Tag Archives: FRBR

Introduction to Application Profiles

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.


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Are User Tasks Outdated asks NGC4LIB

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 In a post to the NGC4Lib listerv, Jim explained that the user tasks from FRBR were outdated and do not reflect what his users want or do in his library.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As a separate thread, Shawne Miksa asked why these user tasks were outdated.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?
  • 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.

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Filed under cataloging, FRBR, Library Culture, RDA

Rick J. Block and RDA

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.

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NGC4lib on WEMI and Identifiers

The listserv, the Next Generation Catalog for Libraries has been extremely busy this last month. Three discussions really stand out: FRBR’s Group 1 entities and what type of identifiers are associated with them, in particular works, expressions and manifestations ; Tim Berners Lee and the Semantic Web ; FRBR’s user tasks and their continued relevance.

Unlike some listservs, these threads can be read in their entirety online. William Denton’s FRBR blog as well as some others have already advertised this to the community. I would like to re-advertise these discussions because of their importance in understanding FRBR and RDA among other things. In doing so, I would like to highlight some points from these threads. I will do this in a series of 3 blogs one on identifiers, a second on user tasks, and then end with the thread on Tim Berners Lee, which is still very active on NGC4LIB.

FRBR has 3 entity groups. Group 1 is comprised of the WEMI or work, expression, manifestation, and item. Barbara Tillett has some excellent presentations out on the web on FRBR and RDA. She recently presented at the NISO webinar, Bibliographic Control Alphabet Soup. Under “agenda”, there is the possibility to download the slides from this event. Also, Barbara mentioned on the NGC4LIB listserv that she will be publishing another article on RDA.

In general, Group 1 are things either physical and concrete (manifestation and item) or abstract (work and expression). In RDA, attributes are used to describe and characterize these Group 1 entities. And relationships play a huge role in RDA to link works to other works, expressions or manifestations and so forth.

In the thread from NGC4LIB, it was asked whether any in the group 1 had any inherent identifiers. The example of authority records and their identifier or ISBNs for books was given. This question prompted a discussion on not only the differences between work, expression, and manifestation but how it was possible to conceive of them with a unique identifier.

Here are some highlighted points:

  • Can an OCLC numbers be considered an identifier for manifestations?
    • One of the problems raised about using OCLC numbers as identifiers was that not all resources have an OCLC number. Consider as an example many records sold by vendors that state specifically that they cannot be entered into OCLC but only be accessed under the terms of agreement reached by the institution and vendor.
    • Another issue was that in many OCLC records, one OCLC number refers to different ISBNs -perhaps the hardcover and the paperback editiions. In this sense, one OCLC number is used for 2 distinct manifestations.
  • Can the International Standard Text Code be used as an identifier for works? Or can the ISTC be used as an identifier for expressions?
    • The issue is clear with these two questions. Is the ISTC number about “Moby Dick” and not the version, edition of a particular Moby Dick as Karen Coyle pointed out? In this way, the ISTC would not be an identifier for manifestations. Then, the ISTC identifier is perhaps used for expressions; some supported this suggestion in the thread. Yet, Karen Coyle highlighted that if several expressions could be linked together, this would create a work that could have a ISTC number for that grouping. Another similar example was that the text could receive a ISTC number and then there would be versions of it, such as the 3rd ed. with an introduction from a well-known scholar and a new completed timeline with different identifiers -perhaps a ISBN. The question is whether a ISTC number could be used for expressions or works.

What I found fascinating about this thread was of course the discussion between well versed and very knowledgeable people on FRBR. More than that, I was intrigued in how people were trying to use what is currently available, in this case ISTC identifiers, in order to help the library world sort out how to identify works, expressions, and manifestations. The reason this is so important is that RDA forces catalogers to think about and rethink how all the Group 1, 2, and 3 entities relate to one another as well as to the larger context of scholarly knowledge. In particular on the Internet, the way to create these relationships is by linking data. For this to happen, it is necessary to have a unique and permanent identifier so that one thing can point to another. This is the type of work currently being done by the Metadata Registry and their vocabularies as well as the SKOS project at the Library of Congress for their authorities and vocabularies.

If you have time, definitely take a detour to read this thread. It is short but very informative.


Filed under cataloging, FRBR, Linked data, RDA

Karen Coyle on Titles and Works

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:

3.2.1 Work

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:

group 1 entitiesPerhaps this diagram is misleading but it looks like work has a relationship with the other group 1 entities indirectly through expression and in a linear fashion.

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.

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RDA Presentation by B. Tillett

The Atlantic Provinces Library Association recently held their annual meeting from June 10-13, 2009.

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.

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New RDA links

The blog, Cataloging Futures, recently posted some good links to get general information on RDA.

Go to: http://www.catalogingfutures.com/catalogingfutures/2009/06/rda-frbr-frad-helpful-links.html

The good news is that in addition to RDA, there are also links for FRBR and FRAD (for all those authority fans out there).

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Filed under FRAD, FRAR, FRBR, RDA