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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 GalleryArtists P3372: Auckland Art Gallery artist ID
ACM Digital LibraryAcademics P864: ACM Digital Library author ID
Australian Dictionary of BiographyPeople P1907: Australian Dictionary of Biography ID
Academy of Arts, BerlinArtists P4114: ADK member ID
Admiralty numberGeographic P3562: Admiralty number
Art Gallery of South AustraliaArtists P6804: Art Gallery of South Australia creator ID
ARLHS lighthouse IDGeographic P2980: ARLHS lighthouse ID
Autores.uyPeople P2558: ID
Remarks: 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 RegisterPeople P4186: Australian Women's Register ID
Botanic Gardens Conservation InternationalGeographic P5818: BGCI garden ID
Norwegian Authority File: Persons and Corporate BodiesNational P1015: 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 ArchitekturOther P2092: Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur ID
Bayerisches Musiker-Lexikon Online People P865: BMLO ID
Collective Catalog of Bibliographic Authorities of Chile National P1890: CCAB ID
BNE authority fileNational P950: 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 authoritiesNational P268: Bibliothèque nationale de France ID
Remarks: Authority data of people listed in the general catalogue of the National Library of France
BnF authoritiesNational P268: Bibliothèque nationale de France ID
Catálogo de autoridades BNMMNational P3788: BNMM authority ID
International Plant Names IndexAcademics P428: 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 PortaalPeople P651: 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.Artists P5226: 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.Other P5302: 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 CataloniaNational P9984: CANTIC ID
Canadian Coastguard Lighthouse IDGeographic P3920: 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 Academics P271: 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 databasePeople P1908: CWGC person ID
Dictionary of Australian ArtistsArtists P1707: DAAO ID
Dansk FyrlisteGeographic P4038: Danish List of Lights and Fog signals ID
    • Denmark
      • 4500
Deutsche Bahn station codeOther P8671: Deutsche Bahn station code
Remarks: Deutsche Bahn station code, identifier for train stations and other operating points used by Deutsche Bahn
Dizionario Biografico degli ItalianiPeople P1986: Treccani's Biographical Dictionary of Italian People ID
dblp computer science bibliographyAcademics P2456: DBLP author ID
Deutsche SynchronkarteiPeople P11646: Deutsche Synchronkartei person ID
Remarks: Online database of voice actors in film and television productions
Dictionary of Irish BiographyPeople P6829: Dictionary of Irish Biography ID
The Stuttgart Database of Scientific Illustrators 1450–1950Artists P2349: Stuttgart Database of Scientific Illustrators ID
Deutsche BiographiePeople P7902: Deutsche Biographie (GND) ID
EBIDATGeographic P9725: EBIDAT ID
Remarks: Identifier for an entry in the castles inventory database EBIDAT
Emmy AwardArtists P8381: Emmys person ID
Encyclopedia of Modern UkraineOther P4613: Encyclopedia of Modern Ukraine ID
EUTA theatre ID Geographic P4535: EUTA theatre ID
EUTA person ID People P4534: EUTA person ID
Faceted Application of Subject TerminologyInternational P2163: FAST ID
Finnish List of Lights Geographic P4143: Finnish List of Lights ID
    • Finland
      • 7243
Find New Zealand ArtistsArtists P6792: Find NZ Artists ID
GND IDNational P227: GND ID
Remarks: Authority data on people, corporations and subjects from the German National Library (DNB)
Google Scholar author ID Academics P1960: Google Scholar author ID
Grammy Awards artist IDArtists P7303: Grammy Awards artist ID
Global Volcanism ProgramGeographic P1886: Global Volcanism Program ID
Historical Dictionary of SwitzerlandOther P902: HDS ID
Remarks: Historical Dictionary of Switzerland is an encyclopedia on the history of Switzerland.
World Athletics DatabasePeople P1146: World Athletics athlete ID
Remarks: The IAAF athlete database lists information about sport of athletics competitors.
OPAC SBNNational P396: 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 ArtArtists P1736: Information Center for Israeli Art artist ID
Internet Encyclopedia of UkraineOther P9070: Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine ID
International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related OrganizationsPeople P791: ISIL
Remarks: Libraries, museums and archives, decentralized national databases.
International Standard Name IdentifierInternational P213: 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 FileNational P8189: National Library of Israel J9U ID
JocondeOther P347: Joconde work ID
JPL Small-Body DatabaseOther P716: JPL Small-Body Database SPK-ID
KANTONational P8980: KANTO ID
Royal Library of Belgium (KBR) Online Catalogue National P11249: KBR person ID
Database of MonasteriesGeographic P3407: Klosterdatenbank ID
KulturNavArtists P1248: 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 AuthoritiesNational P244: Library of Congress authority ID
Remarks: See Wikipedia:Authority control#LCCN for formatting instructions Academics P10299: Leopoldina member ID (new)
Lexikon verfolgter Musiker und Musikerinnen der NS-ZeitArtists P9692: LexM ID
Remarks: Identifier for a musician in the Lexikon verfolgter Musiker und Musikerinnen der NS-Zeit
LIBRISNational P5587: Libris-URI
Lexicon istoric reticOther P886: 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 SignificanceNational P1368: National Library of Latvia ID
Fari e SegnalamentiGeographic P3863: Italian Navy Lighthouses and Beacons ID
MarineTraffic Lighthouse IDGeographic P3601: MarineTraffic Lighthouse ID
Mathematical ReviewsAcademics P4955: MR Author ID
MusicBrainz artist IDArtists P434: MusicBrainz artist ID
Remarks: MusicBrainz is an open music encyclopedia that collects music metadata and makes it available to the public.
MusicBrainz area IDGeographic P982: MusicBrainz area ID
MusicBrainz instrument IDOther P1330: MusicBrainz instrument ID
MusicBrainz label IDOther P966: MusicBrainz label ID
MusicBrainz place IDGeographic P1004: MusicBrainz place ID
MusicBrainzOther P436: MusicBrainz release group ID
MusicBrainz series IDOther P1407: MusicBrainz series ID
MusicBrainz work IDOther P435: MusicBrainz work ID
Base MériméeGeographic P380: Mérimée ID
Mathematics Genealogy ProjectAcademics P549: 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 Artists P2174: Museum of Modern Art artist ID
Minor Planet Center Database Other P5736: Minor Planet Center body ID
Répertoire des artistes Artists P2268: Musée d'Orsay artist ID
National Archives IdentifierOther P1225: 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 CanadaArtists P5368: National Gallery of Canada artist ID
National Center for Education StatisticsGeographic P2484: NCES school ID
National Central LibraryNational P1048: NCL ID
Remarks: National Central Library is the national library of Taiwan, Republic of China.
Web NDL AuthoritiesNational P349: NDL Authority ID
Remarks: Authority data listed in the catalog of the national library of Japan. Search also available via VIAF.
NGA numberGeographic P3563: NGA lighthouse ID
National Gallery of VictoriaArtists P2041: National Gallery of Victoria artist ID
Czech National Authority DatabaseNational P691: 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 National P409: 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 GreeceNational P3348: National Library of Greece ID
Korean Authority FileNational P5034: National Library of Korea ID
National Library of RomaniaNational P1003: National Library of Romania ID
Norwegian List of LightsGeographic P4055: Norwegian List of Lights ID
    • Norway
      • 000100
NSKNational P1375: NSK ID
data.bibliotheken.nlNational P1006: Nationale Thesaurus voor Auteursnamen ID
Online List of Lights Geographic P3223: Online List of Lights ID
ORCID iDAcademics P496: 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 Please take care not to confuse ORCID and ISNI identifiers.
Photographers’ Identities CatalogArtists P2750: Photographers’ Identities Catalog ID
Remarks: PIC is a photographer's database. It is maintained by the New York Public Library.
Pleiades Geographic P1584: 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.
MAKNational P7293: PLWABN ID
OpenData BNP National P1005: Portuguese National Library author ID
Portuguese lighthouse identifier Geographic P4423: Portuguese lighthouse ID
    • Portugal
      • 186
National Library of PolandNational P1695: NLP ID (old)
PhilPapersAcademics P3233: PhilPeople profile
www.museodelprado.esArtists P5321: Museo del Prado artist ID
PublonsAcademics P3829: Publons author ID
ResearcherIDAcademics P1053: 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 MusicalesOther P5504: RISM ID
RKDartists Artists P650: 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 Other P350: RKDimages ID
Russian State LibraryNational P947: RSL ID (person)
Remarks: Russian State Library (Российская государственная библиотека) is the national library of Russia.
ScopusAcademics P1153: 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).
Remarks: Authority data from the National Library of Sweden
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).
Städel MuseumArtists P4581: Städel Museum artist ID
StadiumDB.comGeographic P5288: StadiumDB ID
StructuraeGeographic P454: Structurae structure ID
StructuraePeople P2418: Structurae person ID
IdRefOther P269: 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 People P1045: Sycomore ID
Terminologia AnatomicaOther P1323: Terminologia Anatomica 98 ID
TDV İslam AnsiklopedisiOther P7314: TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi ID
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Collections Online Artists P3544: Te Papa agent ID
Theaterlexikon der SchweizOther P1362: 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.
TrovePeople P1315: NLA Trove people ID
Parliament of the United KingdomPeople P6213: UK Parliament ID
Remarks: UK parliament member data
Union List of Artist NamesArtists P245: 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 IDGeographic P3723: USCG lighthouse ID
US Congress Bio identifierPeople P1157: 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.itNational P8034: Vatican Library VcBA ID
Remarks: Vatican Library document data
Virtual International Authority FileInternational P214: VIAF ID
Remarks: International authority data from the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)
Vitaskrá Geographic P3993: Vitaskrá ID
    • Iceland
      • 184
WorldCat EntitiesInternational P10832: WorldCat Entities ID
Remarks: WorldCat Entities for persons and works, by OCLC
World Waterfall Database Geographic P3326: World Waterfall Database ID
zbMATH Open Academics P1556: zbMATH author ID

See also