Leveraging the FRBR model for music discovery and data sharing

Jenn Riley (Carolina Digital Library and Archives, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Publication date: 22 August 2011



In 2008, Indiana University received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for a project entitled “Variations/FRBR: variations as a testbed for the FRBR conceptual model”. The V/FRBR initiative aims to provide a real world, production implementation in a music digital library system of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) suite of reports from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) that are being presented as revolutionizing library discovery systems. This paper seeks to examine this issue.


This paper discusses the issues encountered in creating an interoperable data model that implements FRBR concepts. It uses the work of the V/FRBR initiative to describe how FRBR can be used in both a generic and a music‐specific environment.


An abstract data model representing FRBR at three levels of specificity (two generic and one music‐specific) is defined, along with its binding in XML and plans for expanding into an RDF representation into the future.

Practical implications

The data model and its XML representation created by the V/FRBR project have the potential to be re‐used by other FRBR‐based cataloging and discovery systems in the future.


While much discussion of FRBR has taken place in the library community, relatively little formal testing of FRBR‐ized data has been done, with even less widespread reporting of lessons learned. The V/FRBR project is among the first to share detailed information about the practical issues faced when implementing the FRBR models.



Riley, J. (2011), "Leveraging the FRBR model for music discovery and data sharing", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 175-189. https://doi.org/10.1108/10650751111164551

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