FRAD and cataloging

ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee

Question/Answer on cataloging issues — April 2013

Question: What is FRAD?

By Carolyn J. McCallum, Wake Forest University

FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data) is a highly theoretical, entity-relationship (E-R) model for authority data. Published in 2009 by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), FRAD extends and expands upon the FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) model, a topic that was featured in a 2012 as a Cataloging Q&A.

“Authority data represents the controlled access points and other information that institutions use to collocate works by a specific person, family, or corporate body, or the various editions of a title. Controlled access points include authorized forms and variant forms of name assembled by cataloguers to identify an entity (Patton, p. 13).”

FRAD’s main function is “to provide a framework for the analysis of functional requirements for the kind of authority data that is required to support authority control and for the international sharing of authority data (Patton, p. 13).”

The FRAD model identifies and examines four tasks employed by users of authority data. They are:

  • Find:  Find an entity or set of entities corresponding to stated criteria.
  • Identify:  Identify an entity.
  • Contextualize:  Place a person, corporate body, work, etc. in context.
  • Justify:  Document the authority record creator’s reason for choosing the name or form of name on which an access point is based. (Patton, p. 83)

Authority data users include information professionals who create and maintain authority data (i.e. catalogers) as well as end users of authority information (e.g. librarians, patrons, etc.).

There are sixteen FRAD entities on which authority data are focused. Included are the ten entities outlined in the FRBR model (i.e. person, corporate body, work, expression, manifestation, item, concept, object, event, place) plus six new entities (i.e. family, name, identifier, controlled access point, rules, and agency). Each entity is associated with its own prescribed set of attributes. “In FRAD, authority data collocates works by a person, family, or corporate body, or the various editions of a title, by providing the controlled access points and variant forms of a name (Jin, p. 2).”

Figure 1 illustrates the basic FRAD entity-relationship model. “Entities in the bibliographic universe (such as those identified in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) are known by names and/or identifiers. In the cataloging process (whether it happens in libraries, museums, or archives), those names and identifiers are used as the basis for constructing controlled access points (Patton, p. 19).”

frad basic model(Illustration source: from Functional Requirements for Authority Data: A Conceptual Model, 2009: Figure 1.)

To illustrate the FRAD entities and their relationships in a potential real world situation, the following example is provided:  An individual is interested in finding the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson in her library’s FRAD modeled, online catalog. After performing an author search, she would find the name authority heading for “Larsson, Steig, 1954-2004” in the online catalog. Clicking on the authorized name heading (i.e. access point), she may find the following attributes:

Stieg Larsson

Larsson, Stieg, 1954-2004 [controlled name heading]

  • Dates:
    • August 15, 1954 [birth date]
    • November 9, 2004 [death date]
  • Places:
    • Skelleftehamn, Sweden [place of birth]
    • Stockholm, Sweden [place of death]
  • Occupation:
    • Swedish journalist and writer
  • Works:
    • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    • The Girl Who Played with Fire
    • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Clicking on the authorized title access point for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the catalog would then display the variant Swedish title Män som hatar kvinnor along with “novel” and “2008” listed respectively under the attributes “form of work” and “date of the work” (Jin, p. 104-105).

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  • Män som hatar kvinnor [controlled variant title heading]
  • Novel [form of work]
  • 2008 [date of work]

Both FRBR and FRAD provide the foundational structure for RDA (Resource Description and Access) cataloging standards. RDA’s utilization of these two E-R models aid in identifying relationships between a work and its creators as well as a work’s various editions and formats, and is guiding how RDA authorities are being created. This restructuring of data creates the potential of improved collocation and display of catalog information. To achieve this, our integrated library systems (ILS) need  to be compliant in establishing and displaying relationships between these various pieces of data. Several institutions have developed fully operational FRBRized systems (e.g. WorldCat.org, UCLA Film and Television Archive OPAC), while others have created experimental systems, algorithms or open source software to allow for FRBR implementation (e.g. OCLC FRBR Work-Set Algorithm, eXtensible Catalog (XC)) (Zhang & Salaba, p. 76-77).

Subject authority data is addressed in Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD), another E-R model that expands upon the FRBR model. FRSAD will be covered in a future Cataloging Q&A.

For more detailed information on FRAD and FRBR, here are a couple of suggested titles for reading:

Jin, Qiang. Demystifying FRAD: Functional Requirements for Authority Data. Santa

Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2012. Print.

Patton, Glenn E., ed. Functional Requirements for Authority Data: A Conceptual Model.

Munich: K. G. Saur, 2009. Print.

Zhang, Yin, and Athena Salaba. Implementing FRBR in Libraries: Key Issues and Future

Directions. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2009. Print.

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