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Integrated Authority File (GND)

The Integrated Authority File (GND) contains data records representing persons, corporate bodies, congresses, geographic entities, topics and works. Before April 2012, those records were part of the separate authority files: Corporate Body Authority File (GKD), Name Authority File (PND), Subject Headings Authority File (SWD) and Uniform Title File of the Deutsches Musikarchiv (DMA-EST file).
The authority records are used in descriptive and subject cataloguing. They constitute a common, conclusive reference system for bibliographic library data and for the cataloguing data of other authority data users such as archives, museums and other scientific and cultural institutions.

The standards upon which the authority records are based are the "Regeln für die alphabetische Katalogisierung in wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken" (RAK-WB) for descriptive cataloguing, and the "Regeln für den Schlagwortkatalog" (RSWK) for subject cataloguing. The uniform titles for music resources are catalogued using the RAK-Musik rules. Transitional rules permitting integrated use of the authority records have been agreed for cases where the descriptive and subject cataloguing rules deviate from each other. Where possible, the transitional rules take into consideration the RDA (Resource Description and Access) rules.
The GND is run cooperatively; the partners include the German National Library and all library networks in the German-speaking world, the German Union Catalogue of Serials (ZDB) and numerous other institutions. The GND is actively used not only by libraries, but also by archives, museums and the editorial offices staff of reference works. Collaboration on the GND is either via the networks or in direct agreement with the German National Library.
The integration of all authority records in the GND have allowed previous format differences to be overcome. Parallel data records from the different authority files are combined successively.
The GND authority records standardise the preferred names but also provide alternative names and relations to other authority records. This has resulted in the creation of a network of related data records which is especially well suited for use in the Web, permits navigation within the authority file and thereby improves search possibilities for users.
All authority data of the GND have been provided free of charge for use under Creative Commons Zero conditions. As of the end of January 2014 some geographical authority records contain unchanged coordinates from the database GeoNames under the licence CC BY 3.0.

GND authority records form part of the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF); they are combined with data from other national authority files.

Last update: 3.2.2014

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