Today it’s my great pleasure to give you Diane Hillmann’s answers to the Four FRBR Questions. She’s a major figure in the metadata world, and if you’ve ever done a Dublin Core project you probably pored over her Using Dublin Core guide while deciding what to do.
She’s done a lot this year, and it’s only May. She’s been in the FRBR news because she was at the RDA and Dublin Core sit-down in London at the start of the month (on the DC side of the table). She’s been writing for the Library and Information Technology Association blog about the WoGroFuBiCo meetings. Her January paper with Karen Coyle, RDA: Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century, attracted a lot of attention. There’s a short biography of her on the D-Lib site, matched with that article.
When did you first hear about FRBR?
I read the report when it first came out and was very intrigued by it, and have followed discussions about it since. I think my first attempt to apply it was with serials, which is kind of like starting out a mountaineering hobby with Mount Everest. I also attended the 2005 FRBR Workshop which was extremely helpful.
What’s your involvement with it now?
My current interest is as co-chair of the newly formed DCMI/RDA Task Group, which will be moving forward the recent agreement between the RDA developers and the Semantic Web communities (see http://www.bl.uk/services/bibliographic/meeting.html for the original announcement).
What’s one thing you think the FRBR world needs most?
More concrete applications using FRBR! OCLC has done good work pushing the envelope with their FictionFinder project and in developing their FRBR Work-Set Algorithm. It’s also been great seeing that the use of FRBR has moved into non-library venues, such as the new Eprints Application Profile. I think the second thing that the FRBR world needs most is to recognize that it’s not really necessary for all the communities using FRBR to agree on the boundaries between the Group I entities in order to make FRBR work for us generally. So long as we know WHO SAYS this or that is a work, or an expression, etc., we should be able to cope. This notion that all must agree before we move forward has been a significant impediment, it seems to me.
What’s your one-line non-librarian description of FRBR?
I have actually had to explain FRBR to programmers and developers, most of whom are not librarians, so I should feel more capable of this than I actually do feel most of the time. I would start by saying that FRBR is a way to think about how created resources change and morph over time, and how those changes can be described. There’s lots more to it, of course, but that’s how I’d start.
(Digression: I was at the FRBR Workshop — I started this blog right after — but I didn’t meet Diane Hillmann there. If you look at the photograph of everyone at the workshop (requires Flash) then you can see her in the second row, second from the right; just behind her left shoulder is Lynne Howarth of the University of Toronto (who recently stepped down from the FRBR Review Group) and just behind Howarth’s left shoulder is me!)
My thanks to Diane Hillmann for taking the time to answer the questions. She’s the fifth person in the Four FRBR Questions series. Previously: