Category Archives: Code4Lib

Code4Lib 2009 Conference Summary

Better late than never…. A friend sent me this post from Eric Lease Morgan’s blog, mini-musings. It is a full summary of the Code4Lib 2009 Conference in Providence at:

If you missed this conference or couldn’t make some of the sessions, this is a good place to get information about what Code4Lib people are doing in libraries. Put this together with the powerpoints or PDF versions of the presentations, and you can get some useful and practical information to use for your own institution.

Happy reading….


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Code4Lib and FRBR

At the recent Code4Lib 2009 Conference in Providence, there was a talk on FRBR by Jodi Schneider and William Denton.

In my first post, I thought of creating a separate page with links to various resources on FRBR and RDA. After some thought and seeing the types of resources out there on the web, I realized that many were time sensitive. This was particularly true for many workshops that I saw advertised. Hence, I decided to dedicate the occasional post on FRBR, RDA, FRAD, FRAR.

For this first post, I have collected a small list of general resources on FRBR, FRAR, and FRAD. These links are to sites, like the one to Jodi Schneider and William Denton’s Code4Lib presentation, that provide a general introduction to these topics and some clarification. I have also included some blog postings, where you can add comments and insert yourself into the discussion. These links are at the end of this post.

Is there a particular resource here that I prefer? I know that many have trouble with Wikipedia. However, I found their article included the necessary information to get you started on the path to understanding not just FRBR but also FRAR. It also had good links to IFLA and the crucial blog from William Denton on all things FRBR.  The main lesong is that FRBR is a conceptual entity-relationship model, developed by IFLA, and is not to be confused with AACR2 or even RDA, which is a content standard.

The catalogingfutures blog and Kelly McGrath’s explanation of FRBR for a larger audience (go directly to: helped me to better understand FRBR for catalogers. Kelly brings up a good point; a lot of information is stuffed into notes that many don’t read or miss. If this data was linked not just to a larger cultural context but also to other relevant and useful information, the user would have an entire network of information and knowledge possibilities at the palm of their mouse. This would take advantage of the web, it would enhance users’ experience of library holdings, and create more enriched relationships.

The PDF link to Barbara Tilliet’s 8 page publicity for her book entitled, What is FRBR, packs a punch in terms of describing FRBR. Here, you’ll find a good definition of the major principles, FRBR, entities, relationships, along with some helpful graphs.

Some of the other resources listed below re-iterate much that these 3 links cover. The exception are the links on FRAR and FRAD. Bibliogrpahic records do not just contain descriptive information about items but also include access points, controlled data such as authorized forms of names, subject headings, and the link. Bibliographic records also contain information on location, type of material, carrier (DVD, VHS, monograph,…). FRAR and FRAD or the Functional Requirements for Authority Records and the Functional Requirements for Authority Data are two conceptual entity-relationship models. These two models are similar to FRBR but differ. This is why I included some links to both of these models. Again the Wikipedia article is a good starting point. Glenn Patton’s presentation is also a good starting point to read about the main points in FRAR and FRAD and how they relate to FRBR.

There’s a lot of information out there on this subject…and a lot of opinions. So more links are on the way….

Links to resources:
Wikipedia article on FRBR

The FRBR Blog

Cataloging Futures on FRBR and RDA

OCLC’s FRBR Projects

What is FRBR by Barbara Tillet (This is just a small brochure advertising her book but you can get some decent information in this 8 page summary)

William Denton’s chapter, “FRBR and the history of cataloging”

Brief description of FRBR from TechEssence.Info

IFLA’s FRBR Discussion Listserv

David Bigwood’s blog on FRBR and Dublin Core

Kelly McGrath and Lynne Bisko on Identifying FRBR Work-Level data in MARC

A chapter from Martha Yee’s book on FRBR and Moving Images (2007)

FRBR Testing from Indiana with their digital music libraries

IFLA’s Final Report, 1998

FRAR: The Functional Requirements for Authority Records
Wikipedia article on FRAR

IFLA’s Working Group on FRAR

FRAD: The Functional Requirements for Authority Data

FRBR, FRAD resources from LITA


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Code4Lib 2009

The other week, I attended the Code4Lib 2009 Conference in Providence, R.I. It was an amazing conference for those who work in libraries and with technology. The program was intense providing a wide range of talks for the many levels of tech savvy in the room. Many of the presentations can be downloaded from their 2009 schedule. Two important points came to the forefront for me: library culture and FRBR. I’ll talk about FRBR in my next blog.

In terms of library culture, many libraries have the difficult task of funding and staffing. This has become an increasingly greater problem because of the current economic woes that plague us all. However, many users expect quick and seamless services whether in the physical library or in its digital commonwealth. In terms of the library’s digital commonwealth, this has become an issue. How do we provide more user-friendly, more powerful, OPACs brimming with cool web services? How do we provide seamless access to our digital collections without compromising quality and research?

At Code4Lib, one hope expressed over and over again was to try to get those in decision making places to understand that to create, maintain, and enhance a library’s digital commonwealth takes a large amount of resources not just to complete projects but also to test future possible projects. For library culture, this digital commonwealth is not there to take all the resources from our amazing print collections. It is to add to it as well enhance library services. As with the birth of some of our great libraries with their gorgeous architecture and ornate halls, the same care and detail needs to be put into the library’s digital commonwealth. A fix quick or the fast track to a digital presence might lend itself to cutting corners and creating a digital architecture that will be unstable and inoperable in the long run. How can this be done in libraries that are short on staff or lack the technical expertise?

Two ideas came to the forefront at Code4Lib. Biblios has two very important services. It offers web services and recently an open source cataloging service. Another important service is explaining of to use technology as with the presentation on Djatoka. This is an open source JPEG 2000 image service. More services like this are needed for a community short on funds and staff in many places. Also, these services need to be pitched to those making decisions.

Thanks Code4Lib!

Check out if you dare a youtube video of geeks in the Whatever Room at the Renaissance Hotel talking about various ideas from Tuesday very very late at night. Some of the topics: Freebase and whatever..

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