Everybody's Libraries

September 8, 2010

6 Comments

  1. The only real point of a shared model like FRBR is if we’re actually going to try and use cooperative cataloging to collectively share information about groupings of manifestations (the things we traditionally catalog, more or less) into editions and works.

    If we’re not really going to do that (and so far, there is no indication that anyone seriously plans to, not really even RDA), and it’s every-enterprise-for-itself using it’s own algorithms to try and automatically group… then just “FRBR-like in the way we managed to figure out that seemed the appropriate cost-benefit balance for our own capabilitie and our understanding of our own users needs” is just fine. There’s no reason to standardize just for the hell of it. The reason to standardize is to share data. If there’s no serious plans to do that, then there’s really no point to it.

    Comment by jrochkind — September 9, 2010 @ 1:43 am

  2. Hm. I think there’s something to be said for standardization as a way to help patrons predict interactions with software. Data-sharing isn’t the only possible reason for standards, and in this case I’m not at all sure it’s the only reason.

    Which isn’t to say we’re doing a good job around FRBR and RDA, of course.

    Comment by Dorothea Salo — September 9, 2010 @ 7:35 am

  3. I like your term “FRBR-ized”!

    I have often felt that there should be an option in our union catalog for a patron to place holds without specifying an edition – instead request the “work.” The reader could obtain his book more expeditiously.

    The addition of RDA to the MARC record is moving in the right direction.

    Comment by susan — September 9, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

  4. Open Library has two other FRBR entities that it implements: authors (frbr:Person) and subjects. The latter are divided into “facets” based on LCSH: people, places,topics and times. It is not as easy to get to these as I would like, but if you click on an author name in a display, you get the page for the entity “author”.

    http://openlibrary.org/authors/OL9388A/William_Shakespeare

    From there you can get to the subject Denmark (under Places on the Shakespeare page):

    http://openlibrary.org/subjects/place:denmark

    and this gives you a publishing timeline, more subject facets, prolific authors and prolific publishers, all related to that subject. Note that both of these are generated in real time from the underlying data, they aren’t hand-created pages.

    This is getting us closer to “real” FRBR, which is 3 groups of inter-related entities. Some entities, though, are very hard to manage given the structure of our current data, but I’m hoping that Open Library can tease out a few more, although there will be problems of precisions (e.g. publisher names, which are uncontrolled).

    Comment by Karen Coyle — September 11, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  5. I’m glad to see Open Library is doing more with author and subject pages. While I’m focusing on the FRBR Group 1 entities in this particular series, there’s a fair bit you can do with the Group 2 and 3 entities. (I gave some examples a while back in my earlier series on concept-oriented catalogs.)

    I’ve seen a lot more debate about the practical role of the Group 1 WEMI stack than I have about the other FRBR entities. I’m finding it useful both to look at the way web catalogs like Open Library are handling these sorts of abstractions, as I did in this post, and at what seems to make the most sense in my own catalog implementation. I’ll discuss that, and the general data model that seems to work well there, in my next post.

    Comment by John Mark Ockerbloom — September 15, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  6. Thank you, this actually helped me understand FRBR for my knowledge organization class!

    Comment by elizabethwillse — September 16, 2012 @ 8:05 pm


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