Discussion of FRAD leads right into a project that includes the Library of Congress, OCLC, and several other institutions around the world to develop a Virtual International Authority File (VIAF). The first, proof-of-concept stage of the project involves experiments in combining the personal name authority files of the Library of Congress and Die Deutsche Bibliothek. The ultimate goal is to enable authority control on a global scale by matching and linking authority records from all the national libraries.
Dr. Tillett mentioned several other projects with this same goal that have failed or not gone far enough. They all ran into obstacles matching the records reliably and consistently. What VIAF has going for it that these other projects did not is , basically, better matching algorithms and access to OCLC’s bibliographic database. This gives them an error rate of less than 1%.
As a side note, Dr. Tillett mentioned that the Library of Congress will have Unicode capabilities in their authority file by December or January.