At the National Library of Sweden, we are working on a new cataloguing system (which will be live at the end of this year). It is comprised of a scalable backend system for data (with e.g. separation of storage and indexes), and a cataloguing client (based on HTML5 and JavaScript).

Our situation is similar to what most of you experience. Our data today is stored as MARC, and we must continue to support MARC for imports and exports for a long time to come. But at the same time, it is hard to build services and interfaces when working in MARC, since the essential meaning is often hard to interpret, fragmented and/or not uniformly expressed.

To this end, we have decided to convert our MARC data into a form expressing entities and relations, using the RDF data model. Our conceptual design focuses on being in the web of data, linking to and extending the existing datasets about and related to bibliographic information. Our current approach encodes conversions using JSON-LD, which we use directly in the client and for indexing.

Of course, the nature of the entities is where the challenge lies. For obvious reasons, we keep a close eye on BibFrame, and our intent is definitely to help out in shaping it into a usable and preferable bibliographic vocabulary.

We do share certain concerns that have been raised on this list. Still, there is a benefit to BibFrame as it emerges out of MARC. Our time is limited, and it is essential that we do not stray from the important details in an effort to generalize expressions using common terms.

At the same time, we see it as fundamentally important to express "consensual" entities, such as persons, and ideally model direct relations to avoid complexity. But we know that various events/involvements/actions are sometimes explicit in details of MARC, and we are striving to express this uniformly. A rich set of title variations along with ambiguous entities is also a major obstacle. This is sometimes at odds with maintaining as simple a shape as possible, and it is yet unclear which lines must be drawn for this to become palatable linked data (i.e. without overwhelming general consumers). We believe this is part of the current issues found with BibFrame, and hope to be able to work with you on this (or join in the venture) to find good paths forward through the various jungles of details.

Our development is fully open. The code for our backend system, including the MARC conversion implementation, is at:

And our client code at:

We look forward to elaborate on our progress and hope to collaborate on the future shapes of bibliographic information.



Niklas Lindström
National Library of Sweden (KB)
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10 maj 2013 kl. 17:27 skrev "McCallum, Sally" <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>:

Hello all,

We have been hearing that some of you are testing and pushing around aspects of the BIBFRAME model and we are interested in hearing from you.    Please tell the list or send me an email.   Nothing is too small!


Sally H. McCallum
Chief, Network Development and Standards Office
Library of Congress,  101 Independence Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20540  USA
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Tel. 1-202-707-5119 -- Fax 1-202-707-0115