Re: Kill the Record! (Was: BIBFRAME and schema.org)

Posting to public-schemabibex

On 05/07/2013 13:30, Ross Singer wrote:

<snip>
I guess I don’t understand why offering epub, pdf, and html versions of the same resource doesn’t constitute “items”.
If you look at an article in arxiv.org, for example, where else in WEMI would you put the available file formats?
Basically, format should be tied to the item, although for physical items, any manifestation’s item will generally be the same format (although I don’t see why a scan of a paperback would become a new endeavor, honestly).
In the end, I don’t see how digital is any different than print in this regard.
</snip>

Because manifestations are defined by their format (among other things). Therefore, a movie of, e.g. Moby Dick that is a videocassette is considered to be a different manifestation from that of a DVD. Each one is described separately. So, if you have multiple copies of the same format for the same content those are called items. But if you have different formats for the same content, those are different manifestations.

The examples in arxiv.org are just like I mentioned in archive.org and they follow a different sort of structure. You do not see this in a library catalog, where each format will get a different manifestation, so that each format can be described.

As a result, things work quite differently. Look for e.g. Moby Dick in Worldcat, and you will see all kinds of formats available in the left-hand column. https://www.worldcat.org/search?qt=worldcat_org_all&q=moby+dick

When you click on an individual record, http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/62208367 you will see where all of the copies of this particular format of this particular expression are located. This is the manifestation. And its purpose is to organize all of the copies (aka items), as is done here.

In the Internet Archive, we see something different: http://archive.org/details/mobydickorwhale02melvuoft, where this display brings together the different manifestations: pdf, text, etc. There is no corresponding concept in FRBR for what we see in the Internet Archive, or in arxiv.org.

I am not complaining or finding fault, but what I am saying is that the primary reason this sort of thing works for digital materials is because there are no real “duplicates”. (There are other serious problems that I won’t mention here) In my opinion, introducing the Internet Archive-type structure into a library-type catalog based on physical materials with multitudes of copies would result in a completely incoherent hash.

This is why I am saying that FRBR does not translate well to digital materials on the internet.

Getting rid of the concept of the “record” has been the supposed remedy, but it seems to me that the final result (i.e. what the user will experience) will still be the incoherent hash I mentioned above: where innumerable items and multiple manifestations will be mashed together. Perhaps somebody could come up with a way to make this coherent and useful, but I have never seen anything like it and cannot imagine how it could work.

-398

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