Charles University, known as Charles University in Prague or as the University of Prague, is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, it was the first university in Central Europe, it is one of the oldest universities in Europe in continuous operation and ranks in the upper 1.5 percent of the world’s best universities. Today, the university consists of 17 faculties located in Hradec Králové and Pilsen, its academic publishing house is Karolinum Press. The university operates several museums and two botanical gardens, its seal shows its protector Emperor Charles IV, with his coats of arms as King of the Romans and King of Bohemia, kneeling in front of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia, it is surrounded by Sigillum Universitatis Scolarium Studii Pragensis. The establishment of a medieval university in Prague was inspired by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, he asked Pope Clement VI, to do so. On 26 January 1347 the pope issued the bull establishing a university in Prague, modeled on the University of Paris, with the full number of faculties, including theological.
On 7 April 1348 Charles, the king of Bohemia, gave to the established university privileges and immunities from the secular power in a Golden Bull and on 14 January 1349 he repeated that as the King of the Romans. Most Czech sources since the 19th century—encyclopedias, general histories, materials of the University itself—prefer to give 1348 as the year of the founding of the university, rather than 1347 or 1349; this was caused by an anticlerical shift in the 19th century, shared by both Germans. The university was opened in 1349; the university was sectioned into parts called nations: the Bohemian, Bavarian and Saxon. The Bohemian natio included Bohemians, southern Slavs, Hungarians. Ethnically Czech students made 16–20% of all students. Archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice took an active part in the foundation by obliging the clergy to contribute and became a chancellor of the university; the first graduate was promoted in 1359. The lectures were held in the colleges, of which the oldest was named for the king the Carolinum, established in 1366.
In 1372 the Faculty of Law became an independent university. In 1402 Jerome of Prague in Oxford copied out the Trialogus of John Wycliffe; the dean of the philosophical faculty, Jan Hus, translated Trialogus into the Czech language. In 1403 the university forbade its members to follow the teachings of Wycliffe, but his doctrine continued to gain in popularity. In the Western Schism, the Bohemian natio took the side of king Wenceslaus and supported the Council of Pisa; the other nationes of the university declared their support for the side of Pope Gregory XII, thus the vote was 1:3 against the Bohemians. Hus and other Bohemians, took advantage of Wenceslaus' opposition to Gregory. By the Decree of Kutná Hora on 18 January 1409, the king subverted the university constitution by granting the Bohemian masters three votes. Only a single vote was left for all other three nationes combined, compared to one vote per each natio before; the result of this coup was the emigration of foreign professors and students, founding the University of Leipzig in May 1409.
Before that, in 1408, the university had about 200 doctors and magisters, 500 bachelors, 30,000 students. In the autumn of 1409, Hus was elected rector of the now Czech-dominated rump university. Thus, the Prague university lost the largest part of its students and faculty. From on the university declined to a regional institution with a low status. Soon, in 1419, the faculties of theology and law disappeared, only the faculty of arts remained in existence; the faculty of arts became a centre of the Hussite movement, the chief doctrinal authority of the Utraquists. No degrees were given in the years 1417–30. Emperor Sigismund, son of Charles IV, took what was left into his personal property and some progress was made; the emperor Ferdinand I called the Jesuits to Prague and in 1562 they opened an academy—the Clementinum. From 1541 till 1558 the Czech humanist Mattheus Collinus was a professor of Greek language; some progress was made again. In 1609 the obligatory celibacy of the professors was abolished.
In 1616 the Jesuit Academy became a university. Jesuits were expelled 1618–1621 during the early stages of the Thirty Years' War, started in Prague by anti-Catholic and anti-Imperial Bohemians. By 1622 the Jesuits had a predominant influence over the emperor. An Imperial decree of 19 September 1622 gave the Jesuits supreme control over the entire school system of Bohemia and Silesia; the last four professors at the Carolinum resigned and all of the Carolinum and nine colleges went to the Jesuits. The right of handing out degrees, of holding chancellorships and of appointing the secular professors was granted to the Jesuits. Cardinal Ernst Adalbert von Harrach opposed union of the university with another institution and the withdrawal of the archepiscopal right to the chanc
Most (Most District)
Most is the capital city of the Most District, situated between the Central Bohemian Uplands and the Ore Mountains 77 km northwest of Prague along the Bílina River and southwest of Ústí nad Labem. The name Most means "bridge" in Czech; the town, named after the system of bridges that crossed the swamps in this area in the 10th century, is now known for its heavy industry. The German name for Most is Brüx. Most lies at the heart of the northern Bohemian lignite-mining region and serves as an important industrial railway junction. During the latter half of the 20th century, Most was considered to be one of the most polluted Coal mining towns in communist Czechoslovakia. Most's other industries includes textile, ceramics and chemicals. Foreign mining operations continue to operate in the area in the 21st century; some surrounding villages are planned to be abandoned due to surface mining. However environmental conditions have improved in recent years around Most, in particular the growing of apples and grape vines has developed.
The Latin Chronica Boemorum mentions a Slavic settlement below the Gnevin Castle called Gnevin Pons in 1040. Through the swamps there led a merchant route from Prague to Freiberg; the network of wooden bridges was built to provide comfortable passages through this territory. Hneva from the Hrabišic dynasty established a military stronghold to protect caravans. Under this stronghold, the village that would become Most developed. In 1227 Kojata, the last of the Hrabisics, passed his property to the cloister of the Knights of the Cross. Between 1238 - 1306 the town was part of the territory possessed by the Přemyslids and it became rich with many churches; the mid-13th century saw the beginning of substantial German immigration as King Ottokar II sought to replace losses from the Mongol invasion of eastern Europe in 1241. Germans settled throughout and along the northern and southern borders of Bohemia, although many lived in towns like Brüx, where they were the majority population, throughout the kingdom.
The Bohemian kings Otakar II, John of Luxemburg, Charles IV all granted city rights to Brüx. In 1526 Bohemia became part of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy, designated as Crown Lands and the city became head of the BRÜX district, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia. Following the Austria-Hungary compromise of 1867 it remained part of Austrian Bohemia. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the city was hit by several fires. In circa 1530, city reconstruction began with the foundations of several significant facilities, including the new dean's church and the Renaissance city hall. During the Thirty Years' War, the city was occupied by Swedish troops. Both in the early years and in the last years of the war, it was captured by stratagem. In a similar manner the castle Hněvín was captured. After the Thirty Years' War, the city lost much of its political significance. In the second half of the 19th century and mining emerged, in 1870, a railway line was built. Construction included sugar works, porcelain factory, steel works and the founding of a city museum.
In 1895 the city was affected by quicksand that swallowed several houses, including some of their occupants. In 1900 the RICO plant for dressing material was constructed. In 1901, an electric tramline linked Brüx with Kopitz up to Johnsdorf; the construction 1911-1914 of a new unique dam at Kreuzweg solved the city's supply of drinking water. In 1905 Brüx had a population of 21,500 people and the most modern theatre of its time within Austria-Hungary, built in 1910 and designed by Viennese architect Alexander Graf, was opened in Brüx in 1911; the 1919 Peace Treaties that ended [ created a new State from the territories of the Czech Lands and of Slovakia. This new confederation was called Czechoslovakia, Brüx was within the borders of the new state. Under the Munich Agreement in 1938, using the census-based Volkerkarte Mitteleuropas ethnicities map of 1937, it was found that Brüx fell within the ethnic German-speaking zone which would become part of the Südetenland districts to be separated from Czechoslovakia.
On December 15, 1942, Brüx began output of Ersatz fuel synthesized from brown coal at the Sudetenländische Treibstoffwerke AG Maltheuren plant, a subcamp of Sachsenhausen provided forced labor. Stalag IV-C was at the "Sudentenland Treibstoff Werke", Brüx was bombed during the Oil Campaign of World War II. In May 1945 Brüx was restored to a reconstituted Communist Czechoslovakia. At that time and vigilante gangs proceeded to terrorise and expel the ethnic German civilian population as revenge for the atrocities of the Nazis; the city was renamed to its Czech language name of Most, a degree of resettlement by Czechs took place. In 1964, the Most Coal Company began the demolition of the historical old town of Most in order to make room for the expanding lignite mines in the area. Financed and led by the Communist government of Czechoslovakia, the company pulled down the town's historic buildings including a brewery dating from the 15th century and the 1910 theatre. New low-cost, multifamily housing projects were built.
In the summer of 1968, an American film company shot scenes for the war film The Bridge at Remagen in the town. The demolition work ended in 1970. Although the old town was flattened, the Communist authorities decided to preserve the Gothic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary; the e
The Czech Republic known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with a temperate continental climate and oceanic climate, it is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava and Pilsen; the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe. It is a developed country with an advanced, high income export-oriented social market economy based in services and innovation; the UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic is a welfare state with a "continental" European social model, a universal health care system, tuition-free university education and is ranked 14th in the Human Capital Index, it ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance.
The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Beside Bohemia itself, the King of Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, holding a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. In the Hussite Wars of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary.
The Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Catholicism, adopted a policy of gradual Germanization; this contributed to the anti-Habsburg sentiment. A long history of resentment of the Catholic Church followed and still continues. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the German Confederation 1815-1866 as part of Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became the Slovak Republic.
Most of the three millions of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia; the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii"; the current English name comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which comes from the Czech word Čech. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain.
The etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning "member of the people. The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the east, Czech Silesia in the northeast. Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas; when the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country. After Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the Czech part lac
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic ruled Czechoslovakia from 1948 until 23 April 1990, when the country was under communist rule. Formally known as the Fourth Czechoslovak Republic, it has been regarded as a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Following the coup d'état of February 1948, when the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia seized power with the support of the Soviet Union, the country was declared a people's republic after the Ninth-of-May Constitution became effective; the traditional name Československá republika was changed on 11 July 1960 following implementation of the 1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia as a symbol of the "final victory of socialism" in the country, remained so until the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. Several other state symbols were changed in 1960. Shortly after the Velvet Revolution, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was renamed to the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic; the official name of the country was the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Conventional wisdom suggested that it would be known as the "Czechoslovak Republic"—its official name from 1920-1938 and from 1945-1960.
However, Slovak politicians felt this diminished Slovakia's equal stature, demanded that the country's name be spelled with a hyphen, as it was spelled from Czechoslovak independence in 1918 until 1920, again in 1938 and 1939. President Havel changed his proposal to "Republic of Czecho-Slovakia"—a proposal that did not sit well with Czech politicians who saw reminders of the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Nazi Germany annexed a part of that territory; the name means "Land of the Czechs and Slovaks" while Latinised from the country's original name – "the Czechoslovak Nation" – upon independence in 1918, from the Czech endonym Češi – via its Polish orthographyThe name "Czech" derives from the Czech endonym Češi via Polish, from the archaic Czech Čechové the name of the West Slavic tribe whose Přemyslid dynasty subdued its neighbors in Bohemia around AD 900. Its further etymology is disputed; the traditional etymology derives it from an eponymous leader Čech. Modern theories consider it an obscure derivative, e.g. from a medieval military unit.
Meanwhile, the name "Slovak" was taken from the Slavic "Slavs" as the origin of the word Slav itself remains uncertain. During the state's existence, it was referred to "Czechoslovakia" or sometimes the "CSSR" and "CSR" in short. Before the Soviet liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945, Edvard Beneš, the Czechoslovak leader, agreed to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's demands for unconditional agreement with Soviet foreign policy and the Beneš decrees. While Beneš was not a Moscow cadre and several domestic reforms of other Eastern Bloc countries were not part of Beneš' plan, Stalin did not object because the plan included property expropriation and he was satisfied with the relative strength of communists in Czechoslovakia compared to other Eastern Bloc countries. In April 1945, the Third Republic was led by a National Front of six parties; because of the Communist Party's strength and Beneš's loyalty, unlike in other Central and Eastern European countries, the Kremlin did not require Eastern Bloc politics or "reliable" cadres in Czechoslovak power positions, the executive and legislative branches retained their traditional structures.
The Communists were the big winners in the 1946 elections, taking a total of 114 seats. Not only was this the only time a Communist Party won a free election anywhere in Europe during the Cold War era, but it was one of only two free elections held in the Soviet bloc. Klement Gottwald, leader of the KSČ, became Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia. However, the Soviet Union was disappointed that the government failed to eliminate "bourgeois" influence in the army, expropriate industrialists and large landowners and eliminate parties outside of the "National Front". Hope in Moscow was waning for a Communist victory in the 1948 elections following a May 1947 Kremlin report concluded that "reactionary elements" praising Western democracy had strengthened. Following Czechoslovakia's brief consideration of taking Marshall Plan funds, the subsequent scolding of Communist parties by the Cominform at Szklarska Poręba in September 1947, Rudolf Slánský returned to Prague with a plan for the final seizure of power, including the StB's elimination of party enemies and purging of dissidents.
Thereafter, Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin arranged a communist coup d'état, followed by the occupation of non-Communist ministers' ministries, while the army was confined to barracks. On 25 February 1948, Beneš, fearful of civil war and Soviet intervention and appointed a Communist-dominated government, sworn in two days later. Although members of the other National Front parties still nominally figured, this was, for all intents and purposes, the start of out-and-out Communist rule in the country. Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk, the only prominent Minister still left who wasn't either a Communist or fellow traveler, was found dead two weeks later. On 30 May, a single list of candidates from the National Front—now an organization dominated by the Communist Party—was elected to the National Assembly. After passage of the Ninth-of-May Constitution on 9 June 1948, the country became a People's Republic until 1960. Although it was not a Communist document, it was close enough to the Soviet model that Beneš refused to sign it.
He'd resigned a week before it was ratified, died in September. The Ninth-of-May Constitution confirmed that the KSČ possessed absolute power, as other Communist parties had in the Eastern Bloc. On 11
2008 Civic Democratic Party leadership election
The Civic Democratic Party leadership election of 2008 was a part of party's congress. It happened. Incumbent leader and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek faced Mayor of Prague Pavel Bém, supported by President Václav Klaus. Topolánek was re-elected when he received votes from 284 delegates while Bém received only 162 votes. 492 delegates could participate in election. Topolánek said that he will unite the party. Bém congratulated Topolánek but saif that though he respects him, he doesn't think that ODS will win next election if Topolánek is the leader of ODS. Mirek Topolánek became leader of ODS in 2002, he was reelected in 2004 and 2006. ODS won under his leadership 2006 legislative election but in 2008, ODS suffered heavy defeat in regional and senate elections. Topolánek was blamed for the defeat and was speculated to be replaced in incoming leadership election. Pavel Bém was speculated to be his rival. Topolánek stated on 19 October 2008. Pavel Bém announced his candidacy on 27 October 2008, he was supported by President of the Czech founder of ODS Václav Klaus.
He stated. Bém was endorsed by party's regional governors, it was believed. There were other politicians who expressed interest in the election Oldřich Vojíř stated that he plans to run for the position. Jan Zahradil would run. Petr Bendl considered running. Evžen Tošenovský and Miroslava Němcová were speculated to run. Němcová hereself dismissed speculations that she plans to run against Topolánek while Tošenovský stated that he doesn't know whether he will run for the position. Topolánek announced his candidacy on 2 November 2008. Topolánek was endorsed by some influential politicians within the party such as Ivan Langer, Jiří Pospíšil and Tomáš Julínek. Topolánek was supported by large portion of party's members, his supporters included some celebrities such as director Filip Renč or actress Daniela Šinkorová. Topolánek started to gather new allies. Topolánek gathered nominations from multiple party's organisations. On 25 November 2008, Toolánek received nomination from Prague organisation, considered Bém's stronghold.
Bém's victory was considered unlikely. Václav Klaus gave up his title as Honorary Chairman of the party. Klaus stated that he has problem to identify with party's politics for long time, he thanked the party for help during presidential elections. He stated that he realises that he would never be a president if there was no ODS and thanked for previous 18 years that he lived together with ODS. Klaus' decision led to many emotional reactions among members of the party. Topolánek was considered front-runner, he won the election. Topolánek remained party's leader until 2010 when he was replaced by Petr Nečas
Czech Coal Group
Czech Coal Group was established in 2005 with assets that included the Mostecká uhelná společnost mining company and the electricity trading company, Czech Coal a.s. In 2008, Mostecká uhelná společnost was broken up into two separate mining companies; the Group now consists of the following entities: Czech Coal Services a.s. – a trader in energy commodities providing shared services to the Group the Litvínovská uhelná a.s. coal mining company with the largest coal reserves in the Czech Republic the Vršanská uhelná a.s. coal mining company with enough coal to continue operating until 2055 within the brown coal mining limits in North Bohemia a number of subsidiary service companies operating in the areas of earthworks and transport. The company states that it has coal reserves within existing mining limits that will last until 2052, should the reserves beyond the limits become accessible they would last until beyond 2100. Czech Coal’s consolidated sales in 2011 were more than CZK 13.15 billion.
The effective owner of Czech Coal with 50% of its shares is the controversial financier, Pavel Tykač. Tykač purchased a 40% share in the company in spring 2006 and quickly increased that share to 49% for nearly CZK 10 billon. Tykač purchased the remaining 1% from his partners Petr Pudil and Vasil Bobela in 2009. Tykač is a multibillionaire and the fifth richest man in the Czech Republic, who apart from his holding in Czech Coal operates on the real estate and financial markets, he has been described as “a person with the reputation of an unscrupulous player and secretive pirate of Czech business comparable to Gordon Gekko …, professing greed as the highest virtue”. His earlier activities on the financial market in the 1990s included the acquisition of CS Fund, the asset manager of three smaller investment funds, which Tykač divested himself of just a few weeks before it was ‘tunneled’ or defrauded in March 1997; the most valuable acquisition of his investment company, established in 1991, was Agrobanka.
It was this company that financed most of Tykač’s activities, which before long led it to the brink of ruin as the bank was unable to meet its liabilities, leading to the intervention the Czech National Bank to rescue its clients by pumping CZK 20 billion into it. Tykač was investigated by the police in 2006 over the tunneling of CS Fund, but the prosecution was suspended. In 2012, František Bušek alleged in court that he assisted Tykač in defrauding CS Fund of CZK 1.23 billion. Tykač said. Tykač kept a low profile from the late 1990s only to re-emerge in 2006 with his purchase of shares in Czech Coal, since when he has aggressively defended the price demands of the company and lobbied for the cancellation of the brown coal mining limits in North Bohemia, beyond which lie huge coal reserves. Further examples of Tykač’s alleged unscrupulousness include posting letters to the wives of shareholders who were refusing to sell him a Czech Coal competitor, Sokolovské uhelné, urging them to talk their husbands into the deal, the way he dealt with a run-down but listed residence he owned in the exclusive Prague quarter of Vinohrady – it mysteriously caught fire twice and was demolished without permission.
Czech Coal is one of two coal mining companies affected by the limits placed around mining operations in the North Bohemian coal basin approved by parliament in 1991. The other company is Severočeské doly; the limits restrict Czech Coal operations at the following open cast mines: Czechoslovak Army Mine Jan Šverma Mine Vršany Mine Bílina MineWithout the limits in place, mining activities would continue along the bottom of the slopes of the Ore Mountains destroy the townships of Horní Jiřetín and Černice, continue to within 500m of the town of Litvínov, encompass the area under the large-scale chemical plant and oil refinery at Záluží u Litvínova before terminating near the site of the former royal city of Most, demolished in the 1960s-80s to extract the mineral deposits beneath and where Lake Most is now located. Czech Coal would like to have the mining limits lifted and efforts in this regard have led to open conflict with environmental NGOs some of the region’s inhabitants those residing in the path of any further mining operations beyond the existing boundaries, i.e. Horní Jiřetín and Černice.
Czech Coal alleges that 280 metric tons of high quality coal lie beneath the town of Horní Jiřetín, the company has been making concerted efforts to convince the local population of the necessity to mine under their land and to come to an agreement on the amount of compensation that would be paid. According to Czech Coal’s regional policy spokesperson, Liběna Novotná, the company has approached nearly all property owners in Horní Jiřetín, 75% of whom were willing to discuss a future process, of these 60% directly indicated which variant of compensation they would choose. Despite the fact that Horní Jiřetín residents earlier voted overwhelmingly to protect their town from mining, Novotná believes it only a matter of time before the majority of inhabitants agree to compensation and relocation. “Even in Germany, where relocation has been taking placed for dozens of years, it hasn’t been easy. We can in all likelihood expect that there will be a group of people in Horní Jiřetín who will take longer to be convinced.
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