I would hope that you would post this question to some lists where catalogers are active - I'd suggest RDA-L and AUTOCAT.

I find particularly interesting the fact that at ALA this weekend there will be discussions of making highly detailed modifications to the MARC record [1]  (which already has some 1400 data elements) at the same time that BIBFRAME is proposing a much simpler bibliographic view. The requests for those MARC additions come generally from the cataloger community, although some also come from vendors.

Of course, BIBFRAME is new and could evolve to include all of the MARC data elements. This could be done through profiles, or BIBFRAME could become a monolithic standard that parallels MARC. :-(

Nowhere, however, do a see a serious discussion in the library data creation community of use cases and functional requirements. (And, believe me, FRBR does not provide this.) Many of the elements that have been added to MARC over the years (after taking many hours of discussion within the MARC committee) rarely appear in actual library data. Yet more continue to be added. Where are we headed? Why? What is the result we seek?

I think our big question today is not what format we will use for our data, but what methods we will use for developing our data standard. You mention that BIBFRAME is being developed top down. The original MARC development was done similarly, but has since defined a mechanism to solicit requests from a broader community and to engage with representatives of cataloging committees with official ALA standing. Unlike BIBFRAME, though, there is no testing of the changes to MARC, no code is written that would provide a proof of concept of the changes being made to the standard. I've been at that table and really everyone just "guesses" that someone might be able to implement the change to get the desired result. All too often, the changes turn out to not work as intended, or they could work but they serve such a small segment of the community that library systems vendors see no return from their implementation.

Our entire development process is broken. We can't expect to turn out viable data standards in this way.


[1], e.g. " Defining New Field 388 for Time Period of Creation Terms in the MARC 21 Authority and Bibliographic Formats"

On 6/25/14, 6:13 AM, Jeremy Goldstein wrote:
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The development of bibframe certainly has some promise, and in theory migrating the structure of our databases to such a form is long overdue.  However, I see it as having the same sort of implementation problems that have beset RDA.

It's being developed in a top down way such that it is being imposed upon the bibliographic community without a great deal of involvement from the rank and file catalogers.  And to my knowledge there has yet to be any serious investment in the project from any ILS vendors.  Without some sense that bibframe will actually become practical to use for a standard public library it is going to have a hard time launching successfully.

Jeremy Goldstein
Supervisor of Resource Management
Minuteman Library Network
508-655-8008 ext.222

On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 8:55 AM, Meehan, Thomas <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear all,


Hello. I am preparing a presentation on Bibframe for the autumn and am particularly interested in getting a general sense of what the community thinks of the Bibframe initiative and, in particular, how people see it developing and being implemented in the future. I would love to hear any views on this, especially from a wide section of the community (cataloguers, systems people, vendors, those working with linked data already, etc.). If you prefer, please feel free to contact me off-list or point me at write-ups (e.g. blog posts) that express your views. I would be very happy to receive even a brief indication of your thoughts.


I will treat any personal communications as confidential and will not quote from them without permission.


Many thanks,





Thomas Meehan

Head of Current Cataloguing

Library Services

University College London

Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT


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Karen Coyle
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m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet