Friday, October 17, 2014

What is FRBR?

What is FRBR? -- RDA Quiz on Google+ Community RDA Cataloging.

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Following are the comments received on this RDA Blog post


Roger Hawcroft, Library Consultant

Salman, FRBR is an acronym for Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. It stems from recommendations made by IFLA in 1988. The FRBR represents the departure of bibliographic description from the long-standing linear model as used in AACR... to a muti-tiered concept contemporaneous with current technology and the increasing development of digital formats and storage. These principles underpin RDA - Resource Description & Access..

You may find the following outline useful:

I have also placed a list of readings ( not intended to be comprehensive or entirely up-to-dtate) in DropBox for you:

An online search should relatively easily find you the latest papers / articles / opinion on this concept of cataloguing and I am sure that you will find many librarians on LI that have plenty to say for and against the approach!

Sris Ponniahpillai
Library Officer at University of Technology, Sydney

Salman, Hope the article in the following link would help you to understand what FRBR stands for in library terms. Thanks & Best Regards, Sris

Alan Danskin, Metadata Standards Manager at The British Library

FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) is a model published by IFLA. RDA is an implementation of the the FRBR and FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data) models. The FRBR Review Group is currently working on consolidation of these models and the Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD) model. See and

Erik Dessureault, Library Systems Technician at Concordia University

When I was first introduced to FRBR and RDA in library school, I was immediately struck at how the structure of FRBR lines up nicely with the structure of XML. I am sure that is not a coincidence. Our teacher made us draw out FRBR schemas as part of our assignment, and the parallels with database entity relation diagrams and programming flowcharts were immediately apparent to me. Coming from a information technology background, with some programming and database creation/management experience, FRBR came naturally to me, and struck me as a very rational way to organize information. I can see the potential for automation and standardization and I am eager to see FRBR and RDA become accepted standards in our field.

Elena Shulman, Information Scientist - helping companies acquire, integrate and organize [Big] data and metadata

Hello! If you're still exploring FRBR... we have briefly described it and how we use it at:

David Massart, Helps companies acquire, integrate, and organize big (and not so big) data and metadata

@ Erik FRBR is not just a theory, the Learning Resource Exchange - is an example of a working implementation of it.

David Massart
Helps companies acquire, integrate, and organize big (and not so big) data and metadata

@Roger, sure, here are some details and references:

The (meta-)data model used by the Learning Resource Exchange (LRE) is based on FRBR, each metadata record corresponds to a FRBR Work and references all the Expressions, Manifestations and finally Items for this resources as can be seen, for example, if you click on the "get this resource" button of this record (note that this intermediate screen only appears for resources with more than one Expression or Manifestation). When on the intermediate page, select first the language (i.e., the Expression) you are interested in before clicking on the icon corresponding to the Expression you want to obtain. In case there is only one Expression with one Manifestation, the resource is obtained immediately).

Another example of FRBR-enabled interface is provided by the LRE widget

You can look at the details of the LRE Metadata Application Profile at

To be complete, I must say that this LRE MAP itself is an implementation of IMS LODE ILOX (see Section 4 of for the details of how it uses FRBR).