The main use case that I can think of for literal annotations is the catch-all "user tagging". Think of this in terms of the open-ended tagging that Flickr allows, where it would be impossible to characterize the nature of the tags:

"My vacation"
"Mary again"
"Eiffel tower under the moonlight"

Or the highly used tags in both LibraryThing and GoodReads:

"Read"   [which is wonderfully ambiguous in English]
"To read"

These deserve to be literal strings, dangling off the edge of information space, almost useless to anyone but their creators.


On 5/9/13 8:49 AM, Owen Stephens wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite"> From Kevin's description here it sounds like this was more about entries like:

<datafield tag="856" ind1="4" ind2="1">
<subfield code="3">Table of contents only</subfield>
<datafield tag="856" ind1="4" ind2="2">
<subfield code="3">Publisher description</subfield>
<datafield tag="856" ind1="4" ind2="1">
<subfield code="3">Sample text</subfield>
<datafield tag="856" ind1="4" ind2="2">
<subfield code="3">Contributor biographical information</subfield>


Owen Stephens
Owen Stephens Consulting
Email: [log in to unmask]
Telephone: 0121 288 6936

On 9 May 2013, at 16:30, Stephen Hearn <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

On the chance that I may be voicing concerns or points of confusion shared by others reading this list:

If by "description" we mean what in the past was called "summary" and recorded in 520, the reasons for not making such metadata "core" had more to do with expedience than any judgment about the value of the metadata. Everyone wants such "descriptions," but they've been expensive to produce in terms of cataloger time; so they generally weren't required. 

The default assumption when a 520 appeared on a record was that a cataloger, and by extension "the library," had composed the summary. Using an external source, like transcribing a publisher's description in a 520, was considered problematic, since these descriptions were often promotional and not in keeping with the library ethos of neutrality. A solution has been to append a source statement to such texts in 520 to clarify that they were not composed by the library, e.g., "520 $a [Publisher's description]--Publisher's description."

Such a text, with its appendage, could be added as a literal in the body of an annotation. There would be no easy way to use the source data it contains, but if communicating that data to end users reading the text was considered sufficient, and if entering such a literal was more expedient than assigning URLs to objects and entities in every case, then that might be the preferred solution. When the summary is already available as a URL-specified object, using that rather than a literal could be preferred; but my guess is that won't always be the case.

The argument for allowing literals may have to do mainly with the practicalities of enabling BibFrame data creation by a widely dispersed and variously equipped population of libraries and other agencies and not with preferred data management practices.


On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 3:42 AM, Owen Stephens <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks Kevin
> Very brief history: Annotation was proposed for the BIBFRAME model, at which point we started evaluating the idea along with the model in general.  We get a lot of extra material with bib records, such as publisher descriptions, contributor bios, tables of contents, etc.  These are often recorded in the 856, and we've been heavily evaluating BIBFRAME via our MARC records.  What you are seeing is a very, very early attempt to rationalize what is commonly found in the 856 (at least our 856s).  And you are also seeing, with these entries in the vocabulary, the outcome of a first cut to get things moving versus a hardened decision.  As we've said before, it's a draft and things will change.  (Regardless of the origin - MARC 856 - these extras are valuable additions to our records with a number of potential uses that we want to leverage in a future bibliographic ecosystem.)
> One the one hand, I completely understand (and can agree with) your assessment of bf:PublisherDescription; I've had the same thought before.  It might be better simply called Description without reference to the source.  Not all descriptions are the ones created by publishers.  ContributorBio's definition could likely use some attention to make clear the distinction what type of biographical information.
> On the other hand, and something to bear in mind, is the "who" being talked about with respect to the Annotation is the agent responsible for creating the Annotation, which is not necessarily the same as the source of the Description.  Not only is this an important distinction, but I can suddenly appreciate how this could lead to some confusion and I've taken note to tread carefully (and review earlier statements).  The consumer must consider his/her "trust" in the annotator and, separately, his/her "trust" in the content creator (also, cue a few over-the-top and off-topic emails about the notion of "trust").  So, the Description Annotation may be asserted by LC (we created the Annotation), but that's not to say we created/authored the description itself.  The same could be applied to SampleText and Tables of Contents.  The Annotation is a way for us to publicize (if we want to) that we have SampleText (often specially formatted) or Tables of Contents, which have traditionally been treated as "add-ons" (for the lack of a better characterization) to the bibliographic record.  These extras can assist a patron evaluating a potential resource (and, if indexed, can help with search), but are they "core" to the description?

I appreciate the explanation around the "who" being talked about in respect to the Annotation - I think I'd misapprehended this  - although it does start to create some confusion in my mind. If the provenance of the 'PublisherDescription' or 'TableofContents' is 'the library' - then this seems not to differ to the rest of the bibframe data. To take the example of Description vs PublisherDescription - I can easily see many parties wishing to assert a Description of a book - and I'm going to care who asserted the description. I'm unconvinced that lots of parties want to make the statement 'this is the publisher description of the book', and if they do then the question of 'who' is making the statement is less important (it isn't unimportant - but that goes for the provenance of any of the statements in bibframe).

I'm uncomfortable with the idea that the Annotations are some how not 'core' to the description - I think this is at the root of the feeling mentioned previously that those things classed as Annotations in Bibframe are somehow second class citizens. If we do need to indicate core/non-core properties (which I don't really believe) then I think it would be better to make this some kind of explicit encoding, not 'implied by nature of being an annotation'

> In the end, this is really about exploring the extensibility of the model and the empowerment of actors outside the traditional bibliographic universe.  For example, a service could set itself up as a clearinghouse, quite independent of libraries or publishers, for this type of information.  Those clearinghouses would be the creators of those Annotations, even though they may providing access to tables of contents or sample text (or something else we've not yet thought of but which would nevertheless be a positive addition that would help our users).
> Further thoughts?
> As for this:
>> I think I'm willing to accept that if they fulfil any of
>> the criteria above (provenance is key, or 1,2,3 listed) then there is a
>> justification to use an 'annotation' approach.
> I ask that BIBFRAME Annotation be evaluated on its definition and use cases (while acknowledging there may be overlap) versus the Open Annotation requirements, to which those numbers refer.

Of course this is reasonable - but by subclassing oa:annotation and calling the approach 'annotation' I think some consideration of whether the bibframe use of annotation is in line with OA is being invited

> Yours,
> Kevin
>> From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Owen Stephens
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 10:29 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] BIBFRAME annotation
>> Thanks Kevin for this attempt - I, at least, found it helpful in terms
>> of thinking about how BIBFRAME uses 'annotations'.
>> There is clearly a lot of 'grey area' in terms of what might be
>> regarded as an annotation and what not. While acknowledging the
>> criticism others have made that dealing in 'facts' is problematic, I
>> think I understand the idea that there are things that we might easily
>> get consensus on and those that we might not, or have valid multiple
>> views on - but this is a spectrum.
>> In this context it makes sense that Annotations are used when it is
>> important to the provenance (especially the 'who') of a statement. The
>> issue of Provenance is mentioned by Rob Sanderson as part of the
>> rationale for developing additional vocabulary/ontology for the Open
>> Annotation work in one of his recent emails. The other work on
>> Provenance for triples has also been mentioned, but clearly the current
>> situation is that OA creates a clear mechanism for this)
>> The other examples of requirements from the Open Annotation work given
>> by Rob were (numbering assigned by me here):
>> 1) A highlighted span of text.  There is an obvious target segment of a
>> resource (the object), but there is no body/comment (the subject).  As
>> a triple must have a subject, this could not be expressed.  A second
>> example of this would be a bookmark where the body is also implicit.
>> 2) An annotation that refers to multiple segments of a resource,
>> multiple resources or multiple segments of multiple resources.  In this
>> case there would be multiple objects, which is also not possible to be
>> expressed in RDF.
>> 3) Where there are, equivalently, multiple comments, such as a comment
>> in English and the same comment in French and the user agent should
>> determine which is more appropriate to show to the user.
>> While not an expert, (1) and (2) seem clear to me. I'm less clear why
>> (3) can't be handled as a language tag - although I would see an
>> argument that a translation is in itself an annotation of a kind :)
>> I don't see anything in Bibframe equivalent to (1) - all bibframe
>> annotations are intended to point at a resource, not a fragment as far
>> as I can see?
>> I don't see anything in Bibframe equivalent to (2) - all bibframe
>> annotations are intended to point at a single resource, not multiple
>> resources as far as I can see?
>> I think (3) could apply to Bibframe - specifically in terms of
>> bf:coverArt
>> Having thought this through for me the first question is whether all
>> Bibframe 'annotations' as currently proposed should be expressed as
>> annotations. I think I'm willing to accept that if they fulfil any of
>> the criteria above (provenance is key, or 1,2,3 listed) then there is a
>> justification to use an 'annotation' approach.
>> Out of the annotation classes given
>> in the ones that strike
>> me as falling into my interpretation of the criteria for 'annotations'
>> are:
>> bf:Review (provenance is key)
>> bf:CoverArt (assuming this is an image of the cover - equivalence
>> between different images of  the cover but all ultimately making the
>> same assertion of 'it looks like this')
>> The others seem less clear to me:
>> bf:ContributorBio - maybe if provenance is key, although it may depend
>> on the type of biographical information being asserted - feels like it
>> needs breaking down further bf:TableofContents - is this debated? Or
>> likely to need multiple equivalent assertions? Feels like this is just
>> a straightforward property of the work bf:SampleText - while I can see
>> that there could be many examples of 'sampletext' for a single item, it
>> doesn't seem likely we care 'who' made the claim it was sample text?
>> Feels like a different kind of relationship to an annotation
>> bf:PublisherDescription - this feels wrong in that why not have
>> bf:Description, with the annotation asserting it was created by the
>> 'publisher'? A 'description' seems squarely in 'annotation' territory,
>> while a specific description assigned to a specific body feels like it
>> could be handled without resorting to annotation
>> Anyway - I guess my first question (I have a second for a separate
>> email!) is - for each case where annotation is being used at the moment
>> in BIBFRAME, does it really make sense, and if so, why?
>> Owen
>> Owen Stephens
>> Owen Stephens Consulting
>> Web:
>> Email: [log in to unmask]
>> Telephone: 0121 288 6936
>> On 6 May 2013, at 21:07, "Ford, Kevin" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Dear Karen, all,
>> In reading your email (the below and others) as well as one or two
>> emails from other individuals, it became clear that we missed the
>> forest for the trees when it comes to basic definition.  So, I wanted
>> to offer up an answer to the basic question "What is a BIBFRAME
>> Annotation?"
>> I make no claims to have addressed all of the questions you raise, but
>> I wanted to start with the basics before moving on to more specific
>> details, such as whether BIBFRAME Annotations are end-user-oriented or
>> cataloger-oriented, which is a question you asked in a separate email I
>> believe.  Naturally, if this spawns additional questions, please ask.
>> --------
>> What is a BIBFRAME Annotation?
>> A BIBFRAME Annotation is a resource that enhances our knowledge about
>> the resource it annotates (the target resource).  A BIBFRAME Annotation
>> manages this in one of two ways.  One way is for the BIBFRAME
>> Annotation to facilitate an association between two resources by means
>> of relationships.  The resource being annotated is the target of the
>> annotation while the resource that otherwise enhances our knowledge of
>> the target resource is the body, or payload, of the annotation.  The
>> BIBFRAME Annotation, in this case, serves to say, "Resource A annotates
>> Resource B, the target resource."  The other way is for the BIBFRAME
>> Annotation to be itself the carrier of additional information about the
>> target resource.  In this alternative, the BIBFRAME Annotation does not
>> function as a lightweight abstraction layer bridging two resources, but
>> an end resource that further enhances our knowledge about the target
>> resource.  As a matter of focus, a BIBFRAME Annotation generally
>> refines our understanding of the target resource as a whole versus any
>> one particular aspect or segment of the target resource.
>> Another distinguishing characteristic about a BIBFRAME Annotation, as
>> distinct from a BIBFRAME Work or BIBFRAME Instance, is that *who*
>> asserted the Annotation is of paramount importance.  The *who* being
>> the agent stating, "This annotates that."  The importance may range
>> from simply wanting to know, for the sake of completeness, the source
>> of the added information to needing to make a value judgment predicated
>> on the identity of that source.  The latter is particularly meaningful
>> when the additional information may be subjective in nature.  Reviews
>> and ratings fall squarely into the realm of subjectivity, where knowing
>> *who* is asserting the value of the review (not to mention the identity
>> of the reviewer) may directly inform how the Annotation is treated.
>> Another way to define a BIBFRAME Annotation in this regard is by
>> contrast to other BIBFRAME resources.  In the BIBFRAME universe, most
>> of the "facts" about BIBFRAME Works, Instances, and Authorities are
>> immutable, and they will likely be of interest to most users.  Creators,
>> producers, authors, editors, places of publication, publication dates,
>> publishers, manufacturers, titles, and much more, do not change per
>> individual resource.  The novel /The Heart of Midlothian/ by Sir Walter
>> Scott will always be titled "The Heart of Midlothian" and be by Sir
>> Walter Scott.  Likewise, the instance published in 1878 in New York by
>> G. Munro cannot shake those facts in just the same way the instance
>> published in 1885 by J.W. Lovell and company (also in New York) cannot
>> escape from those facts.  These are unquestionably objective "facts"
>> about those resources.  However, reviews of the Work will be subjective
>> and come from a myriad of sources, some of which may be more trusted
>> than others or may be more suitable to some audiences than others.
>> Using the BIBFRAME Annotation model for game ratings provides another
>> example.  The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) assigns
>> ratings to games based on content and age.  Australian Classification
>> Board does this for the Australian market.  The Computer Entertainment
>> Rating Organization (CERO) is the Japanese equivalent of ESRB.  The
>> South Koreans, Germans, Europeans, and many more groups have their own
>> rating systems.  In the United States, Common Sense Media is an
>> alternative rating system that places special emphasis on age
>> appropriateness.  Rating systems abound and, despite similarities, each
>> will be distinctive to their markets and audiences.  Not only do the
>> systems, by their nature, proffer subjective evaluations of media
>> content, their value is only fully realized when we know *who* has
>> assigned a particular game rating.  The BIBFRAME Annotation model
>> provides a flexible way to enhance the description of Works and
>> Instances while enabling a scenario that maintains a certain separation
>> between objective "facts" and subjective ones.
>> The valuable information added by the BIBFRAME Annotation is,
>> objectively, no less (or more) important than the information
>> associated directly with a BIBFRAME Work, Instance, or Authority.  It
>> is just that the information conveyed by means of a BIBFRAME Annotation
>> is in enriched by knowing *who* asserted the BIBFRAME Annotation.  As a
>> practical matter, the *who* in this model can become a filter, allowing
>> consumers (libraries certainly, but potentially also patrons) to select
>> annotations based on who asserted the annotation.
>> ---------
>> I should add that we believe the BIBFRAME Annotation model to be a
>> positive development that will allow for a fair amount of flexibility
>> in the future for libraries, and other implementers, to augment their
>> data how they deem most appropriate while leaving the information that
>> remains constant between descriptions untouched.
>> We still continue to explore the possibilities and potential of the
>> BIBFRAME Annotations within the BIBFRAME model as a whole, so we
>> appreciate the additional eyes and questions - it is about identifying
>> and enabling our use cases.
>> Warmly,
>> Kevin
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Coyle
>> Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 3:35 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: [BIBFRAME] BIBFRAME annotation
>> I've had a terrible time trying to understand Open Annotation (why is
>> this not just an RDF graph showing a relationship between things? Why
>> does it get its own formal definition?), and now I'm looking at
>> BIBFRAME annotation, pretty much guaranteeing even greater confusion on
>> my part.
>> BIBFRAME annotation is described as:
>> The parties and objects involved in a BIBFRAME Annotation are:
>> . The Target of the Annotation: A BIBFRAME Work, Instance, or Authority.
>> The book, in part 1 of the illustration below.
>> . The Annotation Body, which is the payload of the Annotation. The book
>> review below.
>> . An author, artist, reviewer, etc. who writes the Annotation Body.
>> (This role is not represented formally in the Annotation model, but is
>> mentioned here to clearly distinguish it from the Annotator.) The
>> Reviewer below.
>> . The Annotator, who asserts the Annotation. (The Annotator is not
>> necessarily the same party as the author, etc. who wrote the
>> Annotation.) The Annotator in part 2 of the illustration.
>> . The Annotation itself , which points to the Body, Target, and
>> Annotator. The Annotation, in part 2 of the illustration.  [1 - section
>> 2.2]
>> *****
>> From this description I conclude that "Annotation" is a special
>> instance of "node" -- a node with some semantics and a limited set of
>> properties: links to a particular set of things. I'm still totally
>> unclear why this is a special case in RDF, since things and links to
>> things are inherent in the model.
>> What BIBFRAME seems to be doing is using Annotation to mean "optional
>> information." I conclude this from section 2.1 of the BIBFRAME
>> annotation document [1 - section 2.1]:
>> What is a BIBFRAME Annotation?
>> For purposes of this model, a BIBFRAME Work, Instance, or Authority is
>> an abstract resource. Different institutions may have different views
>> of any given BIBFRAME Work, Instance, or Authority. For example, for a
>> given BIBFRAME Work, InstitutionA and InstitutionB may each have a view
>> of the Work,  bf:Work A and bf:Work B.
>> Certain information is integral to a Work  - title and author, for
>> example - and might be reasonably expected to be reflected in both
>> views. Other information might be part of one view but not the other -
>> information asserted (possibly by a third party) about the Work, which
>> Institution A chooses to integrate into its view but Institution B
>> chooses not to (or vice versa).
>> A BIBFRAME Annotation is an assertion, by any party, about a BIBFRAME
>> resource (Work, Instance, or Authority) that any institution holding a
>> view of that resource may choose to integrate into its view, or choose
>> not to.
>> **********
>> There seem to be two things going on here. One is that different users
>> of BIBFRAME will make different choices about what is "integral" to
>> Work, Instance and Authority.
>> The other thing is that there are *optional* bits of information that
>> can be encoded as Annotations, and these can be ignored by anyone not
>> interested in making use of them. Unfortunately, defining some elements
>> as "unessential" means that others must be defined as "essential."
>> This means that one person's "integral bit" with be another person's
>> Annotation. Thus having annotations doesn't mean simply that you can
>> ignore all Annotations, nor does it mean that you do not need to make
>> choices among the "integral bits" that come from other sources. In this
>> sense, Annotation doesn't appear to me to solve the problem of
>> differences in cataloging.
>> I *could* understand (although not necessarily favor) a regime in which
>> there is a defined core (oh, yes, that word again) and everything else
>> is an annotation. That is, everything else is optional. But the
>> definition of Annotation here does not seem to make this separation.
>> Another possibility for Annotation would be to define it as being
>> "third-party information" -- anything not provided by the cataloger and
>> not provided for in the cataloging rules. I'm not saying this would be
>> a good idea, but it would be a clear separation between Annotation and
>> not-Annotation.
>> If there isn't some clear separation, then I don't see a great
>> advantage over letting metadata users select elements based on data
>> elements and provenance.
>> What have I missed?
>> kc
>> [1]
>> --
>> Karen Coyle
>> [log in to unmask]
>> ph: 1-510-540-7596
>> m: 1-510-435-8234
>> skype: kcoylenet

Stephen Hearn, Metadata Strategist
Technical Services, University Libraries
University of Minnesota
160 Wilson Library
309 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Ph: 612-625-2328
Fx: 612-625-3428

Karen Coyle
[log in to unmask]
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet