I need to be able to take author data from a catalogue record and use it
to look up the author on Wikipedia on the fly. So I may have birth date
and possibly year of death in addition to (one spelling of) the name,
the title of one book the author wrote etc.

I know there are various efforts in progress that will improve the
current situation, but as things stand at the moment what is the best*
way to do this?

1. query wikipedia for as much as possible, parse and select the best
fitting result

2. go via dbpedia/freebase and work back from there

3. use VIAF and/or OCLC services

4. Other?

(I have no experience of 2-4 yet :-(

* 'best' being constrained by:
- need to do this in real-time
- need to avoid dependence on services which may be taken away
or charged for
- being able to justify to librarians as reasonably accurate :-)