A weblog following developments around the world in FRBR: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records.

Maintained by William Denton, Web Librarian at York University. Suggestions and comments welcome at wtd@pobox.com.


Confused? Try What Is FRBR? (2.8 MB PDF) by Barbara Tillett, or Jenn Riley's introduction. For more, see the basic reading list.

Books: FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed by Robert Maxwell (ISBN 9780838909508) and Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval Tools edited by Arlene Taylor (ISBN 9781591585091) (read my chapter FRBR and the History of Cataloging).

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Twisty Little Passages Not So Much Alike: Applying the FRBR Model to a Classic Computer Game

Posted by: William Denton, 2 October 2009 7:20 am
Categories: Conferences,Papers

“Twisty Little Passages Not So Much Alike: Applying the FRBR Model to a Classic Computer Game” was presented by Matthew Kirschenbaum, Doug Reside, Neil Fraistat, Jerome McDonough, and Dennis Jerz at Digital Humanities 2009 in June. (The classic computer game is Adventure.)

The conference program is only available as humungus 52 MB PDF and isn’t on the readable web, so to read the full abstract of the paper you’ll have to download it and look on page A22. I can’t even easily copy and paste a sample paragraph, I’m afraid, so you’re on your own.

(Thanks to Kevin Hawkins for telling me about this.)


1 Comment

  1. I had a little more luck with copy and paste. I think it’s great to publish PDF proceedings BOTH as a single file AND as one-file-per-workshop. One or the other, not so great, IMO…

    Pardon the hyphens and the lack of hyperlinks. This section is preceded by some contextualization about interactive fiction, humanities scholars, and FRBR in libraries, but it seems like the core for readers of this blog:

    “In the case of an electronic object, the complications pro- liferate almost exponentially (Renear 2006). At first it might seem that all versions of ADVENTURE should be the “Work,” a particular instance of the game (the last version modified by Don Woods, for instance) should be the “Expression,” a particular file with a unique MD5 hash should be the “Manifestation,” and an individual copy of that file (perhaps on a Commodore 64 664 Block disk) would be the “Item.” But what if the text read by the reader is exactly the same, but the underlying code is different? These variants might be simple (a non-com- piled comment added to the Fortran code), peripheral (such as the ability to recognize “x” as a synonym for the command “examine”), or very large (a port of the code from Fortran to BASIC). Should these code level variants be considered different expressions? To further complicate matters, what if the Fortran code was exactly the same but compiled to two different chips? For ex- ample, an IBM mainframe and a Commodore 64 might both have a Fortran compiler, but the two compilers will interpret the Fortran to a different set of set instructions. It might also be the case that two Fortran compilers designed by different compilers will generate slightly different machine language. Should these compiled ex- ecutables, different in their binary structure but based on the same Fortran, represent different “Manifestations” or different “Expressions”?

    Finally, even two files with exactly the same MD5 sig- nature participate in a larger software environment at runtime. The drivers that run the video interface, the keyboard, the memory, and the disk drives arguably be- come part of ADVENTURE when the user is playing the game. For instance, the experience of playing the game using the 6507 chip in a Commodore 64 hooked up to a black and white television may be different than the experience of playing the game on the same chip in a Commodore SX64 (the all-in-one machine some felt fit to call “portable”). Should the software environment on which the binary is executed be a part of the classifica- tion scheme at all?

    We have applied the FRBR model to three different and specific instances of ADVENTURE: the source and data files as retrieved on April 27, 2008 at 6:01 pm from Den- nis Jerz’s server (http://jerz.setonhill.edu/if/crowther/), the DOS Windows executable of these files edited to compile under GNU g77, a free FORTRAN compiler (http://www.russotto.net/%7Erussotto/ADVENT/), and a pirated copy of “Apple Adventure” on a 5 1/4” diskette in one of the project members’ personal possession. This work will be presented in the course of the paper, to- gether with rationale and discussion in the context of the kind of issues enumerated above. We will also discuss the significance of this work for the broader digital hu- manities community, especially in so far as it represents the intersection of library and information science, tex- tual studies, and software forensics.”

    Comment by Jodi Schneider — 6 February 2010 @ 10:52 am

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