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On Thu, 16 May 2013 17:54:32 -0400, Ford, Kevin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>These are all good things to think about.  But in re-reading your email, 
with the idea of commenting on each, I am struck by the specificity.  It's 
not that the specifity is a bad thing, by any measure, but that, ultimately, 
we are trying to establish some form of useful guidelines that will 
accommodate a very significant percentage of cases.  I'm not saying what 
you've identified are edge cases, but I do wonder how common they really 
are.  That said, what we can figure out now and reasonably address, let's 
look at.  Is there any way to quantify, for example, how often publishers 
actually reuse ISBNs in different editions (is that even tecnically 
permitted?)?

As already said, technically it's not permitted, but it happens.  I have no 
idea how frequently it happens.  Conversely, different ISBNs are given to 
sets of copies which don't differ in ways that matter to the generality of 
users; e.g. some Bible publishers offer the exactly identical content in 
paper, cloth, leatherette, each given a different ISBN (because each is, 
commercially, a different item in their sales catalogue) and perhaps a 
different ISBN again for leatherette with gilt edges.  I am not 
exaggerating.  From the user perspective, these differences are 
insignificant.  Differences that are significant are, surely, those that 
mean the copies in hand/on screen either carry different content, or else 
are not interchangeable (the content, in print terms, appears on a different 
page, therefore page citations are not interchangeable).
>
>In the end, we must all accept that it is not going to be perfect.  We want 
it to be but, as you and others have very rightly pointed out, bibliographic 
data can be messy.  There is, quite simply, nothing "safe" on which to 
unambiguously identify instances of works in MARC records.  The "splitting" 
will be some complicated calculus that takes into account ISBNs, bindings, 
and publication information.

The challenge, surely, is to determine what differences are significant; 
whether the common data elements can be shared; and then HOW to share them.

I disagree with much of the RDA process and results, but I agree with JSC's 
insistence that the way the data is presented (displayed) is a different 
matter from defining the elements to be recorded, and the rules for to 
record them.  Nor do I believe that Bibframe has to be written in terms of 
RDA/FRBR -- but if it makes fundamental RDA/FRBR concepts harder to 
implement and exploit, why should we bother?  FRBR is far from being the 
last word on bibliographic constructs and relationships, but given that they 
underlie, imperfectly, the code we're adjusting to, we have to address them 
and devise ways of getting more value from cataloguers' efforts.

Hal Cain
Melbourne, Australia
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