With both of this week’s reading I had to remind myself that the goal of both FRBR and RDF is to try and organize information/data and make it easily accessible to users (and not to give me a headache). Even with help from a variety of sources I’m still struggling to wrap my head around FRBR and was somewhat relieved when the head reference librarian and chief Map cataloger at NYPL confessed that she too still has trouble distinguishing exactly when something is an expression or a manifestation as defined by FRBR group 1 entities. Part of the problem, she explained, is that she is dealing with maps and not with text and that while FRBR was intended to provide a level of bibliographical record keeping for all types of material, it is to her mind still a system better suited to text centric material.
The Thomas Baker paper, while even denser in terms of subject matter, was infinitely more useful as a way of understanding where libraries are coming from in terms of adapting to today’s world where linking data is the norm and information retrieval has long ceased to be under the domain of libraries alone. Having developed FRBR and Dublin Core – a complex history that Baker does well to condense – libraries (and librarians) have found themselves having to take on board the RDF developed by W3C in order to stay relevant, be part of, and continue to make a valuable contribution to the age of information and, central to all of this, ensure their collections remain accessible to users be they human or machine.