This time I was thinking about the way that the entities are used with the subject relationship. But before I get to that, there's always the publisher to torment me.
Creators and Publishers in FRBR and RDA
The Group 2 entities have what is called "responsibility relationships" with the Group 1 entities. The diagram (Figure 3.2, p. 14) shows the two Group 2 (G2) entities, person and corporate body, to related to the Group 1 entities in the following way:
Work is created by... G2(Note that I find it odd that FRBR limits the Group 1 to Group 2 relationships to only four, and only one per Group 1 entity, but that is how it is written. It makes me wonder what one does with, say, an illustrator of a particular expression of a book. Surely the addition of illustrations doesn't make it a new work?)
Expression is realized by ... G2
Manifestation is produced by ... G2
Item is owned by ... G2
In section 4 of FRBR, the Group 2 entities are not included in the lists of attributes of the Group 1 entities. In other words, when you read the list of attributes of a work, there is no mention of creator, and the list of attributes of an item does not include owner.
I was therefore surprised to find among the attributes of a manifestation:
4.4.5 Publisher/DistributorSince Group 2 entities are not listed as attributes in the Group 1 attribute lists, this pretty clearly states that publisher is not a person or corporate body entity.
The publisher/distributor of the manifestation is the individual, group, or organization named in the manifestation as being responsible for the publication, distribution, issuing, or release of the manifestation. A manifestation may be associated with one or more publishers or distributors.
Yet, the section on relationships between Group 1 and Group 2 entities says:
5.2.2 Relationships to Persons and Corporate BodiesEssentially, this apparent inconsistency between the definitions of the entities and the attribute list for the manifestation has to do with the practice of transcribing data from the manifestation:
The entities in the second group (person and corporate body) are linked to the first group by four relationship types: the “created by” relationship that links both person and corporate body to work; the “realized by” relationship that links the same two entities to expression; the “produced by” relationship that links them to manifestation; and the “owned by” relationship that links them to item.
At first glance certain of the attributes defined in the model may appear to duplicate objects of interest that have been separately defined in the model as entities and linked to the entity in question through relationships. For example, the manifestation attribute “statement of responsibility” may appear to parallel the entities person and corporate body and the “responsibility” relationships that link those entities with the work and/or expression embodied in the manifestation. However, the attribute defined as “statement of responsibility” pertains directly to the labeling information appearing in the manifestation itself, as distinct from the relationship between the work contained in the manifestation and the person and/or corporate body responsible for the creation or realization of the work. (Section 4.1)What this points out is that while FRBR supposedly puts forth an entity-relation model, in fact it is no more ER than our current bibliographic model with its mixture of transcribed data, cataloger supplied data, and controlled headings.
Then Comes Group 3
This is easier to explain, because it is very simple: The Group 3 entities (concept, object, event, place) can ONLY be used as subjects, e.g.:
For the purposes of this study places are treated as entities only to the extent that they are the subject of a work (e.g., the subject of a map or atlas, or of a travel guide, etc.). (section 3.2.10)This eliminates any thought of using place as in "place of publication." Not to mention that each of these has a very limited attribute list; in fact, they each have exactly one attribute:
term for the concept/object/event/placeThe Upshot
The upshot is that FRBR does not give us a true entity-relation model for our bibliographic data. This is frustrating for those of us trying to move library data in an ER direction, and it means that to achieve the ER model we will have to go beyond what exists today in FRBR, and beyond the version of FRBR that has been realized in RDA. I've kind of known this, but it's discouraging to have it confirmed in the FRBR document itself. Even more frustrating that it's been there the whole time and I missed it.
I've looked again at FRBR in RDF and the Scholarly Works Application Profile, and both make some interesting extensions to the FRBR concepts, taking them further along the ER road. It seems to me that the DC/RDA work will need also to deviate from FRBR in order to achieve its goals. The big question is: how far can we go and still be compatible with library data?