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Report 2.1: The BIBFRAME Editor Demo

Posted By Kimmy Szeto, Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Originally Posted to the Task Force Group Blog by Anna Alfeld, Thursday, December 11, 2014


The BIBFRAME Editor [BFE] is a utility to allow for experimentation using the BIBFRAME vocabulary. There are two versions currently available: a web-based “Demo” version and a downloadable version of the software. The downloadable version allows for greater flexibility and manipulation but also requires a high degree of technological expertise and capacity.


The online version allows users an opportunity to become familiar with BIBFRAME vocabulary in a somewhat familiar and fairly intuitive interface. The online Demo has no back end storage at this time so any data entered cannot be saved. What the Demo does not at this time convey is the power of linked data. While some of the fields in the template feature a “lookup” service, basically a Google-like prediction service based on keywords, it can currently only look at the Library of Congress’s ID.LOC.GOV. The lookup feature works only with authority data, not bibliographic data. Not all the relevant entries are displayed and those that are displayed seem to be in no particular order.


The online version of the BFE currently has only two profiles: “simple monograph” and what they literally call the “Kitchen Sink Profile.” The Kitchen Sink Profile includes all of the BF vocabulary, including the vocabulary that will be used to describe music. It also contains a lot of other information that is irrelevant to most music librarians such as would be used for describing cartographic resources or 3-dimensional objects. While overwhelming, this will help to select elements to include when creating specific profiles, such as for a musical score or recording.


The downloadable version of the BFE allows for greater flexibility and manipulation but also requires a high degree of technological expertise and capacity. It can be configured to use a datastore so that information can be stored and retrieved. Within the Download, one can modify the base Profiles to fit specific needs, such as a musical score or recording. Developers using the Download can utilize other Linked Data lists and services to increase the lookup capabilities.


Both profiles are organized around BIBFRAME Model’s core classes: Creative Work, Instance, Authority, and Annotation. Work and Instance both have their own subsidiary template within the larger profile. Annotation is labeled HeldItem in the Kitchen Sink profile and Holding in the Simple Monograph profile. Authority is built into the sub-templates for Work and Instance. The four sub-templates are New HeldItem (or Holding), New Instance, New Work, and New Work, Instance, & HeldItem.


The BFE is still being developed. The designers were more concerned with functionality than the user experience. One aspect they concentrated on was the “lookup” ability: in certain fields (such as those we currently think of as “controlled vocabulary”) you can enter data and suggestions will appear in a drop-down list. Currently the online demo can only compares the entered data with the LC’s ID.LOC.GOV while the downloadable version can be configured to search other linked data sources. The suggestions given are few and in no discernable order which makes it extremely difficult (or impossible) to find the one you are looking for if you are cataloging, for instance, the opening movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata. It also does not look up Instances (RDA manifestations) particularly well; the most obvious way to look up a book, the ISBN, does not work. These issues are all being worked on and are expected to improve.

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The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.