Friday, March 29, 2019

Library of Congress BIBFRAME progress

A recent ALCTS webinar "Library of Congress BIBFRAME progress" provided information on the current state of BIBFRAME development. Topics included fiscal year 2019 goals and achievements, an exploration of issues mapping MARC to BIBFRAME to MARC, explication of the issue of "blank nodes", and developments in LC's Linked Data Services.

LC is particularly interested in mapping data both into and out of BIBFRAME to eliminate the need for staff participating in the BIBFRAME pilot to do double work. Currently, participating staff are required to describe a resource in BIBFRAME, then re-describe it in MARC. It will be necessary to provide full MARC and BIBFRAME resource descriptions for the foreseeable future. Sally McCallum described several complicated modeling issues that must be resolved before duplicate work can be eliminated. Many of these issues are related to modeling differences; MARC is a "unit record model" with data both from and about the resource integrated into a record, BIBFRAME splits the data about a resource into Works (RDA work/expression), Instance (RDA manifestation), and Items. Decisions are needed on how to present a BIBFRAME work as a MARC work. Use of vernacular scripts and URIs present additional issues. URIs are present in BIBFRAME descriptions in areas that are not currently supported in MARC. Use of URI's to represent concepts at the field level is pretty straight forward, but mapping of headings with qualifiers can be problematic. The goal is to produce structurally sound MARC records from BIBFRAME.

Kevin Ford addressed the issue of "anonymous resources", also known as "blank nodes". He described anonymous resources as a "fact of life" in the context of raw data transformations. Although it would be nice if all data points and concepts had URIs, not everything rises to a level where an entity is willing to mint and maintain a URI. LC is tackling some of this by creating an experimental "providers" file of publishers, available at

This presentation is available via the ALCTS YouTube channel at ALCTS webinars are generally made available via the ALCTS YouTube channel six months after initial presentation. The Library of Congress makes presentations about BIBFRAME available via their Bibliographic Framework page.

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