Description of the FRBR model
The FRBR model (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) is a conceptual model that was developed by an IFLA group of experts from 1992 to 1997. It was officially approved by the IFLA Cataloguing Section’s Standing Committee on September 5, 1997. The group of experts’ final report was published on the following year by Saur.
This model analyzes catalog records as data sets that provide information about four distinct aspects of the object they describe:
- its individual characteristics as an exemplar of a given publication,
- the characteristics of the publication of which it is a copy,
- the characteristics of its intellectual or artistic content,
- and the characteristics of the abstract creation to which it relates (e.g., both the original text of a novel and a translation thereof relate to one common abstract creation).
These four aspects are referred to as:
At each of these four levels of analysis, a relationship is defined between the object described and a Person or Corporate Body that played a role in the elaboration of that specific level. A Work can be about any of the six aforementioned notions, plus the notions of Place, Event, Concept, and Object.
The FRBR model displays two features:
- On the one hand, it consolidates experience from the past. The aim is to rationalize the functions a library catalogue should perform, and to give, at the international level, a scientific justification to cataloguing practices (and costs). That justification supports the ISBDs and redefines the minimum level of the information that should be contained in bibliographic records created by national bibliographic agencies.
- On the other hand, it paves the way to innovative catalogues, and provides a conceptual and terminological framework for the updating of the International Cataloguing Principles and the development of an international cataloguing code, RDA.
Extension to Authority Data : FRAD
The scope of the FRBR model is limited to bibliographic records and holdings information, but from the very beginning IFLA was eager to extend its modelling effort to all of the information provided by library catalogues. To that purpose, two further study groups were formed:
- the FRANAR Group (Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records) in April 1999, whose task was to model the content of authority records;
- and the FRSAR Group (Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Records) in April 2005, in charge of the modelling of subject relationships.
The FRANAR Group published in 2009 the FRAD model (Functional Requirements for Authority Data), the English version of which is available only in print.
This model deals mainly with the Person, Corporate Body, Family and Work entities. It lists a number of attributes for each entity, and defines relationships between and among them and between the various appellations that refer to the same instance of any of these entities.
Translations are available from the IFLA Web site
Extension to Aboutness : FRSAD
The FRSAR Group finalized in 2010 the FRSAD model (Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data), which was published in English both as a printed book
This model focuses on the relationships between a Work, its subjects, the way these subjects are named, and the information contained in indexing schemes about both the concepts and the appellations that refer to them.
The intention is, at a later stage, to merge all three models (FRBR, FRAD, and FRSAD) into one.
The FRBR model was originally designed as an entity-relationship model. It was later reformulated as an object-oriented model, so as to be transformed into an extension to the conceptual model developed by the museum community, CIDOC CRM. As a consequence, there are currently two distinct versions of the FRBR model: FRBRER and FRBROO.