Wikipedia:Authority control

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For the Wikipedia article, see Authority control.
For reader help, see Help:Authority control.

The {{Authority control}} template links Wikipedia articles (and user pages) to the corresponding entries in catalogs of national libraries and other authority files all over the world. The entries typically correspond to people, book titles, and similar well-defined entities.

The template can display identifiers from the following authority files: GND (German National Library and partner institutions), LCCN (Library of Congress), SELIBR (National Library of Sweden), VIAF (Virtual International Authority File by the Online Computer Library Center) and ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). VIAF combines authority records from around 20 national libraries and other authority files like the Getty Union List of Artist Names.

To add additional value for the reader, the identifiers are linked to the corresponding entries in the online databases of the Virtual International Authority File, the German National Library and the contents of the Library of Congress' authority records hosted by the Online Computer Library Center. These links are expected to change when better tools become available that use these identifiers to present the readers with access to online catalogues and other sources of information about the article's subject.

The inclusion of authority data in Wikimedia projects was pioneered by the German Wikipedia at the request of the German library community. As of June 2012, the German Wikipedia had over 220,000 articles tagged with "Normdaten". As of June 2012, Wikimedia Commons had over 31,000 categories tagged with {{Authority control}}. As of April 2013, the English Wikipedia has over 260,000 articles tagged with {{Authority control}}.


National libraries and other libraries, archives and collections use authority records to link works to specific persons who either were involved in the creation of these works or are the subjects of these works. Such works can be books, comic books, music albums, all kinds of videos (movies, documentaries, TV series), paintings, manuscripts and so on.

Initially, en.wikipedia has used authority control data for biographical articles only. Authority files, however, are not restricted to information about people. Some files contain data about organizations, geographic names, work titles, or general subject terms or keywords.

By adding authority data to Wikipedia articles, software developers from both the Wikimedia and library communities will be able to create new tools to link and combine information from Wikipedia and databases and online catalogs that use these identifiers. Such tools may use the simple BEACON file format, pioneered by the German Wikipedia community, to connect external sources by dynamic links.

Using the template[edit]


As a metadata template, the Authority control template should be placed after the external links section and navigation templates, right before the Persondata template.

Non-1:1 and non-exact matches[edit]

There are many cases when topic in wikipedia does not match the topic in the authority control system (see for example Category:Redirects from pseudonyms for examples of people with more than one name and Category:Articles about multiple people for examples of articles about multiple people). In these cases, the {{Authority control}} template should be put on the page (article or redirect) that most closely matches the topic in the authority control system. If necessary, create a new redirect to carry the template. Wikipedia:Redirects are cheap.



The VIAF ID corresponding to the subject of the article can be found on which combines authority records from many organizations worldwide into single datasets. Enter the person's name in the search field and find the corresponding dataset in the search results. The VIAF ID can be found underneath the name list.

If the entries for a particular person in the various authority records haven't been merged into a single VIAF dataset yet, use the VIAF ID that contains the subject's LCCN. Sooner or later VIAF will merge them into one dataset and redirect to this from old IDs.


The Library of Congress Control Number can be found on various websites. The easiest way is via (see above). Other options are the websites of Library of Congress Identities and Worldcat Identities.

Note that the LCCN has to be formatted in a special way so it can be used in the template: it consists of a alphabetic prefix ("n", "nr", "no", etc.), the year (two digits, four digits since 2001) and a 6-digit serial number. These parts have to be separated by a "/" and leading zeros of the serial number have to be removed.

  • "n 79063767" → "n/79/63767"
  • "nr 79022889" → "nr/79/22889"
  • "no2010136878" → "no/2010/136878"
  • "n 2008077211" → "n/2008/077211"

GND (former PND)[edit]

GND records can also be found via They are marked with "DNB" (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek). The GND entries in the VIAF datasets are linked to the entries in the online catalogue of the German National Library. In the GND record, the identifier can found in the field "Link zu diesem Datensatz" ("" means the GND number is 170118215). Note that only biographical records where the name field is labeled "Person" are valid GND records that can be used in this template. If the name field is labeled "Name", this particular record is not individualized, which means that the record can contain publications of various authors of the same name. Within VIAF, such non-individualized GND records are labelled as (undifferentiated).

Another method is searching directly on You may restrict the search results by the links under the heading "Alle Normdaten" on the right. For authority data about persons, click "Personen".


The identifier used by the National Library of Sweden can also be found via The VIAF datasets containing such identifiers link to the authority records at Copy the number in the last part of that web address and paste it into the SELIBR parameter in the template.

SWD and GKD[edit]

SWD and GKD are predecessors of the German GND file, containing keywords, organizations, events etc. These identifiers are used in only a few articles on the English Wikipedia at the moment. Since SWD and GKD were merged with the GND in 2012, these parameters should not be used anymore.[clarification needed]

Symbol question.svg Question: What are we supposed to do with entities that have/had one of each? We can't exactly supply two GND parameters.


ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a nonproprietary alphanumeric code to uniquely identify scientific and other academic authors. Authors - including Wikipedia editors - may obtain an ORCID by signing up at

ORCID feature requests[edit]

Feature requests at, relating to Wikipedia (and Wikidata):


The MusicBrainz Artist ID is an ID in the open music encyclopedia MusicBrainz. If you have the link to the artist on MusicBrainz, the ID is the last part of the URL.


Simply adding {{Authority control}} will display all the authority control information associated with the article in Wikidata. Managing the information in Wikidata ensures that it is available to other languages and projects as well. For full details see Template:Authority_control#Wikidata.

If you prefer to manually specify the information, here are some examples:

Stephen King: {{Authority control|GND=118813250|LCCN=n/79/63767|VIAF=97113511}}

Albert Einstein: {{Authority control|GND=118529579|LCCN=n/79/22889|VIAF=75121530}}

Barack Obama: {{Authority control|GND=132522136|LCCN=n/94/112934|VIAF=52010985}}

John Wilbanks: {{Authority control|ORCID=0000-0002-4510-0385}}

Sarah Palin: {{Authority control|VIAF=7159878}}

Further reading[edit]