Posting to RDA-L about Aggregates, based on the Working Group’s Final Report http://www.ifla.org/files/cataloguing/frbrrg/AggregatesFinalReport.pdf and Heidrun Wiesenmüller’s paper http://tinyurl.com/7scf9rm
A few thoughts of my own:
First, I suspect this issue is of relatively little interest or use to the public, so this is probably more related to internal management of the collection. Cutter implies as much in the Appendix to his Rules http://www.archive.org/details/publiclibraries00cuttgoog (p. 81), where he discusses tools needed only for the librarians to manage the collections. He mentions the “Tract-catalogue”, which is “a list of the tracts contained in bound volumes”, or in our terminology, aggregates. He goes on to say, “You may see collections of pamphlets on various subjects by various authors recorded under a made-up heading “Tracts” or “Pamphlets,” a style of entry that is nearly useless. The whole of the Prince catalogue of 1846 was made in this absurd way.”
[Incidentally, I guess he means the “Catalogue of the library of Rev. Thomas Prince”, which is indeed a strange one, providing a bizarre listing of the books by size, without any discernible order at all. Completely useless. An example of what Cutter mentions is found in no. 856, p. 58 “Tracts” http://books.google.com/books?id=mjQAAAAAYAAJ. I just can’t hold myself back from sharing these things! I can’t get over that I can do all of this online, and for free!]
Probably, the issue of aggregates is also more related to physical materials than to virtual resources. Since each library has been dealing with these matters for a long, long time, each will have its own methods. Now that FRBR mandates that everything we catalog must have separate work and expression entities (something that cannot be questioned), we see another example where the workload and complexity goes up while access stays the same.
I also wonder how individual journal articles play into this model.
The Working Group report at least mentions mashups but doesn’t really discuss them. I don’t blame them one bit since working mashups into the WEMI model will probably make dealing with aggregates in the printed world look like child’s play.