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?!
What IS an eBook, Anyway?, asked Eric Hellman. Does each different format of an ebook require a different ISBN? Apparently the answer is yes. Hellman agrees, and goes into some detail about the whole issue, saying “the ISBN is just a solution to a problem: ‘How does an item get tracked through the book supply chain?'” Things get FRBRy in the comments.
But, let’s ignore that for now [the question of what is an e-book] … we know that OCLC’s xISBN service allows us to navigate different editions of the same book (I’m desperately trying not to drop into FRBR-speak here). Taking a quick look at the API documentation for xISBN yesterday, I noticed that the metadata returned for each ISBN can include both the fact that something is a ‘Book’ and that it is ‘Digital’ (form == ‘BA’ && form == ‘DA’) – that sounds like the working definition of an e-book to me (at least for the time being) – as well as listing the ISBNs for all the other editions/formats of the same book. So I knocked together a quick demonstrator. The result is e-Book Finder and you are welcome to have a play. To get you started, here are a couple of examples:
Domain modeling and FRBR/FRSAD, from Jeff Young, on the public-lld mailing list of the W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group, is heavy on the RDF (“From a domain modeling/OWL POV, Group1, Group2 and Group3 are pretty clearly associated with frsad:Thema by UML generalization/rdfs:subClassOf relationship”) but check out the diagram that’s attached, and the follow-up messages, for some interesting stuff. The RDF is in Turtle, not XML, so it’s more readable.
Posted by: William Denton, 9 July 2010 7:39 am
Have you been trying RDA Online?
Test accounts for RDA Online were set up and log information sent around a couple of weeks ago. Have you tried it? The offer is open until the end of August. I had a short look, but I’ll go back for a longer look and post about it. I didn’t try doing anything with workflows, which is the most important part of it all.
Summers, Libraries and Linked Data: Confessions of a Graph Addict
Summary: Traditional and contemporary attempts to identify and describe simple and complex bibliographic resources have overlooked useful and powerful possibilities, due to the insufficient modeling of “bibliographic things of interest.” The presentation will introduce a resource description approach that remodels and strengthens FRBR by borrowing key concepts from Information Science and the History of Science. The presentation will reveal portions of a network of bibliographic (and other useful) relationships between printings of Melville?s novel dating from 1851-1975 into the present. In addition, structural similarities between the print publication network and the multimedia “mash-ups” seen on YouTube and other websites will be demonstrated and discussed.
Slide 2 says: “EXPECT THIS: FRBR requires remodeling and generalization to improve its comprehensibility, and to better inform information system design and implementation … Remodeling FRBR requires the addition of a Resource entity.”
Despite this blogs simple layout it is a pain to navigate around, if only because there is so much of it. The normally useful navigation bar on the left hand side has been packed with so much information, as well as the standard blog stuff, that it takes a while find something unless you already know exactly where it is. With that said, the information on the navigation bar is really quite useful, offering links to web documents, books and other sites all to help with the understanding of FRBR. The content of the blog itself is just as impenetrable as FRBR …
Posted by: William Denton, 2 July 2010 8:30 am
Hello there. This is really Last Month in FRBR. Sorry about that. I was on vacation for a week and what with one thing and another I let a couple of extra weeks pass by. Here are some nice things I’ve missed.
Resource discovery relies on persistent and well diffused identifiers. Related to discovery is access and rights management and they too rely on persistent identifiers. The aim of the workshop is to discuss the identifiers that relate to resources and their creators and how well they fit the FRBR model. What proactive roles should libraries be playing in relation to identifiers, their maintenance and diffusion?
Many identifiers will be considered. Among those at the work level are the ISTC (International standard text code), OWI (OCLC work identifier), ISWC (Musical works), ISAN (Audio-visual works) and OWI. At the manifestation level there are ISBN, ISSN, ISMN (music) v-ISAN, DOI, Handle, ARK, LC and other national bibliography identifiers and the OCN (OCLC control number). For creators, there is the new draft International standard ISNI and the emergent ORCID (Open Research Contributor Identifier).
Tasks for the workshop will include examining the existing identifier landscape and its completeness, examining the role of identifiers in discovery and in linking data.
If you’re at all interested in identifiers for Works, Expressions, Manifestations, Persons and other group 2 entities, subjects, and so on, then you should read this. There are 60 slides, with lots of diagrams, and though it may be hard to get the full sense of it all, you’ll get the basics, lots of acronyms that you can pursue on your own if you don’t know them, some good links, some basic facts, some discussion of linked data, and a good sense of the issues. Have a look.
ALCTS FRBR Interest Group met last week
One week ago today the ALCTS FRBR Interest Group met. Jenn Riley, Yin Zhang, and Martha Yee spoke. I hope recordings or slides or notes go up.
OverCat from LibraryThing and TimSpalding
Tim Spalding announced OverCat, “LibraryThing’s new index of 32 million library records, assembled from libraries around the world … [it] combines results into edition-level clusters, so you get one result per edition (rather than pages and pages of the same edition of the same book from different libraries).”
When I first read that I though they were doing Expression-level groupings, which would be fantastic, but it’s Manifestation-level. Which is great but not fantastic. Nevertheless, it’s more good work from LibraryThing. The sad news is that they’ve harvested data from libraries but due to license restrictions they can’t make their aggregate improved data available.
TSIG pre-conference day on RDA
Shaping Tomorrow’s Metadata with RDA was the name of a full-day session held by the Canadian Library Association’s Technical Services Interest Group the day before the CLA’s 2010 annual conference. There’s some general stuff on RDA but also Pat Riva (chair of the FRBR Review Group) and Tom Delsey (who helped write the FRBR spec) speaking about things, and Jennifer Bowen of Rochester talking about the eXtensible Catalog, which will know about FRBR.
Bibliographica “is an open catalogue of cultural works that grew out of the Public Domain Works project which started in 2005 and is still running today. The Bibliographica software that powers this site is open-source and designed for others to use. Moreover, different bibliographica instances can co-operatively share information. Other significant features include native RDF support, FRBR-like domain model, and wiki-like recording of every change.”
A colleague and I were recently awarded an Ulverscroft/IFLA Best Practice Award to visit the Celia Library for the Visually Impaired in Helsinki to study their implementation of FRBR. We both work for the RNIB National Library Service so were really interested to find out how Celia use FRBR to assign relationships between different accessible formats of the same work. I’ve read lots about FRBR and have attended many presentations but to actually see it being used in practice and have a go myself was a real revelation. Celia produce many of their audio and Braille books in both Finnish and Swedish so the expression entity is particularly useful for them. Here at the RNIB we have can have several different formats (Braille, giant print, audio) all produced potentially from different editions of the same print work so it would be logical for us to have single record for the work with different manifestations attached.
Does anyone else out there use FRBR? I’d love to hear how you find it.
Oliver, FRBR and RDA: Advances in Resource Description
It still has never been shown that the FRBR user tasks have anything that *our users* want, (in fact, the FRBR displays I have seen tend to frighten even me!) although I will agree that FRBR may give librarians and catalogers a few of the tools that they want. So, the “FRBR user tasks” should probably be renamed the “FRBR librarian tasks”. As an example, I have mentioned several times on other lists that FRBR-type views will not help my patrons find much of anything, and I must confess, they don’t help me find anything I want either.
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.
The remarkable and ubiquitous Karen Coyle said “what it comes down to for me is that the Group1 entities are really a single entity with subparts” and expanded her email message into a blog post: FRBR and Sharability.
Check the archives for all of it. Really there’s nothing too new about it, though. The same kind of discussion has happened on other mailing list, with mostly the same people. Which is perhaps more important than the substance of this discussion.
Posted by: William Denton, 21 May 2010 7:48 am
Free access to RDA from June to August: get it while you can
COMPLIMENTARY OPEN-ACCESS PERIOD shouts a page at the Resource Description and Access web site: “The contents of the RDA Toolkit will be open at no charge for everyone to try from the RDA launch date in mid-June 2010 through August 31, 2010. Sign up now and we’ll send you an email with your login information as soon as open access becomes available in mid-June.”
This really has nothing to do with open access. RDA costs money: $195 USD for one person for one year; $325 USD for one year for a site license with multiple users but only one accessing the system at a time. Open access means it’s free. This is a free trial period of a commercial product designed, I think, to entice customers and to help work out bugs.
I think RDA is a standard should be freely available to the entire world. That said, if you’re at all interested, especially if you don’t think you’ll have access to it when they charge a subscription fee, now is the time to try it out. RDA is built on FRBR (and it seems, from what little I know, that it will be a very interesting online system), so you’ll want to try it out.
Abstract: The treatment of subjects by Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) has attracted less attention than some of its other aspects, but there seems to be a general consensus that it needs work. While some have proposed elaborating its subject categories—concepts, objects, events, and places—to increase their semantic complexity, a working group of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has recently made a promising proposal that essentially bypasses those categories in favor of one entity, thema. This article gives an overview of the proposal and discusses its relevance to another difficult problem, ambiguities in the establishment of headings for buildings.
RDA: 10-week Reading Program
RDA: 10-week reading program is just what it says it is. It’s week eight and I just found out about it! Sorry not to have posted about it before. Week 1 is the start. The only name on this is “Henry;” I have no clue beyond that who’s behind this.
Posted by: William Denton, 14 May 2010 7:01 am
Learning About RDA
Lots of mentions of FRBR et al on the Learning About RDA blog. There is a variety of writers, I think from a course at a library school who are doing this as part of their work.
University of Colorado at Boulder brushes up on FRBR
Brushing Up on FRBR describes how the 35 cataloguers at the University of Colorado at Boulder are reading and studying FRBR together!
They did it in a really interesting way, using digress.it to allow people to comment on each and every paragraph of the report. For example, here’s the definition of Expression, and discussion about it. It looks like there aren’t a whole lot of comments online, but I bet there was quite a bit of discussion in person. I hope it was a fruitful project.
Thirty-five cataloguers talking about FRBR — you know that’s going to be fun!
Panel participants wanted at ALCTS FRBR Interest Group
This hit various mailing lists:
Request for panel participants, ALCTS FRBR Interest Group ALA Annual, Washington, D.C., Friday, June 25, 2010, 10:30-12:00 p.m.
The ALCTS FRBR Interest Group is seeking participants/presenters for a panel discussion on FRBR, its implications and implementations. All topics related to FRBR are welcome, but given the imminent release of RDA we are most interested in exploring issues other than descriptive cataloging. Some suggested topics include:
implications for user interface design and implementation;
FRBRoo and the CIDOC CRM;
FRAD and FRSAD;
overview and background on data modeling in general
Presentations should be brief, around 10-15 minutes, to allow for discussion time after the presentations. Please send a brief description of your proposed presentation by May 24, to our contact information below.