Thinking About Bibliographic Networks

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Thinking About Bibliographic Networks RonM 7/14/10 10:18 AM
Hi All:

A few weeks ago I made a presentation to the ALA Cataloging Committee:
Description & Access. Its Title: From Moby-Dick to Mash-Ups: Thinking
About Bibliographic Networks (
See also the "Orson Whales" mashup in HD at

Using Peter Murray's ( turn of phrase, the talk
advanced a number of ideas that are (a.) quite disruptive to much
current thinking about FRBR, but; (b.) are extremely(!) friendly to an
OAI-ORE formulation of that resource description approach. Have a look
at it. While I expect that you will have your own things to say about
the talk, here's what I think is disruptive about it:

1. The principal disruptor should be the idea that we must also be
able to talk about resource description from a -->> top-down POV <<--
without becoming wedded to a specific information technology (catalog
card, MARC, relational, XML*, etc.). This POV is therefore (1.)
complementary to W3C bottom-up efforts; (2.) validates the Cultural
Heritage community's POV on resource description after – necessarily –
 radically reframing it, and; (3.) can provide a means for library/
archive/museum-centric thinking to temper/guide bottom-up thinking &
implementation efforts.

2. The second disruptor ought to be that FRBR does not limit itself to
hierarchical resource descriptions. It in fact specifies *networks* –
of which a tree/hierarchy is a special case. This gets us out of our
traditional hierarchically-structured hole regarding the nature of
resource description structures. Biologists have left it some time

3. The third disruptor should be that the complexity of resource
description requires a non-narrative/textual approach to appreciate
the full pattern of resources, descriptions, and relationships. The
"Moby-Dick" exemplar presented in the talk proves that for sure. Our
community has, by taking this approach, taken a play from the Physics
crowd's playbook by borrowing the idea of schematic representation
("paper tools") from one of their own icons, Richard Feynman.

For OAI-ORE mavens, the diagram elements are intended to translate
into OAI-ORE Named Graphs. However, "paper tool" manipulations
demonstrate that OAI-ORE Named Graphs must be *nested* if the full
capabilities of FRBR are to be achieved. Things for OAI-ORE mavens to

* As you look at the paper tool diagram section, consider that both
kinds of "boxes" and the "frame" depicted should be resource maps. (I
have assumed that resource maps can themselves be treated as a
resource and have relationships assigned to them – or that you guys
can figure out how to define relationships between uniquely identified
resource maps rather than to their RDF contents)

* If we follow the Physics folks on this, the deal is to use the paper
tool to sketch out ideas (drawing rules incorporate FRBR business
rules), and then code everything up after right-brain heavy lifting
has taken place
Re: Thinking About Bibliographic Networks RonM 7/14/10 10:34 AM
Looks like I should have said aggregation instead of resource map at
certain points towards the end. (That's why I'm posting here!) The way
I try to think of it is:

* Resource/description structures may be constructed to correspond to
one or more ad-hoc, personal, or institutional points of view. (The
term aggregate seems closely associated with XML technology, so I will
shy away from it.)

* These structures may be depicted and explored with an appropriately
configured paper tool, and also implemented and accessed via
sufficiently capable information technology. I think that OAI-ORE is
capable of doing this.

On Jul 14, 1:18 pm, RonM <> wrote:
> Hi All: