Saturday, February 8, 2014

FRBR as a Foundation of RDA

RDA is based on two international conceptual models, FRBR and FRAD, developed by working groups of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). You have already had classes on FRBR and FRAD, so we will only provide a little more background. 

Another IFLA activity from 2003-2008 resulted in the Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (ICP). From the FRBR and FRAD models, RDA gets the entities, the identifying attributes for each entity, the relationships, and the user tasks. From ICP, RDA gets basic principles, such as the principle of representation and the principle of convenience of the user.

International Cataloguing Principles

It is important to note that, in the International Cataloguing Principles, the user comes first and should always be kept in mind when providing bibliographic descriptions and access points: 
  • Convenience of the user 
  • Representation 
  • Common usage 
  • Accuracy 
  • Sufficiency and necessity 
  • Significance 
  • Economy 
  • Consistency and standardization 
  • Integration 
  • Defensible, not arbitrary 
If you wish to contradict one of these principles, you must devise a defensible, practical solution.


FRBR offers a structure to address user tasks, and FRBR entities and elements translate into RDA as the data elements for bibliographic description and access, and the relationships among entities. RDA combines the FRBR conceptual model with cataloging principles to provide the foundations to build cataloger judgment and better systems for the future. FRBR is not itself a cataloging code. But it demonstrates how users can benefit from a well-structured system designed around the FRBR entities and relationships. 


In today’s environment, we still want systems to fulfill the collocation objectives we had for catalogs in the past. We still want them to display: 
  • the works associated with a person 
  • the expressions of the same work 
  • the manifestations of the same expression 
  • the items or copies of the same manifestation 
  • related works 
We want all of this, and more. We want to utilize “linked data systems” to guide a user through our rich collections and beyond. RDA helps make this possible, and encourages the designers of systems to make use of the model and data in new ways.

[Source: Library of Congress]

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