Archive for the ‘FRBR’ Category

data modelling and FRBR WEMI ontology

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

data modelling and FRBR WEMI ontology

Jonathan Rochkind writes to defend the FRBR WEMI ontology:

Karen Coyle writes on the RDA listserv:

FRBR claims to be based on a “relational” model, as in “relational database.” That is not tomorrow’s data model; it is yesterday’s, although it is a step toward tomorrow’s model. The difficulty is that FRBR was conceived of in the early 1990′s, and completed in the late 1990′s. That makes it about 15 years old.

I think it would have been just as much a mistake to tie the FRBR model to an RDF model as it would have/was to tie it to a relational database model. Whatever we come up with is going to last us more than 15 years, and things will change again. Now, I’ll admit that I’m heretically still suspicious that an RDF data model will in fact be ‘the future’. But even if it is, there will be another future (or simultaneous futures plural).

And concludes:

I tend to think they should have just gone with ‘set theory’ oriented language, because it is, I think, the most clear, while still being abstract enough to make it harder to think the WEMI ontology is tied to some particular technology like relational databases OR linked data. I think WEMI gets it right regardless of whether you speak in the language of ‘relational’, ‘set theory’, ‘object orientation’ or ‘linked data’/RDF.

Leaving my qualms about RDF to one side, I write to point out that choosing “set theory” is a choice of a particular technology or if you like, tradition.

If that sounds odd, consider how many times you have used set theory in the last week, month, year? Unless you are a logician or introductory mathematics professor, the odds are that the number is zero (0) (or the empty set, {},for any logicians reading this post).

Choosing “set theory” is to choose a methodology that very few people use in practice. The vast majority of people make choices, evaluate outcomes, live complex lives innocent of the use of set theory.

I don’t object to FRBR or other efforts choosing to use “set theory” but recognize it is a minority practice.

One that elevates a minority over the majority of users.

International Bibliographic Standards, Linked Data, and the Impact on Library Cataloging

Monday, August 1st, 2011

International Bibliographic Standards, Linked Data, and the Impact on Library Cataloging

August 24, 2011
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

From the notice:

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is responsible for the development and maintenance of International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), UNIMARC, and the “Functional Requirements” family for bibliographic records (FRBR), authority data (FRAD), and subject authority data (FRSAD). ISBD underpins the MARC family of formats used by libraries world-wide for many millions of catalog records, while FRBR is a relatively new model optimized for users and the digital environment. These metadata models, schemas, and content rules are now being expressed in the Resource Description Framework language for use in the Semantic Web.

This webinar provides a general update on the work being undertaken. It describes the development of an Application Profile for ISBD to specify the sequence, repeatability, and mandatory status of its elements. It discusses issues involved in deriving linked data from legacy catalogue records based on monolithic and multi-part schemas following ISBD and FRBR, such as the duplication which arises from copy cataloging and FRBRization. The webinar provides practical examples of deriving high-quality linked data from the vast numbers of records created by libraries, and demonstrates how a shift of focus from records to linked-data triples can provide more efficient and effective user-centered resource discovery services.

This not a free webinar but registration means if you miss it on the 24th of August, you will still have access to the recorded proceedings for one year.

VoxPopuLII – Blog

Friday, October 29th, 2010


From the blog:

VoxPopuLII is a guest-blogging project sponsored by the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School. It presents the insights of a the very diverse group of people working on legal informatics issues and government information, all around the world. It emphasizes new voices and big ideas.

Not your average blog.

I first encountered: LexML Brazil Project

Questions (about LexML):

  1. What do you think about the strategy to deal with semantic diversity? Pluses? Minuses?
  2. The project says they are following: “Ranganathan’s ‘stratification planes’ classification system…” Your evaluation?
  3. Identify 3 instances of equivalents to the “stratification planes” classification system.
  4. How would you map those 3 instances to Ranganathan’s “stratification planes?”

Variations/FRBR: Variations as a Testbed for the FRBR Conceptual Model

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

FRBRized data in XML for free download!

Approximately 80,000 bibliographic records for musical recordings and 105,000 or so for scores.

Be sure to take a look at the search interface and submit suggestions.

From the post:

The Variations/FRBR [1] project at Indiana University has released bulk downloads of metadata for the sound recordings presented in our Scherzo [2] music discovery system in a FRBRized XML format. The downloadable data includes FRBR Work, Expression, Manifestation, Person, and Corporate Body records, along with the structural and responsibility relationships connecting them. While this is still an incomplete representation of FRBR and FRAD, we hope that the release of this data will aid others that are studying or working with FRBR. This XML data conforms to the “efrbr” set of XML Schemas [3] created for this project.

The XML data may be downloaded from, and comments/questions may be directed to

One caveat to those who seek to use this data: we plan to continue improving our FRBRization algorithm into the future and have not yet implemented a way to keep entity identifiers consistent between new data loads. Therefore we cannot at this time guarantee the Work with the identifier, for example, will have the same identifier in the future. Therefore this data at this time should be considered highly experimental.

Many thanks to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for funding the V/FRBR project.

Also, if you’re interested in FRBR, please do check out our experimental discovery system: . We’re very interested in your feedback!


[1] V/FRBR project home page (; FRBR report

[2] Scherzo (

[3] V/FRBR project XML Schemas (

Information shamelessly stolen from Last Week in FRBR #33.

xISBN (Web service)

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

xISBN (Web service) should be of interest to topic mappers.

From the website:

The xISBN Web service supplies ISBNs and other information associated with an individual intellectual work that is represented in WorldCat. Submit an ISBN to this service, and it returns a list of related ISBNs and selected metadata.


ISBNs are related to each other in WorldCat using an algorithm developed by OCLC Research. The algorithm restructures WorldCat bibliographic records to conform to the FRBR conceptual model for information objects. For instance, rather than requiring an end user to traverse multiple records that represent many different manifestations of a book—including printings, hardback or paperback editions or even filmed versions—”FRBRized” WorldCat information allows that user to review a core record that lists all manifestations.

The xISBN Web service queries database tables in WorldCat created by the FRBR algorithm.

I got there from e-Book Finder, a nifty site build on top of xISBN, that tries to find electronic versions of books. Not necessarily free electronic versions, just electronic versions.

From Moby-Dick To Mashups: Thinking About Bibliographic Networks

Monday, July 26th, 2010

From Moby-Dick To Mashups: Thinking About Bibliographic Networks was reported by the The FRBR Blog with the following summary:

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.

Anyone creating a topic map for library resources needs to review these slides.