Wednesday, March 01, 2006

FRBRizing Find in a Library

Wow! I go traveling for a while and find all sorts of interesting things have happened while I was gone! OCLC's Open WorldCat now has FRBRized results. This is pretty darn cool. But I can't help but thinking, yet again, it hasn't quite gone far enough. I know, one step at a time. I have to do that in my job too. But I like thinking big, and I know the folks at OCLC Research like thinking big too. They've done a great job with Open WorldCat so far, and I hope they keep pushing the envelope.

Soooooo, how about limiting not just by format? What about language? There are probably other options I'm not thinking of right now in addition to these as well.

Also, as an extension to that last idea, how about mechanisms for moving about between related works? Do a search on "Gone with the Wind" in Google, limiting to the Find in a Library service. The novel, film, film score, etc., are all separate search results and once you pick one, I don't see a way to know the others exist. Yeah, I know there's no consensus on whether or not the novel and film version of Gone With the Wind are separate Works or two Expressions of the same work. Regardless, shouldn't we let our users move between them? Please?

I'm a huge FRBR fan as I think it gives us a very useful model for thinking about the relationshiops between things. But I think perhaps right now we're getting a bit too bogged down in the terminology when we start building services like this - a Work is selected, all Expressions are displayed, etc.- and we can forget that the exact definitions of these things aren't useful to our patrons. We should take full advantage of these relationships, and make sure our patrons can get between a film and a novel, even if they're separate Works related to one another. This leads me toward my current favorite rant about FRBR seeming to sideline Work relationships with this "Aggregation" idea, but I'll save that one for when I have more time...

1 comment:

Thom said...

Wow, do you think they'll build a snazzy interface so you can browse local libraries' shelves by call number? (I know this is possible more or less in library catalogs, but not outside of them). More to talk about on Friday. Safe travels.