Gafsa called Capsa in Latin, is the capital of Gafsa Governorate of Tunisia. It lends its Latin name to the Mesolithic Capsian culture. With a population of 105,264, Gafsa is the 9th-largest Tunisian city. Gafsa is the capital of the southwest of Tunisia and is both a historical oasis and home to the mining industry of Tunisia; the city had 111,170 inhabitants at the 2014 census, under the ruling of Malek Necibi. The city lies 369 km by road southwest of Tunis, its geographical coordinates are 34°25′N 8°47′E. Excavations at prehistoric sites in the Gafsa area have yielded artefacts and skeletal remains associated with the Capsian culture; this Mesolithic civilisation has been radiocarbon dated to between 10,000 and 6,000 BCE. The associated ancient population, known as the Snail eaters, are known for their extensive middens of snail shells, they are believed to be the ancestors of the modern Berbers. The city of Capsa belonged to King Jugurtha, it was captured by Gaius Marius in 106 BC and destroyed, but became a Roman colonia, was an important city of Roman Africa near the Fossatum Africae.
Roman cisterns are still evident in the city ruinsThe Vandals conquered the Roman city and ruled it until the death of Genseric. The Berbers occupied it, making it the capital of a Romano-Berber kingdom until subjected to Byzantium under Justinian I, he made Capsa the capital of the province of Byzacena. The Duke of Byzacena resided there. In 540, the Byzantine governor general Solomon built a new city wall, naming the city Justiniana Capsa; the Arab army of Oqba Ibn Nafi conquered Gafsa in 688, in spite of resistance from the Berbers. After the Arab conquest, Capsa started to lose importance, replaced by Muslim-founded Kairouan. Historians such as Camps and Laverde consider Gafsa the place in North Africa where African Romance last survived, until the 13th century, as a spoken language. Al Yacoubi reports that this time its inhabitants were considered Romanized Berber and Al-Idrissi says they continued to speak an African Latin and part of them remained faithful to the Christian religion. Gafsa ASM Extant documents give the names of a few of the bishops of Capsa.
In the 3rd century, Donatulus took part in the council that Saint Cyprian convoked in Carthage in 256 to discuss the problem of the lapsi. In the 4th century, at the Council of Carthage, Fortunatianus of Capsa was present, mentioned as the first among the bishops of Byzacena. A Donatist bishop of Capsa called Quintasius was at the council held at Cabarsussi in 393 by a breakaway group of Donatists led by Maximianus. In the 5th century, at the joint Council of Carthage attended by Catholics and Donatists and Morcelli say Capsa was represented by the Donatist Donatianus, that it had no Catholic bishop. According to the more recent Mesnage, Donatianus was instead the Donatist bishop of Capsus in Numidia, Capsa in Byzacena was represented by the Catholic Fortunatus and the Donatist Celer, whom the earlier sources attributed to Capsus. All three sources agree in attributing to Capsa the Vindemialis, one of the Catholic bishops whom Huneric summoned to Carthage in 484 and exiled. However, the latest editions of the Roman Martyrology, which commemorates Vindemialis on 2 May, call him bishop of Capsus in Numidia.
Capsa still had resident bishops at the end of the 9th century, being mentioned in a Notitia Episcopatuum of Leo VI the Wise. But a community may have lasted until the early 12th centuryNo longer a residential bishopric, Capsa is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. Phosphate mines were discovered as early as 1886, Gafsa today is home to one of the largest mines of phosphate in the world. In the Second World War, Gafsa suffered heavy bombardment from both the German and Italian side and the Allies. Part of its Kasbah was destroyed. On 27 January 1980, a group of dissidents armed and trained by Libya occupied the city to contest the régime of Habib Bourguiba. 48 people were killed in the battles. The Gafsa region has had an active political voice throughout its history, various events there have shaped its political developments in the various phases of modern Tunisia. In 2008, Gafsa was the center of riots directed against the government of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali; the government was swift and brutal in its suppression of the uprising, but this movement has since been credited with sowing the first seeds of the Jasmine Revolution that removed Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power three years igniting the Arab Spring across much of North Africa and the Middle East.
In 2014, a lake appeared around 25 kilometers from the town. The cause of the lake's formation is unknown. Gafsa – Ksar International Airport is located in the city. El Kawafel Sportives de Gafsa is the main football club of Gafsa. Radio stations: Radio Gafsa | Frequencies: 87.8 FM, 93.5 FM and 91.8 FM, Mines FM or Sawt Elmanajem | Frequencies: 90.9 FMand other government and private Tunisian radios broadcast in Gafsa as Shems FM, RTCI, Youth Radio, Culture Radio and the National Radio. Gafsa is twinned with: Naples, Italy Palma de Mallorca, Spain Gafsa has a hot desert climate. African Romance Capsian culture Gafsa – The Historical Oasis History of Roman Capsa
Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei
Sayyid Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei was an Iranian Shia cleric and one of the most influential Twelver Shia Islamic scholars, the predecessor to Ali al-Sistani. He was the spiritual leader of much of the Shia world until his death in 1992, he was succeeded by Ali al-Sistani, his former student, whereby many of his followers became followers of Al Sistani and foundations headed by Khoei were handed to Al Sistani. Born in the Iranian city of Khoy, West Azerbaijan province in 1899, Khoei grew up in Iran. Around the age of 13, he moved to Iraq and took up residence in the holy city of Najaf where he began studying Shia theology with the scholars of that city, he attained the rank of Ayatollah and was subsequently made a marja. Khoei would continue to live in Najaf, becoming a teacher for the remainder of his life, overseeing the studies of scholars who would be qualified to issue fatwas based on Shia theology. Due to his prominent position as a teacher and scholar in Najaf, he became an important leader of worldwide Shias.
He was made the most prominent Grand Ayatollah in 1971 after the death of Muhsin al-Hakim. In this position, he became a patron of numerous institutions across the globe that sought to provide welfare, provided scholarships to theological students from across the Muslim world, he is considered as the architect of a distinct school of thought in the principles of jurisprudence and Islamic law, one of the leading exponents of'kalam'-scholastic theology- and'rijal'- study of the biographies of transmitters of ahadith, the prophetic traditions,'fiqh'- jurisprudence- and'tafseer'- exegesis of the Qur'an. His interests included astronomy and philosophy. Al-Khoei's status as the pre-eminent scholar of his age did not go unchallenged. In the 1970s, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Al-Shirazi, a radical theologian based in Karbala had a long running feud with Al Khoei and his fellow clerics in Najaf over the legitimacy of theocratic rule; the dispute resulted in Al-Khoei seeking to dismiss Al Shirazi's status as a religious scholar.
After the Persian Gulf War, Khoei was arrested by Saddam Hussein during the mass Shia uprising that followed the defeat of Iraqi forces. While under arrest, he was taken to Baghdad and forced to make public appearances with Saddam Hussein. Hussein allowed Khoei to return to Najaf, but he was placed under house arrest, died in 1992. Ayatollah Al Khoei had seven sons: Jamaluddin al-Khoei Abbas al-Khoei, Ali al-Khoei, Abdul Saheb al-Khoei, Mohammad Taqi al-Khoei, Abdul-Majid al-Khoei, Ibrahim Al Khoei. Mohammad Taqi al-Khoei died in a sudden car accident set up by Saddam Hussein, on the night of 21 July 1994. Soon after the fall of Baghdad to US forces in 2003, Abdul-Majid al-Khoei returned to Iraq with plans to revive Najaf to the glory and splendor it enjoyed under the patronage of his father. Abdul-Majid al-Khoei was the head of Al-Khoei Foundation, the organization responsible for the trusts of his father, he was assassinated on April 2003, near the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf. He was fervently dedicated to establishing welfare, social and educational institutions for Muslims worldwide.
The following are some of the institutions he established: Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in New York Al-Iman School, New York, U. S. A. Imam As-Sadiq Education Institute for Boys, London, UK Az-Zahra Education Institute for Girls, London, UK Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center, London, U. K Jamia-tul-Kauthar, Pakistan. Al-Akhund Darul Hikmah Madinatul Ilm in Qom, considered one of the biggest theology centres in the Shia world; the complex comprises living quarters capable of accommodating 500 families. As-Sayyid Al-Khoei Center in Bangkok, Thailand. As-Sayyid Al-Khoei Center in Dhakkah, Bangladesh. Imam Al-Khoei Orphanage Beirut, Lebanon Imam-e-Zamana Mission Hyderabad, India Najafi House Mumbai, IndiaHe was the patron of about 1,000 grant-maintained students of theology from Iraq and other countries like Lebanon, Syria, Persian Gulf States, Pakistan, South East Asia, he provided financial support for maintaining the schools including boarding expenses, teachers' salaries and lodging costs. Former student Ali al-Sistani is the most senior Shia cleric in Iraq and regarded as "wield enormous power over Iraq's Shia majority."
The degree of success of his articulation of moderate Shia politics in Iraq have been said to be "in no small part traceable to the legacy of his mentor and teacher", Khoei. Khoei's post-graduate institute accommodated some 150 students, at any given time. Among the other students who attended classes and were supervised by Khoei included Jawad Tabrizi Moslem Malakouti, Iran Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, Iraq Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah Mohammad Mehdi Shamseddine Musa al-Sadr Sayyid Sadeq Rohani Bagher Mousavi Askari Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili, former Chief Justice of Iran Mohammad Ali Makki Mohammad Bahr al-Ulloum Mustafa Jamaluddin Muhammad al-Tijani — a student Mohsin Ali Najafi Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi Ali al-Sistani Muhammad Saeed al-Hakim Ishaq al-Fayadh Bashir al-NajafiInstitutions include: Publishing House - Translation and distribution of books worldwide, Pakistan. Cultural Complex, India. Considered among the biggest Shi' ite Muslims cultural centre-under construction. Representative Offices catering for the religious, social and cultural needs of Muslims all over the world, with the Headquarters in London, U
Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i
Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i or Seyed Mohammad Hossein Tabataba'i was one of the most prominent thinkers of philosophy and contemporary Shia Islam. He is famous for Tafsir al-Mizan, a twenty-seven-volume work of Quranic exegesis, which he worked on from 1954 until 1972, he is known as Allameh Tabataba'i and the Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran is named after him. He received his earlier education in his native Tabriz city, mastering the elements of Arabic and the religious sciences, and at about the age of twenty set out for the great Shiite university of Najaf to continue more advanced studies. He studied at Najaf, under masters such as Mirza'Ali Qadhi, Mirza Muhammad Husain Na'ini, Sheykh Muhammad Hossein Qaravi Esfahani, Sayyid Abu'l-Qasim Khwansari, as well as studying the standard texts of Avicenna's Shifa, the Asfar of Sadr al-Din Shirazi, the Tamhid al-qawa'id of Ibn Turkah. Along with Sayyid Husayn Badkuba'i, he was a student of two of the most famous masters of the time, Sayyid Abu'l-Hasan Jilwah and Aqa'Ali Mudarris Zunuzi.
In his years he would hold study sessions with Henry Corbin and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, in which not only the classical texts of divine wisdom and gnosis were discussed, but a whole cycle of what Nasr calls comparative gnosis, in which in each session the sacred texts of one of the major religions, containing mystical and gnostic teachings, such as the Upanishads, Tao Te Ching, the Gospel of John, were discussed and compared with Sufism and Islamic gnostic doctrines in general. Tabataba'i, was a philosopher, a prolific writer, an inspiring teacher to his students who devoted much of his life to Islamic studies. Many of his students were among the ideological founders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, namely Murtaza Motahhari, Muhammad Beheshti, Martyr Mofatteh. Others like Hossein Nasr and Hasanzadeh Amuli remained and continued their studies in the intellectual non-political sphere, it was in Najaf where Tabataba'i developed his major contributions in the fields of Tafsir and history of the Shi'a faith.
In philosophy the most important of his works is Usul-i falsafeh va ravesh-e-realism, published in five volumes with explanatory notes and the commentary of Morteza Motahhari. If Ayatollah Haeri is considered the reviver of Qom's hawza in an organizational sense, Tabataba'i's contributions to the field of tafsir and mysticism represent the intellectual revitalization of the hawza with lasting implications for the curriculum, his other major philosophical work is a voluminous commentary of Asfār al-'arba'eh, the magnum opus of Mulla Sadra, the last of the great Persian Muslim thinkers of the medieval age. Apart from these he wrote extensively on philosophical topics, his humanist approach is underlined by his three books on: the nature of man - before the world, in this world, after this world. His philosophy is focused upon the sociological treatment of human problems, his two other works, Bidāyat al-hikmah and Nihāyat al-hikmah, are considered among works of high order in Islamic philosophy.
Several treatises on the doctrines and history of the Shi'a remain from him as well. One of these comprises his clarifications and expositions about Shi'a faith in reply to the questions posed by the famous French orientalist Henry Corbin. Another of his books on this topic Shi'ah dar Islam was translated into English by Seyyed Hossein Nasr under the title Shi'a Islam, with the help of William Chittick as a project of Colgate University; these books are claimed to serve as an excellent conduit by which popular misconceptions about the Shi'a faith may be removed further paving the way for a better ecumenical understanding amongst the various Muslim schools of thought. His written books number forty-four titles overall. Shi'a Islam The Principles of Philosophy and the Method of Realism in five volumes, with the commentary of Murtada Mutahhari. Glosses al-kifayah. Glosses upon the new edition of the Asfar of Sadr al-Din Shirizi Mulla Sadra appearing under the direction of'Allameh Tabataba'i of which seven volumes have appeared.
Dialogues with Professor Corbin Two volumes based on conversations carried out between'Allameh Tabataba'i and Henry Corbin of which the first volume was printed as the yearbook of Maktab-i tashayyu’, 1339 Risalah dar hukumat-i islami. Hashiyah-i kifayah. Risalah dar quwwah wafi'. Risalah dar ithbat-i dha~t. Risalah dar sifat. Risalah dar ata. Risalah dar wasa'il. Risalah dar insan qabl al-dunya Risalah dar insan fi al-dunya. Risalah dar insan ba'd al-dunya. Risalah dar nubuwwat. Risalah dar wilayat. Risalah dar mushtaqqat. Risalah dar burhan. Risalah dar mughalatah. Risalah dar tahlil. Risalah dar tarkib. Risalah dar i’tibarat. Risalah dar nubuwwat wa manamat Manza’mah dar rasm-i- khatt-i-nasta’liq (Poem on the Metho
Les Scouts Tunisiens
Les Scouts Tunisiens is the national Scouting organization of Tunisia. It was founded in 1934, became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1957 and is a full member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts; the coeducational Scouts Tunisiens has about 32,000 members. The Girl Guides are an independent section of Les Scouts Tunisiens; the French brought Scouting to the country for children of French military and other citizens prior to 1933. In 1976, Abdallah Zouaghi was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting; the 2005 World Scout Conference was held in Hammamet. Les Scouts Tunisiens is known for its citizenship training through community service. Tunisian Scouting is an independent youth movement, under the guardianship of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, it receives moral support as well as financial equipment. They are able to use public youth centers for their activities.
Service activities include planting trees, construction of schools and hospitals, providing recreation for children in orphanages, literacy campaigns and disaster relief. Louveteaux/Cub Scouts-ages 7 to 12 Eclaireurs/Scouts-ages 12 to 16 Raiders-ages 16 to 18 Routiers/Rovers-ages 18 and olderThe Scout Motto is Kun Musta'idan or كن مستعدا, translating as Be Prepared in Arabic and Sois Prêt, translating as Be Prepared in French; the noun for a single Scout is كشاف in Arabic and Tunisian Arabic. Wahid Labidi Official website
Great Mosque of Kairouan
The Great Mosque of Kairouan known as the Mosque of Uqba, is a mosque situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan, Tunisia. Established by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi in 670 AD at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all mosques in the Maghreb; the Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa. This space contains a marble-paved courtyard and a square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige, the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of Islamic architecture, notable among other things for the first Islamic use of the horseshoe arch. Under the Aghlabids, huge works gave the mosque its present aspect; the fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate increasingly. The university, consisting of scholars who taught in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences.
Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages. With the decline of the city of Kairouan from the mid-11th century, the centre of intellectual thought moved to the University of Ez-Zitouna in Tunis. Located in the north-east of the medina of Kairouan, the mosque is in the intramural district of Houmat al-Jami; this location corresponded to the heart of the urban fabric of the city founded by Uqba ibn Nafi. However given the natural lay of the land crossed by several tributaries of the wadis, the urban development of the city spread southwards. Human factors including Hilalian's invasions in 449 AH led to the decline of the city and halted development. For all these reasons, the mosque which once occupies the center of the medina when first built in 670 is now on the easternmost quarter abutting the city walls; the building is a vast irregular quadrilateral covering some 9,000 m2. It is longer on the east side than the west, shorter on the north side the south; the main minaret is centered on the north.
From the outside, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is a fortress-like building with its 1.90 metres thick massive ocher walls, a composite of well-worked stones with intervening courses of rubble stone and baked bricks. The corner towers measuring 4.25 metres on each side are buttressed with solid projecting supports. Structurally given the soft grounds subject to compaction, the buttressed towers added stability to the entire mosque. Despite the austere façades, the rhythmic patterns of buttresses and towering porches, some surmounted by cupolas, give the sanctuary a sense of striking sober grandeur. At the foundation of Kairouan in 670, the Arab general and conqueror Uqba Ibn Nafi chose the site of his mosque in the centre of the city, near the headquarters of the governor. Around 690, shortly after its construction, the mosque was destroyed during the occupation of Kairouan by the Berbers conducted by Kusaila, it was rebuilt by the Ghassanid general Hasan ibn al-Nu'man in 703. With the gradual increase of the population of Kairouan and the consequent increase in the number of faithful, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, Umayyad Caliph in Damascus, charged his governor Bishr ibn Safwan to carry out development work in the city which include the renovation and expansion of the mosque around the years 724–728.
In view of its expansion, he rebuilt it with the exception of the mihrab. It was under his auspices. In 774, a new reconstruction accompanied by modifications and embellishments took place under the direction of the Abbasid governor Yazid Ibn Hatim. Under the rule of Aghlabid sovereigns, Kairouan was at its apogee, the mosque profited from this period of stability and prosperity. In 836, Ziadet-Allah I reconstructed the mosque once more: this is when the building acquired, at least in its entirety, the appearance we see today. At the same time, the mihrab's ribbed dome on squinches was raised. Around 862–863, Abul Ibrahim enlarged the oratory, with three bays to the north, added the cupola over the arched portico which precedes the prayer hall. In 875 Ibrahim II built another three bays, thereby reducing the size of the courtyard, further limited on the three other sides by the addition of double galleries; the current state of the mosque can be traced back to the reign of Aghlabids—no element is earlier than the ninth century besides the mihrab—except for some partial restorations and a few additions made in 1025 during the reign of Zirids, 1248 and 1293–1294 under the reign of Hafsids, 1618 at the time of mouradites beys, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
In 1967, major restoration works, executed during five years and conducted under the direction of the National Institute of Archeology and Art, were achieved throughout the monument, were ended with an official reopening of the mosque during the celebration of Mawlid of 1972. Several centuries after its founding, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the subject of numerous descriptions by Arab historians and geographers in the Middle Ages; the stories concern the different phases of construction and expansion of the sanctuary, the successive contributions of many princes to the interior decoration. Among the authors who have written on the subject and whose stories have survived are Al
A tariqa is a school or order of Sufism, or a concept for the mystical teaching and spiritual practices of such an order with the aim of seeking Haqiqa, which translates as "ultimate truth". A tariqa has a murshid; the members or followers of a tariqa are known as muridin, meaning "desirous", viz. "desiring the knowledge of God and loving God". The metaphor of "way, path" is to be understood in connection of the term sharia which has the meaning of "path", more "well-trodden path; the "path" metaphor of tariqa is that of a further path, taken by the mystic, which continues from the "well-trodden path" or exoteric of sharia towards the esoteric haqiqa. A fourth "station" following the succession of shariah and haqiqa is called marifa; this is the "unseen center" of haqiqa, the ultimate aim of the mystic, corresponding to the unio mystica in Western mysticism. Tasawwuf, Arabic word that refers to mysticism and Islamic esotericism, is known in the West as Sufism; the most popular tariqa in the West is the Mevlevi Order, named after Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi.
In the same time the Bektashi Order was founded, named after the Alevi Muslim saint Haji Bektash Veli. Four large tariqas in South Asia are: the Naqshbandi Order, named after Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari. Large tariqats in Africa include Tijaniyya. Others can be offshoots of a tariqa. For example, the Qalandariyya has roots in Malamatiyya and Wafa'i of orders are offshoots of the Suhrawardi order; the Ashrafia after the 13 the century illustrious sufi saint Ashraf Jahangir Semnani is the sub branch of Chisti spiritual lineage. The Maizbhandari Tariqa or Maizbhandari Sufi Order is a liberated Sufism order established in the Bangladesh in the 19th century by the Gausul Azam Shah Sufi Syed Ahmadullah Maizbhandari, 27th descendent of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Membership of a particular Sufi order is not exclusive and cannot be likened to the ideological commitment to a political party. Unlike the Christian monastic orders which are demarcated by firm lines of authority and sacrament, Sufis are members of various Sufi orders.
The non-exclusiveness of Sufi orders has consequences for the social extension of Sufism. They cannot be regarded as indulging in a zero sum competition which a purely political analysis might have suggested. Rather their joint effect is to impart to Sufism a cumulant body of tradition, rather than individual and isolated experiences. In most cases the sheikh nominates his khalifa or "successor" during his lifetime, who will take over the order. In rare cases, if the sheikh dies without naming a khalifa, the students of the tariqa elect another spiritual leader by vote. In some orders it is recommended to take a Khalif from the same order as the murshid. In some groups it is customary for the khalifa to be the son of the sheikh, although in other groups the khalīfa and the sheikh are not relatives. In yet other orders a successor may be identified through the spiritual dreams of its members. Tariqas have silsilas "chain, lineage of sheikhs". All orders except the Naqshbandi order claim a silsila that leads back to Muhammad through Ali..
Every Murid, on entering the tariqa, gets his awrad, or daily recitations, authorized by his murshid. These recitations are extensive and time-consuming. One must be in a state of ritual purity; the recitations change. The Initiation ceremony is routine and consists of reading chapter 1 of the Quran followed by a single phrase prayer. Criteria have to be met to be promoted in rank: the common way is to repeat a single phrase prayer 82,000 times or more as in the case of Burhaniyya, a number that grows with each achieved rank. Murids who experience unusual interaction during meditation: hear voices like "would you like to see a prophet?" or see visions who might communicate with the Murid are held dear in the "Haḍra", the weekly group-chanting of prayers in attempt of reaching spirits as they are to experience something unusual and pass it on. This Murid is promoted faster than others; the least common way is to cause a miracle to happen with criteria similar to that of Catholic Sainthood. Being followers of the spiritual traditions of Islam loosely referred to as Sufism, these groups were sometimes distinct from the Ulma or mandated scholars, acted as informal missionaries of Islam.
They provided accepted avenues for emotional expressions of faith, the Tariqas spread to all corners of the Muslim world, exercised a degree of political influence inordinate to their size (take for example the influence that the sheikhs of the Safavid had over the armies of Tamerlane, or the missionary work of Ali-Shir Nava'i in Tu
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC