I am a bit startled by the new definition of “expression” in FRBR-LRM: “A distinct constellation of signs conveying intellectual or artistic content.” (LRM-E3, p. 15). What does this mean? I have a hard time imagining this phrase meaning anything to someone who asked the question “what is an expression?” or even to people who already know what an expression is. The original FRBR definition “the intellectual or artistic realization of a work in the form of alpha-numeric, musical, or choreographic notation, sound, image, object, movement, etc., or any combination of such forms” is not flawless and does require a bit of thinking, but at least it does make sense (the word “realization” is key, when a work “becomes real” it has an expression). I’m not sure “constellation of signs” conveys the idea. I suggest that the new definition isn’t really an improvement. In fact it makes the concept, which is important to the model but already somewhat tricky but not impossible for people to understand, much more obscure.
Robert L. Maxwell
Ancient Languages and Special Collections Librarian
6728 Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
"We should set an example for all the world, rather than confine ourselves to the course which has been heretofore pursued"--Eliza R. Snow, 1842.