Indeed I was looking for an alternative term for "Agent", not for
Admittedly, "Identity" has many meanings and is used in various
contexts, as can be seen in Wikipedia:
But the meaning intended in the context of FRBR-LRM (if my
suggestion was adopted) could be clarified by the definition.
Have you got a better idea?
On 28.03.2016 Thomas Berger wrote:
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Am 28.03.2016 um 11:01 schrieb Heidrun Wiesenmüller:
I don’t have a suggestion for what to name the over-arching entity;
perhaps someone else can make a suggestion—or maybe it’s not necessary
to simplify the model to this extent. I do recommend that the two
narrower entities be called “individual” and “collective” or “group”
(rather than “collective agent”).
I wonder whether "identity" could be used as an alternative to "agent"?
Of course I'm not a native speakter, but I think that this would be
broad enough to cover real and fictitious entities as well as human and
I'm not sure whether there exist an universally accepted definition
of "identity", but ad hoc I'd say that anything with a name has
identity (right then I will be able to integrate it into a discourse
relating it to any other thing in the universe). So the "overarching
concept" would fall together with "res", or with a bit of caution
into that subclass of "res" for which "nomens" are established in the
It's fine with me that this also includes "level-1 entities", but I'm
not sure if that has been intended by you.
Stepping back a bit: The "agents" of FRBR-LRM are probably just a
convencience translation of the "actors" in the lingo of the museum
folks, i.e. anything that can "act" (lat. agere) should fall within
that scope. I think we already settled on the fact that the ability
to act is sufficient for membership in that class, not actual
action. So since there are persons and corporate bodies which act,
the classes should be considered subclasses of (let's temporarily
stick with the name) agents.
Some interesting corner cases here are
* archeological specimens (Lucy, Pildown Man, Oetzi, ...) I remember
the German Personennormdatei for many years did not admit them,
they had to be stowed away as subject headings in the Schlagwort
normdatei. I don't remember the exact line of argument then, but
IMHO it had something to do with their non-relevance as persons
when alive (relevance to us, of course, not to their folks)
* personae. In some areas of current pop music to my knowledge
almost everybody is expressing himself in form of "musical
projects" (formerly known as side-projects)
cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomb_the_Bass for that kind
of descriptive prose where anyone with "bibliographic"
mindset is just going to perish. The most concise characterization
seems to be "production orientated studio entity" but applies
only to the timespan before it became "a viable [...] band".
[ LRM-E1 names "entities not specifically labelled" and I think
this would allow personae. However LRM-E6 states
"The entity agent is a superclass strictly equivalent to the union
of the entities person and collective agent"
and I deem this highly problematic, because "agents" on one
hand and "persons" and "collective bodies" on the other hand
all have definitions of their own. So the qote above is
a theorem which should be proven based on the definitions,
or it can be considered an axiom, which heavily determines
the shape and extend of the bibliographic universe.
* Journals (especially newspapers) as collective bodies:
Section 5.6 of the FRBR-LRM report discusses the "commonality
of content" (I understand "the editorial characteristics")
expressing the intentions of the publisher and the editor.
Are these really persons in case of huge publications with
a correspondingly huge editorial staff or is rather "the
journal" also an organization committed to producing "the
journal"? I remember that when cataloguing correspondence
between authors and the journals they were publishing in
you usually cannot find the corporate body you need to
record - it's just "the journal". The Same happens when you
describe the archives of a journal.
* Events as collective agents. This is not thematized in the
current report (I think) but in the original FRBR I perceived
it as a somehow very unclean trick: Events as (usually for
the formal description irrelevant) level 3 entities were
elevated to (considered as) corporate bodies, i.e. level 2
entities. In the context of FRBR-LRM there is no such
provision, we have to investigate if (and how) events
can be agents.
I /can/ see, say, the 62nd /Session/ of the UN General Assembly
(taking place from September 2007 to September 2008 in a
sequence of /meetings/), or the 114th United States Congress
(Jan. 2015 - Jan. 2017) as (temporally constrained) collective
bodies, but have a hard time imagining them as events.
On the other hand I personally have never been able to
mentally integrate the event-ness of an art exhibition
with the concept of a corporate body (especially in
consideration of the auxiliary means of some group of
people expressing their collective thought), rather the
bibliographic importance of an art exhibition lies in
a) the works on display and b) the curating work of the
staff and is usually almost completed (including publication
of the catalogue) when the "event" opens its gates (of course
the local TV station will report on the event as such, or
rather the vernissage as a individual sub-event, one will still
need some modelling to glue these together).
As a consequence either the exhibition as work has a work-work
relation (derived work) to the catalogue or accompanying
pamphlet, or (analguous to the journal case above) the
exhibition as a work has also aspects of a collective body
and as such is authoring or editing the publications.
I do not see any way in the context of FRBR-LRM to continue
the practice of handling general events as corporate bodies:
The event has a name, but the participants at events (like
a cinema show) are "acting as a unit" only in the very narrow
scope that participating in the event itself is acting as
participant of the event - but where is the unit here?
FRBR-LRM does not make many statements as to mutual exclusivity.
I could identify:
* The W-E-M-I entities are mutually disjoint (mentioned in
* "agent" is the disjoint union of "person" and "collective
agent" (I challenged that already)
Specifically there is no prescription that the W-E-M-I
entities are somehow disjoint from or of a different nature
than all other entities in the universe.
So, at least formally, events (only used as examples, not
formally described), time-spans and places could be
simultaneously W-E-M-I entities, and if not for the very
narrow, "biologistic" definitions of persons and collective
bodies, they could be W-E-M-I entities too: If we would
open the gates for fictitious entities as agents (e.g. personae)
and/or fictitious characters as persons (the biography of
Sherlock Holmes probably is more complete than that of most
real persons), then we'd have to deal with the creating
circumstances of these fictions and on the level of the
model will have to settle whether the inception of that
fiction (a work) and the fictitious entity (a person or
agent) should be considered one or two entities.
with heretic greetings
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Prof. Heidrun Wiesenmueller M.A.
Stuttgart Media University
Nobelstrasse 10, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany