Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 39, no. 3-4, 2004


FRBR: hype, or cure-all?

Patrick Le Bœuf, archiviste-paléographe,

Guest editor


by Maja Žumer

by Patrick Le Bœuf

Abstract: FRBR does not account for “reality”, but for a “conceptualization” of reality. It certainly shows innovative features, particularly with regard to activities related to the “Semantic Web”, but also elements of conservatism in its approach. The “logical flaws” that are sometimes denounced in the analysis it embodies actually reflect logical flaws in cataloging practice itself, showing the value of FRBR as a tool for assessing such practice. As to future evolutions in cataloging, alternatives to FRBR are possible. Keywords: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, semantics of bibliographic records, conceptual modeling for cataloging practice

The Origins of the IFLA Study on Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records
by Olivia M. A. Madison

Abstract: The IFLA FRBR Study has had a profound impact on international bibliographic control practices since its formal acceptance by IFLA in 1997. The article provides a brief history of the IFLA Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) Study that was undertaken by a study group appointed by the IFLA Standing Committee of the Section on Cataloguing and the IFLA Division of Bibliographic Control. This history describes the relationship between the FRBR study and a pivotal seminar on bibliographic control held in August 1990 in Stockholm. The article then explores the study group membership, including its commentators and consultants; the project charge; the study process; and several key issues leading up to the publication of its final report. Keywords: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, history

Extending FRBR to Authorities
by Glenn E. Patton

Abstract: Discusses the work of the IFLA Working Group of Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records. Provides an updated description of the entity-relationship model being developed by the Working Group to extend the FRBR model to cover authority data. Keywords: Authority records, conceptual models, entity-relationship models, FRANAR, FRBR

Modeling Subject Access Extending the FRBR and FRANAR Conceptual Models
by Tom Delsey

Abstract: The paper highlights key aspects of the FRBR and FRANAR models that will need to be re-examined as part of a more intensive analysis of subject access, and suggests ways of approaching the refinement and extension of the models. Questions are raised about the current scope of coverage represented by the entities defined in the models, the need to define additional entity attributes, and the representation of both the semantic and syntactic relationships reflected in thesauri, subject heading lists, classification schemes, and indexing strings. Keywords: Subject access, entity-relationship models, thesauri, subject heading lists, indexing strings rdfs:frbr

Towards an implementation model for library catalogs using semantic web technology
by Stefan Gradmann

Abstract: The paper sets out from a few basic observations (bibliographic information is still mostly part of the ‘hidden web’, library automation methods still have a low WWW-transparency and take-up of FRBR has been rather slow) and continues taking a closer look at semantic web technology components. This results in a proposal for implementing FRBR as RDF-Schema and of RDF-based library catalogues built on such an approach. The contribution concludes with a discussion of selected strategic benefits resulting from such an approach. Keywords: FRBR, semantic web, ontologies, RDF-Schema, library automation, deep web, hidden web

Cataloguing of hand press materials and the concept of expression in FRBR
by Gunilla Jonsson

Abstract: There are some parallel strands between the FRBR model and the basic concepts of descriptive bibliography, above all the way of thinking about bibliographic resources and the fundamental realization that work and manifestation are different things. Much of the discussions since the model was introduced in 1997 have been focussed on the expression entity. The writer hopes to contribute to this discussion by showing why the model does not necessarily bring about the required result when applied to hand press resources. As a solution, limiting the definition of the expression entity to a general level is proposed. Keywords: Hand press material, FRBR, FRBR Expression entity, descriptive bibliography, edition, issue, state

The AustLit Gateway and Scholarly Bibliography: A Specialist Implementation of the FRBR
by Kerry Kilner

Abstract: This paper discusses how the AustLit: Australian Literature Gateway’s interpretation, enhancement and implementation of the International Federation of Library Association’s Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR Final Report 1998) model is meeting the needs of Australian literature scholars for accurate bibliographic representation of the histories of literary texts. It also explores how the AustLit Gateway’s underpinning research principles, which are based on the tradition of scholarly enumerative and descriptive bibliography, with enhancements from analytical bibliography and literary biography, have impacted upon our implementation of the FRBR model. The major enhancement or alteration to the model is the use of enhanced manifestations, which allow the full representation of all agents’ contributions to be shown in a highly granular format by enabling creation events to be incorporated at all levels of the Work, Expression and Manifestation nexus. Keywords: FRBR, <indecs> event modeling, scholarly bibliography, Australian literature, Australian writers

Musical works in the FRBR model or “Quasi la stessa cosa”: variations on a theme by Umberto Eco
by Patrick Le Bœuf

Abstract: In this paper, the FRBR model is approached through Umberto Eco’s semiotic analysis of the translation notion as developed in his Dire quasi la stessa cosa: esperienze di traduzione. Eco’s taxonomy of forms of interpretation is used as a basis for a tentative abstract definition of what constitutes a mere expression of a given musical work and what constitutes a new, distinct musical work. The issues of aggregates of musical works, fragments of musical works, and works of vocal music, are also addressed. FRBR can be used as a basis for a model for the complex processes involved in the production and reception of musical works. And FRBR highlights complex bibliographic relationships that put musical works at the very center of myriads of interrelated systems that make up the catalog, which is viewed as a set of circular objects such as atoms or solar systems rather than as a straight linear listing. Keywords: Musical works, FRBR, composite works, taxonomy of modes of interpretation, bibliographic relationships, modeling of musical processes

PARADIGMA: FRBR and Digital Documents
by Ketil Albertsen, Carol van Nuys

Abstract: This paper describes the Paradigma Project at the National Library of Norway and its work to ensure the legal deposit of all types of digital documents. The Paradigma project plans to implement extensions to IFLA’s FRBR model for handling composite Group 1 entities at all abstraction levels. A new taxonomy is introduced: This is done by forming various relationships into component aggregates, and grouping these aggregates into various classes. This serves two main purposes: New applications may be introduced without requiring modifications to the model, and automated mechanisms may be designed to handle each class in a common way, largely unaffected by the details of the relationship semantics.
Keywords: FRBR, aggregates, continuing resources, Internet archives, electronic resources, multimedia resources, the National Library of Norway, the Paradigma Project

“Such stuff as dreams are made on”: How does FRBR fit performing arts?
by David Miller, Patrick Le Bœuf

Abstract: Since it is obviously impossible to “hold” live performances in library collections (in contrast to recorded performances and motion pictures), such creations are barely accounted for in library catalogues and cataloging prescriptions, even as a topic in subject headings. The way AACR and the Anglo-American cataloging tradition deals with performing arts is discussed at length. Conversely, specialized institutions have developed their own rules for the description of live performances: the Dance Heritage Coalition (New York) creates authority records for choreographic works, and the Département des Arts du Spectacle at Bibliothèque nationale de France creates bibliographic records for theatrical, operatic, and choreographic performances. As a conclusion, a tentative modeling of performing arts as bibliographic entities, strictly based on FRBR, is proposed. Keywords: Performing arts, catalogue records for performances, modeling, FRBR, AACR, choreographic works in library catalogues, theatrical performances in library catalogues

Folklore Requirements for Bibliographic Records: Oral Traditions and FRBR
by Yann Nicolas

Abstract: The treatment of bibliographic information in library catalogues is biased by the primacy of printed written resources. This legitimate bias hinders oral tradition resources from being accurately described and accessed. This kind of resources is important in any society, but central in indigenous societies, at least for the comprehension of the printed written resources of these societies. The FRBR Model allows a better treatment of oral tradition works, versions and items. It can express the essential fact that oral traditions works are independent even when their manifestations are not, collective and not anonymous, plural but not impossible to grasp. One deep doubt remains concerning the compatibility of the FRBR notion of expression and the notion of version. Keywords: Oral tradition, bibliographic description, indigenous peoples, notion of work, variants

FRBR and Cataloging for the Future
by Barbara B. Tillett

Abstract: The conceptual model known as “FRBR” (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) reminds us of the basic elements in describing materials in the bibliographic universe, the inter-relationships, and the fundamental user tasks that we are trying to address when we create library catalogs. This model provides a new perspective on cataloging that should influence the design of future systems, cataloging codes, and cataloging practices. This paper explores current activities to utilize the FRBR model within cataloging principles, cataloging codes, and cataloging systems, and offers questions, visions, and suggests some next steps. Keywords: FRBR, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic records, library catalogs, cataloging codes, cataloging principles, future bibliographic control

Slovenian cataloguing practice and Functional requirements for bibliographic records: a comparative analysis
Zlata Dimec, Maja Žumer, Gerhard J. A. Riesthuis

Abstract: The IFLA study Functional requirements for bibliographic records (FRBR) set a new frame for both cataloguing codes and subject analysis. The Paris Principles defined the functions of the catalogue followed by both cataloguing codes used in Slovenia: P. Kalan’s Abecedni imenski katalog and E. Verona’s Pravilnik i prirunik za izradbe abecednih kataloga. FRBR defines the functions for records themselves, irrespective of the type of the database consisting of these records. Compared to the requirements for the national bibliographic records as defined by FRBR, the records belonging to the Slovenian national bibliography show more descriptive elements and less notes on bibliographic history, which reflects in lack of uniform titles. As the uniform title itself enables the identification of related works and their expressions, this practice does not satisfy the FRBR requirements. Differences in the extent of records for different types of material derive from decentralised processing at the National and University Library. It is therefore necessary to establish uniform criteria for both the materials included into the Slovenian national bibliography, and the extent of data elements. Keywords: Functional requirements for bibliographic records, cataloging rules, cataloging practice, Slovenia, national bibliography

Implementation of FRBR: European research initiative
by Maja Žumer

Abstract: The short history of European FRBR research is summarized. Immediately following the publication there was a lot of discussion, focusing mainly on the model itself and its appropriateness for description of library materials. Only later the focus has shifted towards implementation issues. Main topics are identified and two initiatives, originating from ELAG and IFLA, are described. An agenda of future research, which should result in FRBR implementation, is proposed. Keywords: Functional requirements for bibliographic records, implementation, European research

FRBRizing OCLC’s WorldCat
by Thomas B. Hickey, Edward T. O'Neill

Abstract: The identification of works according to IFLA’s report on Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records offers challenges when applied to very large collections of bibliographic records. We describe an algorithm that identifies sets of works and discuss our experience applying the algorithm to OCLC’s WorldCat. Four main types of works have been found in our analysis: augmented, revised, aggregate, and translated works. Each of these offers challenges for proper identification and collocation. Quite apart from algorithmic implementation, difficult conceptual problems were encountered in applying the FRBR model to aggregate works. Keywords: FRBR, Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records, Works, OCLC, WorldCat, Smollett

Implementing the FRBR conceptual approach in the ISIS software environment: IFPA (ISIS FRBR Prototype Application)
by Roberto Sturman

Abstract: This paper presents the IFPA software, an application for the UNESCO ISIS retrieval software, developed to manage the data and the relationships theorised in the IFLA FRBR conceptual model. The application interfaces – a DOS, a Microsoft Windows and a WEB based one – are presented through their functionalities. A detailed database structure is explained as well as the way the relationships between the entities are managed in the ISIS underlying environment, not originally designed for this task. The author stresses finally how this tool will be available free of charge to everyone who wants to experiment this new cataloging approach. Keywords: IFPA, ISIS retrieval software, FRBR, library software

FRBR Display Tool
by Jackie Radebaugh and Corey Keith

Abstract: The Network Development and MARC Standards Office (NDMSO) at the Library of Congress contracted for a Functional Analysis of the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats, which is based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records model. This study has become a useful tool to analyze MARC data using the work, expression, manifestation, and item FRBR entities. Based on this study, the FRBR Display Tool was developed to transform bibliographic data found in MARC 21 record files into meaningful displays by grouping them into the work, expression and manifestation FRBR entities. Based on XML technologies, the tool may be altered to meet the needs of individual institutions. The FRBR Display Tool illustrates how the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records may be used to provide useful and practical benefits to libraries and other institutions by providing enhanced displays of bibliographic records in their online catalogs. It also shows how the theoretical portion of the FRBR model can be used practically to allow librarians to evaluate the consistency of their local bibliographic data so that they may further help library users access information in their online catalogs. Keywords: FRBR, FRBR entities, MARC 21 formats, MARC records, Online Public Access Catalogs, information access, bibliographic data, XML

XOBIS: an Experimental Schema for Unifying Bibliographic and Authority Records
by Dick R. Miller

Abstract: XOBIS is an XML schema which reorganizes bibliographic and authority data elements into a single, integrated structure. It explores balancing valuable traditions with new technologies to create a potential foundation for future access to information in a distributed digital environment. It also attempts to determine a middle path between the complexity of MARC and the oversimplification of the Dublin Core. XOBIS represents an experimental effort focused on addressing metadata as the critical bridge between content and sophisticated access–all three increasingly focused on XML in a digital environment. Keywords: Integration, authorities, cataloging, XML, XOBIS, schema, entities, relationships, delineation, instantiation, identification, disambiguation, variation, equivalence, subsumption, description, validation, recursion, tangled hierarchies, interoperability

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