Hopefully, in the future we will be able to make use of the ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier), which has just been published as a standard by ISO (ISO 27729:2012).
According to the press release, the initial database was created by consolidating data from VIAF and 15 other groups. The database is hosted by OCLC in the Netherlands.
Authorities and Database Integrity Librarian
Harvard Law School Library
Cambridge, MA 02138
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> -----Original Message-----
> If each currently undifferentiated John Smith has a separate authority
> record (a separate ID), this would allow linking of the individual ID
> specifically to records for other resources created by that particular
> individual. If you could retrieve only the resources created by the
> author of Book X without having to cut your way through a jungle of
> qualifiers, I think that would be a great service for the user. And
> hey, if we can afford to add death dates to personal names with the
> resulting catalog maintenance, I think looking into the potential of
> separate IDs/authority records for names that are not textually
> differentiated could be justified. In the process of doing authority
> work, the cataloger would be tasked to make the intellectual decision
> to link a new work with the proper ID, but once done it would be as
> reliable as any other controlled heading in WorldCat, and really save
> the time of the user.