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Re: FRBR and classes ('frbr:Works in the age of mechanical reproduction'...)

From: William Waites <ww@styx.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 16:11:33 +0100
To: "Tillett, Barbara" <btil@loc.gov>
Cc: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, public-lld <public-lld@w3.org>, "Murray, Ronald" <rmur@loc.gov>
Message-ID: <20110321151133.GB13317@styx.org>
* [2011-03-21 10:19:25 -0400] Tillett, Barbara <btil@loc.gov> écrit:

] Thinking of FRBR as "over-engineered" perhaps mistakenly focuses
] on casual readers and on inventory management issues.

"over-engineered" meaning "for our use case". the added complexity
of abstractions that may be useful in some circumstances was 
simply outweighed by the benefit of keeping things simple. Having
the requirement to create ghostly entities because of the conceptual
model makes things more complex when the users really do not care
about these fine distinctions.

] If our *Cultural Heritage* mission (as opposed to a marketing,
] entertainment, or advertisement mission) is to "collect the dots 
] and then connect the dots" through our resource descriptions,
] we require the ability to create resource descriptions that serve
] the needs of  -> and incorporate the more sophisticated
] resource descriptions created by <- scholarly and educational
] users.

The FRBR conceptual model is not necessarily right for many
scholarly and educational users. It makes a bunch of assumptions
about epistemology and art (the nature of creation) that can
easily be disputed. Artists and philosophers will organise
their knowledge about the works in their field differently and
will simply say, "the librarians think of things that way and
perhaps it helps them organise books better and that's their

The WEMI classes might be ok but the rules for when to create
a new expression and when to create a new work are particularly
problematic. This shows up most clearly when applied to things
like recordings and musical scores, but the problem is there
even with literature, only harder to see. For example, it 
used to be commonplace for soloists performing a concerto
to compose their own cadenza. Almost none of the classical or
romantic composers provided a cadenza indeed its purpose is
to allow the soloist to display their virtuosity. Some musicians
still do this, Nigel Kennedy comes to mind. Most play cadenzas
that were written by some other musician.

Now if I have a score for the Brahms violin concerto, I'm likely
to see something that was written in part by Brahms and in part
by someone else. So this is now a derived work but in a library
catalogue that is not specialised for music it is likely to
be treated as a different expression or manifestation. If I
have a recording where the soloist improvises a cadenza, I
must now have a new work. Even if they play an already existing
one it can be strongly argued that their interpretation 
constitutes a new work to the degree that it is novel or
inspired, to the degree that they make their own musical
contribution. What happens to a recording where someone plays
a wrong note? All these things and more are of interest to
musicians and musicologists who will find the choices made
by FRBR inadequate or wrong. And I am not talking about "casual
users" here.

The point is, FRBR as a conceptual model is good for some 
things and not for others. It is just one of many possible
sets of categories and rules for organising creations and is
not so universal and obvious that it should be privileged
above others.

William Waites                <mailto:ww@styx.org>
http://river.styx.org/ww/        <sip:ww@styx.org>
F4B3 39BF E775 CF42 0BAB  3DF0 BE40 A6DF B06F FD45
Received on Monday, 21 March 2011 15:12:06 UTC

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