Sunday, September 21, 2003

Tools you can use 

I really like this page: Tools for Serials Catalogers, by Ann Ercelawn at Vanderbilt. Neatly organized and highly usable.

How would FRBR function? 

This is something I've been mulling over quite a bit lately, especially after reading the OCLC research paper Concept of a Work.... [This paper was also published in the Spring 2003 (vol. 27, no. 1) issue of Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services. ]

Combine for a moment the idea of FRBR's hierachical record structure, which emphasizes "the entities, relationships, and attributes the bibliographic record is intended to describe" with CONSER's design of the aggregator-neutral record. If we can have a "master" record for a serials title that's in an aggregator database, why can't we treat everything like that? My thought is that there would be a record simply for the title of the work, which a library would download, and then brief records that are linked to this "master" record are created at the local level.

Now, let me say that I never completely got to the end of this thought because it gets really complicated quite quickly. What information would exactly be represented in this "master" record? Ideally, you'd want to be as general as possible, and while multiple 260 fields would help identify numerous publishers, how would an institution accurately represent which publisher they hold? MARC Holdings statements might be useful here. Who would be creating these records? We could say "The Library of Congress", or a group of libraries in a CONSER-like program may contribute, but is that truly feasible? Not to mention how expensive all this effort could get.

I know I'm not the first to have these thoughts, but I haven't posted lately because I've been trying to come to something resembling a conclusion to some of my questions, and the only answer I can come up is to read more of what's going on in this area. I'm hoping to flesh this idea out more later, if it's reasonable.

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