There are so many intertwined threads here it's almost impossible to know where to comment and to whom. Needing to step in somewhere and wanting to (eventually) comment on Tom's post, I'll start here.

I was struck by Kevin's statement earlier that one of the differences between an Authority and an Annotation would be the need to express provenance.  I totally agree with others that have said this is an artificial distinction.  It is as important to know who assigned a creator (perhaps just an order "record" where controlled names are not typically used), to classification of subjects (the National Library of Medicine may assign a classification and subject headings that bring out medical aspects of a resource that aren't particularly useful for my institution).

I'm also unclear on how practically to make use of an annotation.  Let's say we have a review of a Friday night performance of the 100th revival of Annie by an author working for the New York Times.  To what is the annotation attached?  Or is this a Work issue?  How do I express that this applies to a certain revival and to a certain performance?  I will also want to know both who wrote the article and that he worked for the Times.  I appreciate that BIBFRAME is striving to support library metadata, but we will need it to do much more than that.  I will need a solution that will allow me to do things that simply aren't possible with MARC or RDA. 

I also want to say a bit about records.  I'm a firm believer in moving away from the record economy.  The need to store and share them is insupportable.  The conversion of inarticulate MARC data to inarticulate RDF perpetuates this concept.  I think that BIBFRAME will finally allow us to fulfill linked data's potential.  But I am also struck by Ron Murray's post on subgraphs (and Karen's on application profiles).  In some contexts, we will still want to be able to express that a certain suite of statements are present (among others) that meet a certain agreed upon standard.  It will also be important to be able to express conformance to this standard either through provenance or adherence to a certain application profile.


On 5/9/2013 2:57 AM, Meehan, Thomas wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite">

Karen said:

Then there is the question of whether the target would ever be more granular than W, I, A? For example, with cataloger notes, one might want to annotate a particular descriptive statement within, say, Work. Perhaps it is best to defer this question until more general ones are answered.


[Apologies if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick with this: I’m not finding Annotations necessarily easy to get my head around and am more than happy to be Put Right.] With reference to Karen’s statement above, this raises the point for me as a cataloguer that so much of cataloguing in practice is concerned with establishing a source of information and justifying it in various ways:

-          Who did the record? This is perhaps a bigger issue than it should be (if the data’s entered correctly first time…) but in practice it matters where the data comes from: LC vs Someone Else; or CIP information vs book as seen (where the title or pub date might have changed over time). As Karen suggests, records are littered with different notes: contents notes, abstracts, descriptive notes of various sorts which are of a similar nature to the annotations in having issues with provenance and relevance to particular institutions. Often there is some text in the same note or a different note to indicate the provenance. Perhaps all notes should also be annotations. I think subject headings have been mentioned as a possible annotation as they are essentially subjective too: give two cataloguers a book about slum clearance in 19th century western European art and they’ll never come up with the same set of headings.

-          Where did the  piece of data come from? Most commonly “Title from cover” or some such. Rightly or wrongly, this is given great importance in both AACR2 and RDA and it is usual to state the source if it’s not the preferred one[*]. For some materials this can greatly affect the record/data values. E.g. to catalogue a DVD, I should ideally watch it; in reality, we always use the disc label so an Instance bf:title for a particular DVD might look quite different at UCL to one described elsewhere. If one institution chooses to describe a resource using AACR2 and we do ours using RDA many of the elements’ values will again be different.


[*] E.g. RDA 2.2.4: “If information taken from a source outside the resource itself is supplied in any of the elements listed below, indicate that fact either by means of a note or by some other means (e.g., through coding or the use of square brackets).” (my emphasis). Sadly I can’t provide a link.


I suppose the main thing I wanted to say is that I don’t understand why the data elements I regard as least important and arguably of local importance (although this might reflect my background and habits as a traditional cataloguer) are given first class provenance information and the more fundamental elements are given none. Any data element (e.g. title) could have further data about the data source (e.g. title page of vol. 1), the provenance (e.g. Cataloguer A at Institution B), the rules used (e.g. RDA), the date produced (e.g. 20130509), and notes about the element (e.g. “Title written in gold leaf black letter”). Obviously this is over the top, but on the other hand why not? Especially in linked data, I don't see why one data element is necessarily fundamental to a “view” and another element is not. As institution B, I might decide not to display or publicise subject headings or ORCID ids; I might on the other hand want to make more of Wikipedia links or other elements not covered in Bibframe at all. Perhaps I’ve answered this myself in referring to the Annotations as of local importance, but they still seem to be assertions about a resource to me. If a resource has a review, then this is a fact and who asserted it is as un/important as it is for a title. Owen pointed out to me that cover art may vary between assertions as my photo of cover art is a different file to his, which does makes sense, although this doesn’t necessarily match the use case given in the model.  







Thomas Meehan

Head of Current Cataloguing

Library Services

University College London

Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT


t.mee[log in to unmask]


From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ray Denenberg
Sent: 08 May 2013 21:16
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] BIBFRAME annotation: granularity


Karen said:

Then there is the question of whether the target would ever be more granular than W, I, A? For example, with cataloger notes, one might want to annotate a particular descriptive statement within, say, Work. Perhaps it is best to defer this question until more general ones are answered.


No, I don't think it's best to defer this discussion.  It's fairly fundamental.


The Annotation model states this view of the BIBFRAME model:


"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."


A BIBFRAME Annotation annotates the abstract object and not its description.  There was quite a bit of debate among the contributors over this, and if there is a fundamental objection to this, now is probably the time to raise it.  But if this view of the BIBFRAME model holds, then no, you can't "annotate a particular descriptive statement within, say, Work."




From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Coyle
Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 11:57 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] BIBFRAME annotation



One other difference that I see is the typing of the target. This may not be a vital difference since such typing is non-mandatory (for whatever mandatory means in the open world of linked data, but that's a whole other question I have about the OA model). OA uses dctypes, like "text," "image," "sound." Even for OA I question whether these are sufficiently granular to be useful ("image" and "sound" can be a whole plethora of actual digital file types).

As I read the BIBFRAME diagrams, the annotations are intended to annotate the major "things" of the BIBFRAME world. Will it be useful to type these as targets? And what would those types be? One possibility is that "Work" "Instance" and "Authority" are defined as target types for BIBFRAME use. Another, more general one is that the type is simply "graph", which is more analogous to the OA types.

The typing of hasBody might be the same as OA, but that's an hypothesis to be tested.

Then there is the question of whether the target would ever be more granular than W, I, A? For example, with cataloger notes, one might want to annotate a particular descriptive statement within, say, Work. Perhaps it is best to defer this question until more general ones are answered.


p.s. Except for Kevin I don't believe we have heard from anyone else involved in the development of the BIBFRAME annotation draft. I would be interesting to hear if any of this discussion is at all useful to their thinking.

On 5/7/13 7:48 AM, Owen Stephens wrote:

My first question about Annotations in Bibframe was about whether the existing proposed uses of Annotation were 'valid' - or could be said to meet some criteria as to why they were 'annotations'.


My second is about the differences between Bibframe annotations and Open Annotation. As bf:Annotation is declared a subclass of oa:Annotation it seems that there is a desire to share a common conception of what an 'annotation' is.


The immediately obvious major difference between the way Bibframe Annotations and OA is that to specify the type of annotation Bibframe uses subclasses while OA uses the concept of 'motiviation'. I have to admit I struggle to see why Bibframe should do this differently to OA given that there is so much to gain through doing it in the same way. If there is anything to say about why bibframe proposes to do this via subclassing it would be really good to know, as the OA documentation makes it clear why they decided to go with the 'motivation' approach, and seems explicitly designed for scenarios such as the BIBFRAME one where a community has some need to specify a certain type of annotation.


In a recent email Rob Sanderson also highlighted another difference which is allowing the use of literals to carry the body of an annotation. Again the OA case for not allowing this is documented and seems to include some use cases that seem likely to impact on the library domain - e.g. knowing directionality of text, knowing how text is encoded. Again I think some explanation of why Bibframe feels it is important to support the annotationBodyLiteral would be welcome.


In Eric Miller's recent email he noted that "Ray Denenberg (the Editor for this doc) [...] sees the compatibility and interoperability differences to be minor to negligible,". If these two differences are the major issues here, I tend to agree that there are not major differences - which, to be honest, just makes me wonder all the more why they are necessary :)





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.


-----Original Message-----
From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum
[mailto:BIBFRAME@LISTSERV.LOC.GOV] 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
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 provenance.
What have I missed?

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




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

Philip E. Schreur
Head, Metadata Department
Stanford University
650-725-1120 (fax)