Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

FRBRization of a Library Catalog: Better Collocation of Records, Leading to Enhanced Search, Retrieval, and Display

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

FRBRization of a Library Catalog: Better Collocation of Records, Leading to Enhanced Search, Retrieval, and Display

Article excerpt

The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)'s hierarchical system defines families of bibliographic relationship between records and collocates them better than most extant bibliographic systems. Certain library materials (especially audio-visual formats) pose notable challenges to search and retrieval; the first benefits of a FRBRized system would be felt in music libraries, but research already has proven its advantages for fine arts, theology, and literature--the bulk of the non-science, technology, and mathematics collections. This report will summarize the benefits of FRBR to next-generation library catalogs and OPACs, and will review the handful of ILS and catalog systems currently operating with its theoretical structure.

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The following review addresses the challenges and benefits of a next-generation online public access catalog (OPAC) according to the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR). (1) After a brief recapitulation of the challenges posed by certain library materials--specifically, but not limited to, audiovisual materials--this report will present FRBR's benefits as a means of organizing the database and public search results from an OPAC. (2) FRBR's hierarchical system of records defines families of bibliographic relationship between records and collocates them better than most extant bibliographic systems; it thus affords both library users and staff a more streamlined navigation between related items in different materials formats and among editions and adaptations of a work. In the eight years since the FRBR report's publication, a handful of working systems have been developed. The first benefits of such a system to an average academic library system would be felt in a branch music library, but research already has proven its advantages for fine arts, theology, and literature--the bulk of the non-science, technology, and mathematics collections.

Current search and retrieval challenges

The difficulties faced first, but not exclusively, by music users of most integrated library systems fall into two related categories: issues of materials formats, and issues of cataloging, indexing, and MARC record structure. Music libraries must collect, catalog, and support materials in more formats than anyone else; this makes their experience of the most common ILS modules--circulation, reserves, and acquisitions--by definition more complicated.

   The study of music continues to rely on the interrelated
   use of three distinct information formats--scores (the
   notated manifestation of a composer's or improviser's
   thought), recordings (realizations in sound, and sometimes
   video, of such compositions and improvisations),
   and books and journals (intellectual thought regarding
   such compositions and improvisations)--music
   libraries continue to require ... collections that integrate
   [emphasis mine] these three information formats
   appropriately. (3)

Put a different way, "relatedness is a pervasive characteristic of music materials." (4) This is why FRBR's model of bibliographic relationships offers benefits that will first impact the music collection. (5)

At present, however, musical formats pose search and retrieval challenges for most ILS users, and the problem is certainly replicated with micro forms and video recordings. The MARC codes distinguish between material formats, but they support only one category for sound recordings, lumping together CD, DVD audio, cassette tape, reel-to-reel tape, and all other types. (6) This single "sound recording" definition is easily reflected in OPACs (such as those powered by Innovative Interfaces' Millennium and Ex Libris' Aleph 500) and union catalogs (such as WorldCat. org). (7) However, the distinction between sound recording formats is embedded in subfields of the 007 field, which presently cannot be indexed by many library automation systems because the subfields are not adjacent. …

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