RE: Interesting conversations about RDA and FRBR …

Posting to RDA-L

Bernhard Eversberg wrote:

It also goes well with the paradigm of all known retrieval systems, based as it is on the idea of
the “result set”, resulting from a query that uses attributes of various kinds, and all of them can be viewed as attributes of items. Certain combinations of attributes define subsets of items – some of these subsets can be called “manifestations”, “expressions”, or “works”.

The identification of the work, however, remains the open question. It has to be done somewhere. Traditionally, it was pinned down by the “uniform title”, and many of our records have this as a distinctive attribute. Add to it the language, date, form, medium, numeric designation, key, coordinates, etc. – and you single out the crucial subsets that FRBR views from the top down.

I don’t know if I agree that the identification of the work has to be done somewhere. Perhaps in some formats (I am thinking primarily of music), it is more important than others, but even then I don’t know if people are able to find what they want using the newer tools, e.g. ITunes and Youtube. But in library catalogs (both OPAC and cards), very few people I have met even understand what a uniform title is, much less be able to work with it. This is not to say that searching by work is unimportant, but people must first be made aware that it is even possible, while the very concept of controlled vocabulary (even personal name control) is being forgotten among the general population.

What I like from those comments, and especially the thread of Karen Coyle’s, is that people there seem to be approaching the problem in a fresh, new way, instead of saying that first of all anything must fit into this WEMI pattern. At least from my understanding of the thread, what is especially forward-looking is the focus on the individual attributes without grouping them into a prearranged structure. Each community should be able to group them as they wish; which they will anyway!

Free the attributes!