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Summary of Meeting at ALA Midwinter, Philadelphia

Summary of Jan. 24, 2003 TF meeting at ALA Midwinter Conference, and other FRBR-related news from the conference

Present: Everett Allgood, Ann Sitkin, Valerie Bross (with chocolates!), Regina Reynolds, Jean Hirons, John Attig, Carroll Nelson Davis, John Espley, Robert Bremer.

Guests: Jennifer Bowen, Matthew Beacom, Paul Weiss, Judy Kuhagen

Major themes and near-term goals for CONSER Task Force:

One of the prevailing ideas concerning FRBR which came up in several discussions during this conference is that we may want to consider handling the more abstract FRBR Group 1 Entities of "Work" and "Expression" via authority citations rather than within the bibliographic database.

This proposal holds appeal for two reasons:

1) It allows us the ability to work within the universe of existing records. That is, it would likely enable us to work retrospectively with our current descriptive records at the Manifestation level, as well as any prospective practices a FRBR-based cataloging code may allow.

This seems a more preferable option than the idea of "closing the current catalog" as some have suggested.

2) An IFLA Working Group is currently developing a FRANAR ("Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records") document. They expect to have a draft out for review in the fall of 2003.

In addition, Jennifer Bowen's JSC Format Variation Working Group is currently working on rule revision proposals for AACR Chapter 25 (Uniform titles).

If these two groups come to the conclusion that Work and Expression citations belong in an Authority File, and if our CONSER Task Force can provide feedback to them regarding their draft documents, we may be able to develop "best practice" guidelines for creating and assigning uniform title citations for Continuing Resources.

Near-term goals for the CONSER Task Force

Discussion of Tom Delsey's paper "FRBR and serials" at the meeting led some to believe that an examination of FRBR attributes as they relate to Serials and Continuing Resources may be in order.

It was agreed we should examine each of the attributes for the FRBR Group 1 Entities - especially those serial-related attributes to determine 1) are they assigned to the appropriate Entity; 2) does a difference in that attribute constitute a change to the "underlying serial Work"; and 3) based on this examination, try to determine which attributes may be most useful as uniform title citation qualifiers.

Findings of the Task Force, especially if we feel revisions are in order, will be forwarded to the Working Group that Patrick Le Boeufhas set up responsible for making revisions and updating the FRBR document (see below).

Notes from the meeting

JSC Format Variation Working Group:

Earlier this fall, Jennifer B. put out a call for representatives from Library automation vendors to participate with her group in developing FRBR-based catalogs. She was very pleased to announce that at the OCLC/VTLS FRBR meeting held Friday morning, there were representatives from each of the major ILS vendors (e.g., Endeavor, Ex Libris, III, etc.)

Part of Jennifer's group is working on rule revision proposals for Chapter 25 (Uniform titles). The idea is that we would employ uniform title citations to both collocate and distinguish Work and Expression entities.

(One concern regarding the work of this group is that any revision proposals will need to work primarily within the scope of the existing MARC21 format as most of the available subfield codes have been defined.)

The Format Variation Working Group is close to the conclusion that the FRBR attributes of "language of expression" and "mode of expression" should serve as primary qualifiers when constructing uniform titles.

As serialists, one of our primary concerns is that we develop an end-product which addresses the existing catalog of records as well as any prospective, FRBR-based records. The JSC Format Variation Working Group is mindful of such an approach, and in fact it is their instruction from the JSC to do so.

Uniform titles / authority citations

Many groups working with FRBR are simultaneously coming to the conclusion that one avenue we should more fully explore involves using authority citations to identify the more abstract FRBR Group 1 Entities of Work and Expression. Such an approach may mean that our bibliographic catalogs would continue to contain Manifestation descriptions.

With few exceptions, the primary role of uniform titles for serialists has always been to distinguish records from one another. One huge benefit of using Work and Expression authority citations is that we would take advantage of both purposes of uniform titles: to distinguish, and to collocate. To accomplish this may require a more structured and logical approach to creating uniform title citations for serials and continuing resources. There will likely be some re-education efforts necessary.

At the OCLC/VTLS FRBR meeting Friday morning, Ed O'Neill of OCLC pointed out that their best results in their FISH (FRBR Interface Simulation Habilitation) experiments were achieved for those access points with corresponding authority records.

One appeal of using a numeric link from an authority record that may be applied to numerous records is its stability. It is foreseeable, especially in the case of some Integrating Resources, that the authority heading within some citations may change over time. Providing linking mechanisms via a numeric device may prevent loads of bibliographic file maintenance.

If we begin to tinker with the uniform title and how it is utilized for serials, we need to be careful in thinking about how they are used in other parts of our records.

One final thought on uniform titles: Microform records exist out there in our catalogs, most without uniform titles. Does that decision need to be revisited?

If so, Robert Bremer at OCLC feels confident there may be machine-generated algorithms we could use to identify them and supply the headings.


Patrick Le Boeuf of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France has developed a Working Group responsible for updating and making revisions to FRBR. There is a listserv for the group.

The MARC Network Development Office has announced that they have a "FRBR-ization" tool available from their website. Users may "FRBR-ize" groups of records and view the results.

News from VTLS:

1. A university in Louvain, Belgium which uses VTLS has identified certain records for FRBRization. The result will be a "live" catalog with both traditional and FRBR records.

2. VTLS has received a backfile of some 300,000 music records from CDS (e.g., sound recordings, scores, etc.). They plan to FRBRize these records and have them available during the spring.

To which Regina responded with the following questions:

1. What does a FRBR-ized catalog look like?

2. What added functionality does it offer for users?

(Remember one of the two Objectives of the original FRBR document was to" Provide a clear, structured framework for data recorded in bibliographic records to the needs of users of these records." [The other was to: "Recommend a basic level of functionality for records created by national bibliographic agencies."]

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