Integrated Authority File

The common authority file (GND ) is a standard file for persons, corporate bodies, conferences, geographic names, subject headings and work titles, which is used primarily for development of literature in libraries, but also increasingly from archives, museums, projects, and is used in web applications. It is managed cooperatively by the German National Library (DNB ), all German library networks, the journal database ( ZDB) and numerous other institutions. Standard data facilitate the development, provide unique access points and the possibility of integration of diverse information resources.

The GND dissolved on 19 April 2012, until then segregated authority files Common Body Authority File ( GKD ) Name Authority File (PND ), keyword (SWD ) and the uniform title file of the German Music Archive from ( DMA EST ) file. As of July 2014, the standard data are collected according to the RDA rules that are used among others by the Library of Congress.


The Joint Authority File was developed in a joint project of the German National Library, the German library networks and the journal database from 2009 to 2012. The aim of the project was to merge the previously separate authority files GKD, PND and SWD and the DMA EST file. Here, a common data format should be implemented and the existing rules differences are harmonized.

The creation of authority records were formerly based on different sets of rules. These were the "Rules for alphabetical cataloging " (RAK RAK -WB and music ) for the descriptive cataloging and the "Rules for the Subject Catalogue " ( RSWK ) for indexing. The non-uniform rules for forming the preferred term for the formal and content analysis resulted in particular in the area of ​​corporate bodies, conferences and geographics to redundant records in the GKD and the SWD. Therefore been developed for the GND for the cases in which the rules of Formal and indexing differ, transition rules, which allow sharing of authority records. The transition rules into account as far as possible the provisions of the RDA (Resource Description and Access ) and are expected to apply to switch to RDA.

The data formats of the standard files, both the Inter formats and the exchange formats, partly differed considerably. The exchange format of the GND is based on MARC 21 Authority. By bringing together all authority records in the GND, the pre-existing format differences could be overcome. However, existing parallel data sets from the different authority files can be merged only in the course of time.

In the project Virtual International Authority File ( VIAF ), the GND is connected to other authority files virtually to an international authority file.

Content and scope

The Joint Authority File contains approximately 10 million records (as of June 2013) the following entities types:

  • 4.628 million persons name ( not individualized, no type specified )
  • 2.882 million people ( individually, p-type )
  • 1.172 million bodies (type k)
  • 587,000 Congresses (type v)
  • 293,000 geographic names (type g)
  • 202,000 tangible terms (type s )
  • 193,000 plants (type w)

The entities listed types correspond in libraries so-called record types ( record type ). Apart from personal names, each record type are differentiated in further by specifying an entity codes. Thus, for example, be a building, but also a state a geographic name. A total of around 50 entities types available.

In the Joint Authority File a unique identification number ( based on the Uniform Resource Identifier) ​​, a normalized preferred term, different forms of names and various descriptive attributes listed for each entity descriptions. The attributes are stored as possible relations to other authority records, the nature of the relationship is coded in each case. Examples of attributes are relationierte birth and death places for people and their occupations. For corporations can, among other things predecessor and successor relationships, but also administrative superorders be specified. In this way, a network of interrelated data sets ( Linked Data ), which is particularly suitable for use on the web that allows navigation within the authority file and thus improves retrieval options for users.

Terms and interfaces

The common standard file is kept at the German National Library. The library networks have the GND basic components recorded once in their interconnections and relate since the updates to the standard file via the OAI method. The GND is processed not only by libraries, but also from archives, museums and editors of reference works and expanded. The employees either via library networks or by arrangement with the German National Library.

The GND norm data are available to all interested parties in the MARC 21 Authority, MARC21 and xml formats RDFxml free under the CC0 license available.

Institutions -border integration of standard data