Brigadier General James Monroe Williams

Authority control is a way of associating a unique identifier to articles on Wikipedia. This is useful to disambiguate different items with similar or identical headings, as well as establish a single standard title for an item that is commonly known by two or more titles. When used, authority control data links can be found near the bottom of Wikipedia pages, linking to bibliographical records on worldwide library catalogs. Authority control is often used in biographical articles because it is quite common for more than one person to share the same name. It is commonly used in other subject material as well.

Authority control enables researchers to search more easily for pertinent information on the subject of an article, without needing to disambiguate the subject manually. For example, authority control is used on music articles so that the information in the article can be easily cross-referenced with popular databases.

More generally, authority control is a method of creating and maintaining index terms for bibliographical material in a library catalog, similar to the Dewey Decimal System. The links produced by the authority control template on Wikipedia go to authority control data in worldwide library catalogs. As an example, the Wikipedia authority control information for Alexander Graham Bell looks like this:

The abbreviations in the box represent the following: International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI); Virtual International Authority File (VIAF); Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN); and Integrated Authority File (GND), Gemeinsame Normdatei in German. WorldCat is a global cooperative union catalog which itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories.

Supported files

The following authority files are supported on the English Wikipedia:

IdentifierSectionWikidata propertyAppears as
Auckland Art GalleryArtistsP3372: Auckland Art Gallery artist ID
ACM Digital LibraryAcademicsP864: ACM Digital Library author ID
Australian Dictionary of BiographyPeopleP1907: Australian Dictionary of Biography ID
Academy of Arts, BerlinArtistsP4114: ADK member ID
Admiralty numberGeographicP3562: Admiralty number
Art Gallery of South AustraliaArtistsP6804: Art Gallery of South Australia creator ID
ARLHS lighthouse IDGeographicP2980: ARLHS lighthouse ID
Autores.uyPeopleP2558: autores.uy ID
Remarks: autores.uy is an author's database, that focus on Uruguayan authors. It was created and maintained by the Uruguayan chapter of Creative Commons. It also provides access to digitized works of the authors in public domain.
Australian Women's RegisterPeopleP4186: Australian Women's Register ID
Botanic Gardens Conservation InternationalGeographicP5818: BGCI garden ID
Norwegian Authority File: Persons and Corporate BodiesNationalP1015: NORAF ID
Remarks: BIBSYS is a supplier of library and information systems for all Norwegian university Libraries, the National Library of Norway, college libraries, and a number of research libraries and institutions.
Bildindex der Kunst und ArchitekturOtherP2092: Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur ID
Bayerisches Musiker-Lexikon Online PeopleP865: BMLO ID
Collective Catalog of Bibliographic Authorities of Chile NationalP1890: CCAB ID
BNE authority fileNationalP950: Biblioteca Nacional de España ID
Remarks: National Library of Spain (BNE: Biblioteca Nacional de España) is a major public library, the largest in Spain.
BnF authoritiesNationalP268: Bibliothèque nationale de France ID
Remarks: Authority data of people listed in the general catalogue of the National Library of France
BnF authoritiesNationalP268: Bibliothèque nationale de France ID
Catálogo de autoridades BNMMNationalP3788: BNMM authority ID
International Plant Names IndexAcademicsP428: botanist author abbreviation
Remarks: Author citation (botany): standard form (official abbreviation) of a personal name for use in an author citation (only for names of algae, fungi and plants). Links to page at International Plant Names Index (IPNI).
Biografisch PortaalPeopleP651: Biografisch Portaal van Nederland ID
Remarks: Dutch project with material for 40,000 digitized biographies, including former colonies of the Netherlands.
B.R.A.H.M.S.ArtistsP5226: BRAHMS artist ID
Remarks: Identifier of an artist in the B.R.A.H.M.S. (Base Relationnelle d'Articles Hypertextes sur la Musique du 20e Siècle database), by the IRCAM
B.R.A.H.M.S.OtherP5302: BRAHMS work ID
Remarks: Identifier for a musical work in the B.R.A.H.M.S. (Base Relationnelle d'Articles Hypertextes sur la Musique du 20e Siècle database) database, by the IRCAM
Name and Title Authority File of CataloniaNationalP9984: CANTIC ID
Canadian Coastguard Lighthouse IDGeographicP3920: Canadian Coastguard Lighthouse ID
Remarks: Identifier from one of 4 volumes of List of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals issued by the Canadian Coast Guard.
NACSIS-CAT author ID AcademicsP271: CiNii Books author ID
Remarks: CiNii is a bibliographic database service for material in Japanese academic libraries. It is maintained by the National Institute of Informatics.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission databasePeopleP1908: CWGC person ID
Dictionary of Australian ArtistsArtistsP1707: DAAO ID
Dansk FyrlisteGeographicP4038: Danish List of Lights and Fog signals ID
    • Denmark
      • 4500
Deutsche Bahn station codeOtherP8671: Deutsche Bahn station code
Remarks: Deutsche Bahn station code, identifier for train stations and other operating points used by Deutsche Bahn
Dizionario Biografico degli ItalianiPeopleP1986: Treccani's Biographical Dictionary of Italian People ID
dblp computer science bibliographyAcademicsP2456: DBLP author ID
Deutsche SynchronkarteiPeopleP11646: Deutsche Synchronkartei person ID
Remarks: Online database of voice actors in film and television productions
Dictionary of Irish BiographyPeopleP6829: Dictionary of Irish Biography ID
The Stuttgart Database of Scientific Illustrators 1450–1950ArtistsP2349: Stuttgart Database of Scientific Illustrators ID
Deutsche BiographiePeopleP7902: Deutsche Biographie (GND) ID
EBIDATGeographicP9725: EBIDAT ID
Remarks: Identifier for an entry in the castles inventory database EBIDAT
Emmy AwardArtistsP8381: Emmys person ID
Encyclopedia of Modern UkraineOtherP4613: Encyclopedia of Modern Ukraine ID
EUTA theatre ID GeographicP4535: EUTA theatre ID
EUTA person ID PeopleP4534: EUTA person ID
Faceted Application of Subject TerminologyInternationalP2163: FAST ID
Finnish List of Lights GeographicP4143: Finnish List of Lights ID
    • Finland
      • 7243
Find New Zealand ArtistsArtistsP6792: Find NZ Artists ID
GND IDNationalP227: GND ID
Remarks: Authority data on people, corporations and subjects from the German National Library (DNB)
Google Scholar author ID AcademicsP1960: Google Scholar author ID
Grammy Awards artist IDArtistsP7303: Grammy Awards artist ID
Global Volcanism ProgramGeographicP1886: Global Volcanism Program ID
Historical Dictionary of SwitzerlandOtherP902: HDS ID
Remarks: Historical Dictionary of Switzerland is an encyclopedia on the history of Switzerland.
World Athletics DatabasePeopleP1146: World Athletics athlete ID
Remarks: The IAAF athlete database lists information about sport of athletics competitors.
OPAC SBNNationalP396: SBN author ID
Remarks: Central Institute for the Union Catalogue (ICCU: Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico) is an Italian government agency created to build a single catalog of all the libraries in the nation. It manages National Library Service (Servizio bibliotecario nazionale).
Information Center for Israeli ArtArtistsP1736: Information Center for Israeli Art artist ID
Internet Encyclopedia of UkraineOtherP9070: Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine ID
International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related OrganizationsPeopleP791: ISIL
Remarks: Libraries, museums and archives, decentralized national databases.
International Standard Name IdentifierInternationalP213: ISNI
Remarks: ISNI is a method for uniquely identifying the public identities of contributors to media content such as books, TV programmes, and newspaper articles. Please take care not to confuse ISNI and ORCID identifiers.
National Library of Israel Names and Subjects Authority FileNationalP8189: National Library of Israel J9U ID
JocondeOtherP347: Joconde work ID
JPL Small-Body DatabaseOtherP716: JPL Small-Body Database SPK-ID
KANTONationalP8980: KANTO ID
Royal Library of Belgium (KBR) Online Catalogue NationalP11249: KBR person ID
Database of MonasteriesGeographicP3407: Klosterdatenbank ID
KulturNavArtistsP1248: KulturNav-ID
Remarks: KulturNav is a Norwegian cloud-based software service, allowing users to create, manage and distribute name authorities and terminology, focusing on the needs of museums and other cultural heritage institutions. The software is developed by KulturIT ANS and the development project is funded by the Arts Council Norway.
Library of Congress AuthoritiesNationalP244: Library of Congress authority ID
Remarks: See Wikipedia:Authority control#LCCN for formatting instructions
www.leopoldina.org AcademicsP10299: Leopoldina member ID (new)
Lexikon verfolgter Musiker und Musikerinnen der NS-ZeitArtistsP9692: LexM ID
Remarks: Identifier for a musician in the Lexikon verfolgter Musiker und Musikerinnen der NS-Zeit
LIBRISNationalP5587: Libris-URI
Lexicon istoric reticOtherP886: Lexicon istoric retic ID
Remarks: Lexicon Istoric Retic (LIR) is a two volume version with a selection of articles published in Romansh.
Electronic Union Catalogue of Latvian Libraries of National SignificanceNationalP1368: National Library of Latvia ID
Fari e SegnalamentiGeographicP3863: Italian Navy Lighthouses and Beacons ID
MarineTraffic Lighthouse IDGeographicP3601: MarineTraffic Lighthouse ID
Mathematical ReviewsAcademicsP4955: MR Author ID
MusicBrainz artist IDArtistsP434: MusicBrainz artist ID
Remarks: MusicBrainz is an open music encyclopedia that collects music metadata and makes it available to the public.
MusicBrainz area IDGeographicP982: MusicBrainz area ID
MusicBrainz instrument IDOtherP1330: MusicBrainz instrument ID
MusicBrainz label IDOtherP966: MusicBrainz label ID
MusicBrainz place IDGeographicP1004: MusicBrainz place ID
MusicBrainzOtherP436: MusicBrainz release group ID
MusicBrainz series IDOtherP1407: MusicBrainz series ID
MusicBrainz work IDOtherP435: MusicBrainz work ID
Base MériméeGeographicP380: Mérimée ID
Mathematics Genealogy ProjectAcademicsP549: Mathematics Genealogy Project ID
Remarks: Mathematics Genealogy Project is a web-based database for the academic genealogy of mathematicians.
Museum of Modern Art online collection ArtistsP2174: Museum of Modern Art artist ID
Minor Planet Center Database OtherP5736: Minor Planet Center body ID
Répertoire des artistes ArtistsP2268: Musée d'Orsay artist ID
National Archives IdentifierOtherP1225: U.S. National Archives Identifier
Remarks: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records.
National Gallery of CanadaArtistsP5368: National Gallery of Canada artist ID
National Center for Education StatisticsGeographicP2484: NCES school ID
National Central LibraryNationalP1048: NCL ID
Remarks: National Central Library is the national library of Taiwan, Republic of China.
Web NDL AuthoritiesNationalP349: NDL Authority ID
Remarks: Authority data listed in the catalog of the national library of Japan. Search also available via VIAF.
NGA numberGeographicP3563: NGA lighthouse ID
National Gallery of VictoriaArtistsP2041: National Gallery of Victoria artist ID
Czech National Authority DatabaseNationalP691: NL CR AUT ID
Remarks: National Library of the Czech Republic (Národní knihovna České republiky) is the central library of the Czech Republic.
Libraries Australia Authorities NationalP409: Libraries Australia ID
Remarks: NLA Trove's People and Organisation view allows the discovery of biographical and other contextual information about people and organisations. Search also available via VIAF.
Catalogue of the National Library of GreeceNationalP3348: National Library of Greece ID
Korean Authority FileNationalP5034: National Library of Korea ID
National Library of RomaniaNationalP1003: National Library of Romania ID
Norwegian List of LightsGeographicP4055: Norwegian List of Lights ID
    • Norway
      • 000100
NSKNationalP1375: NSK ID
data.bibliotheken.nlNationalP1006: Nationale Thesaurus voor Auteursnamen ID
Online List of Lights GeographicP3223: Online List of Lights ID
ORCID iDAcademicsP496: ORCID iD
Remarks: Authority data on researchers, academics, etc. The ID range is a subset of the ISNI range. For free text links (for example when mentioning a person on page which is not about them), it is also possible to use {{ORCID}}. Authors—including Wikipedia editors—may obtain an ORCID by signing up at orcid.org/register. Please take care not to confuse ORCID and ISNI identifiers.
Photographers’ Identities CatalogArtistsP2750: Photographers’ Identities Catalog ID
Remarks: PIC is a photographer's database. It is maintained by the New York Public Library.
Pleiades GeographicP1584: Pleiades ID
Remarks: Pleiades is a joint project of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University and the Ancient World Mapping Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
MAKNationalP7293: PLWABN ID
OpenData BNP NationalP1005: Portuguese National Library author ID
Portuguese lighthouse identifier GeographicP4423: Portuguese lighthouse ID
    • Portugal
      • 186
National Library of PolandNationalP1695: NLP ID (old)
PhilPapersAcademicsP3233: PhilPeople profile
www.museodelprado.esArtistsP5321: Museo del Prado artist ID
PublonsAcademicsP3829: Publons author ID
ResearcherIDAcademicsP1053: ResearcherID
Remarks: An identifying system for scientific authors. The system was introduced in January 2008 by Thomson Reuters. The combined use of the digital object identifier with the ResearcherID allows for a unique association of authors and scientific articles.
Répertoire International des Sources MusicalesOtherP5504: RISM ID
RKDartists ArtistsP650: RKDartists ID
Remarks: RKDartists is an online database using a controlled vocabulary currently containing around 200,000+ names and other information about artists. Names in RKDartists may include given names, pseudonyms, variant spellings, names in multiple languages, and names that have changed over time (e.g., married names).
RKDimages OtherP350: RKDimages ID
Russian State LibraryNationalP947: RSL ID (person)
Remarks: Russian State Library (Российская государственная библиотека) is the national library of Russia.
ScopusAcademicsP1153: Scopus author ID
Remarks: SciVerse Scopus is a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It covers nearly 19,500 titles from over 5,000 international publishers, of which 16,500 are peer-reviewed journals in the scientific, technical, medical, and social sciences (including arts and humanities).
LIBRISNationalP906: SELIBR ID
Remarks: Authority data from the National Library of Sweden
SIKARTArtistsP781: SIKART ID
Remarks: SIKART is a biographical dictionary and a database on visual art in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is published online by the Swiss Institute for Art Research (SIAR).
SNACOtherP3430: SNAC ARK ID
Städel MuseumArtistsP4581: Städel Museum artist ID
StadiumDB.comGeographicP5288: StadiumDB ID
StructuraeGeographicP454: Structurae structure ID
StructuraePeopleP2418: Structurae person ID
IdRefOtherP269: IdRef ID
Remarks: Authority data of people listed in the general catalogue of the University Documentation System of France. Also available from English-speaking catalog (search author, click one book, click author name, take PPN= value of the URL)
Sycomore PeopleP1045: Sycomore ID
Terminologia AnatomicaOtherP1323: Terminologia Anatomica 98 ID
TDV İslam AnsiklopedisiOtherP7314: TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi ID
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Collections Online ArtistsP3544: Te Papa agent ID
Theaterlexikon der SchweizOtherP1362: Theaterlexikon der Schweiz ID
Remarks: Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) is an encyclopedia about theatre in Switzerland. It was developed by the Institute of Theatre Studies of the University of Berne.
TrovePeopleP1315: NLA Trove people ID
Parliament of the United KingdomPeopleP6213: UK Parliament ID
Remarks: UK parliament member data
Union List of Artist NamesArtistsP245: Union List of Artist Names ID
Remarks: ULAN is an online database using a controlled vocabulary currently containing around 293,000 names and other information about artists. Names in ULAN may include given names, pseudonyms, variant spellings, names in multiple languages, and names that have changed over time (e.g., married names).
USCG Lighthouse IDGeographicP3723: USCG lighthouse ID
US Congress Bio identifierPeopleP1157: US Congress Bio ID
Remarks: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress is a biographical dictionary of all present and former members of the United States Congress and its predecessor, the Continental Congress. Also included are Delegates from territories and the District of Columbia and Resident Commissioners from the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
opac.vatlib.itNationalP8034: Vatican Library VcBA ID
Remarks: Vatican Library document data
Virtual International Authority FileInternationalP214: VIAF ID
Remarks: International authority data from the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)
Vitaskrá GeographicP3993: Vitaskrá ID
    • Iceland
      • 184
WorldCat EntitiesInternationalP10832: WorldCat Entities ID
Remarks: WorldCat Entities for persons and works, by OCLC
World Waterfall Database GeographicP3326: World Waterfall Database ID
zbMATH Open AcademicsP1556: zbMATH author ID

See also