Library of Congress

Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Program for Cooperative Cataloging > CONSER > CONSER Task Force on FRBR and Continuing Resources

Summary of meeting: Toronto (ALA/CLA annual conference), 20 June 2003

Ed Jones chaired the meeting.Members of the JSC Format Variation task Group also attended.

Attributes of works and expressions paper

The meeting began with a discussion of the points raised in Ed’s paper on the attributes of works and expressions. It was agreed that numbering, frequency, and regularity were typically attributes of a manifestation rather than an expression (the entity they are currently associated with in FRBR).While frequency may sometimes be important in defining the work itself (i.e., the distinction between separately designated annual and a weekly iterations of a given publication), nevertheless frequency of issuance is a physical attribute associated with a particular manifestation.There was some question as to how important “actual” frequency is for some physical formats (e.g., a quarterly microfiche reproduction of a weekly printed serial), though it is certainly important from the practical perspective of serials control (check-in, prediction, etc.).

John Espley of VTLS reported that his firm had left serials out of its first attempt to “FRBRize” an existing catalog.The different uses of uniform titles in serials—both to collocate and, more often, to differentiate—without a similar distinction in MARC makes it difficult to create reliable expression- and work-level records within the FRBR model.Likewise, ISSN practice is a problem in this regard (separate ISSN for different physical manifestations [except reproductions]).

Ann Sitkin suggested that, for loose-leaf publications, changes in form of issuance are more easily accommodated than for other continuing resources.Online newspapers present a thornier problem.Are differences in form of issuance—serial vs. integrating—indicative of a new manifestation, a new expression, or a new work?The group agreed that content rather than form of issuance should be the deciding factor in determining whether it was a question of a new work.

Successive entry paper

Successive entry poses a further challenge for FRBR, in that title changes frequently reflect merely a change of fashion rather than a substantive change of content.Jean suggested that such changes might be accommodated within the concept of a “superwork” (Überwerk) realized through an authority record with equal successive titles.Broken up holdings records are not useful to the public; a unified holdings record attached to a “superwork” record might be more useful.

Action:Ed will combine the pertinent ideas from his two papers and send a draft set of comments to task force members. Once approved, these will be sent to Patrick LeBoeuf, chair of the IFLA working group on FRBR.

Desired outcomes

Jean noted that participants at the CONSER/BIBCO meetings had suggested the task force begin by deciding what it was that we wanted to achieve for continuing resources, then see how the current model can be used or adjusted to meet these needs. With this in mind, the group developed the following list of desired outcomes, in order of preference:

  1. Make navigation easier and provide better organization of search results.
  2. Provide better holdings displays for serials with title changes.
  3. Provide a clear indication of the physical formats available.
  4. Decrease the workload for cataloging multiple manifestations.
  5. Provide a better understanding of search results (e.g., more consistent application of uniform titles)
  6. Provide better displays of relationships among continuing resource records.

It was acknowledged that for serials, what the user wants to know is more often in the holdings record than the bibliographic record, and much of what goes there is locally determined.

Members of the task force were asked to select a title and look at it in a shared database, as well as in the local catalog, to see how the above desired outcomes are or are not being satisfied and how this situation might be improved.

JSC Format Variation Working Group: report from Jennifer Bowen

The group has been charged with revising AACR2 chapter 25 (uniform titles) to permit differentiation and collocation at the FRBR expression level.   At present they are concentrating on the theoretical, with any MARBI and rule revision proposals to follow later.They intend to submit an outline for a redesign of chapter 25 to the JSC in August.

In the context of continuing resources, the problem of uniform titles for translations of serials was raised.From time to time, the title proper of a serial will change while the title proper of a translation of that serial will remain the same.Under current rules, this requires a new record for the translation, even though its title proper has not changed. Jennifer asked for examples.

The chronological dimension of continuing resources continues to pose problems within the FRBR model.One suggestion was to apply rule 1.1G (works without a collective title) to collectively handle the successive titles of a serial, while Jean suggested using authority records for this purpose (a single authority record linking to the bibliographic records for the successive titles).Another remote possibility would be a return to latest-entry cataloging.

There are benefits to treating successive titles as a single work.A&I citations and publishers don’t always recognize title changes as significant, or they do not do so in a timely manner.Users often perceive a serial as a single work, despite bibliographically significant title changes.

There was a sense that treating successive titles as a single work would be beneficial, though the mechanism for doing so remains problematical.

A complete report of the JSC working group’s Toronto meeting will be found at

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