Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Coming Soon to Your Library?

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Coming Soon to Your Library?

Article excerpt

The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) data model holds great potential for improving access to library resources, but may not affect all libraries in the same way. The Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR, assisted by the work of its Format Variation Working Group, is exploring ways to incorporate FRBR into the next edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules to facilitate collocation at the level of the FRBR entity expression. Several library system vendors are also adding FRBR-based functionality to their systems. A combination of these two approaches to FRBR can provide significant benefits to users. Most FRBR entities and attributes are already present in library catalog records, and the influence of FRBR can also be seen in existing library activities. FRBR is thus not something totally foreign, but a fresh, more rigorous way of thinking about what libraries already do that provides a basis for designing new ways to improve users" access to library resources.


Recent discussions in the library community about the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) data model have generated many questions that do not seem to have easy answers. (1) How is the FRBR model likely to affect most libraries ... and when? Should cataloging managers be preparing to retrain their departments in something entirely new? Do other library staff members need to be concerned with FRBR, or is it just a cataloging thing? How can a library prepare for something that is not a new standard (and thus has no firm date of implementation) and that will not affect all libraries in the same way? Some librarians are becoming so apprehensive about FRBR that the term "FRBRphobia" comes to mind.

While the FRBR model offers great potential for influencing the way that we think about bibliographic data, we must first understand the components of the model itself well enough to make that possible. Unfortunately, discussions of FRBR sometimes make this difficult by focusing on how the most complicated bibliographic situations fit (or do not seem to fit) into FRBR's entity/attribute structure. This can give the misleading impression that the model is complex and difficult to learn. The theoretical nature of the FRBR model, which does not relate directly to any familiar data content or tagging standard, may make the possible effects of FRBR on individual libraries or library applications difficult to predict and understand. FRBR can seem very remote from daily library activities, and thus may appear to be of limited value except to cataloging theorists.

To address these concerns about FRBR, understanding some of the specific processes through which FRBR will begin to affect libraries is important. This paper will address some of these processes by first examining the effect of FRBR on cataloging through efforts to incorporate portions of the FRBR model into the Anglo American Cataloguing Rules (AACR), next by exploring the possible impact of FRBR on the development of online library systems and how libraries can respond to and participate in this effort, and, finally, by exploring possibilities for relating FRBR to other library projects. (2) Through the discussions in this paper, libraries will begin to be able to address the following questions:

* What do we need to know about FRBR in order to recognize it when it arrives?

* To prepare for its arrival, what questions should we be asking about FRBR, and to whom? and

* What are some simple and effective ways to introduce the FRBR model to others in the library community?

Incorporating FRBR into AACR: The JSC Format Variation Working Group

The Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (JSC) is engaged in various efforts to incorporate aspects of the FRBR model within AACR. Beginning in 2001, the JSC commissioned a wholesale analysis of terminology within AACR2. (3) The JSC also embarked on an effort to examine one specific aspect of the FRBR model: the FRBR Group 1 entity expression. …

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