Hello. Happy new year. I hope 2008 is a good one for you. Who knows what will happen with FRBR over the next twelve months? We know there will be reports written, conference presentations given, blog entries posted, implementations written or improved, user tests made, heated words exchanged, and I think the amount of attention paid to FRBR will increase, as it did in 2007 over 2006. I’ll keep on pointing out what I see. As always, if you’re doing anything FRBR-related and want to get the word out, let me know. It will be an interesting year in bibliographic control. Don’t bet against anyone who says things won’t get freakier.
Last November you may have seen mention on some blogs of Francis Miksa’s guest lecture at the library school at Shampoo-Banana. It was given on 6 March 2006 and was called The Genius of Library Cataloging and its Possible Future (RealAudio).
I converted it into an MP3 (using the same Unix commands as when I did the same for the WoGroFuBiCo release) but didn’t get around to listening to it until last week. I highly recommend it, especially in light of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control report, which will be made final in a week or two. Francis Miksa is a major figure in the field, and I highly recommend his book Charles Ammi Cutter: Library Systematizer. Miksa talks about Cutter in his lecture, and much else, giving a personal survey of the history of cataloguing and its future.
As Christine Schwartz pointed out, “last 40 minutes or so deal with Dr. Miksa’s vision for a cataloging future,” so don’t tune out early. Really, this is worth a listen.
UPDATE: I forgot to point out that Miksa mentions FRBR several times in his talk. He stresses the importance of relationships between things, and how useful they are to users. At one point he questions whether FRBR is good enough at this, or if it’s dealt with enough in the Final Report. The relationships between the entities are of great interest to lots of people working on or thinking about FRBR, so he should have no worries there. Work, expression, manifestation, item are the four most commonly used words when talking about FRBR, but how a work and an expression are related, or how two manifestations relate, or how a person is the subject of a work and how the person is related to a group — such things are all very important and are what will make FRBR so useful, I think. Personally, I’m in favour of letting users decide what relationships they want, and in giving them tools to do so.
Also, I think I got mixed up with too many negatives when I said you shouldn’t bet against anyone who thinks bibliographic control won’t get freakier. I can’t even parse that. Let me simplify: bibliographic control will get freakier in 2008. Everything will.