I won’t be posting much until next year, so here’s a FRBR word search (27 KB PDF) you can do if you have some idle minutes. The words listed at the bottom appear in the jumble of letters in the big square, and the point of the game is to find them and draw a circle around each one. Children will also find this vastly amusing, so feel free to print off extra copies for youngsters.
Folklore Requirements for Bibliographic Records: Oral Traditions and FRBR, by Yann Nicolas, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 39 (3/4): 179-195. It’s from the special FRBR issue of C&CQ, but now you can read it for free.
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.
For fun, I checked to see what public coverage some makers of integrated library systems give FRBR on their web sites.
- Search at Endeavor: nothing
- Search at Innovative Interfaces: nothing
- Search at Koha: nothing
- Google search of Open-ILS: one blog comment pointing out OCLC’s FRBR work
- Google search of Sirsi: three mentions on Stephen Abram’s blog, but nothing official
- Search at Talis: twelve mentions on their Panlibus blog, but nothing on the main site
- VTLS: a special FRBR page with twelve PowerPoint presentations. The winner!
I noticed a mention of FRBR/AACR/RDA in this call for papers for the 2006 conference of the Ohio Valley Group of Technical Services Librarians. If you’re in the area, submit something. What struck me about it is that it seems like practically every library conference now has something about FRBR. That’s good.
Figoblog’s Just Released: RDA (blog entry in French) mentions the new draft of Part I of RDA and there’s a comment from a fellow named Fred that says in part: “Il m’avait semblé que ce n’était qu’un simple relookage des AACR. Si la volonté affichée d’intégrer les réflexions sur les métadonnées et les FRBR est louable en soi, dans la réalité, cette intégration est bien timide.” Which I think means that the commenter is disappointed that while the intentions to add metadata and FRBR concepts were good, “in reality, this integration is pretty timid.” Google’s translate tool will turn this into confusing English for you.
I haven’t read the draft yet, but I will over my upcoming holidays. I wonder if Fred’s a cataloguer or not, and how people’s backgrounds will affect their desires (and perceptions) of how much of an effect FRBR should have on AACR. Will non-cataloguers want to go faster and want more changes?
David Weinberger’s The Year of Unique IDs talks about ISBNs and FRBR and unique identifiers. (The title says it’s from 21 March 2000, the top of the page says it’s from 5 December 2004, but I think the date in the URL wins and it’s from 5 December 2005.)
There are a number of approaches to identifying when two books are in some sense the same. One is OCLC’s xISBN. “Key in an ISBN for Hamlet,” says Tom Hickey, “and you’ll get a long list.” The list is compiled in part by hand by people working with OCLC’s WorldCat, an online catalog of books and other stuff in libraries. Some of the clustering is done algorithmically and it’s harder than one might think. “There are lots of different titles of Hamlet,” Tom points out: “Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Tragedy the Prince of Denmark,” etc. The algorithmic clustering is abetted by humans. Tom says that they’d like to expand the clusters so that if you search for Hamlet you’d get back The Collected Works of Shakespeare, the audio versions, and the various movie versions, but that’s some ways off. Likewise, he’d like to expand beyond books to magazines and journals. The system is free for now and the foreseeable future.
ISBNs were designed for print books. Now there are Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) that “fall under the purview” of R.R. Bowker, says Carol Cooper. A DOI is designed to function as a clickable hyperlink that takes you to the publisher’s choice of pages — perhaps an order page, a page listing various available versions, or a digital frights page. (A “digital fright page” is a page that warns you against using content in ways you used to think were legitimate. I just made it up.) The International DOI Foundation provides the blocks of numbers and also the resolution service so that when someone clicks on one of them, users are taken to the right page….
Talis, a UK provider of library systems for thirty years, has a related offering. They recently launched SkyWalk, an attempt to map various library classification schemes so that users can ask “Do you have a copy of Hamlet?” without having to booleanly specify “OR Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Prince of Denmark OR Hamlet, Prince of Denmark OR Hamlette: Shakespeare Misspelled?” Paul Miller, the Talis technology evangelist, says that SkyWalk uses xISBN to help with the mapping. It is a free service.
This came out last year, but I hadn’t read it: Identifying the Serial Work as a Bibliographic Entity, by Kristin Antelman, Library Resources & Technical Services 48 (4) (2004). It’s available free for download free at the link above (which also has all the citations in a nice list) or directly from her home page (778 KB PDF). Here’s the abstract:
A solid theoretical foundation has been built over the years exploring the bibliographic work and developing cataloging rules and practices to describe the work in the traditional catalog. With the increasing prevalence of multiple manifestations of serial titles, as well as tools that automate discovery and retrieval, bibliographic control of serials at a higher level of abstraction is more necessary than ever before. At the same time, models such as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records offer new opportunities to control all bibliographic entities at this higher level and build more useful catalog displays. The bibliographic mechanisms that control the work for monographs-author, title, and uniform title-are weak identifiers for serials. New identifiers being adopted by the content industry are built on models and practices that are fundamentally different from those underlying the new bibliographic models. What is needed is a work identifier for serials that is both congruent with the new models and can enable us to meet the objective of providing work-level access to all resources in our catalogs.
I’ve made a new Aggregates category and put this and Ed Jones’s paper in it.
Ed Jones, of the National University Library in San Diego, California, has a paper called “The FRBR Model as Applied to Continuing Resources” in Library Resources and Technical Services 49 (4) (October 2005).
If you can’t get a copy of that, you could look through the slides of a presentation he gave at the ALA annual conference on 2 July 2004: The FRBR Model as Applied to Continuing Resources (229 KB PDF). (Here’s a conference trip report by Naomi Young that comments on that and a talk by Barbara Tillett.)
Ed Jones is co-chair of the CONSER Task Group on FRBR and Continuing Resources. See About CONSER if you want to know more about what they do.
Exciting news! The draft of RDA Part I is available! It’s true! You’ve been waiting to see how FRBR (and lots of other things) are changing our old friend Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR), and now you can start to get an idea.
This is just Part I, mind you. Drafts of Parts II and III will come next year. But there are a total of 182 pages in the PDF of the draft, so you have lots of good holiday reading. (The very last page is the end of Appendix D, and says, “D.2 OPAC Displays. [To be added]“. Tantalizing!) Here are the contents:
- Introduction to part I
- Chapter 1. General guidelines on resource description
- Chapter 2. Identification of the resource
- Chapter 3. Technical description
- Chapter 4. Content description
- Chapter 5. Information on terms of availability, etc.
- Chapter 6. Item-specific information
Section 0.4.1 says:
Chapters 2-6 each cover a set of descriptive data elements that support a particular user task (e.g., identify or select) and reflect attributes and relationships associated with one or more of the four primary entities defined in Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) — work, expression, manifestation, and item — that support that task….
Instructions in chapters 2-6 are presented in groupings that correspond to the logical attributes of entities defined in FRBR. For example, in chapter 2, the “title” grouping covers instructions pertaining to all data elements subsumed under the attribute that FRBR defines as “title of the manifestation” (i.e., title proper, parallel title, variant title, key-title, etc.). In general, the arrangement of individual elements and groupings within each of the chapters in part I reflects the order in which their corresponding logical attributes are listed in FRBR.
The RDA Prospectus was revised last week. And they’ve set up RDA-L, a mailing list. I don’t know how much discussion there will be, but I imagine things will heat up over the next year or two as it comes near to final release in 2008. If there is good FRBR-related discussion then I’ll give a pointer to the list’s archives (when they’re on the web).
If you don’t know what AACR is or what everything in RDA means, then you may find it all pretty confusing. They are an enormous set of rules and guidelines for describing books, CDs, DVDs, maps, and anything else, so that you the user can find what you’re looking for in a catalogue. They can describe anything, and do so well enough that if you’re looking in a catalogue to see what is there or if the library has an exact particular thing, you can make a decision based on what’s in the catalogue without having to go to the library (which could be on the other side of the world) to look at the real things. (For books, subject headings are also added, which tell you what the book is about. Cataloguing rules like RDA don’t cover that.) The relationships in the FRBR model mean that what can appear to you in the catalogue, and the links that you’ll be able to follow to go from thing to thing, will be helpful and informative and make it easier for you to decide “Is this what I’m looking for?” or “Is this about what I’m interested in?” or “This is what I want — can I get it?” You may find online catalogues annoying and confusing, but lots of people want to make them better, and this is one of the ways they’re doing it.
Users care about authority control. Why? Because it’s a pain in the butt to have to click on 7 slightly differing entries for Gabriel Garcia Marquez to find all the relevant items in the catalog. The same thing happens with title authority control. I can’t wait for FRBR to take hold in our catalogs…either that, or this user-level authority control. Anything would be better than the messes we have to deal with now.
When full FRBRosity is achieved, authority control will fix all these problems.