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May 11, 2008

FRBR & "Time-Based Media", Part 1

Under their Repositories and Preservation Programme, JISC is currently funding a number of short projects (see the overview of this activity by Rachel Bruce) to develop (or in some cases to explore the feasibility of developing) metadata application profiles for a range of different resource types. One of the considerations is the capability to search effectively across a merged dataset formed by aggregating metadata instances based on the different specifications, and - based largely on the experience of the Scholarly Works Applicaton Profile - the projects are exploring an approach based on the Dublin Core Abstract Model, i.e. the development, more specifically, of Dublin Core Application Profiles.

Further, given the use in SWAP of an entity-relational model based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) model, at least some of the projects are also examining the use of FRBR as the basis of the models underpinning their profiles, in order that there is a common high-level model in use across the different datasets.

I am contributing to the project tasked with drafting a profile for the description of Time-Based Media, led by Gayle Calverley at the University of Manchester, and I'm starting to look at some of the issues involved in applying FRBR to this class of resource.

The immediate question, of course, is what we mean by "Time-Based Media"? And I think(!) the answer is something like "resources of which the content changes meaningfully with respect to time", or perhaps more simplistically, resources which have, or are experienced as having, a duration in time - so the primary focus is on moving images and audio.

I really wanted to use this post (and a few subsequent posts)

  • to work through some examples; and
  • to throw out some questions that I've been throwing around in the hope that some of the FRBRistas out there can set me straight; and
  • to highlight some of the complexity that I suspect is an inevitable consequence of applying the FRBR model to these resources

Despite the length of the FRBR report, and the range of examples provided, when I come to apply the FRBR model in some particular context, I often find myself with unanswered questions and looking more some examples that I can relate directly to the case at hand. So I was pleased to find that Martha Yee's chapter "FRBR and Moving Image Materials: Content (Work and Expression) versus Carrier (Manifestation)" from the book Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval Tools is available on the Web. Here I just note a few of the points highlighted by Martha which helped guide my thinking about applying the FRBR model to Time-Based Media:

  • "a filmed version of a work intended for performance... is a new work" (Yee, page 118) (See e.g. the Romeo and Juliet examples in FRBR 3.2.1)
  • "Change from any other GMD, for example, text, music, sound recording, electronic resource, that is not moving image, into the moving image GMD motion picture or videorecording creates a new work by FRBR definition.... The reverse holds true, as well. Change from a moving image GMD to a nonmoving image GMD necessarily involves the creation of a new work. The change from a moving image to a still image or to a sound recording, for example, is so fundamental that the result has to be considered a new work" (Yee, page 121)
  • "any change in the sound, text, music or image of a moving image work creates a new expression of that work" (Yee, page 119) (See e.g. the Jules et Jim examples in FRBR 3.2.1)
  • A change in playing time is an indicator of a change between one expression and another (Yee, page 122)
  • Aspect ratio (intended proportion of image width to height) should be considered an attribute of the work, not the expression (Yee, page 123)
  • Colour should be considered an attribute of the work, not the manifestation (Yee, page 123)

When I'm exploring these sort of problems, I usually find I need to work through a few concrete examples, and try out various options, which I'll do in a series of follow-up posts to this one.

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