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FSR 2014, Abstract 27th February 2014 – Session 1

Daniel Van Spanje (OCLC, Netherlands)
Rise and fall of the cataloguer’s empire: a changing landscape — Keynote speech
Abstract
In this presentation the Author will describe the various discovery instruments users nowadays use and about the main characteristics, focusing the impact of these developments on the data exposure requirements and how it is changing the cataloguers workflow. Then the Author will discuss this change from cataloguing to metadata management and outline its wider global context. The bibliographic record, however, is still very in the middle of much of our work and will, finally, focus about the need to move from record management to entity management and the risks and challenges we face doing that.
Rachel Ivy Clarke (University of Washington Information School, USA)
Breaking Records: The History of Bibliographic Records and their Influence in Conceptualizing Bibliographic Data
Keywords: bibliographic records, semantic web, library cataloging
Abstract
Cataloging and bibliographic description are arguably fundamental pillars of librarianship, supporting the selection, management, and preservation of information. When collections of information become too large to organize and access directly, librarians create surrogate “bibliographic records” to represent specific items in a library’s collection, physical or digital.
The purpose of these bibliographic records is to describe a document in sufficient detail to identify it uniquely among other documents and specify where the record can be located in a file of records. Originally, mere title and author information was enough to distinguish a work among others, but over time, the amounts and types of data that constitute sufficient detail to uniquely describe a resource have grown. New editions, translations, and reprints force additional data elements like edition, translator, and publication date as mandatory inclusions in a record. As more resources arise, more data is necessary to distinguish them. The conceptual model of a bibliographic record, then, is one of a collection of data elements.
However, contemporary data models like the semantic web directly conflict with this traditional conceptualization of bibliographic records. Semantic web technologies rely on unique resource identifiers (URIs) — unique character strings used to “distinguish one resource from all other resources — as a fundamental functional component. Every resource, physical or digital, concrete or abstract, is assigned a standardized character string that uniquely identifies that resource among other resources. A URI may also specify location of a resource, especially in the case of digital resources. A URI is a single data element that uniquely describes (and more often than not, locates) a resource.
The traditional conceptual model of a bibliographic records is a collection of multiple data elements, while the model of the semantic web relies on the idea that a single data element —the URI — uniquely identifies a resource. A traditional record is a conceptual whole that includes all the bibliographic information about a resource together in one place, like a catalog card or a MARC record. In the realm of the semantic web, bibliographic data need not be a conceptual whole. Bibliographic data about a resource needn’t be collected in a single location, but rather linked from many multiple locations across the web. What then, are the implications of the conceptualization of the bibliographic record for librarianship?
This position paper argues that the way in which librarians conceptualize bibliographic data —as a “record” — affects the affordances and limitations of that data, especially in digital environments. By tracing the development of the concept of the bibliographic record and contrasting that model with current developments such as the semantic web, this paper will reveal how the “record” model shaped library cataloging from early physical catalogs through contemporary digital software and interfaces.
Such reification of the record model for bibliographic data may hamper possibilities for innovation in digital libraries and catalogues, calling for a reconceptualization of what exactly bibliographic description should entail.
Tanja Mercun, Maja Žumer (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Cataloguing for the users: from catalogue objectives to bibliographic data
Keywords: library catalogues, FRBR, MARC
Abstract
Using library catalogues today, it is very time consuming and sometimes even impossible to answer questions such as “What versions of Don Quixote are available in my library?” “What English translations of Don Quixote can I choose from?” “What other works by Cervantes are available at the library?” or “What kind of adaptations based on Don Quixote does the library hold?”. For each of these questions, the user would first have to form a correct query and then spend a considerable amount of time inspecting all the retrieved records in order to create a mental image of what is available in the collection and to select the records that best correspond to the query. In many cases, the system would not retrieve all the relevant records and the user would not be able to identify all the needed elements to make an informed decision. With a growing awareness that libraries need to create not only more functional, informative, and useful but also more technologically advanced library catalogues, we have witnesses several initiatives in the last few years that have triggered a long overdue deliberation on bibliographic data and formats. With FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), RDA (Resource Description and Access), BIBFRAME and other developments, libraries finally have the opportunity to set up a framework for data and an infrastructure that will enable more powerful retrieval and semantics within user interfaces and thus better meet users’ needs. However, the transition to new formats will not happen overnight which is why it is important to understand the limitations and potentials of the current format, cataloguing practices, as well as cataloguing rules in relation to the desired catalogue functionality. Not only that, there is a danger that the transformation is not going to be successful if the objectives of a library catalogue and the vision of user’s interaction are not placed at the centre of the development.
Revisiting the objectives of library catalogues, the paper looks at how the missing functionality could be achieved by improving the underlying bibliographic data. To begin with, the paper identifies different types of queries and information needs that current catalogues do not efficiently support, such as finding all works of an author or endeavours where a person had a specific role, distinguishing between different versions of a work, identifying and associating related works etc. It then reviews bibliographic data in current MARC records, pointing out the inconsistencies and incompleteness that present an obstacle to fulfilling catalogue’s objectives. It also looks at how well RDA addresses these issues, and discusses some possible modifications (for example consistent use of descriptive identification, relator codes, field linking, access points) to help process records in a way that would support the creation of more advanced, FRBR-based library catalogues. Using our prototype system FrbrVis which enables exploration of all versions of a work, works related to the work and works by and about the author, the paper shows one possible improvement of library catalogues and discusses the changes that were needed to achieve such functionality.
Karen Coyle (Library consultant, USA)
Rethinking FRBR, Two Decades On
Work began on the development of Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records in the mid-1990’s. The result was a conceptual model of the bibliographic universe. A conceptual model is never actionable without further development, so one measure of the success of FRBR can be found in the interpretations that various communities have made of FRBR to meet their needs. The speaker will report some of the results of a larger study in this area.
Gordon Dunsire (Library consultant, UK)
RDA in Library Linked Data Applications
Keywords: RDA, linked data, interoperability
Abstract
RDA elements and terminologies are represented in RDF namespaces managed within the Open Metadata Registry. RDA is based on the conceptual models Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD), and RDA elements are constrained to the entities of Work, Expression, Manifestation, Item, Person, Family, and Corporate Body by declaring domains for properties based on attributes and domains and ranges for properties based on relationships, and by making specific references to the entities in the property definitions. These properties are intended for use in RDA and other applications based on FRBR. For non-FRBR applications using, for example, MARC 21 and UNIMARC encoded data, RDA provides a set of properties that are not constrained, with no declared domains or ranges and with generalized definitions. Each constrained or FRBRized RDA property is a sub-property of a non-FRBRized unconstrained property. This improves the interoperability of data from RDA applications by using a simple inference rule to generate new linked data compatible with non-FRBR applications. RDA properties and value vocabularies can also be mapped to properties and terms from other schema to improve the linking of data. The paper describes this approach to linked data interoperability and discusses the issues it raises, including the synchronization of different versions of RDA elements and of RDA with other schema, explicit and implicit mappings between elements, dumbing-down and loss of information, refinement of RDA elements, and the future development of RDA. The paper uses real examples from RDA, Dublin Core, International Standard Bibliographic Description, MARC 21, and UNIMARC.
Dean Seeman, Lisa Goddard (Memorial University Libraries, Canada)
Preparing the Way: Creating Future Compatible Cataloguing Data in a Transitional Environment
Keywords: Linked Data, Cataloguing, Resource Description and Access
Abstract
There exists a tension between the data produced in library catalogues presently and the data requirements of an uncertain future. While Linked Data dominates the theoretical and experimental discussion of the next generation of information discovery, the daily work of the cataloguer remains mostly unchanged. The practice of following standards is essential for cataloguing data, and Resource Description and Access (RDA) attempts to bridge the gap between legacy data and a future where Linked Data is increasingly important. But in this transitional environment, where cataloguers continue to create MARC records in traditional closed library databases, can cataloguers do something more to prepare for the future to make their data smarter and richer? While Linked Data deals with large aggregations of data, how can the daily work of the cataloguer at present be leveraged to positively impact future aggregate data tasks and requirements? In short, what can the present-day cataloguer do to “prepare the way” for future data needs?
To investigate, this paper will discuss several key questions. What does the future, particularly Linked Data, require of cataloguing data? What can cataloguers do to “prepare the way” for this future as they produce granular data on a daily basis? To what extent do current standards, including RDA, help to meet future requirements? Is following standards all that is required, or are there forward-facing data principles and practices that should otherwise inform practice? And, finally, to what extent is creating good data a neutral process independent of specific current or future technologies?
The authors will examine these issues in reference to existing data quality models proposed within and outside of the cataloguing literature. Practical suggestions for current cataloguing production practice will be made based on the future needs outlined.
URL: https://www.aib.it/attivita/congressi/fsr-2014/fsr2014-abstract/2014/40474-fsr-session1-20140227/. Copyright AIB 2014-02-04. A cura di Andrea Marchitelli, ultima modifica 2014-02-08