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. T/he 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 

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 

What have I missed?



Karen Coyle
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