Beyond VIAF. Information Technology and Libraries, 40(2).