Tag Archives: FRBR

FRBR Model for Macbeth

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records


Upon reading the notes about the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), I felt confident about making my own model of a chosen Work.  Though reading the suggested articles for the assignment caused some confusion, I set that aside for the moment to concentrate on creating a visual representation of a Work and its expressions.

As I am often working in the same high school recently, I decided to find a Work that had a number of expressions within its library.  I quickly realized that the best work to use would be something by Shakespeare, as the library contains many expressions of his works.  A search for the title Macbeth in the online catalogue came up with 12 items: a number of paperbacks, a graphic novel, an e-book, a video and a sound recording.  Below is the model I created using the mind mapping tool bubbl.us, sampling some of the items for Macbeth located in the library. (Using all the items made my diagram rather unwieldy so I chose a representative sample of what was available.)

Clicking on the image will let you see it a little better.

FRBR Model for Macbeth


Once I completed my model, I went back and re-read the two articles.  I appreciate what FRBR is trying to do in defining a Work and linking it to the ways that Work is expressed via different mediums.  However, both articles brought up the query of what exactly defines a Work.  In his blog post, Bringing FRBR Down to Earth, Rob Styles questions whether a movie, based on a book, should be simply an expression of that book, or a Work in its own right.  In his model, he argues that by putting the movie on the same level as an expression it “seems to imply that the movie is somehow a lesser creative work than the original” (Styles, 2009).  In Karen Coyle’s blog post What is a (FRBR) Work?, she claims that a Work does not need a title due to its “inherent abstractness” and the fact that it will have other identifiers (Coyle, 2009).   I don’t quite understand this argument, but I did like how she referred to a Work, “not as a thing but as a set”, where new items can be added at any time.  This set of items is then what defines the Work (Coyle, 2009).  This “bottom up” way of thinking implies that creative expressions and manifestations added to the set contribute to the understanding of the original Work.

Thinking about these ideas caused me to wonder how the movie Shakespeare in Love would fit into an FRBR model.  Searching Romeo and Juliet in the online catalogue of the library I am at did not return this title, even though it is in the collection.  Though it is not really an expression of the original Work, it is closely related to it, and I would consider it as part of a “set” that defines the Work as a whole.  However, in terms of an FRBR model similar to the one I created, it doesn’t seem to fit.

This assignment has opened my eyes to the complexity of the issues FRBR is trying to resolve, and though I don’t know if it is the answer, I believe it is a step in the right direction.  It has certainly made me stop and think about how I would like to organize and catalogue the resources in my own library.

Works Cited


Coyle, K. (2009, August 16). [Web log message]. What is a (FRBR) work? Retrieved from http://kcoyle.blogspot.ca/2009/08/what-is-frbr-work.html

Styles, R. (2009, November 11). [Web log message]. Bringing FRBR down to Earth… Retrieved from http://dynamicorange.com/2009/11/11/bringing-frbr-down-to-earth/


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