Vol. 13 No. 1 (2022): The Bibliographic Control in the Digital Ecosystem

Control or Chaos: Embracing Change and Harnessing Innovation in an Ecosystem of Shared Bibliographic Data

Ian Bigelow
University of Alberta Library
Abigail Sparling
University of Alberta

Published 2022-01-13


  • Cataloguing; ,
  • Linked data; ,
  • Metadata,
  • Resource Description and Access

How to Cite

Bigelow, I., & Sparling, A. (2022). Control or Chaos: Embracing Change and Harnessing Innovation in an Ecosystem of Shared Bibliographic Data. JLIS.It, 13(1), 67–85. https://doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-12735


With the transition from MARC to linked data, how we create and manage bibliographic data is drastically changing. This shift provides increased opportunity to test resource description theory and develop best practices. However, efforts to simultaneously define models for creating native linked data descriptions and crosswalk these models with MARC have resulted in ontological differences between implementers and unique extensions. From the outside looking in this progress may look more like bibliographic chaos than control. This apparent chaos, and the associated experimentation is important for communities to chart a path forward, but also points to a challenge ahead. Ultimately this disparate community innovation must be harnessed and consolidated so that open standards development supports the interoperability of library data. This paper will focus on modelling differences between RDA and BIBFRAME, recent attempts at MARC to BIBFRAME conversion, and work on BIBFRAME application profiles, in an attempt to define shared purpose and common ground in the manifestation of real world data. Emphasis will be placed on the balance between core standards (RDA, MARC, BIBFRAME) and community based extensions and practice (LC, PCC, LD4P, Share-VDE), and the need for a feedback loop from one to the other.


Metrics Loading ...


  1. Axelsson, Peter. 2018. “KB Becomes the First National Library to Fully Transition to Linked Data.” National Library of Sweden: My News Desk, last modified July 5, accessed April 12, 2021,
  2. https://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/kungliga_biblioteket/pressreleases/kb-becomes-the-first-national-library-to-fully-transition-to-linked-data-2573975.pdf.
  3. Baker, Thomas, Karen Coyle, and Sean Petiya. 2014. “Multi-Entity Models of Resource Description in the Semantic Web: A Comparison of FRBR, RDA and BIBFRAME.” Library Hi Tech 32
  4. (4): 562-582. doi:10.1108/LHT-08-2014-0081.
  5. Balster, Kevin, Robert Rendall, and Tina Shrader. 2018. “Linked Serial Data: Mapping the CONSER Standard Record to BIBFRAME.” Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 56 (2-3):
  6. -261. doi:10.1080/01639374.2017.1364316.
  7. BIBCO Mapping BSR to BIBFRAME 2.0 Group. 2017. Final Report to the PCC Oversight Group. https://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/bibframe/TaskGroups/BSR-PDF/FinalReportBIBCO-BIBFRAME-TG.pdf.
  8. Bigelow, Ian. September 2019. “Opus Ex Machina: Modelling SuperWork and Work Entities in BIBFRAME.” Presentation at the 3rd Annual BIBFRAME Workshop in Europe. Stockholm, Sweden. https://www.kb.se/download/18.d0e4d5b16cd18f600eacb/1569309579935/Opus%20Ex%20Machina%20-%20Present.pdf.
  9. Bigelow, Ian, and Abigail Sparling. “Control or Chaos: Embracing Change and Harnessing Innovation in an Ecosystem of Shared Bibliographic Data”. Firenze, Italy, 2021. https://www.youtube.
  10. com/embed/ybUDrILt0kI?start=7714&end=12441.
  11. Bigelow, Ian, Danoosh Davoodi, Sharon Farnel and Abigail Sparling. August 2018. “Who Will be Our bf: Comparing techniques for conversion from MARC to BIBFRAME”. Paper presented at IFLA WLIC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. http://library.ifla.org/2194/.
  12. Cronin, Christopher. January 2011. “Will RDA Mean the Death Of MARC?: The Need For Transformational Change to Our Metadata Infrastructures.” Presentation at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, San Diego, CA. https://www.academia.edu/1679819/Will_RDA_Mean_the_Death_of_MARC_The_Need_for_Transformational_Change_to_our_Metadata_Infrastructures.
  13. Danskin, Alan. 2013. “Linked and Open Data: RDA and Bibliographic Control.” JLIS.It 4 (1): 147-160. doi:10.4403/jlis.it-5463.
  14. Desmeules, Robin Elizabeth, Clara Turp, and Andrew Senior. 2020. “Exploring Methods for Linked Data Model Evaluation in Practice.” Journal of Library Metadata 20 (1):65-89. doi:10.108
  15. /19386389.2020.1742434.
  16. Dunshire, Gordon. 2020. “RDA Conformance: Discussion paper for RSC.” RDA Steering Committee. http://www.rdarsc.org/sites/all/files/RDA%20conformance%20proposal.pdf.
  17. Farnel, Sharon, Ian Bigelow, Denise Koufogiannakis, Leah Vanderjagt, Geoff Harder, Peter Binkley, and Sandra Shores. “Moving Forward with Linked Data at the University of Alberta Libraries”. (Edmonton: University of Alberta Library, 2018) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1t-5Kh-n3Ctbl9HcXHr4_cDneNzukaaAnm-AXh-ixUY0E/edit.
  18. Ford, Kevin. 2020a. “On Bibframe Hubs.” Presentation at the American Library Association Midwinter
  19. Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1oPEMnnpMnCIXo-
  20. IMWztThm_XGc4lEzaoP/edit#slide=id.p1.
  21. ———. 2020b. “[Share-VDE - Option 4]”. Share-VDE Sapientia Entity Identification Working Group.
  22. Folsom, Steven M. 2020. “Using the Program for Cooperative Cataloging’s Past and Present to Project a Linked Data Future.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 58 (3/4): 464–71. doi:10.1080/01639374.2019.1706680.
  23. Guerrini, Mauro and Tiziana Possemato. 2016. “From Record Management to Data Management: RDA and New Application Models BIBFRAME, RIMMF, and OliSuite/WeCat.” Cataloging and
  24. Classification Quarterly 54 (3): 179-199. doi:10.1080/01639374.2016.1144667.
  25. Hahn, Jim, Ian Bigelow, and Tiziana Possemato. March 2021. “Share-VDE Model Overview: SEIWG Update for the Share-VDE Virtual Workshop.” Presentation at Share-VDE Virtual Workshop.
  26. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/116PwHecnqooEjW3c4Eks77Ah6RilpiOpAfCe61K4UoI/edit#slide=id.gbfe20d43fa_0_0
  27. Heuvelmann, Reinhold. September 2018. “RDA / MARC / BIBFRAME: some observations” Presentation at the European BIBFRAME Workshop, Fiesole, Italy. https://www.casalini.it/
  28. EBW2018/web_content/2018/presentations/Heuvelmann.pdf.
  29. IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, and Standing Committee of the IFLA Section on Cataloguing. 1998. Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records Final Report. Berlin: De Gruyter. doi:10.1515/9783110962451.
  30. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. 2017. “Best Practice for National Bibliographic Agencies in a Digital Age: Bibliographic control.” https://www.ifla.org/best-practice-for-national-bibliographic-agencies-in-a-digital-age/node/8911.
  31. Lendvay, Miklós. September 2020. “Hungarian National Library Platform Implementation.” Presentation at BIBFRAME Workshop in Europe Virtual Event. https://www.casalini.it/bfwe2020/web_content/2020/presentations/lendvay.pdf.
  32. Library of Congress. n.d.a. “BIBFRAME 2.0 Implementation Register.” Library of Congress., last modified n.d., accessed April 13, 2021, https://www.loc.gov/bibframe/implementation/register.html.
  33. ———. n.d.b. “New BIBFRAME-to-MARC Conversion Tools.” Library of Congress., last modified n.d., accessed January 20, 2021, https://www.loc.gov/bibframe/news/bibframe-to-marc-conversion.html.
  34. Lionette, Anna. 2021. “Share-VDE institutions.” Share-VDE Wiki, https://wiki.share-vde.org/wiki/ShareVDE:Main_Page/SVDE_institutions.
  35. Magda El-Sherbini. 2018. “RDA Implementation and the Emergence of BIBFRAME.” JLIS.It 9 (1):66-82. doi:10.4403/jlis.it-12443.
  36. McCallum, Sally and Jodi Williamschen. September 2019. “RDA and BIBFRAME at the Library of Congress.” Presentation at the European BIBFRAME Workshop, Stockholm, Sweden.
  37. https://www.kb.se/download/18.d0e4d5b16cd18f600eac6/1569246418227/LC_EUBF2019-RDA+BF.pdf.
  38. McGrath, Kelley. January 2011. “Will RDA Kill MARC?” Presentation at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, San Diego, CA. https://pages.uoregon.edu/kelleym/publications/McGrath_Will_RDA_Kill_MARC.pdf
  39. Miller, Eric, Uche Ogbuji, Victoria Mueller, and Kathy MacDougall. 2012. Bibliographic Framework as a Web of data: Linked data model and supporting services. Library of Congress. https://
  40. www.loc.gov/bibframe/pdf/marcld-report-11-21-2012.pdf.
  41. Park, Hyoungjoo and Margaret Kipp. 2019. “Library Linked Data Models: Library Data in the Semantic Web.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 57 (5) (July 4,): 261-277. doi:10.1080/01639374.2019.1641171.
  42. PCC Task Group on Sinopia Application Profiles. 2020. Final Report. https://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/taskgroup/Sinopia-Profiles-TG-Final-Report.pdf.
  43. Picknally, Beth, and Ian Bigelow. August 2020. “PCC BIBFRAME data: PCC collaboration with Share-VDE.” Presentation at the PCC At Large Virtual Meeting. https://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/
  44. documents/Virtual-5-ShareVDE-PCC-2020.pdf.
  45. Program for Cooperative Cataloging Policy Committee. 2019. PCC’s Position Statement on RDA.
  46. https://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/rda/PCC%20RDA%20guidelines/PCC-Position-Statement-on-RDA.docx.
  47. ———. 2020. Implementation of the New RDA Toolkit. https://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/documents/PoCo-2020/newRDA%20ImpementationPlanNov2.pdf.
  48. RDA Steering Committee. 2020. “What You Should know about the December Switchover”, RDA Toolkit, https://www.rdatoolkit.org/node/230.
  49. Samples, Jacquie. January 2011. “Will RDA Mean the Death of MARC?” Presentation at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, San Diego, CA. https://connect.ala.org/HigherLogic/System/
  50. DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=0ca55eba-615b-4aa0-aa84-1fba223483d5.
  51. Samples, Jacquie, and Ian Bigelow. 2020. “MARC to BIBFRAME: Converting the PCC to Linked Data.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 58 (3/4): 403–17. doi:10.1080/01639374.2020.1751764.
  52. Seikel, Michele and Thomas Steele. 2020. “Comparison of Key Entities within Bibliographic Conceptual Models and Implementations: Definitions, Evolution, and Relationships.” Library Resources & Technical Services 64 (2): 62-71. doi:10.5860/lrts.64n2.62.
  53. Share-VDE. 2019. “Share-VDE major achievements in 2019.” https://drive.google.com/drive/search?q=share%20vde%20major%20achievements
  54. Share-VDE Advisory Council. 2018. SVDE recommendations to improve the MARC to BIBFRAME conversion. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1PsVMvLEMXtzL8vKBmAbHeFt8FZcvOJs_
  55. Stanford University. 2018. “Stanford Libraries announces Linked Data for Production (LD4P) cohort members and subgrant recipients,” Stanford Libraries. https://library.stanford.edu/
  56. node/155851.
  57. Taniguchi, Shoichi. 2017. “Examining BIBFRAME 2.0 from the Viewpoint of RDA Metadata Schema.” Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 55 (6): 387-412. doi:10.1080/01639374.2017.1322161.
  58. Taniguchi, Shoichi. 2018. “Mapping and Merging of IFLA Library Reference Model and BIBFRAME 2.0.” Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 56 (5-6): 427-454. doi:10.1080/01639374.2018.1501457.
  59. Zapounidou, Sofia. 2020. “Study of Library Data Models in the Semantic Web Environment.” Ionian University, Department of Archives, Library Science and Museology PhD Thesis. https://
  60. zenodo.org/record/4018523.
  61. Zapounidou, Sofia, Michalis Sfakakis, and Christos Papatheodorou. 2019. “Mapping Derivative Relationships from RDA to BIBFRAME 2.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 57 (5):278-308.
  62. doi:10.1080/01639374.2019.165015