Those of you who noticed a recent news release about VIAF (English, French, Dutch with more to come) will know we've been busy. One of the major changes to VIAF is that we have settled on an open license for the VIAF data. Up to now VIAF has been running without a license and access to bulk downloads of the data was available only by special request and the BnF, DNB, LC, and OCLC all had to agree to provide access to the data.
We don't have everything in place, but we hope to release data under ODC-By this month (April 2012). In the interest of being linked-data friendly we are publishing a dataset description as a VoID (Vocabulary of Interlinked Datasets) document. There is a test version of the description on the VIAF test site: http://test.viaf.org/viaf/data. The page describes the dataset, the files available, references the license and provides guidelines on applying the license. Within each of the data dumps themselves, the records will contain a reference to that VoID document.
Attribution is to the Virtual International Authority File VIAF (Virtual International Authority File), and we specify in the VoID document that the use of the canonical VIAF URI (e.g. http://viaf.org/viaf/49224511) qualifies as attribution if more traditional ways of acknowledgement are difficult.
We are working on an online application form and for the first time we have a page up about how to participate in VIAF, and an official email address: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, which would be a good place to react to all this if you do not wish to add a comment here. And we are interested in people's reactions. OCLC and the VIAF participants have been planning the transition of VIAF to an official OCLC service since last August when we met in San Juan.
I have been involved a couple of workshops about maintaining scholarly identity over the last month, and it is very difficult to come up with convincing business models for the services to make them 'sustainable'. OCLC's interest in supporting VIAF both as part of our public purpose and for use within WorldCat is one of the few such models that is convincing. Of course, a large part of VIAF's success depends on the interest and good will of the VIAF participants!
Update (2012-04-11): I probably should have said more about the VoID document (see comments below). As Ed Summers points out it contains both microdata and RDFa, trying to work at multiple levels at the same time. Jeff Young put it together -- evidently it is a bit of a trick to get the two working at once. This lead us to HTML 5, which cleans up a lot of the cruft that has accumulated in HTML over the years. JD Shipengrover worked on the display, but it may not be that great in older browsers. I admit that there's some truth in Jonathan Rochkind's observation about 'sort of proof of concept'. We are pushing the boundaries a little and seeing what the technology can do, but I claim we are quite pragmatic about it even so.