I totally agree with this. Any future encoding standard needs to support both "strings" AND "things" and not force cataloging institutions to use one to the exclusion of the other.

 For example, my library is part of NACO but we don't participate in BIBCO, and so we won't establish every name we run across that doesn't appear in NAF. Only if it's (a) an MIT-related person or corporate body; or (b) a name that will cause a conflict in our author file, will we definitely establish the name. (We will also establish things for a variety of other reasons that fall under the rubric of "cataloger's judgment", but these are the two situations where authority work is, a priori, required.)

If we were forced to operate in an environment where we did not have this flexibility it would definitely have a deleterious affect our productivity. 

Moreover I think there is a symbiotic relationship between libraries who record strings, and the libraries (sometimes, the same library at a different period of time) who will come along later and turn them into authorities. You sometimes need to see a name 2 or 3 times in the bibliographic file before you have enough data to establish a person with any certainty.

Just like it is important to record (as a string) what you see listed as the publisher, and not simply grab an "authorized form" of the publisher's name and slot it in. If there is no one recording these changes in the real world, there will be no data available to document what the variants or changes might be for the authority record.


Benjamin Abrahamse
Cataloging Coordinator
Acquisitions and Discovery Enhancement
MIT Libraries

-----Original Message-----
From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bowers, Kate A.
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 12:28 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] What will things and strings look like?

One of the problems with making all relationships "URI" is that this is hugely time-consuming. Keying "Ken Smith, producer; Joe Jones, director; Emily Simms, presenter" is easy.  Finding a record for "Ken Smith" if one doesn't already exist?  Impossible level of work.  We need to be able to say things in strings because we cannot possibly make all the metadata into data.  Only for "traced" headings would this be possible, and we don't typically trace these all these pieces of data.


Kate Bowers
Collections Services Archivist for Metadata, Systems, and Standards Harvard University Archives [log in to unmask]
voice: (617) 384-7787
fax: (617) 495-8011
Twitter: @k8_bowers