BIBFRAME Initiative is the foundation for the future of bibliographic description that happens on the web and in the networked world. It is designed to integrate with and engage in the wider information community and still serve the very specific needs of libraries. The BIBFRAME Initiative will bring new ways to:
In a web-scale world, it is imperative to be able to cite library data in a way that differentiates the conceptual work (a title and author) from the physical details about that work's manifestation (page numbers, whether it has illustrations). It is equally important to produce library data so that it clearly identifies entities involved in the creation of a resource (authors, publishers) and the concepts (subjects) associated with a resource.
Although the BIBFRAME Initiative will instantiate a new way to represent and exchange bibliographic data – that is now provided by the Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC) format – its scope is broader. As an initiative, it is investigating all aspects of bibliographic description, data creation, and data exchange. In addition to replacing the MARC format, this includes accommodating different content models and cataloging rules, exploring new methods of data entry, and evaluating current exchange protocols.
The BIBFRAME Model is a conceptual/practical model that balances the needs of those recording detailed bibliographic description, the needs of those describing other cultural materials, and those who do not require such a detailed level of description. There are three high-level classes, or entitities, in the BIBFRAME Model:
BIBFRAME Work identifies the conceptual essence of something; a BIBFRAME Instance reflects the material embodiment of a Work. A BIBFRAME Item is an actual copy (physical or electronic) of an Instance. You can read more about the BIBFRAME Model here.
The BIBFRAME Vocabulary is the key to the description of resources. Like the MARC format has a defined set of elements and attributes, the BIBFRAME Vocabulary has a defined set of classes and properties. A class identifies a type of BIBFRAME resource (much like a MARC field might bundle a single concept); properties serve as a means to further describe a BIBFRAME resource (much like MARC subfields more specifically identify aspects of the concept).
As a bibliographic description format, the MARC format focuses on catalog records that are independently understandable. MARC aggregates information about the conceptual work and its physical carrier and uses strings for identifiers such as personal names, corporate name, subjects, etc. that have value outside the record itself.
Instead of bundling everything neatly as a “record” and potentially duplicating information across multiple records, the BIBFRAME Model relies heavily on relationships between resources (Work-to-Work relationships; Work-to-Instance relationships; Work-to-Agent relationships). It manages this by using controlled identifiers for things (people, places, languages, etc). MARC employs some of these ideas already (geographic codes, language codes) but BIBFRAME seeks to make these aspects the norm rather than the exception. In short, the BIBFRAME Model is the library community’s formal entry point for becoming part of a much larger web of data, where the links between things are paramount.
Yes. RDA is an important source of elements in the vocabulary for BIBFRAME, even though it generally aims to be independent of any particular set of cataloging rules. We also expect community extensions to emerge which will accommodate additional elements.
How do I use bibliographic data using cataloging rules other than AACR2 or RDA in the context of BIBFRAME?
Work is planned to analyze elements in other cataloging rule sets and reconcile or add them to the BIBFRAME vocabulary as appropriate. This along with community extensions will enable broad use of BIBFRAME.
There are many benefits of vocabulary reuse, but as with many things, there are costs as well that need to be carefully considered. Designing systems that leverage multiple vocabularies managed by various stakeholders is a tricky issue and one that requires careful consideration. There are many reasons why namespaces/vocabularies "drift" over time (“not found” errors being a worse case example) and all of these may have an affect on systems. Business acquisitions, economic factors, organizational changes, changing social interests, etc. are just a few reasons for causing such change. Thinking ahead to infrastructure to support the next 40+ years of libraries, namespace persistence is a key point to consider when dealing with how best to integrate and invest in vocabulary terms outside of ones community.
Public domain/CC0. BIBFRAME material and components issued by the Library of Congress are in the public domain. If one uses text from any of the documents it is customary to make attribution, of course.
BIBFRAME is far from an environment that you could move to yet. The model and its components are still in discussion and development -- a work in progress. When it is more mature, vendors and suppliers will need time to adjust services to accommodate it. And then we can expect a mixed environment for some time.
Yes. For the BIBFRAME 1.0 vocabulary we provided a conversion tool and for 2.0 we will be providing specifications and downloadable software tool and services. In the future, other community-provided tools and services will help community members to transform and move their data from MARC to BIBFRAME.
Not at this time. In the future, when descriptions begin to be exchanged in BIBFRAME, there will be utilities that provide transformation to MARC for organizations needing MARC for some or all of their internal systems. Presently, we are focusing on the BIBFRAME model, needed vocabulary, and required exchange mechanisms. Only after those elements have sufficiently stabilized would attention turn to a BIBFRAME-to-MARC transformation.
This is an active area of exploration at this time. The widely used communications protocols will be adapted and new internet-based protocols will be hospitable to bibliographic data.
The mapping activity is grounded on the premise that the millions of existing MARC records need to be able to be transformed into BIBFRAME resources, but BIBFRAME as a "format" is very different from MARC. This can be seen from the difficulty of the mapping. One factor that brings the data together is the new library cataloging rule set, Resource Description and Access (RDA). MARC has been adapted to carry RDA data, and BIBFRAME is being developed with RDA data as a prominent content type. Both MARC and BIBFRAME accommodate data recorded by other rules but the cataloging rules give them similarity. The repackaging is not of MARC data but of cataloging content data.
Read the documents at the Bibliographic Framework Inititiative Web site and join the BIBFRAME listserv. As ideas are aired on the listserv, give feedback, respond to proposals, and make your requirements known. If you have the facilities, write code and experiment.