Tag Archive: FRBR

FRBR: the Definitive Guide

Jonathan Rochkind recently posted his paraphrase of FRBR over at Bibliographic Wilderness. It is clear, concise, and accurate. From now on, I will consider it the definitive guide to FRBR Group 1 entities. Thanks, Jonathan.

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.

OVGTSL 2007 – Part 1 – FRBR

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.