Re: Non- and Partial-FRBR Metadata

Quoting Asaf Bartov <>:

> Ms. Coyle's concern seems to me to underscore the importance of _having_ an
> Expression entity rather than the need to work around it:  she specifically
> mentions that "The same Expression information may be found in more than one
> bibliographic entry", which is precisely a case for normalization.

Let me go back and re-describe my situation (which is a common one,  
AFAIK), which may have gotten lost in the lenghty discussion.

As with most bibliographic databases today, the Open Library does not  
reflect the FRBR separation of bibliographic data into WEMI. Although  
some information has been pulled out of the data into a Work "record,"  
what remains as the primary bibliographic entry is *not* a FRBR  
Manifestation; it is similar to the bibliographic record created by  
current library cataloging, or that is found as a purchasable entry in  
Amazon. It contains some elements from each of the FRBR Group 1  
entities, combined into a single unit with a single identifier. I  
cannot code this bibliographic mixture as a frbr:Manifestation because  
it does not meet the definition of that entity, and I think that  
miscoding of data will cause great confusion when we try to combine  
data from different sources. I would rather have a defined entity that  
accurately reflects my data.

I confess here that I am a FRBR skeptic, at least as far as the Group  
1 WEMI structure. I do believe that WEMI can be useful as guidance for  
catalogers in the decisions that they must make. I also find that  
treating Works as a user view is helpful in reducing the perceived  
duplication in large databases. I am not, however, convinced that the  
separation of bibliographic data into strictly interdependent  
entities, as WEMI represents, is the best way to deal with the data  
structurally. This goes way back in our discussion to the remarks by  
Jon [1] and by Dan [2] suggesting that Class affiliation of  
properties, rather than record structure, would be a better way to  
treat WEMI. The fact that we are trying to find work-arounds to WEMI  
is evidence that the creation of four separate entities may not be  
viable in practice, at least not today when most of our bibliographic  
data has been created in a pre-FRBR world.

My situation would require a broadly defined "bibliographic  
description" entity. DC has "citation" but I think that has a  
different meaning. A bibliographic description of the type done by  
libraries and even bookstores has many properties not included in  
citations. I would like to have an entity that could be applied to  
MARC records, ONIX records, Amazon entries, etc.

Use of class affiliation rather than actual structure does not mean  
that applications could not take advantage of efficiencies such as  
allowing catalogers to copy Work or Expression information from other  
bibliographic descriptions to a new bibliographic entry. The proof of  
this is that systems (WorldCat; Open Library) have been able to create  
a Work "view" while maintaining the traditional bibliographic records  
in their databases. I can imagine WEMI being abstracted from complete  
or incomplete bibliographic descriptions and used as linked data. I am  
less able to imagine WEMI as our data structure for library and other  
bibliographic systems, at least at this moment in time.



p.s. BTW, I agree with Asaf that a lost "Work" is most likely to be a  
lost "Work/Expression," unless we can conclude that the Work was never  
uttered in any human-perceivable form. Unlikely, at least on this  

Karen Coyle
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet

Received on Tuesday, 21 September 2010 15:36:49 UTC