|Illustration of BIBFRAME 2.0 model, |
with three core levels of abstraction
(in blue)—Work, Instance, Item—
and three related classes
BIBFRAME (Bibliographic Framework) is a data model for bibliographic description. BIBFRAME was designed to replace the MARC standards, and to use linked data principles to make bibliographic data more useful both within and outside the library community. The MARC Standards, which BIBFRAME seeks to replace, were developed by Henriette Avram at the US Library of Congress during the 1960s. By 1971, MARC formats had become the national standard for dissemination of bibliographic data in the United States, and the international standard by 1973. In a provocatively titled 2002 article, library technologist Roy Tennant argued that "MARC Must Die", noting that the standard was old; used only within the library community; and designed to be a display, rather than a storage or retrieval format A 2008 report from the Library of Congress wrote that MARC is "based on forty-year old techniques for data management and is out of step with programming styles of today." In 2012, the Library of Congress announced that it had contracted with Zepheira, a data management company, to develop a linked data alternative to MARC. Later that year, the library announced a new model called MARC Resources (MARCR). That November, the library released a more complete draft of the model, renamed BIBFRAME. (The Library of Congress released version 2.0 of BIBFRAME in 2016)
BIBFRAME is expressed in RDF and based on three categories of abstraction (work, instance, item). , with three additional classes (agent, subject, event) that relate to the core categories.
Work. The highest level of abstraction, a Work, in the BIBFRAME context, reflects the conceptual essence of the cataloged resource: authors, languages, and what it is about (subjects).
Instance. A Work may have one or more individual, material embodiments, for example, a particular published form. These are Instances of the Work. An Instance reflects information such as its publisher, place and date of publication, and format.
Item. An item is an actual copy (physical or electronic) of an Instance. It reflects information such as its location (physical or virtual), shelf mark, and barcode.
BIBFRAME 2.0 further defines additional key concepts that have relationships to the core classes:
Agents: Agents are people, organizations, jurisdictions, etc., associated with a Work or Instance through roles such as author, editor, artist, photographer, composer, illustrator, etc.
Subjects: A Work might be “about” one or more concepts. Such a concept is said to be a “subject” of the Work. Concepts that may be subjects include topics, places, temporal expressions, events, works, instances, items, agents, etc.
Events: Occurrences, the recording of which may be the content of a Work.
The BIBFRAME vocabulary consists of RDF classes and properties. Classes include the three core classes listed above as well as various additional classes, many of which are subclasses of the core classes. Properties describe characteristics of the resource being described as well as relationships among resources. For example: one Work might be a “translation of” another Work; an Instance may be an “instance of” a particular BIBFRAME Work. Other properties describe attributes of Works and Instances. For example: the BIBFRAME property “subject” expresses an important attribute of a Work (what the Work is about), and the property “extent” (e.g. number) expresses an attribute of an Instance.
While the work entity in BIBFRAME is roughly analogous to the work entity in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) model, BIBFRAME's instance entity is a conflation of the FRBR expressionand manifestation entities. This represents an apparent break with FRBR and the FRBR-based Resource Description and Access (RDA) cataloging code. However, the original BIBFRAME model argues that the new model "can reflect the FRBR relationships in terms of a graph rather than as hierarchical relationships, after applying a reductionist technique." Since both FRBR and BIBFRAME have been expressed in RDF, interoperability between the two models is technically posible.
While the BIBFRAME model currently includes a serial entity, there are still a number of issues to be addressed before the model can be used for serials cataloging. BIBFRAME lacks several serials-related data fields available in MARC. A 2014 report was very positive on BIBFRAME's suitability for describing audio and video resources. However, the report also expressed some concern about the high-level Work entity, which is unsuitable for modeling certain audio resources
· Colorado College's Tutt Library has created several experimental apps using BIBFRAME.
· 14 other research libraries are testing the new model
· * FRBR, FRBRoo, FRAD, and FRSAD have been made available in RDF form by Gordon Dunsire in the Open Metadata Registry.
· * Schema Bib Extend project, a W3C-sponsored community group has worked to extend Schema.org to make it suitable for bibliographic description