> > ... In terms of
> > what I was describing, what the VIAF lacks is a general description of
> > the person at the center of the web of names; it seems to me if we were
> > creating such entity descriptions it would make the work of clustering
> > in resources such as the VIAF easier and more accurate.
> It is not, to my knowledge, the intention behind VIAF to create a
> biographical resource. The intended use is for it to be a kind
> of switchboard: someone enters a name into a catalog search form,
> then that name is - behind the scenes - switched to the form preferred
> by the context (the actual catalog) in which the search is then to
> be conducted. Federated search could profit the most from this.
> As long as there are many catalogs that do not contain the VIAF ID
> numbers for the persons, VIAF as switchboard looks like the best
> possible approach.
This is where the power of RDF comes in, and where we can see advantages over traditional formats. The resource at the end of the URI can be anywhere, so therefore if there were a Wikipedia page (or other personal page such as on a Drupal site which can handle RDF) with the correct RDF coding and the VIAF ID (which could serve as the URI) information could be updated and imported into the records that we make. This could be done on-the-fly or updated by a spider once a week, once a month, or whatever.
I think we need to be thinking in these types of ways: to share the information that we make, and utilize it with related information that others make, to create something truly new and useful and make it available to everyone. If it's done intelligently, it doesn't have to be any extra work for us, in fact, it may even be a lot less work.
But this requires giving up some control (updates from Wikipedia???!!! You mean that thing that *anyone can edit*!!!??? or from somebody's own personal website where they can type in anything they want???!!!). This is the real challenge facing us. In a world of information that is increasing exponentially and with resources that, shall we say, we cannot expect to keep up with the growth of information, it's obvious that some trade-offs will have to be made.
I don't like these trade-offs, but otherwise I fear we will toil away, working harder and harder on a smaller and smaller percentage of the world's information, consigning ourselves to eventual oblivion.
I think there's a much more interesting future out there!