Alexander Johannesen, who’s often on about topic maps, the other day “ranted on the NGC4LIB (Next-generation catalog 4 libraries) mailing-list about, uh, something or other.” He turned it into a blog post called Library Pontifications, and he mentions FRBR:
FRBR defines work, expression, manifestation, item, and these are semi-philosophical definitions that we’re supposed to attach semantics and knowledge to. There’s primarily two ways to do that; define entities of knowledge, or create relationships between entities. (Note these two basic ways of doing knowledge management; entities and relationships, as they spring up in all areas of knowledge representation)
Now, can you without looking stuff up tell me the difference between a work and an expression? Or between manifestation and an item? Sure, we can discuss if this or that thing is an item or something else, back and forth, but is that a good foundation upon to lay all future library philosophy? Because that’s just what it is; a philosophical model we use to make sense of the real world. FRBR is confusing, even if it is a great leap forward in epistemological thinking, for example when it comes down to identity management (persistent identifiers for one thing can be expressed through a multitude, like a proxy, which FRBR fails at miserably, for example) it is right there in the centre of it, but a lot of it focuses on the wrong part of it, the part that involves human cognition to make decisions about identity.
Anyway, I guess at this point all I’m trying to say is that there are glimpses of what I’m talking about in the library world, and I was attracted to it, I wanted to dedicate parts of my life to fixing a lot what was broken in the real-world. I came to the library because they are the shining beacon of light in our society.