Adding BIBFRAME support to your application: a hypothetical approach

[Following on from What does it mean to “provide support for BIBFRAME”?]

So, it’s settled, we need to support BIBFRAME. After some casual rooting around, we find out that we have four options

  • Create a new, all-singing, all-dancing RDF-oriented system
  • Adapt the core system of the existing application to cache BIBFRAME data from remote resources and use/adapt this in cataloguing, publishing the data with links when BIBFRAME is requested
  • Adapt the system to publish the data as BIBFRAME, automatically aligning authorities with well-known resources
  • Add an “export to BIBFRAME” option in the user interface with a simple MARC–>BIBFRAME conversion

Let’s look at these in reverse order:

Export to BIBFRAME button

Solution: Implement a simple conversion using a bit of glue we found on the Internet…add a jQuery button in the interface and hey presto!

Problem: This produces a BIBFRAME representation of our MARC record without any real reference to being part of the BIBFRAME ecosystem; no one will ever use it.

Data publishing with automatic alignment

Solution: Convert the data with the glue we found on the Internet, take authorities and map them to some third party, like VIAF…add links.

Problems: Linking works at best weakly and at worst not at all…but problem solved…sort of.

Cataloguing with BIBFRAME

Solution: Create new tools that import data from BIBFRAME resources and save these with identifiers in your database; when BIBFRAME is requested, use the glue found on the Internet to publish the data with the links from the database.

Problem: While this is a workable solution, the data is still tied heavily to a MARC–oriented workflow, which has consequences for how data is produced and how BIBFRAME-y the resulting conversion will be. There’s a risk that one doesn’t have the capacity to do live-linking, so one starts downloading and publishing authorities oneself…resulting in a local BIBFRAME ecosystem.

All-singing, all-dancing RDF system

Solution: Create an entirely new fundamental system for cataloguing in a workflow oriented towards RDF, take BIBFRAME data and link it natively in RDF.

Problem: This will take years to perfect, will be unfamiliar to cataloguers, will provide no reason to use BIBFRAME as a core model because as the developers begin to understand RDF…well, they prefer other ways of doing stuff…


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One comment on “Adding BIBFRAME support to your application: a hypothetical approach
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