Hi Karen,


Thank you so much for these wonderful questions.  According to W3C Recommendation 25 February 2014, RDF 1.1 Concepts and Abstract Syntax,  a literal in an RDF graph consists of two or three elements.  If the third element is present, a literal is a language-tagged string.  Lexical representations of language tags may be converted to lower case. The value space of language tags is always in lower case.  The language tag must be well-formed according to section 2.2.9 of BCP47, available from  You can find the language codes from  


For compliance, we may consider the adoption of BCP47 language tags.  However, I agree with you that we must build good use cases for the coding change given the complexity of our data.  I also agree with Joe Kiegek that in native BIBFRAME and a good user interface, assigning language tags may not be difficult or time consuming.  In addition, I am hoping that the next version of MARC2BIBFRAME converter can handle multiscript record conversion better with the use of BCP47 language tags if an agreement can be reached by PCC or some such group.


One experiment that I did might be the starting point for us to collect sample data for use case development.  You can check OCLC#122820377 .  It is not a RDA record and relator codes are missing.  But we may list it as an example for a multiscript record.   The transcribed title and subtitle are in different language scripts.  Author/title groups, personal names, TOC, etc. are in different language scripts.


Paired field for MARC 245 title field in OCLC:




Titles with language tags using BCP47 in BIBFRAME description:


<> a bf:MovingImage,


    rdfs:label "Xi you ji"@pinyin;



[ a bf:Contribution;

                                bf:agent <>;

                                bf:role <> ],

[ a bf:Contribution;

                               bf:agent <>;

                               bf:role <> ];


bf:title [ a bf:Title;

            rdfs:label "Xi you ji"@pinyin;

            bflc:titleSortKey "Xi you ji";

            bf:mainTitle "Xi you ji"@pinyin ],

        [ a bf:Title;

            rdfs:label "西遊記 = Journey to the west"@zh-cmn-hant;

            bflc:titleSortKey "西遊記 = Journey to the west";

            bf:mainTitle "西遊記"@zh-cmn-hant;

            bf:subtitle "Journey to the west"@en-us ] .



<> a bf:Agent,


    rdfs:label "Yang, Jie"@pinyin;

    bflc:name00MarcKey "7001 $6880-04$aYang, Jie";

    bflc:name00MatchKey "Yang, Jie" .


<> a bf:Agent,


    rdfs:label "杨洁"@zh-cmn-hant;

    bflc:name00MarcKey "8801 $6700-04/$1$a杨洁";

    bflc:name00MatchKey "杨洁" .


Attached is the entire record in .ttl format.  Thanks a lot!






Amanda Xu

Metadata Analyst Librarian

Cataloging and Metadata Department

University of Iowa Libraries

100 Main Library (LIB)

Iowa City, IA 52242-1420




-----Original Message-----
From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Coyle
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2018 2:24 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] CC:AAM Statement in Support of the Internationalization of BIBFRAME


On 1/2/18 9:14 AM, Joseph Kiegel wrote:

> There will be edge cases that are difficult, but for the vast majority of strings, the language will be obvious to the cataloger.


> In native BIBFRAME and a good user interface, assigning language tags will not be difficult or time consuming.  The language of cataloging is known and those fields can be tagged automatically.  Templates can assign tags for catalogers who routinely catalog in a given language.  I have experimented with language tags in a test interface and it was not hard.


This is the kind of statement which makes me hunger for more detail. For example, what were the rules for assignment for: transcribed titles?

titles with subtitles in different languages? author/title groups (if they exist in BF - I don't remember the structuring of those)? personal names? Are there strings with more than one language and how is that handled? Can a title ever be in a different language than the language of the text when the text is monolingual?


Also, do we have or is anyone developing rules or guidelines for cataloging decisions regarding language tagging of individual strings?

(This would seem to fall to PCC or some such group?)  Is this covered in RDA anywhere? What standard are we using? ISO 639-1, -2, or BCP 47?


But above all I have yet to read anything that addresses the use cases where such encoding facilitates or is essential for user services. We have long had the separate of subject access by language (O Canada!), and the selection of language materials by language. But I haven't seem a non-speculative, practical use for language tagging of strings. I realize that language tagging of strings is coming to us from RDF, and is somewhat new, and may in the future be obligatory, but I still think we need use cases before undertaking coding so that said coding will provide the desired outcomes, given the complexity of our data.


Perhaps what this amounts to is a knowledge gap between the BF practitioners and those of us who are on the sidelines. If so, please point us to the relevant documentation!








> -----Original Message-----

> From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum

> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Coyle

> Sent: Friday, December 22, 2017 6:42 AM

> To: [log in to unmask]

> Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] CC:AAM Statement in Support of the

> Internationalization of BIBFRAME


> Osma, I took all of those examples of 1984 from LoC's catalog. While Wikidata may think they have different titles, we don't know how that decision was made (there are no cataloging rules for Wikidata). In no case have I seen "Nineteen Eighty-Four" for the English version (although it was filed that way in card catalogs as per the ALA Filing Rules). Your examples all conveniently prove your point, but I still think that asking catalogers to determine the language of every field is going to create difficulties. It would be a good idea to take a sampling of records and try this out. From the cataloger's point of view.


> kc


> On 12/21/17 7:44 AM, Osma Suominen wrote:

>>> However, there is a big problem with trying to attribute

>>> *language* to fields in bibliographic data. It only takes a few

>>> examples to understand why:


>>> Title:

>>> 1984 (book in German)

>>> 1984 (book in Hebrew)

>>> 1984 (book in English)


>> I don't think that's a problem at all. In fact this is a great

>> example, since the name of Orwell's novel (assuming you meant it)

>> actually differs between many languages. According to Wikidata

>> ( it is called


>> "1984" in German

>> "1984" in Hebrew (but rendered with right-to-left alignment!)

>> "Nineteen Eighty-Four" in English (not 1984!) "Vuonna 1984" in

>> Finnish "নাইন্টিন এইটি-ফোর" in Bengali


> --

> Karen Coyle

> [log in to unmask]

> m: +1-510-435-8234

> skype: kcoylenet/+1-510-984-3600




Karen Coyle

[log in to unmask]

m: +1-510-435-8234

skype: kcoylenet/+1-510-984-3600