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FRBR is FUNRR March 1, 2007

Posted by Mia in FRBR.

Let’s stay focused on the mission: bibliographic information. It’s an ontological question: what are the things that are members of the bibliographic universe?

People who read this book also have a tag for that shoe size. That type of moustache trimmer. And so on. Will it help a user digest a journal article better?

I personally don’t want to be in the business of recommending a wine to go with that book. Or a shoe. Clubs are free to form around Absinthe-with-Henry-Miller. I want to stay firmly on the author side of the equation, if you will.

Marginalizing all that data is a problem. The more data there is, the more it wants to coalesce around some organizing principles. Such as FRBR. Think of FRBR as FUNctional Requirements of bibliographic Records. I can almost see it now:

A little icon for “frbr-ize it” sits on a toolbar. See some useful bibliographic information, frbr-ize it. It gets added to zotero. It coalesces with similar entities. Then it reaches the fuzzy extremities of the domain (where it trails off and goes off into wine-tasting and so on).

The thing is, I am interested in how things remain meaningful despite the scale. That means the more things increase, the more the synthesis is necessary.

Just look at any information that increases in mass. What is fun and novel today quickly becomes an annoyance by next week, and a total frustration by next month.