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Re: Non- and Partial-FRBR Metadata

From: Karen Coyle <kcoyle@kcoyle.net>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 15:09:11 -0700
Message-ID: <20100930150911.ab27vwdc4kskos44@kcoyle.net>
To: Asaf Bartov <asaf.bartov@gmail.com>
Cc: public-xg-lld@w3.org
Quoting Asaf Bartov <asaf.bartov@gmail.com>:

> I think that's not quite accurate:
> An ISBN corresponds (disregarding the problem of dupes) to a single
> Manifestation, *not* necessarily to a W->E->M.  Remember the case of an
> anthology, or an issue of a journal -- a single Manifestation embodying
> multiple expressions, each of which realizes a single work.  So an ISBN
> could really correspond to the follow set of FRBR entities
> (W1..Wn)->(E1...En)->M.
> Thus your last sentence should probably read: "Anything that is published is
> by definition a Manifestation of one or more Expressions, each of which
> corresponding to one Work."

Asaf, you are correct, although if you read the discussions of the  
FRBR working group on aggregates [1] you will see that some people  
consider the Manifestation and Expression to be one-to-one. I think  
that is highly problematic, and have argued that on the RDA discussion  
list, but it's an area of contention.

[1] http://www.ifla.org/en/events/frbr-working-group-on-aggregates

> While it's true that no single Group 1 entity would ever be something you
> can "hold in your hand" in terms of library holdings, I do think they're not
> too abstract to be interesting to consumers (albeit sophisticated, or
> well-trained consumers).

My experience is that Works are very useful, expressions less so, but  
that some aspects of expressions (like language) work well as facets  
for narrowing down what a user retrieves.

> Consider the example I mentioned in my introduction e-mail -- a 19th century
> Hebrew translation of /Romeo and Juliet/ by Salkinson -- one of the earliest
> translations of Shakespeare into Hebrew: clearly an Expression of the Work
> "Romeo and Juliet".  There have been any number of doctoral dissertations
> and articles written _about_ that translation (NB: not about /Romeo and
> Juliet/), and so asking a system "What do you know about Salkinson's
> translation of Romeo and Juliet?" could yield not only all the editions
> (Manifestations) of the text the system knows about, but Works about the
> Expression, and perhaps also Works about the Translator (but avoiding
> flooding the user with Works about the Author, which are clearly mostly
> irrelevant in such a specific query).

This is where we run into an issue for applications. There are  
definitely scholarly situations where the user will have an interest  
in a particular translation. There will be many other situations, like  
that of a medium-sized public library, where users are interested in  
general reading and expect to find resources in the language of their  
surrounding community. The reason why I favor the use of application  
profiles is that we have a wide range of users and uses, and the  
library community today is really only able to provide a single  
"view", generally the specialist view.

> Or what if I ask my information system: "What can you offer by way
> of related works to do with Romeo and Juliet?", and get a list of works
> linked to the Work R&J, e.g. Tchaikovsky's ballet (and available renditions
> in CD/VHS/DVD), /West Side Story/ (ditto), etc.

What really excites me about being able to express relationships is  
precisely this ability to make connections for users that they may not  
make themselves. I would like, however, to be able to make at least  
*some* of those connections without having my data in a strict  
FRBR-modeled format. I believe that there is a level at which users  
may not care which Expression was translated, or whether a particular  
kind of adaptation (e.g. to a film script) is related to the Work or  
the Expression. I also am not convinced that catalogers will be able  
to make these connections accurately and am sure that when we allow  
users to add their own relationships between resources that these  
distinctions will not be practical. Can we have interesting  
relationships without the strictness of FRBR?


> These seem to me useful options to have, as a client of information systems,
> and I do not think it would be beyond the ability of library patrons and
> consumers to get used to formulating such queries _when appropriate_ -- no
> doubt full-text searching and brute keyword searching would still be primary
> vectors of information retrieval much of the time.
>    Asaf
> --
> Asaf Bartov <asaf.bartov@gmail.com>

Karen Coyle
kcoyle@kcoyle.net http://kcoyle.net
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet
Received on Thursday, 30 September 2010 22:09:46 UTC

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