A quick pointer to a blog post from Mr. LibraryThing, Tim Spalding, from Thursday: Works, Editions, ISBNs and Cocktails. Tim’s definition of a work is a convivial one:
Since the beginning I’ve promoted the idea of the “cocktail party” test. This test answers whether two books belong to the same work by asking whether their readers would, in casual conversation, own up to reading the same book or not. So, for example, in such a context it wouldn’t matter if you had read a book in its hardcover or paperback edition, or listened to it on CD. If the cute girl with the backless dress mentions she’s fond of the Unbearable Lightness of Being, the edition is immaterial…. I also suspect that title differences occasioned by marketing considerations—eg., Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (UK) vs. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (US)—wouldn’t matter. Nor should language itself matter; few would turn a cold shoulder to a Finnish Tolkien fan merely because he read Tolkien in Finnish.
To the old title-author pairs, he says he’s “added ISBNs to the mix, so members can combine and separate editions looking at and according to their ISBNs.” It’ll be interesting to see how this refinement improves work groupings. LibraryThing users do good basic FRBRization.