Posted by: William Denton, 14 January 2011 12:38 pm
The future of this site
FRBR, and to a lesser extended FRAD and FRSAR, and now fundamental parts of how we think about bibliographic information. When I started this blog in May 2005, there was nowhere on the Internet to keep up with what was going on in the FRBR world. Now FRBR is everywhere. The problem for most people is not how to keep up with the details, but how to know what’s most important.
I think the focus of this web site will change from posting a lot of news to being an up-to-date listing of key FRBR-related resources: standards, implementations, code, projects, references, books, talks, instructional material, and so on. Not a lot of all that, but the best and most relevant, so that if anyone ever needs to check on something, they can find a link here.
Let me know if you have any comments about this, if you think it’s a good idea, a bad idea, would like to help, or anything else.
Nelson and Cleary, FRBRizing an E-Library : Migrating from Dublin Core to FRBR and MODS
Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado developed an open-source eCataloger Framework, based on Dublin Core metadata, on Google’s App Engine to manage and serve electronic resources to the library’s patrons. Pressed to find new solutions for failing manual workflows for serials and government document resource management, the eCataloger Framework was extended to FRBR to automate and enhance serials management and government documents receiving. Based on successfully FRBRizing the eCataloger, Western State College converted their e-Library management from Dublin Core to FRBR and MODS. This paper examines the processes of each of these implementations using Python, AJAX, and jQuery, the details of the FRBR data model, including using FRBRoo, and the successful user interface supported by a FRBRized catalog.
The eCataloger application provides cataloging utilities to create an eLibrary for an individual or small organization. The research goal of eCataloger is on creating semantic services for artifacts.
An eLibrary is a collection of electronic records used to organize and manage born digital resources (websites, ebooks, mp3) and as a meta-data proxy for books, magazines, physical video and audio, and other physical objects. The 1.1 release of the eCataloger, currently in an development beta, uses the FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) framework to model the records using data elements and concepts from the MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema), MARC, and other current and developing cataloging and metadata standards. By using FRBR as the descriptive framework, an overarching goal of the eCataloger is realized by being able to produce valid and well-formed MODS and MARC xml documents for interchange with existing and legacy library electronic systems. Because of the richness of the underlying FRBR data model, the eCataloger can be valid component in a larger semantic web ecology.
This web service operates like OCLC’s X-Identifier or LibraryThing’s ThingISBN services, although it returns an RDF Graph representation from the data in the Open Library. Lookups can be done by ISBN (10 or 13), OCLC number, LCCN, Open Library edition ID or Open Library Work ID. It will return the FRBR Work set grouping for the requested resource. Responses can be provided in RDF/XML, RDF/JSON, NTriples or XML (RDF/XML sent with an “application/xml” content-type).
Posted by: William Denton, 10 December 2010 7:22 am
Three or four FRBR-related talks were proposed for Code4Lib 2011, which is great. This one especially caught my eye:
Next-L Enju, NDL Search and library geeks in Japan
Next-L Enju is an open source integrated library system developed by Project Next-L, the library geek community in Japan launched on November 2006. It is built on open-source software (Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL/MySQL and Solr) and supports modern ILS features (e.g. FRBR structure and RESTful WebAPI).
Enju has been inplemented by some libraries, which include National Diet Library (NDL), the largest library in Japan. NDL has chosen Enju to provide a new search engine, called “NDL Search” and added some extra features (e.g. automatic FRBRization and providing bibliographic data in a Linked Data format) . The development version is available at http://iss.ndl.go.jp/.
I’m one of the authors of Next-L Enju. I’d like to talk about the overview and structure of Next-L Enju, NDL Search and the activities of our project.
Presenter(s): Kosuke Tanabe, Keio University, tanabe at mwr dot mediacom dot keio dot ac dot jp
Perhaps someone who reads Japanese could comment about the FRBRization?
I saw two examples of uses of FRBR that do not follow the structure provided in the FRBR documentation and both made good sense to me.
The Bibliotheque Nationale of France (BNF) is working to export its data in a linked data format. They are linking the Manifestation directly to the Work and to the Expression, rather than following the M -> E -> W order that is defined in FRBR. I need to think about this some more, but it seems to remove some of the rigidity of the linear WEMI.
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek is using an identifier method that seems to resolve the (long) discussion I instigated on the FRBR list about identifying WEMI with a single identifier. They give an identifier to the single WEMI group (one work, one expression, one manifestation, and presumably one Item, but no one seems to be talking about items.) There is also an identifier for each W, E, M, I. This works well for input and output (and sharing). When a matching W or WE is found, a “merged” identifier is coined for the FRBR units. I couldn’t follow the presentation, as it was in German, but from the slides it looked to me that all of these identifiers could co-exist, and therefore would represent different views simultaneously of the bibliographic data that would depend on the function in play (e.g. export of data about a book v. support of shared cataloging).
Open Bookmarks planning
And a short last pointer sent by Jodi Schneider, to a post from the mailing list about Open Bookmarks, “a project to discuss, develop and design an open framework for saving, storing and sharing bookmarks, annotations and reading data in ebooks.” Are bookmarks made to an edition or a work? is a problem that should be handled with a FRBR approach. I’d never heard of the project before, and feel a bit rude in pointing at it like this, but if you’re involved (or get involved), then introducing FRBR to the planning would be a help.
This short article describes a potential use of a bibliographic data set that has been created using the principles of FRBR 1 (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records). The FRBR entities and relationships are visualised using the Protovis toolkit2 developed by Stanford University.
Interesting FRBR development… I sent the following three suggestions relating to FRBR to some individuals having a related discussion about changes needed to FRBR:
1) we need a generalized WEMI that allows one to create a bibliographic record where properties are not bound to a particular group 1 entity. This is needed so that FRBR-ized data can interact with non-FRBR-ized data.
2) the entities of group 3 need to be freed from group 3 and make usable anywhere. Group 3 should disappear and be replaced by a “has subject” property that can take any URI or string as its value.
3) as many as possible of the frbr entities and properties need to be associated with other defined classes and properties that exist outside of frbr.
I received a reply from someone who I believe is part of the FRBR committee that the group is indeed considering each of these already. I don’t know more than that, but it would be good to be having a more open conversation about this. For those of us trying to implement a new bibliographic data environment, these changes could make the difference between success and failure.
I don’t find anything about these changes on the FRBR web site, unfortunately. These are critical issues for developers (and there are probably others) so there is a real need for this information to be disseminated and discussed. I would also be interested in hearing from others who have attempted to work with the FRBR entities, especially if you have requirements to add to the 3 I listed above.
As she says, there’s nothing on the FRBR web site about this, and most of the people responding on the mailing list were outsiders. There’s less active disucssion of FRBR on the official mailing list than on mailing lists about RDA, linked data, open bibliographic data, next-generation catalogues, and elsewhere.
New XML Schemas for FRBR data released (November 19, 2010)
The Variations/FRBR Project at Indiana University (http://vfrbr.info) has released version 1.1 of a set of XML Schemas designed for the representation of FRBR data in XML. The 1.1 Schema release represents some significant improvements over our earlier 1.0 release, particularly in the handling of FRBR relationships. As before, the Variations/FRBR XML Schemas are defined at three “levels”: frbr, which embodies faithfully only those features defined by the FRBR and FRAD reports; efrbr, which adds additional features we hope will make the data format more “useful”; and vfrbr, which both contracts and extends the FRBR and FRAD models to create a data representation optimized for the description of musical materials and we hope provides a model for other domain-specific applications of FRBR.
Taming the Metadata Beast: ILOX, by Massart, Shulman, Nicholas, Ward, and Bergeron, is in the November 2010 issue of D-Lib. Section 2 is “Modelling Learning Objects in FRBR.” It goes into a full explanation, of course, but here’s an example:
An ILOX instance can be rooted at any level of the hierarchy depending on how abstract or concrete one needs to be. Handling learning object descriptions at the:
Work level permits one entry per learning object with no immediate distinction between learning object versions;
Expression level permits one entry per learning object version with no immediate distinction between the different formats of a given learning object version, and without having to decide which Work different Expressions belong to;
Manifestation level permits one entry per learning object format with no immediate distinction between the different copies of a learning object, and without having to decide which Work or Expression the Manifestations belong to;
Item level permits one entry per learning object copy, without having to decide which Work, Expression or Manifestation the Items belong to.
Byrne and Goddard, The Strongest Link: Libraries and Linked Data
Abstract: Since 1999 the W3C has been working on a set of Semantic Web standards that have the potential to revolutionize web search. Also known as Linked Data, the Machine-Readable Web, the Web of Data, or Web 3.0, the Semantic Web relies on highly structured metadata that allow computers to understand the relationships between objects. Semantic web standards are complex, and difficult to conceptualize, but they offer solutions to many of the issues that plague libraries, including precise web search, authority control, classification, data portability, and disambiguation. This article will outline some of the benefits that linked data could have for libraries, will discuss some of the non-technical obstacles that we face in moving forward, and will finally offer suggestions for practical ways in which libraries can participate in the development of the semantic web.
MetaLex is “an open XML interchange format for legal and legislative resources” that will let people “ink legal information from various levels of authority and different countries and languages.” Its partially used by the legislation.gov.uk project that I pointed out in September.
There’s a lot of FRBR in MetaLex, but checking the archives I see it’s never been mentioned here before. The CEN MetaLex Workshop Agreement (PDF) from 2009 defines how it works. There’s a lot about URIs and RDF in it, as you’d expect these days, but on top of that in section 4.2.1 it says their terminology is inspired by FRBR. Work, Expression, and Item are all there, and here’s its Manifestation:
A bibliographic manifestation embodies one expression of one bibliographic work. The boundaries between one manifestation and another are drawn on the basis of both content and physical form, e.g. the adoption of a specific data format, or its rendering as ink over sheets of paper. When the production process involves changes in physical form the resulting product is considered a new manifestation. Thus, a specific XML representation, a PDF file (as generated by printing into PDF a specific Word file with a specific PDF distiller), a printed booklet, all represent different manifestations of the same expression of a work. Manifestation is an intentional object. A MetaLex XML document is a bibliographic manifestation.
[...] A MetaLex XML document is a standard manifestation of one or more bibliographic expressions of a source of law. Editing the MetaLex XML markup and metadata of the XML document changes the manifestation of an expression. Changing the marked up text changes the expression embodied by the manifestation. Copying an exemplar of the MetaLex XML document creates a new item.
The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) has a FRBR Interest Group, which is having a meeting on 7 January 2011 at the ALA Midwinter conference. Manuel Urrizola will talk about “Coping with RDA/FRBR Anxiety” and Yin Zhang and Athena Salaba will talk about “FRBRizing Existing MARC Records at Expression and Manifestation Levels.”
Also: “There will be an election of next Chair of FRBR IG at the end of the program. The winner will serve as Vice-Chair after 2011 Annual Conference and then as Chair in 2012/2013.” Go for it!
Maxwell, FRBR as a Foundation for RDA
Robert Maxwell, author of FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed, which I recommend, is doing an ALA webinar in December: FRBR as a Foundation for RDA. “This webinar will cover the basics of FRBR, including its development and contents. Participants will leave the webinar with an understanding of the entity-relationship model on which FRBR is based, the FRBR entities and relationships, and the FRBR user tasks. The webinar will then address, through an exploration of RDA itself, how FRBR lies at the foundation of RDA’s structure, and what implications that might have on future database structures for our catalog descriptions.”
I dislike the word “webinar,” but what can you do?
Copac is a union catalogue of a lot of major libraries in the UK and Ireland. LOCAH is the Linked Open Copac Archives Hub, and a blog post there, Modelling Copac Data, talks about FRBR.
RDA: Building Blocks (300 KB PDF) is part two of a three-part series about RDA by Mark Ehlert. It summarizes FRBR and FRAD. It was done for Minitex, which has nothing to do with LaTeX, which I mention just because I use it almost every day and enjoy enormously.
Weinheimer podcasts about FRBR: Return of the Bride of Son of
Abstract: This article covers some of the answers that has received the question: What is a work?, from the Information Science, and from other disciplines. While it is an issue that has always been present in all these areas, it is since the arrival of IFLA FRBR model that the need for a clear answer has been pressing both to resolve practical problems -the cataloging of works- as theoretical also, i.e., the definition of work. We start with the definitions given by IFLA and other authors who have analyzed the FRBR model to demonstrate certain theoretical limitations in light of some texts produced from other knowledges such as sociology of art, semiotics, aesthetics of receptions and culture history. The article concludes that it is necessary to address a multidisciplinary study of the problem, in order to avoid errors in both theory and practice resulting from the application of the new model.
If you follow Coyle regularly then you would have known the stuff she covered already, but from the questions she was asked it sounded like it was new to a lot of people there and they were confused and worried. I have to miss Oliver’s but I’m looking forward to Hillmann’s session.
FRBR’s structure doesn’t jive with how we see the “future” of information relationships. Everyone is talking about how information should be a ‘web’, with everything having the same importance and availability. FRBR doesn’t do that, though. From the models I’ve seen of FRBR, it seems that the relationships only flow one way. Instead of subjects having potentially the same importance as a book itself, subjects are always subservient to bibliographic data. Afterthoughts, add-ons. I know that it’s been said that people are working on this aspect of FRBR, presumably to change it, but to me that seems to be a basic building block of how FRBR treats information.
I don’t think that’s true, as all of the RDF work that Coyle, Hillmann, and many others are doing is showing.
Hillmann, RDA Vocabulary Developments Based on FRBR
Speaking of Hillmann, here’s RDA Vocabulary Developments Based on FRBR (at Slideshare), a talk she gave at ASIST quite recently. Some day all conference talks will have audio as easily available as the slides!
There’s a short-term contract available for someone to hack on a FRBR interface for the Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC), but the deadline is today. Get your name in if you’re interested. (I was away at a conference last week and didn’t do the weekly update. Sorry for the short notice, but you probably already saw this on a mailing list anyway.)
OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) has been investigating the potential of the FRBR model and a work-centric approach to improve access to moving images for some time. We are looking for someone to make a basic but functional demonstration end-user interface for moving images that is focused on FRBR works and that offers faceted navigation using sample data for 143 moving image works, 210 manifestations, and 297 items. Ideally, this will be developed with open source tools such as MySQL, Solr and Lucene. I have some ideas about what the interface might look like (see link below) and am looking for someone to put up something quick and dirty, but functional and interactive so people can get a better idea of how this might work. This may not turn out to be anything like what would work for a final user interface, but I am hoping that it will make the potential for a FRBR-based, faceted approach clear and make it easier for people to understand the kinds of searching options we want to provide.
OLAC has agreed to fund $1500 to be awarded to the individual(s) who successfully completes this project. More information on and the sample data for this project are available at http://www.olacinc.org/drupal/?q=node/437
If you are interested in taking this project on, please contact me at email@example.com via email by Friday, October 22 with a list of your qualifications, a suggested timeline, and any other information you think it might be helpful for us to know. We are willing to negotiate on the timetable, but are interested in having a finished product as soon as possible. Please contact me if you have any questions.
If you look at the presentation, on slide 14 you’ll see an “XC Schema Record” that describes a Work/Expression/Manifestation: look for the work, expression, manifestation sections of the record on it and the next slide, and notice how they’re using Dublin Core, RDA, and their own vocabulary to describe things.
Slide 19 briefly describes how the FRBRizing works. They take a bunch of MARCXML records, clean them up, and parse and group them.
private Work buildWork(Element workElement)
log.debug("Creating a new Work element from a work component of the record with ID " + recordId + ".");
// Create a Work Object for the passed work element
Work work = new Work();
work.setService(service); // Mark the Work as being from no service since it shouldn't be output
Lovely old Java. If you’re doing FRBRization, now there’s another algorithm for you to look at. Nice work from XC!
Here’s the abstract of the talk:
The eXtensible Catalog Project has developed four open-source software toolkits that enable libraries to build and share their own web- and metadata-focused applications on top of a service-oriented architecture that incorporates Solr in Drupal, a robust metadata management platform, and OAI-PMH and NCIP-compatible tools that interact with legacy library systems in real-time. XC”s Metadata Services Toolkit allows libraries to orchestrate and sequence metadata processing services on large batches of metadata. Libraries can build their own services or choose from our initial set of metadata services that clean up and “FRBRize” MARC metadata. XC software provides an RDA metadata test bed and a Solr-based metadata “navigator.” XC”s user interface platform is the first suite of Drupal modules that treat both web content and library metadata as native Drupal nodes, allowing libraries to build web-applications that interact with metadata from library catalogs and institutional repositories as well as with library web pages. Other currently-available XC toolkits expose legacy ILS metadata, circulation, and patron functionality via web services for III, Voyager and Aleph (to date) using standard protocols (OAI-PMH and NCIP), allowing libraries to easily and regularly extract MARC data from an ILS in valid MARCXML and keep the metadata in their discovery applications “in sync” with source repositories. This presentation will showcase XC”s metadata processing services, the metadata “navigator” and the Drupal user interface platform. The presentation will also describe how libraries and their developers can get started using and contributing to the XC code.
This phase of the project consists of two tasks. Described separately:
A1. Presenting the productions of two authors grouped by FRBR entities Work and Expression, enriched with outside information about these authors and links to online fulltext versions of books.
A2: Converting FRBRized bibliographic data to RDF, and enriching these data with links to individual instances in DBpedia, VIAF and Project Gutenberg.
B1. Making an application that allows the enduser to navigate related Dewey categories by labels in several different languages, to browse the library’s collection of multilingual non-fiction documents.
B2. Converting MARC records to RDF. Creating links to Dewey categories with multilingual language labels from http://dewey.info/.
Purpose – The paper aims to present the results of the first two tasks of a user study looking into mental models of the bibliographic universe and especially their comparison to the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) conceptual model, which has not yet been user tested.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper employes a combination of techniques for eliciting mental models and consisted of three tasks, two of which, card sorting and concept mapping, are presented herein. Its participants were 30 individuals residing in the general area of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Findings – Cumulative results of concept mapping show a strong resemblance to FRBR. Card sorts did not produce conclusive results. In both tasks, participants paid special attention to the original expression, indicating that a special place for it should be considered.
Research limitations/implications – The study was performed using a relatively small sample of participants living in a geographically limited space using relatively straight-forward examples.
Practical implications – Some solid evidence is provided for adoption of FRBR as the conceptual basis for cataloguing.
Originality/value – This is the first widely published user study of FRBR, applying novel methodological approaches in the field of Library and Information Science.
How can FRBR say it’s based on user needs?
Notice that line above: “This is the first widely published user study of FRBR.”
Gretchen L. Hoffman’s “Meeting Users’ Needs in Cataloging: What is the Right Thing to Do?” (Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 47: 7, October 2009) (DOI: 10.1080/01639370903111999) talks about how user-centred libraries really are regarding cataloguing. Not very, is her answer. “Cataloging must stop just ‘thinking’ about users. It must show specific behaviors that meet users’ needs. Claims that users are the highest principle of cataloging and librarianship are empty, dishonest, and unethical if not supported by behavior that helps users.”
There’s a paragraph about FRBR that highlights something often pointed out now that the FRBR is going into widespread use through RDA:
Yet, cataloging still claims to focus on users and it places itself within LIS’s user-centered paradigm. Standards and other cataloging initiatives claim to focus on users, but are not actually based on an understanding of users’ needs. For example, the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) is a “conceptual model of the bibliographic universe.” The developers claim they took “a user-focused approach” in the development of the model. Yet, the chair of the study admits, “It did not involve studies of how actual users approach and make use of bibliographic records.” How can FRBR call itself user-focused when users were not studied? This is significant, because this model is the basis of the new cataloging rules, Resource Description and Access (RDA). In this way, the idea of being user-focused is perpetuated. Cataloging standards claim to focus on users but are not based on an understanding of users’ needs that originates from empirical studies of real users.
Hoffman’s article cited one by Clare Beghtol, “Professional Values and Ethics in Knowledge Organization and Cataloging,” (Journal of Information Ethics 17: 1, Spring 2008) (DOI: 10.3172/JIE.17.1.12) . Beghtol was one of my professors at library school, so I looked it up, and what did I find but a short FRBR reference, which I include here for the sake of completeness:
Cutter enunciated three functions of the catalog in 1904. They have been preserved by a number of international conferences through the last hundred years and have been augmented by the recent adoption of the Functional Requirements of the Bibliographic Record (FRBR) (http://www.ifla.org/VII/s13/frbr/frbr.pdf. Accessed May 27, 2005). Cutter’s three basic functions of the catalog are to allow the library user to identify a known work (e.g., author/title cataloging), to discover an unknown work on a certain topic (e.g., subject headings, thesauri, classification), and to select a particular manifestation of a work from among a number of manifestations held by a library (e.g., bibliographic details and notes). To these basic functions of finding and collocating, FRBR has added the function of allowing an information seeker to find out where to obtain a copy of the work (e.g., through inter-library loan or the Internet). All these functions are implied in the core value of access to information set out by the ethical codes of the three professional bodies noted above.
Data available for download from Indiana U Variations/FRBR project
An email message that Jenn Riley of Indiana University sent out to many mailing lists:
Subject: FRBRized data available for bulk download
The Variations/FRBR  project at Indiana University has released bulk downloads of metadata for the sound recordings presented in our Scherzo  music discovery system in a FRBRized XML format. The downloadable data includes FRBR Work, Expression, Manifestation, Person, and Corporate Body records, along with the structural and responsibility relationships connecting them. While this is still an incomplete representation of FRBR and FRAD, we hope that the release of this data will aid others that are studying or working with FRBR. This XML data conforms to the “efrbr” set of XML Schemas  created for this project. The XML data may be downloaded from http://vfrbr.info/data/1.0/index.shtml, and comments/questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One caveat to those who seek to use this data: we plan to continue improving our FRBRization algorithm into the future and have not yet implemented a way to keep entity identifiers consistent between new data loads. Therefore we cannot at this time guarantee the Work with the identifier http://vfrbr.info/work/30001, for example, will have the same identifier in the future. Therefore this data at this time should be considered highly experimental.
Many thanks to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for funding the V/FRBR project.
Also, if you’re interested in FRBR, please do check out our experimental discovery system: . We’re very interested in your feedback!
Posted by: William Denton, 24 September 2010 7:07 am
Ross Singer announced ruby-frbr, “a simple FRBR model representation to mixin to your Ruby objects.” The README says, “This library is not intended to provide the actual bibliographic attributes of the entities, just establish model and the relationships.”
story = Story.new
story.title = "The Old Man and the Sea"
story.extend(FRBR::Work) # these modules could also be included directly in the class
person = Person.new
person.name = "Ernest Hemingway"
story.add_creator(person) # or person.add_creation(story)
In developing similar work-oriented features on the Online Books Page, I’ve been implementing a similar information model. It’s simpler and more general than the FRBR WEMI stack, but it can encompass the data model of all of the catalogs from my previous post, as well as the “classic” FRBR model. In this post, I’ll describe the basics of the model, and discuss why it’s a promising basis for future catalogs.
One thing I like about this is it breaks the idea that there is a level which is Work, and another level which is Expression, and so forth. The boundaries of these levels were always vague, and part of the reason was (as with the Bible) there’s no reason to think that any two documents have…ideational and textual traditions?…which can fit into the same sets of boxes. It simply takes more levels of information to situate some books in the bibliographic universe.
Another thing I like is that it’s presented simply as inheritance, and implicitly (albeit admittedly not necessarily) monohierarchical. FRBR always seemed to me to blithely assume that the entirety of textual and literary criticism could be carried out by catalogers. Trace all the influences of works on other works? Sure, why not!
Žumer, Zeng, and Salaba, FRBR: A Generalized Approach to Dublin Core Application Profiles
According to the Singapore Framework, any development of a Dublin Core Application Profile (DCAP) has to include the creation of a domain model. DC Scholarly Works Application Profile (SWAP) was the first one explicitly using Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) model in creating its domain model. FRBR has recently been extended with Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD) and Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD) thus forming the so-called FRBR family. This paper first further develops the SWAP domain model to incorporate the FRBR family models. Then a generalized FRBR family-based DCAP domain model is presented to be used as the basis for specific domain application profiles.
VTLS’s RDA Sandbox
VTLS announced the RDA Sandbox, where for $60 you can play around with a cataloguing program and a bunch of FRBRized data to get a better idea of what it’s like to use RDA.
The RDA Sandbox is a special program sponsored by VTLS Inc., designed to provide tools by which Libraries and librarians can practice creating MARC records following the Resource Description and Access (RDA) Implementation One Scenario. That is, creating Work, Expression, and Manifestation records as defined in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR).
As a participant in the program you will have access to a Virtua™ database with over 250,000 MARC FRBRized linked records (Work, Expression, and Manifestations). You will also be provided with a specially customized Virtua cataloging client which will allow you to create, modify, and delete your own RDA records. Special documentation and email support will be available to help you get started. Learn RDA by playing in our Sandbox!
Dempsey, The Idea of FRBR
In The idea of FRBR, Lorcan Dempsey (an interesting Twitterer) looks up Newman’s The Idea of a University and is thrown into some edition-inspired FRBRy musings.
Indiana University is pleased to announce the public (very Beta) release of Scherzo, a music discovery system designed as a testbed of the FRBR conceptual model. The system may be accessed at <http://vfrbr.info/search>. A product of the IMLS-funded Variations/FRBR project, Scherzo is an early proof of concept for what a library catalog built according to FRBR principles might look like. The current released system is most certainly not a finished product; rather it represents an attempt to share in-progress development work with interested individuals. It is (and will continue to be) far from perfect, and the Variations/FRBR project team hopes these very imperfections help to promote community discussion on the utility of the FRBR model and how feasible mechanisms to automatically FRBRize MARC bibliographic and authority records are likely to be. We welcome and intend to participate in public discussion on this system and the issues it raises. In addition, specific feedback may be sent to vfrbr@email@example.com
Scherzo currently contains records representing approximately 80,000 sound recordings from the holdings of Indiana University’s renowed William and Gayle Cook Music Library in the Jacobs School of Music. Work on Scherzo to date has focused most heavily on FRBR Work identification from MARC and basic results display in a FRBRized environment. While we have paid some attention to user interface design, it is not our project’s primary concern. The search system currently resides on a test server; while we expect the service to be generally available, please excuse any temporary down time or unexpected restarts.
In the relatively short term, we have a number of planned improvements to the system, including a keyword search, improved Work identification processes, representing more specific roles that Group 2 entities have to Group 1 entities (beyond created by, realized by, and produced by defined in the FRBR reports), and bulk download of the source data powering this system in XML. In the slightly longer term we hope to make the source data available as Linked Data as well.
A few days later Riley announced she’s moving to the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill to be Head of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives. She’s done great work at Indiana and I wish her all the best in her new job, and I hope the FRBR work at Indiana carries on as successfully as before.
FRBR first appeared twelve years ago, and although many of its basic concepts are well known, how many of your staff have read and understand the complete text? Do you know that, for example, chapter six explains how to talk about FRBR with library administrators and public service librarians? This presentation will describe in greater detail our active training methods for FRBR. Our novel and effective program engages the entire cataloging staff with an interactive digress.it blog facilitating a group close reading, hands-on simulations with small groups working together with hundreds of strings of different colored yarn, and debriefing to build consensus about how next-gen tools will be implemented. The active process empowers library staff and the observations from the debriefing foreshadow the major issues that will be faced in implementing new tools at a particular library. This training session is aimed at cataloging managers to help empower their staff with new tools, anticipate challenges in implementation, and build team morale.
Surely conceptual models of the bibliographic universe are exciting enough on their own that we don’t need to worry about morale!
Webinar: FRBR as a Foundation for RDA
Here’s another one: FRBR as a Foundation for RDA. It’s presented by Robert Maxwell, author of FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed, which is excellent, so it should be worth it.
Description: This webinar will cover the basics of FRBR, including its development and contents. Participants will leave the webinar with an understanding of the entity-relationship model on which FRBR is based, the FRBR entities and relationships, and the FRBR user tasks. The webinar will then address, through an exploration of RDA itself, how FRBR lies at the foundation of RDA’s structure, and what implications that might have on future database structures for our catalog descriptions.
(C&CQ is published by Taylor & Francis, and SHERPA/RoMEO says they allow preprints to be archived by the author, so I’m able to put it up for public access. My thanks to C&CQ and Jane Schmidt, the book review editor.)
At the moment, the RDF from legislation.gov.uk is limited to largely bibliographic information. We have made use of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and the MetaLex vocabularies, primarily to relate the different types of resource we are making available. FRBR has the notion of a work, expressions of that work, manifestations of those expressions, and items. Similarly, MetaLex has the concepts of a BibliographicWork and BibliographicExpression. In the context of legislation.gov.uk, the identifier URIs relate to the work. Different versions of the legislation (current, original, different points in time, or prospective) relate to different expressions. The different formats (HTML, HTML Snippets, XML, and PDF) relate to the different manifestations. We have also made extensive use of Dublin Core Terms, for example to reflect that different versions apply to geographic extents. This is important as, for example, the same section of a statute may have been amended in one way as it applies in Scotland and in another way for England and Wales. We think FRBR, MetaLex, and Dublin Core Terms have all worked well, individually and in combination, for relating the different types of resource that we are making available.
All of the catalogs above, then, are somewhat “FRBR-like”, but they don’t fully implement the FRBR functional or data model. I’m not sure, though, how closely they need to conform to those models. I can see room for improvement in each catalog, but they all seem to work well enough to have gained notable user communities.
… So I’m very interested in seeing how well catalogs and records designed along FRBR lines work in practice. I’m also piloting some prototypes of FRBR-like features on The Online Books Page, and I hope to have more to say about them shortly.
Weinheimer casts pods
James Weinheimer has started a podcast, Cataloging Matters, and two of the first three are a propos. He posts full transcripts, too.
Cataloging Matters #1 : “As an aside, I want to point out that I always say F-R-B-R and not ‘ferber’, because personally, I have always considered ‘ferber’ to be a very ugly word, and while others are perfectly free to say it, I simply choose not to. Therefore, I say F-R-B-R and if the word ‘ferber’ should slip out, realize that I have just humiliated myself terribly and I promise to do my best never to say it again.”
Christopher Gutteridge has “invented a new Batman villain:” The Modeller. “Over the 3 issues there’s a running subplot about the modelers master weapon, the FRBR, which everyone knows is very very powerful but when the citizens of Gotham talk about it none of them can quite agree on exactly what it does.”
McDonough et al, Twisty Little Passages Almost All Alike
Humanities scholars and librarians both confront questions regarding the boundaries of texts and the relationships between various editions, translations and adaptations. The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) Final Report from the International Federation of Library Associations has provided the library community with a model for addressing these questions in the bibliographic systems they create. The Preserving Virtual Worlds project has been investigating FRBR’s potential as a model for the description of computer games and interactive fiction. While FRBR provides an attractive theoretical model, the complexity of computer games as works makes its application to such software creations problematic in practice.
Taylor and Teague, FRBR in Practice
FRBR in Practice by Wendy Taylor and Kathy Teague, is from Ariadne 64 (July 2010).
The Royal National Institute of Blind People National Library Service (RNIB NLS) was formed in 2007 as a result of a merger between the National Library for the Blind (NLB) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s Library and Information Service. It is the largest specialist library for readers with sight loss in the UK. RNIB holds the largest collection of books in accessible formats in the UK and provides a postal service to over 44,000 readers. RNIB produces its own books in braille, giant print and audio format for loan and sale. It is our role to ensure that all our stock is catalogued and classified so that RNIB staff and our blind and partially sighted readers are able to find and obtain what they need through the RNIB accessible online catalogue.
We have been working with two library management systems (LMS) since the merger and are now in the process of tendering for a new LMS to integrate our bibliographic data. We are anticipating the launch of the new LMS to our readers in the fourth quarter of 2011. We feel that it is an opportune moment to review our cataloguing practice and investigate the possibility of cataloguing the accessible format, e.g. braille at the manifestation level rather than as a holding attached to the bibliographic record describing the print book, like all other libraries for the Blind around the world. The disadvantage of this cataloguing method is the proliferation of records for each title. But we think that the negative effect could be corrected by Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR). In order to test this theory we needed to have a better understanding of FRBR and how it actually works. We applied for and were awarded the Ulverscroft/IFLA Best Practice Award to fund our trip to the Celia Library.
It’s All About the Relationships — In Serials, In FRBR, In Life: An Interview with Olivia Madison
“It’s All About the Relationships—In Serials, in FRBR, in Life: An Interview with Olivia M. A. Madison,” by Lori Osmus Kappmeyer, appeared in The Serials Librarian 57: 1/2 (July 2009) (DOI: 10.1080/03615260802680117), but I seem to have missed pointing it out.
ABSTRACT: Olivia M. A. Madison talks about her roles in the library profession and how her career developed along with them, most importantly the unanticipated relationships connecting the elements of her career. She discusses the influence of serials work on her career, her cataloging experiences, the early days of OCLC, her work in CC:DA, her adventures at IFLA, the development of FRBR, the future of bibliographic control, and her development as a librarian at Iowa State University.
Singer and Coyle on public-lld
Finally, there was a lot of mailing list discussion about FRBR, but I’ll just grab two quotes from a thread on the public-lld mailing list about linked data, first from Ross Singer in Re: RDA and ranges:
When I look at the vocabularies coming out surrounding RDA (and FR*), I cannot help but think their complicated models and arcane rules to apply them (especially without a freely available text for somebody to figure them out) is completely disjoint with how we’ve almost universally decided the future of bibliographic metadata creation will be realized.
2 – we have no machine-readable carrier for RDA/FRBR data
3 – we aren’t in agreement about what the FRBR entities mean
4 – IFLA is still working on defining the FR family, and changes are still happening
5 – we have a *huge* body of bibliographic data in non-RDA and non-FRBR format
I’ve done some thinking about how we could define MARC elements in RDF, but I haven’t gotten very far. However, if we are to create linked library data in any quantity before about 2020, we *are* going to need to do it without the advantages of RDA and FRBR. Where do we begin?!