OVGTSL 2007 – Part 2 – FRAD

After lunch, Dr. Tillett moved on to the work of the FRANAR (Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records) Working Group. This group recently released a draft (PDF) of FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data) for public review. FRAD covers records for “Group 2 Entities”, as defined in FRBR. These entities are Persons, Corporate Bodies, and the recently added Families (this last at the request of the archival community; many librarians would rather include Families as a subset of Corporate Bodies).

One notable development is the de-emphasis on authorized or preferred access points. Under the FRAD model, it looks like controlled access points can be developed according to different sets of rules, and one can indicate whether those rules designate an access point to be a preferred or variant form of a name. Thus, an authority record could have multiple “preferred” access points, perhaps in different scripts or languages, and it would be up to the system to select which to display to the user.

Note that the working group’s name also mentions numbering. One of their tasks was “to study the feasibility of an International Standard Authority Data Number”, basically a unique ID to be assigned by a central international body to every authority record created by any institution in the world, a URI for authority records. The working group recommended against the formation of such a body, citing costs and impracticality as the leading reasons. They did, though, recommend the use of system control numbers from maintainers of authority files (e.g., the Library of Congress, DDB) be used as identifiers.

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