Trying to understand RDA and FRBR

Library folks, including myself, have been attending group Webinars from Lyrasis on RDA. The latest one was this morning.

Firstly, the classes are held at such a time that because of time zone issues, here in Colorado they usually start at 8 AM. Some of the organizing librarians have gracefully provided bagels and coffee. Hey Lyrasis, you’ll be in trouble if you start expanding into the Pacific time zone!

Secondly, I am finding RDA rather confusing. Back when I was in library school when RDA was still on the distant horizon, it seemed like it would be a radical change from AACR2. But now it mostly feels like a lot of tweaking to AACR2.  And some RDA chapters aren’t even written yet! We wondered if philosophical verbiage was just being larded onto the traditional MARC structure.

Maybe the change isn’t that radical because we’re still tied to MARC format? What will happen with the proposed Bibliographic Framework?

Another point of confusion is the FRBR terminology of Entity, Work, Expression, Manifestation and Item.  The  teacher for this Webinar series, Christee Pascale, is a good speaker but she breezes through with these terms and after awhile it starts flying over our heads.

Here’s a helpful LIS Wiki page on the subject:

http://liswiki.org/wiki/FRBR

Here are a couple of possibly helpful resources from Library of Congress:

What is FRBR?  A conceptual model for the bibliographic universe / Barbara Tillett

FRBR Quiz 1: FRBR Terminology

If you really, really want to know more about the background leading up to FRBR, here’s a book chapter on the history of cataloging. “FRBR and the History of Cataloging” / William Denton from Understanding FRBR: What it is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval Tools. Ed. by Arlene G. Taylor. Libraries Unlimited. 2007.

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