Dr. Tillett’s presentations began with an overview of IFLA and its activities, then moved on to FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) for the rest of the morning. This was a fairly basic introduction to the FRBR model, intended for the majority of the librarians there who only had, at best, a passing familiarity with it. She mentioned that the FRBR group, while developing a conceptual model rather than an actual implementation, did want to encourage the adoption of FRBR for library systems. For this reason, they focused on laying everything out in E-R diagrams, presuming this would make it more comfortable for systems designers who would inevitably be charged with implementing it. She points to the Library of Congress’s MARC and FRBR page for an analysis of using FRBR in an MARC environment.
Dr. Tillett freely admits that FRBR is not incredibly relevant for about 80% of the library catalog, that being the items that have only ever existed in one form and one edition. But using FRBR can greatly improve access to the remaining 20%. And it’s only reasonable to assume that these works that have appeared in multiple forms, multiple editions, etc., are more likely to be used anyway. It’s their popularity that led to these numerous instantiations.