For those VIAF records which are linked to Wikipedia articles, VIAF reliably includes dates of death.

In my experience, one of the most reliably-added pieces of information in Wikipedia biographies is death dates.



I have a new phone number: 04 463 5692 /

From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, 27 August 2015 1:26 p.m.
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] BIBFRAME Identifier, Role, and Authority Proposals

On 8/26/15 3:17 PM, Thomas Berger wrote:

LC records may be lacking explicit (especially death) dates, but
they usually contain a wealth of textual references which more often
than not reveal exact birth dates and other important contextual
information (affiliations, notable works, places of birth, death
and activity).

You say "usually," but I see "occasionally." As an example, here's the LC authority record for me:, and if you can find "other important contextual information" you are a better reader than I am. Plus, when that information is available it's in a note field and can be quite cryptic:

"found: Phone call to Curbstone Press, 07-13-94 (Michael H. Cooper is a pseudonym of Michael Clark; b. 6-11-51; res. in Alaska)"
"found: Message from J. Baker, 11/08/88 (Michael D. Cooper; b. 10/30/41) "

Thomas, I think you are being overly optimistic about the state of authority data today. I agree that it can get better, but I don't agree that VIAF extracts much "data" -- it basically gets what you can get from a MARC name heading field, and adds in titles of works (which it gets from the WorldCat database). There may be more information in non-US authority files, but rather than relying on impressions it would be better to have a good study of available data.


Karen Coyle
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