Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Examining FRBR

Many of us (actually, hopefully all of us) have been paying attention over the past decade or two as FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Description) has become increasingly prominent in cataloging theory. In fact, the FRBR conceptual model underlies much of RDA and is the reason for many discussions about Jane Austen’s various works, expressions, manifestations, and items during RDA training. However, I know I am not the only one disappointed in the fact that RDA isn’t fully realized in our current online catalog environment, where the catalogs have yet to be “FRBR-ized” and therefore remain unable to demonstrate some of the touted benefits of RDA.

Karen Coyle’s forthcoming book “FRBR, Before and After: A Look at Our Bibliographic Models” promises to examine this exact topic: the promises and pitfalls of the (current) leading conceptual model. Personally, I am excited to see a detailed discussion of where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we seem to be headed in regards to bibliographic models. Also of note is the book's inclusion of a discussion of technology and its effect on library data and data modeling.

Also of interest is that while the book will be released in print in November 2015, it will also be released in early 2016 as open access. It will be interesting to watch this publishing model and see if it is viable, not just for the publisher, but for the book’s audience. For more details on the book, check out Coyle’s announcement and the book’s afterword.

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