Re: [BIBFRAME] Work record(s) that have Instances with more than one language

Posting to Bibframe

On 26/01/2017 08:25, Shlomo Sanders wrote:

What definition of Work will give the best results for the community that actually needs to use this data to actually do something useful?

For example:

  • Is it really to the benefit of catalogers that the Work be split (or not split)?
  • Discovery
  • Work information as used by collection management or acquisition
  • The rest of the world

Here’s my opinion.

Catalogers themselves don’t really need any of this. Catalogers are supposed to make what other groups need and want. Those other groups include users of the library collection, and other librarians who manage the collection. They are both equally important.

I personally have never met any non-librarian who needed or wanted the “work” of much of anything. I have known some pretty hardcore scholars and don’t think that any of them would need the work of, e.g. Homer’s Iliad–that is: all of the different manifestations of all the different expressions of the Iliad. Lots however, do want all kinds of versions of specific expressions, e.g. different versions of the Greek original, or they may want to compare different English translations, or even different versions of a single English translation which can very often include minute differences among various printers or individual printings–details that the regular cataloging of newer materials never, if ever, captures and is more a part of rare books cataloging.

So, gathering together all the different language versions of the Iliad, or of the Bible, or even of a modern popular novel, although the scholar may find it interesting to know there are Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, etc. versions, the resulting group is far too big to work with. I admit this might change with digitization and “big data.”

On the other hand, the library selector who is managing the collection may actually find work information useful, either for statistical purposes, to discover the strengths of the collection, or if something is found to be a weakness, the selector can begin to fill out the collection.

The average person I think, has very little interest in the work and is much more interested in specific expressions. What I mean is that someone will say “I want a copy of Homer’s Iliad in English” and then they may need additional guidance, or just browse the versions on the shelf. The average user rarely need the work information except in two very important cases: 1) as subjects 2) as a related work. So, someone may not want Homer’s Iliad, but they want history and criticism of Homer’s Iliad. This does not have to be limited to history and criticism of specific languages or versions, but just history and criticism.

Someone may also want to know if there are any novels or movies based on Homer’s Iliad. They are not concerned with any particular versions, e.g. whether the *real* related work that the novelist or writer of the screenplay used was in English or German or Greek, but they do want to know if there are other creative works  that are related to Homer’s Iliad.