OpenSocial Gadget Contest

Adding new features to Profiles and/or VIVO

Organizational name lookup using Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) service

Proposal Status: 


The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is an international service designed to provide convenient access to the world's major name authority files. Its creators envision the VIAF as a building block for the Semantic Web to enable switching of the displayed form of names for persons to the preferred language and script of the Web user. VIAF began as a joint project with the Library of Congress (LC), the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF) and OCLC.


Read more:

– Demo of the service:

– API documentation:





Can you describe how the transliterated names might be presented on Vivo or Profiles pages?

At present, when it comes to UMLS and GEMET, VIVO requires users to click to look up by controlled vocabulary. My suggestion here is that when there is occasion to enter a name of some kind - especially if it's an organization - that Profiles present a dropdown menu of existing options from Profiles itself, and below that, those from VIAF. Or, you could only show VIAF options when Profiles has no such object. Or you could have a button that says "Lookup organization."

We can't get users to manually enter controlled terms perfectly. But, this way, we at least increase the odds that a user enters the same organizational name many others are using.

Great idea. This might be something that the VIVO/Profiles teams might want to take up, and bake deeply into the software.

As a result of technical feasibility review conducted by the Virtual Home team at CTSI, this proposal was considered beyond the technical scope for implementing it as an OpenSocial gadget. On behalf of Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UCSF, thank you for participating in this contest.

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