For me, this discussion has been great to follow- clearly there are numerous
visions about what Bibframe will be/should do in the technology and
cataloging communities. I think it's really important to have these
discussions that help get us all closer to being on the same page, and
they're very much worth the frustration.

My first introduction to Bibframe was this now-ubiquitous image:

From other catalogers who also saw this image, I heard that Bibframe would
help RDA realize its full potential by breaking out of not just MARC's
format aspects but also the content model it enforced of bib record, item
record, authority record. In theory, so I understood, it could allow for a
more FRBR-ized model where you could have work records (Alice in
Wonderland), under which would be linked expression/manifestation records
(audio book, Bantam paperback, Sterling hardcover, maybe film/theater
adaptations depending on how broad the definition of 'work' is), and under
those would be linked the item/instance records. This ability to be able to
search for/organize by FRBR 'works' and then drill down from there would
bring huge advantages for fields like music, film, literature. Sites like
Amazon already do a rudimentary version of this when they let you choose
editions from one 'work' page, and I know most people looking for film
information prefer to look at the 'work'-based IMBD over Amazon/library
catalogs, because they don't have to wade through heaps of records for
different manifestations/expressions of the same film (besides the fact that
IMDB is just way more comprehensive).

More recent updates on Bibframe lead me to understand that the 'work'
concept in Bibframe is closer to our current concept of a bib record. Am I
off the mark in that understanding? If cost/backwards compatibility is the
reason behind this, that's hard to argue against. Nevertheless, what I seem
to be watching reflects the 2-tier idea mentioned. The vision behind the
backwards-compatible tier is (correct me if wrong) focused on linked data in
order to make data easier to exchange with outside communities, and the
other, somewhat less backwards compatible tier comes out of the idea of
using linked data to fully realize the FRBR model. What I'm seeing is that
both 'tiers' share in common the idea of making what is currently MARC data
easier to tease out/index/manipulate (like getting a list of all held books
that were published locally, as was brought up).

It might be that this whole message is a re-statement of the obvious for
everyone involved, but I wanted to make sure I was oriented correctly in
understanding where this discussion is sitting right now. I also thought
chiming in might be helpful since the more FRBR-focused visions of Bibframe
are mostly mentioned on cataloging listservs rather than on this one, and
wanted to see what the sentiment about FRBR/RDA was on this list.

Jared Cowing
Cataloging & Metadata Specialist
California State University, Northridge