Friday, June 16, 2006
FRBRizing and Ranganathan pins
FRBR (usually pronounced "furbur") is a conceptual model for relationships between the stuff you find in a library catalog. It stands for Functional Requirements of Bibliographic records. The FRBR model was developed in the 1990's based on research into the nature of the relationships between works. A work is an intellectual or artistic creation, and is purely abstract. In a sense, a work is like a geometric figure. Works come into existence in expressions, which are also abstract. We encounter an expression in when it is embodied, or manifested in a physical or digital medium. This is called a manifestation. Any given embodiment of a manifestation is an item. So, for instance, the Lord of the Rings is a work. My paperback copy published by Ballentine Books and my hardback published by Houghton Mifflin are two specific items of two manifestations of one expression, the 1966 2nd edition of LotR. My paperback copy of Return of the King is an item of a manifestation of a different expression because it is an arguably pirated version of the original edition. My hardback edition published by Houghton Mifflin and illustrated by Alan Lee (did I mention that I collect editions of LotR) contains the second edition text but is possibly a different expression because of the addition of significant artistic content manifested in Lee's illustrations. My cd dramatization by Mindspring is again a different expression of the original work because it is abridged and dramatized. By the time you get to Peter Jackson's movies you have probably moved out of the hierarchical relationship of work to expression and into a lateral relationship between works (certainly the opinion of many fans of the books and generally the opinion of theorists on the nature of a work). As you might gather from the name FRBR is concerned with how bibliographic records work and what it is we need them to do. Usually you want a record to be detailed enough to tell you whether or not it is what you are looking for. However the information needs to be presented in such a way that one search can access all the expressions of a given work available in the catalog so that you can choose the one that best meets your needs or interests. The FRBR model tries to systematize what is involved on the cataloging end so that can be accomplished. In regard to the comment that brought this up, "FRBRizing" something is describing it in a way that shows its relationships within the FRBR hierarchy. I FRBRized Bored of the Rings for a contest on the FRBR blog, www.frbr.org. I came in second (out of 4) and won a book and a Ranganathan pin. The pin is a very small orange pin with a picture of S.R. Ranganathan on it. He was an Indian mathematician and library scientist whom I understand to be the Melvil Dewey of India. Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._R._Ranganathan . I believe I've got a better bookmarked on my computer at Trinity but I'm not there. Here's a link to the pin: http://www.reanimationlibrary.org/pages/pins.htm . My pin is currently being proudly worn by Mr. Peabody who hangs from my backpack.