Saturday, January 7, 2012

Re: Some comments on the Final Report of the FRBR Working Group on Aggregates

Posting to RDA-L

On 06/01/2012 20:34, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
<snip> James Weinheimer said:
Probably, the issue of aggregates is also more related to physical materials than to virtual resources.
Absolutely not. While we first encountered the aggregate work problem with papers given at continuing education symposia, we now encounter it with constituent parts of websites. Many electronic publishers have parts of their websites for particular series, subjects, types of users, etc.
But if it is just the conference papers etc., everything can be handled as they have always been done, as you point out.

What I meant was that with physical materials, it is much easier to know what actually is the "aggregating entity" because you are looking at a book with lots of conference papers, the journal issue with different articles, and so on. From my experience, it is much more difficult for the cataloger to discover precisely what is, or is not, part of the same website, especially if you are looking at specific parts. The webmaster of the specific site knows this much better than anyone else.

I am still trying to find better examples, but here are a couple that should illustrate it. You may catalog an electronic document such as this http://library.usask.ca/theses/available/etd-09192010-154127/unrestricted/dissertation.pdf, but you remain completely unaware that it is actually part of this: http://library.usask.ca/theses/available/etd-09192010-154127/. Many times because of the structure of the site, you are looking at a specific article or section, and there is no indication that the item is part of a series.

Here's another example: http://www.spunk.org/texts/intro/sp000281.txt, is actually part of "The Spunk Library" http://www.spunk.org/, but you would not know it except through creatively playing with the URL.

Frame sites (i.e. using the <frameset> or <iframe> coding) can be especially confusing, since it can turn out that you are only looking at one part of a whole. Here is an example. You see this page and everything looks OK http://www.gooddocuments.com/philosophy/skimming_m.htm, but it is actually designed to be seen in this way: http://www.gooddocuments.com/philosophy/skimming.htm.

With printed materials, the "aggregating entity" will almost always be much more obvious but online, can easily be hidden. And, to return to dynamically-created mashups, while it may be theoretically possible to catalog them according to FRBR, to do so in reality would be more tedious than finding needles in a haystack and probably not worth the effort.

So, in a case of an online conference with multiple papers (all virtual), the current methods can be used. But the methods can fall apart for many materials online.

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