Maybe you’ve heard of application profiles. Maybe not. What is an application profile? What can applications profiles be used for? How do application profiles relate to FRBR, Dublin Core, or RDF? These slides prepared by John Phipps, Karen Coyle, and Diane Hillmann are a great starting point to answer these questions and more.
Tag Archives: FRBR
The whole question of the relevance of the user tasks set out in FRBR and adopted by RDA came up in several threads on the listserv NGC4Lib. The actually thread is rather short on the topic itself, which can be found on the NGC4Lib archives for the month of October.
This thread originated in another discussion, namely that on the Cooperative Cataloging begun by Jim Weinheimer. If you are not familiar with Jim, then go to his newly created website and project called the Cooperative Cataloging Rules. In a post to the NGC4Lib listerv, Jim explained that the user tasks from FRBR were outdated and do not reflect what his users want or do in his library. Remember that these user tasks are: Find, Identify, Select, Obtain.
As a separate thread, Shawne Miksa asked why these user tasks were outdated. This began a short but informative take on user tasks and how individuals search and use documents as well as information.
Here are some highlights:
- Do users look for documents or information?
- In rereading the section of FRBR on user tasks, there is a definite focus on documents that users find in a library catalog. To cite FRBR: “For the purposes of this study the functional requirements for bibliographic records are defined in relation to the following generic tasks that are performed by users when searching and making use of national bibliographies and library catalogues”. Is it really the case that users look for documents and in particular documents found in library catalogs? There is information out there that suggests that users search for information and documents. Those who work in libraries understand that this is true. That is why most libraries have a reference desk, which is sometimes called an Information desk. However, users also like to discover information. This discovery is a process that does not require a library catalog. In many case for users, the library catalog is the last place to go. In this sense, how are we to understand the user tasks? Are they truly outdated or just plain wrong? Jim brought up the idea that FRBR hasn’t been tested and there should be more studies on how users search information or documents. Then, thanks to this research, user tasks should be formalized.
- What do users do after finding a document or information?
- Karen Coyle highlighted that it is not so much of interest how users find information but what they do with it afterward. How do users use information? If we have an idea how users use information or documents to gather information, then it will be easier to develop technologies that help them during this process. In response to this, the fact that libraries never worried about how users used information was brought forward. Yet, libraries say that they are in the information business. So, users do not want to only find a book on a subject. This is just the beginning. Determining how this book came about and how this subject relates to others is important. This is a process of making connections -links to other related sources of information. Of course, the discovery process cannot be done entirely by a third party. With the Semantic Web, there are ways to create links and transform the way we use information into new and exciting ways.
- Why put so much effort into cataloging items if this data isn’t or can’t be used?
- Library catalogs tend to have an enormous wealth of information. This data is stored in a format that is not web friendly. In many cases, much of the data is not even displayed to the user since this is a separate step to get to more details or more information. Though not all the information appeals to everyone, I think the effort put into cataloging should not go into systems that are not web friendly. We should be able to get our library data out there on the web where it can be used and re-used by others in ways librarians never thought of.
- Do libraries have information or documents with information?
- Libraries are much more than places with documents or even information. They have become community centers vibrant with events, support systems, documents, information, and opportunities. What I think libraries have not done well is to transform that vibrant community that is live and in person to the online world of the web. For a long time, many libraries have created a web presence based on their library catalog. Does the OPAC convey the richness of the services provided by the library? In this sense, users are seeking much more than just information and documents with information at libraries. Libraries need a web presence that responds to this need as well.
Rick J. Block has been speaking on RDA for some time now. I recently came across his website via William Denton’s FRBR Blog. The page is entitled, RDA: Victors or Victims. This is actually a presentation that Rick did for the New York Technical Services group. Last year, he presented, RDA: Boondoggle or Boon? at the New England Technical Services group.
At both links provided above, you will find not only Rick’s Powerpoint (in PPT or PDF format) but also a list of information on RDA ranging from articles to blogs and discussion lists. This is another great source to get information on RDA, FRBR, and FRAD.
Karen Coyle has an excellent post called, What is a (FRBR) Work?, from her blog, Coyle’s InFormation. In this post, she tries to determine what a work is by asking whether a title should be included in a work record.
FRBR defines a work as:
The first entity defined in the model is work: a distinct intellectual or artistic creation.
A work is an abstract entity; there is no single material object one can point to as the work. We recognize the work through individual realizations or expressions of the work, but the work itself exists only in the commonality of content between and among the various expressions of the work. When we speak of Homer’s Iliad as a work, our point of reference is not a particular recitation or text of the work, but the intellectual creation that lies behind all the various expressions of the work.
Because the notion of a work is abstract, it is difficult to define precise boundaries for the entity. The concept of what constitutes a work and where the line of demarcation lies between one work and another may in fact be viewed differently from one culture to another. Consequently the bibliographic conventions established by various cultures or national groups may differ in terms of the criteria they use for determining the boundaries between one work and another.
For the purposes of this study variant texts incorporating revisions or updates to an earlier text are viewed simply as expressions of the same work (i.e., the variant texts are not viewed as separate works). Similarly, abridgements or enlargements of an existing text, or the addition of parts or an accompaniment to a musical composition are considered to be different expressions of the same work. Translations from one language to another, musical transcriptions and arrangements, and dubbed or subtitled versions of a film are also considered simply as different expressions of the same original work.
For example, take the Iliad by Homer. My title is tied to one language, English. This is the point that Karen highlights, namely that a title is expressed differently in different languages. The problem is which title and which language should the work record reflect. Karen suggests using a unique identifier instead. Unlike adding a uniform title in one language, a unique identifier would reference these variations. This unique identifier could then allow an individual to determine language the title should be displayed in based the needs of their users. In this sense, the work record would be more versatile thanks to the use of an unique identifier.
To do this, Karen explains that the work should be seen as a set:
So I like the idea of not assigning a title to the work, but I must admit that I’m increasingly seeing the Work not as a thing but as a set; a set made up of things that claim to be Manifestations of the work. Each resource that claims to be a Manifestation of that Work (using the Work identifier) is then part of the Work set, and it is the set that defines the Work.
In this sense, a work is an entity that encompasses the other group 1 entities.
How is this different from the current model?
Take for instance this illustration by Barbara Tillett meant to graphically explain group 1 entities in FRBR:
Unlike this linear relationship, I see Karen’s idea asking for two changes. One change is being able to create more complex and flexible relationships between work and the other entities. Not just a linear but also circular relationships that overlap in various ways could be created. Another difference is seeing work as an entity that is the reason for the other entities’ existence (or the root). Karen’s idea about work being a set asks that we think more deeply on what a work is in terms of creating work records. As one of comments suggested, Karen’s idea of work as a set entails a reworking of the conceptual model.
This is a great post that definitely gets one asking questions about RDA and FRBR. I would recommend reading it as well as the comments.
Barbara Tillett gave a presentation on RDA entitled: Sharing Standards for Bibliographic Data Worldwide: an Overview of Changes in Cataloging Practices.
The description reads:
Built on foundations established by the Anglo-American CataloguingRules (AACR), RDA (Resouce Description and Access) will provide a comprehensive set of guidelines and instructions on resource description and access covering all types of content and media. The new standard is being developed for use primarily in libraries, but consultations are being undertaken with othercommunities (archives, museums, publishers, etc.) in an effort to attain an effective level of alignment between RDA and the metadata standards used in those communities, increasing the ability to share metadata among diverse communities. Cataloguers aren’t the only professionals who will be affected by these new rules. Increasing the ability to share metadata outside of our own organizations and changing description and access rules will impact the entire information profession. Along with providing an overview of RDA and it’s underlying conceptual model (FRBR- Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), examples of how FRBR can benefit circulation, reference and serials will be explored.Convenor : Laurel Tarulli, Collections Access Librarian, Halifax Public Libraries.
There are 3 supporting materials: 2 word documents and a PowerPoint presentation.
Unlike many of the resources I’ve seen thus far on RDA, Barbara has included screen shots of the draft online RDA product as well as examples of cataloging in both AACR2 and RDA. I found Barbara’s supporting materials excellent and well worth re-reading – even though some screen shots seemed hyped marketing wise to illustration something along the lines of “look how great RDA online is”. Despite that, it was particularly interesting to see how the cataloging differed between RDA and AACR2 and is a good resource.
The blog, Cataloging Futures, recently posted some good links to get general information on RDA.
The good news is that in addition to RDA, there are also links for FRBR and FRAD (for all those authority fans out there).