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).


June 2010
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Last week in FRBR #26

Posted by: William Denton, 4 June 2010 7:05 am
Categories: Last Week

VuFind and “other editions” with xISBN

Lorcan Dempsey’s A web-siting at Yale: other editions and xISBN points out that at Yale’s VuFind catalogue they’re using VuFind’s ability to call on xISBN to generate a list of other editions of a given book, or, more generally, other Manifestations of a given Work. Example: The Hobbit.

York University Libraries, where I work, uses VuFind, but we turned off Other Editions before we launched in January. There were two main reasons. First, in a lot of cases there was no difference between Similar Items and Other Editions. The Hobbit example shows this. (Similar Items has little logic behind it—it’s pulling results from a keyword search based on the title of the item being displayed, if I remember right. With an interesting title it gives good results; often it just shows other editions of the same book.)

Second, because it used ISBNs, Other Editions only worked on books published from 1970 on. York University has many things published before 1970. Looking at those books showed no Other Editions even if we did have more recent Manifestations. Conversely, looking at Manifestations that did have ISBNs never showed the pre-1970 editions of the same Work. For example, this edition from 1961 has no links to Other Editions, and would never show up in any other book’s Other Editions list.

I realize that this can get a lot better through the use of OCLC and LC numbers. xISBN is a very useful service. VuFind’s use of it may be a lot better than it was late last year; I haven’t checked.

That said, the implementation in place when we deployed VuFind wasn’t good enough for an academic library. The way xISBN was used misled users about what other editions of a given work were available. It did not properly collocate. I meant to post about this at the time, but it slipped my mind. If we bring it back, I’ll post about it. There’s great promise here, but Weak FRBRization is inadequate for a research library.

Miksa, An Alternate Model of Functionality

Shawne Miksa sets out a new bibliographic model:


  1. That last squirrel is scaring me a bit. Is that a cataloger come to take revenge on the software engineers?

    Comment by Jonathan Rochkind — 4 June 2010 @ 11:26 am
  2. Awww, no. He’s a cute little thing. The UNT Albino squirrel is totally harmless…unless provoked. He has a thing about paparazzi..then he goes postal.

    Comment by Shawne Miksa — 6 June 2010 @ 12:54 am

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