FRBR, WEMI & Music

Music Cataloging at YaleRDA

Note: this page was created with music cataloging in mind.

FRBR Functional requirements for bibliographic records is a conceptual model (an abstract depiction) of the bibliographic universe to describe entities, relationships, and attributes (i.e., metadata).

It is separate from any cataloging or display standards, although currently ISBD punctuation is used in many RDA bibliographic records.

FRBR breaks the bibliographic universe into entities and relationships:

Group 1 entities: (work, expression, manifestation, and item (WEMI)) represent the products of intellectual or artistic endeavor.
Group 2 entities: (person, family and corporate body) are responsible for the custodianship of Group 1's intellectual or artistic endeavor.
Group 3 entities: (subjects of Group 1's or Group 2's intellectual or artistic endeavor) include concepts, objects, events, and places.

Relationships depict the link between one entity and another in order to navigate the universe represented in a catalog.
Equivalent relationships:
° share the same intellectual or artistic content as realized through the same mode of expression
° exist between exact copies of the same manifestation of a work or between an original item and reproductions of it, so long as the intellectual content and authorship are preserved.
° examples include reproductions such as copies, issues, facsimiles and reprints, photocopies, and microfilms.
Derivative relationships:
° comprise a range of new expressions, such as translations, different performances, slight modifications and editions that are new works related to some original work.
° exist between a bibliographic work and a modification based on the work.
° examples include:
     » editions, versions, translations, summaries, abstracts, and digests
     » adaptations (new works based on other works)
     » genre changes
     » new works based on the style or thematic content of the work
Descriptive relationships:
° exist between works and new works describing, critiquing, evaluating, or reviewing those works
° examples include reviews, annotated editions, casebooks, commentaries, and critiques of an existing work.

See also The Application of FRBR to Musical Works by Christopher Holden

WEMI Works, expressions, manifestations, and items are entities that have attributes and relationships with other entities, including other works, expressions, and manifestations.
"Work" and "expression" deal with intellectual or artistic activity and content "Manifestation" and "item" deal with physical characteristics
A work is realized by by an expression, which is embodied in a manifestation, which is exemplified by an item.
Work: an abstract idea or distinct intellectual creation that is created by a person or corporate body

"A work is defined as a 'distinct intellectual or artistic creation,' is an abstract entity in that there is no single physically or linguistically fixed object representing that work. Rather, a work is the artistic and intellectual commonality of one or more resources as they are multiplied through translation, abridgment, revision, or any other process which does not substantially alter core content."

Attributes of a work: title, date, identifier (if it has one), intended audience, form of work, medium of performance, numeric designation, key, etc.
° Author or composer is not an attribute for work or expression, because such information is treated in FRBR as a relationship between the work or expression and a person or corporate body.

Die Zauberflöte by Mozart and J.S. Bach's Goldberg variations, apart from all ways of expressing them, are works.

When do you have the same work and when do you have a different work?

  • Same work: processes applied to a resource result in another resource realizing the same work are:
    • translations, abridgements
    • revisions, new edition, illustrated editions
    • reprints, exact reproductions, facsimiles
  • Different work: processes applied to a resource resulting in a resource realizing a different work are:
    • change of genre, parodies
    • annotated editions, adaptations (i.e., for children, to different literary form, to different medium)
    • reviews, evaluations, criticism, and dramatizations
Expression: the fulfillment or realization of that idea through words, sound, image, etc. that is realized by a person or corporate body

"An expression is an intellectually/artistically concrete entity, being the realization of a work in fixed alpha-numeric, musical, choreographic, cartographic, etc., notation. ... An expression has no physical characteristics: in the case of textual expressions, for example, the expression encompasses the words, sentences, and paragraphs of the creation, but not its font and font size and hence the number of pages it constitutes when in a particular physical format."

Attributes of an expression: title, form, date, language, type of score (musical notation), medium of performance (musical notation or recorded sound), identifier (if it has one), etc.

Expressions may be related by being realizations of the same work. As the notation used to fix an expression is one of its major attributes, different expressions of the same work can be created by fixing it in different forms. For example:

   Work: Die Zauberflöte by Mozart
   Expression 1: original composer's score
   Expression 2: July 27, 1949 performance by the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor

Translations, revisions, arrangements, and performances of a work are considered expressions of that work.

When do you have the same expression and when do you have a different expression?

  • Same expression:
    • same intellectual content = same expression
    • reprint editions, simultaneous publications
  • Different expression:
    • any change in intellectual content = new expression
    • revised, second, etc., editions
Manifestation: the physical embodiment (i.e., publication) of an expression of a work that is produced by a person or corporate body
   ° a publication of an expression is called a manifestation

Attributes of a manifestation: title, statement of responsibility, edition, imprint (place, publisher, date), form/extent and dimensions of carrier, terms of availability, mode of access, identifier (if it has one), etc.
° For sound recordings: playing speed, groove width, kind of cutting, tape configuration, kind of sound, special reproduction characteristic

Music can be performed, but only when it is recorded is there a manifestation

   Work: J.S. Bach's Goldberg variations
   Expression: June 10, 14-16, 1955 performance by Glen Gould
   Manifestation 1: the recording on a phonograph record
   Manifestation 2: a re-release on a compact disc
   Manifestation 3: a digitization on an MP3 file

When do you have the same manifestation and when do you have a new manifestation?

  • Same manifestation: changes to an item that occur after production and release does not constitute a new manifestation
  • Different manifestation: changes to the physical specifications resulting in new manifestations include:
    • formatting changes (e.g., typeface, font size, or page layout)
    • physical carrier changes, (e.g. impression onto a CD rather than a vinyl record)
Item: the actual copy of the manifestation that expression takes that is owned by a person or corporate body
° It is the only absolutely concrete entity in the FRBR model

An item can consist of several distinct physical objects, such as a box set of CDs, or two separately bound volumes with no common sleeve/box that were issued and sold together. Both are considered to be one item.

Each copy of Music & Arts 1995 pressing of the recording of Die Zauberflöte by Mozart July 27, 1949 performance by the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor is an item.
Each copy of Sony Classical's 2005 release of the June 10, 14-16, 1955 J.S. Bach's Goldberg variations performed by Glen Gould is an item.

Attributes of an item: provenance, location, condition, access restrictions, identifier (if it has one), etc.