FRBR and RDA: What They Are and How They May Affect the Future of Libraries

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Charles R. Croissant


"Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records," a document issued by the International Federation of Library Association’s Cataloguing Section in 1997, has achieved the status of an important theoretical model of the cataloging process, in effect, a theory of cataloging. It is the foundation on which the new cataloging code, Resource Description and Access (RDA), is based. An understanding of the FRBR model is essential to the understanding and application of RDA. This paper explains the entity-relationship model which FRBR presents: the bibliographic entities (work, expression, manifestation, item), their attributes, and the relationships that connect them. It explains how bibliographic records based on the FRBR model would be structured, and demonstrates how FRBR informs the structure of RDA. It describes the controversies connected with the forthcoming implementation of RDA in March, 2013, and explores the implications of this implementation for the library community.

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