Updated 17th Sept 8:30 am AEST
I’m using this space to “think aloud” about the FRBR-based EPrints Application Profile in the context of reviewing the wide range of vocabularies used for the resource types across different repositories. The Eprints Type Vocabulary for the FRBR Work entity of Scholarly Text looks useful. But I’m using this space to think aloud about issues arising in thinking about vocabularies for resource types beyond the Scholarly Text.
(I’m sure others have done work on this and I’d greatly appreciate anyone who knows of this work to get in touch.)
First some thoughts on term variations for the same thing.
We see often enough variations among resource terms in existing repositories. For example, some repositories use “article” and others “journal article”; some “book chapter”, others “book item” and others “book section”. Do these differences matter? It would be nice to have a standardized list of course, and perhaps one will emerge, (possibly through RDA early 2009?) But even without that, presumably an RDF model would always be able to tie these variations together in the same way it can link up an author’s name variations. In the semantic web future it would appear that even name authorities will be a relic of the days of card catalogues and machines and systems that imitated card catalogues.
On the other hand, are there subtle differences between similar terms — are some blurring the distinctions between works, manifestations and expressions, for example? — such that choosing one over another may be more favourable for positioning one’s metadata for the semantic web built around the Dublin Core Abstract Model and FRBR (see A Dublin Core Application Profile for Scholarly Works).
Back to resource types for non-(scholarly) text resources:
The Eprint Application Model lists genre/type as an attribute of an Expression.
To recap on the differences between FRBR Work, Expression and Manifestation entities:
FRBR Work Entity
4.2.2 Form of Work
The form of work is the class to which the work belongs (e.g., novel, play, poem, essay, biography, symphony, concerto, sonata, map, drawing, painting, photograph, etc.).
FRBR Expression Entity
IFLA’s Report speaks of a form of an Expression.
4.3.2 Form of Expression
The form of expression is the means by which the work is realized (e.g., through alpha-numeric notation, musical notation, spoken word, musical sound, cartographic image, photographic image, sculpture, dance, mime, etc.). (From IFLA 4.3)
The following is an attempt to get my head around exactly what FRBR means by this attribute of an Expression. The IFLA report gives some more specific attributes:
4.3.16 Type of Score (Musical Notation)
Type of score is the format used to represent a musical composition (e.g., short score, full score, condensed score, close score, etc.).
4.3.17 Medium of Performance (Musical Notation or Recorded Sound)
Medium of performance is the instrumental and/or vocal medium of performance represented in the expression of a musical work (e.g., two pianos, soprano and alto, etc.). The instruments and/or voices represented in a particular expression of a work (e.g., in a transcription, in an arrangement, or in a performance) may differ from the medium of performance for which the work was originally intended. C.f., 4.2.8 Medium of Performance (Musical Work).
4.3.19 Projection (Cartographic Image/Object)
Projection is the method or system used to represent the surface of the Earth or of a celestial sphere on a plane (e.g., transverse Mercator, azimuthal equidistant, etc.).
4.3.20 Presentation Technique (Cartographic Image/Object)
Presentation technique is the method used to represent geographic or other features in a cartographic image (e.g., anaglyphic, diagrammatic, pictorial, etc.).
4.3.21 Representation of Relief (Cartographic Image/Object)
Representation of relief is the technique used to depict the elevations or the inequalities of a land surface or of the bed of a body of water in a cartographic image (e.g., contours, shading, hachures, spot heights, bathymetric tints, etc.).
4.3.22 Geodetic, Grid, and Vertical Measurement (Cartographic Image/Object)
Geodetic, grid, and vertical measurements include information on the spheroid used to construct the cartographic image, the grid or referencing systems used in the image, horizontal datum, vertical datum, mathematical data on contour intervals, bathymetric intervals, etc.
4.3.23 Recording Technique (Remote Sensing Image)
Recording technique is the technique used to capture an image through remote sensing (e.g., multispectral photography, infrared line scanning, SLAR, passive microwave mapping, etc.).
4.3.24 Special Characteristic (Remote Sensing Image)
A special characteristic of a remote sensing image or an image produced through aerial photography is the altitude and attitude of the sensor, the position of the platform, the category and name of the satellite, the number of spectral bands involved, the quality of the image, the extent of cloud cover, or the mean value of the ground resolution.
4.3.25 Technique (Graphic or Projected Image)
Technique is the method used to create a graphic image (e.g., engraving, etc.) or to realize motion in a projected image (e.g., animation, live action, computer generation, 3D, etc.).
FRBR Manifestation Entity
4.4.9 Form of Carrier
The form of carrier is the specific class of material to which the physical carrier of the manifestation belongs (e.g., sound cassette, videodisc, microfilm cartridge, transparency, etc.). The carrier for a manifestation comprising multiple physical components may include more than one form (e.g., a filmstrip with an accompanying booklet, a separate sound disc carrying the sound track for a film, etc.).
4.4.11 Physical Medium
Physical medium is the type of material from which the carrier is produced (e.g., paper, wood, plastic, metal, etc.). The physical medium may include in addition to the base material any material that is applied to the base (e.g., oil paint applied to canvas, a chemical emulsion applied to a film base, etc.). Each component of a manifestation comprising multiple physical components may be produced from a different type of material.
4.4.12 Capture mode
Capture mode is the means used to record notation, sound, or images in the production of a manifestation (e.g., analogue, acoustic, electric, digital, optical etc.).
4.4.34 Presentation Format (Visual Projection)
Presentation format is the format used in the production of a projected image (e.g., wide screen, Beta, VHS, etc.).
Back to resource type (non text) vocabularies
Resource types in the FRBR context are an attribute of an Expression of a Work.
To look at some specific vocabulary examples:
1. Map / cartographic material as a resource type term?
Both map and cartographic material are used in MARC, MODS, DSpace, Zotero and other citation tools, many universities, academic reporting forms. MARC 06 gives as examples of cartographic material the following: maps, atlases, globes, digital maps, and other cartographic items.
FRBR uses “map” as an example of a Form of a Work.
But FRBR also lists “cartographic image” as a form of an Expression. An RDA draft describes cartographic material in terms of images — still and moving.
It appears that “cartographical material” or “map” is really a Work level concept. The same RDA draft lists 6 different content types of cartographic materials (22.214.171.124):
- cartographic datasets
- cartographic image
- cartographic moving image
- cartographic tactile image
- cartographic tactile three-dimensional form
- cartographic three-dimensional form
Cartographic material and Maps thus appear to be a FRBR Entity level concept — like a Scholarly Work — with an array of Expression forms or resource types. Scholarly work is an Eprint type of DCMI “Text” type with a list of Expression resource types (book, journal article . . .).
DCMI Type Vocabulary gives maps as an example of the Image and StillImage types. So presumably Cartographic Work would be a subtype of DCMI Image/StillImage type. This would appear to be supported by FRBR’s listing “cartographic image” as a form of an Expression. Thus Cartographic Work would require the same breakdown in subtypes as the Scholarly Work is broken down into subtypes by the Eprints Type Vocabulary.
MODS lists “cartographic” as a typeOfResource, and contains a separate element from that for genre. The genre term chosen will depend on the authority used. The MARC authority for genre terms lists “map” and “atlas”and “globe” as genre terms. MARC also lists Maps as a “type of cartographic material“. But all this is pre-FRBR concepts.
Maybe then “cartographic image” would make most sense as an Expression in a digital repository, with alternatives like “remote sensing image” as other Expressions of a Cartographic Work, as suggested by the IFLA publication. “Remote sensing image” is also a MARC genre term.
(I can imagine this having relevance in an institution where cartographic materials are a specialist area. Otherwise, would it not make more sense to use the term for the FRBR Work entity as the ‘resource type’ term? If in the grand future such terms are given their unique namespaces then would not this minimize the risk of mixing up the concepts?)
2. Dataset: This is a DCMI Type Vocabulary term, like Text and Image. Is not Dataset also in FRBR terms a Work? The forms of the Expression of a Dataset work would be spreadsheets, tables, etc.
The ch.3 RDA draft adds “computer dataset” (126.96.36.199) and in its scope note helpfully makes a distinction between “data intended to be perceived visually. . . . ” and “data intended to be perceived in an audible form. . . . “, directing users to the other more specific terms for visual and audible material.
3. Interactive resource: Another DCMI Type Vocabulary term. A DCMI example is a Learning Object. A Learning Object is surely a Work. A flash animation (and computer game?) in a Learning Object repository would be a form of Expression. There are specialist repositories for Learning Object Materials.
4. MovingImage: Another DCMI Type Vocabulary term. FRBR cites cartographic image and photographic image as forms of an Expression. The idea of a moving image seems more abstract than either of those two examples. I would suggest that MovingImage, like (DCMI Type Vocabulary Term) Text, be the starting node for a FRBR Work Entity like Scholarly Text. But that leads me to think of best practice being defined as waiting till it emerges.
RDA draft adds “three-dimensional moving image” (e.g. 3-D video games, with or without sound). Computer generation and 3D are also listed (above) by FRBR as examples of a (moving) Projected Image.
MODS lists “moving image” in typeOfResource, and leaves specific genres to a chosen authority, such as DCMI Types or MARC genre terms: motion picture and videorecording are two MARC genre terms that would fit here.
If MODS lists “moving image” as a type of resource, and this matches a DCMI type term, then even though there are questions at this point about this term being applicable as a FRBR Expression attribute, maybe it is best to use “moving image” as a resource type till “best practice” emerges? From RDA?
5. Musical notation is an example of a FRBR form of Expression. Is this more inclusive and preferable to musical score? Although the FRBR note 4.3.16 above appears to equate the two. But DCMI Type Vocabulary cites musical notation as an example of Image. In the next discussion on StillImage I conclude Musical notation belongs as an Expression in a distinct FRBR Work, like a Musical Work. The RDA draft uses “notated music” (as distinct from “performed music” and “tactile music”).
MODS lists “notated music” as a typeOfResource, which sounds conceptually much closer to what we are wanting to establish: a list of “resource types”. But the confusion comes when so many other of our “resource types” are found in the separate MARC genre terms list.
What is a “resource type” as opposed to “genre”? Are both of these concepts attributes of an Expression so that the difference doesn’t matter anyway in this context? But I would have thought “genre” is a priori a Work level concept.
6. Still Image: This DCMI Type Vocabulary Term must by definition be describable as an instance of DCMI’s Image. Lots of repositories want to store images/still images. But the ones I’m thinking of would generally include images of musical scores if they were archival photographs of historic manuscripts. Perhaps this tells us that Musical notation above belongs as an Expression of a Musical Work. Leave StillImage for the same category as Moving Image — as the starting node for a FRBR Work Entity like Scholarly Text.
If MODS lists “still image” as a type of resource, and this matches a DCMI type term, then even though there are questions at this point about this term being applicable as a FRBR Expression attribute, maybe it is best to use “still image” as a resource type till “best practice” emerges? From RDA?
7. Sound: Another DCMI Type Vocabulary Term. Sound is pretty vague. A gun firing, a violin playing, a grunt, a speech are all sound. The RDA draft restricts the scope of “sounds” to “content other than language or music”.
INFLA’s examples of spoken word and musical sound are more meaningful in this context and clear illustrations of Expressions of some Work. The DCMI examples of the Sound Type Vocabulary are more problematic for using this term as a resource type:
Examples include a music playback file format, an audio compact disc . . . .
Those examples are FRBR physical Manifestations, not intellectual Expressions, of a Work entity.
But DCMI adds other examples too:
. . . . and recorded speech or sounds.
Recorded speech comes closer to being an Expression and is pretty close to FRBR’s example of “spoken word” as an example of a form of Expression. And that RDA draft also lists “spoken word” as distinct from “sounds”.
Suggest Sound be broken up into different forms of Expression within clear view of the various Work entities. Or defined as restrictively as the RDA draft 188.8.131.52.
8. Software: Software (e.g. a computer program or script) sounds much more like a physical carrier or Manifestation of an Expression than an Expression attribute itself. Overlaps here with comments in Interactive Resource. The RDA draft puts “software” as one example of “computer program“.
MODS lists “software” as a typeOfResource. “Computer file” would seem the closest MARC equivalent?
9. Web site: MARC writes this as two distinct words rather than Website, which is probably more common now. It’s a MARC genre term. The LOC Minerva project for capturing and storing websites should be taken as a leading guide for this term, and they use “Web site” consistently for the genre or type of resource they are capturing.
Here there may be more works than expressions. FRBR gives novel, play, poem, essay, biography, as examples of the Work entity.
MARC genre terms list autobiography, biography, drama, essay, fiction, folktale, humor, satire, novel, poetry, short story. Just to be perverse MARC not only uses “biography” on the same conceptual level as “novel” and “short story” but it also uses “biography” beside “literary form” as a description of data element. Forget that. Class biography as a literary text. Or would it be simply a “book” in a Scholarly Text?
I suspect that anyone brave enough to construct such a list of literary genres would always be finding something else that they failed to include. I think all of these would come under the rubric of Literary Work. The use of the word “literary” rather than “creative” or “artistic” is based on MARC’s description of data elements where Literary text and Literary form are listed for book and music materials.
The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines are an international and interdisciplinary standard that enables libraries, museums, publishers, and individual scholars to represent a variety of literary and linguistic texts for online research, teaching, and preservation. (From http://www.tei-c.org/)
- performance texts
Drama, film, film scripts, printed dramatic texts, screen plays, radio scripts, and written transcriptions of any form of performance are listed as examples of performance texts throughout the P5 guidelines.
While these 3 “expressions” do not appear to be listed as formal elements of the TEI schema, I think they sound like a starting point for describing Expressions of the many types of Literary Works in repositories.
But those three terms do sound to me (at least this is my first impression) like a fairly comprehensive range of Expressions for the host of different types of Literary Works that exist.
A scope note will need to reserve Literary Works for text based works — a subdivision of DCMI’s Text Type Vocabulary term (as Scholarly Text is with the Eprints AP). Non-text resources, even if the content is scholarly or literary, will require their non-text resource types.
One doubt though. Won’t users be wanting to search by “poetry” or “short stories” etc? But then the question begins to answer itself. Would they search by “poetry” or “verse” or “poems” or “sonnets” or “ballads” . . . . etc. The specific types of Works will be endless. And those genres certainly are Works, not FRBR expressions of works. Best that at that level they look for the repository’s advanced find page.
In this respect it would be similar to avoiding creating a list that attempts to cover all thesis name types across all institutions. For that level of searching, go to the specific repository.
But if that sounds too limiting, the alternatives seem to be an overlap with genre types, and I’m not sure that is a good idea — is it a necessary one? Can some of these be either works or expressions?
Literary genres from the marc genre list:
plays (document genre)
script (document genre)
music document genres (songs, songbooks, sheet music, scores, lullabies, librettos, hymnals, chants)
adventure stories (inc adventure story comics, Robinsonades)
biographies (inc autobiographies, collective biographies, hagiographies, prosopographies – non preferred parent)
folk tales (inc legends (folk tales), trickster tales)
histories (inc annals, case histories, chronicles, genealogies, local histories, prosopographies – non-referred parent)
myths (literary documents)
narratives (document genres)
oral histories (document genres)
poems (inc poems by form…. and poems by function …. listed)
prayers (inc canticles, collects, litanies)
prosopographies (but this is also listed under biography. what is a prosopography anyway?)
romances (literary genre)
satires (document genre)
Well, that’s all for starters. I’m sure there are plenty of howlers above, too.