SNAC: The Social Network and Archival Context Project has launched a prototype of what it described as "Facebook for dead people" at the Code4Lib Conference on Tuesday. Using existing data from institutions like The Library of Congress and OCLC, the system provides an array of related links and information on each subject, publications to which they've contributed, and ones in which they themselves are referenced. To see an example (still in the proof-of-concept phase), check out Kenneth Rexroth's profile on SNAC. (Sorry, you can't friend him yet-- unless you're Allen Ginsberg or Gary Snyder.)

Archivists have a long history of describing the people who—acting individually, in families, or in formally organized groups—create and collect primary sources. They research and describe the artists, political leaders, scientists, government agencies, soldiers, universities, businesses, families, and others who create and are represented in the items that are now part of our shared cultural legacy. However, because archivists have traditionally described records and their creators together, this information is tied to specific resources and institutions. Currently there is no system in place that aggregates and interrelates those descriptions.