LLD/Library Data Resources

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This page describes data resources, including RDF element sets and value vocabularies, relevant to library linked data.

The page is a continuation of Library Data Resources in the wiki of the W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group.

International Cataloging Rules

International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)

ISBD is International Standard Bibliographic Description. It is maintained by the ISBD Review Group.

Note: This is the preliminary consolidated edition. The final consolidated edition has recently undergone world-wide review, and was approved for publication in February 2011; it is currently available in print format only.

"The International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) is intended to serve as a principal standard to promote universal bibliographic control, to make universally and promptly available, in a form that is internationally acceptable, basic bibliographic data for all published resources in all countries. The ISBD's main goal is, and has been since the very beginning, to offer consistency when sharing bibliographic information." p. vii

It meets this goal by determining the data elements to be recorded or transcribed in a specific sequence as the basis of the description of the resource and employing prescribed punctuation as a means of recognizing and displaying the elements and making them understandable independently of the language of the description.

ISBD has closely monitored the development of FRBR. FRBR recommends specific elements to meet the requirements for a basic level national bibliographic record, and the consolidated edition of ISBD ensures that only corresponding elements are given a mandatory status. ISBD does not, however, use the FRBR Group 1 elements (Work, Expression, Manifestation, Item) and all attributes are assigned to the element "resource".

The ISBD Review Group set up the ISBD/XML Study Group in 2008 to develop an XML schema for ISBD, for researching into the possibilities of reviewing ISBD concepts and the standard itself by the application of web technologies, and of evolving the standard into a tool open to Semantic Web technologies and services.

Subsequent recommendations that ISBD should be represented in RDF/XML and as a Dublin Core Application Profile were accepted at the IFLA 2010 conference. This work was based on the final consolidated edition of ISBD.

A representation of ISBD classes and properties is available as the ISBD elements and ISBD RDF/XML file.

The final consolidated edition also introduces controlled vocabularies for describing the content form and media type of a bibliographic resource. These have been represented as SKOS vocabularies:

The vocabularies have also been analysed with respect to the RDA/ONIX framework, and ISBD will liaise with the DCMI RDA Task Group work on representing them as framework specifications.

Development of a DC application profile for ISBD is underway. Further information is available in ISBD and the Semantic Web.

The Study Group is expected to continue its work on RDF/XML and the Application Profile in 2012.

The Study Group will also monitor and liaise with the possible development of an RDF representation of UNIMARC via the UNIMARC Core Activity. The results of a preliminary feasibility study have been published in UNIMARC and linked data, a paper presented to the IFLA conference in 2011.

International Statement of Cataloging Principles

"The principles stated here are intended to guide the development of cataloguing codes. They apply to bibliographic and authority data and current library catalogues. The principles also can be applied to bibliographies and other data files created by libraries, archives, museums, and other communities.

They aim to provide a consistent approach to descriptive and subject cataloguing of bibliographic resources of all kinds." p.2


The Functional Requirements family is in development, and forms the basis for new developments in library data creation.

The Functional requirements: the FRBR family of models is reviewed and maintained by the FRBR Review Group. (E-R diagrams for the (unconsolidated) FRBR family outline the basic structure.)

The Group initiated the FRBR Namespace Project in 2007 to "define appropriate namespaces for FRBR in RDF and other appropriate syntaxes". The project has since been extended to cover the FR family.

The basic structure of the FR family components is given in E-R diagrams for the (unconsolidated) FRBR family.


FRBR is Functional requirements for bibliographic records. It is "too abstract and too generic to be a data model ... rather, a conceptual reference model".

An Expression of core FRBR concepts in RDF was published in 2005 by Ian Davis and Richard Newman. This representation was not approved by the FRBR Review Group, and differs in significant ways from the representation being developed by the Group; for example, it treats the FRBR entity Groups (e.g. Group 1, Group 2, Group 3) as classes, and does not cover entity attributes.

The Working Group on FRBR/CRM Dialogue produced an object-oriented version of FRBR, known as FRBRoo (PDF) (with the original entity-relationship FRBR model known as FRBRer), in 2008. This is a compatible extension of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM). A representation of FRBRoo v1.0.1 harmonised with CIDOC CRM v5.0.2 encoded in RDFS was produced in 2010.

In the process of creating an RDF representation of RDA, the DCMI/RDA Task Group created a version of FRBR in the Open Metadata Registry in support of the RDA process. (The IFLA Working Group had not yet developed a domain name for FRBR and was unable to register the entities in time for the work on RDA.) This version of FRBR contains only classes and subclasses, as was needed for RDA.

The FRBR Committee's RDF representation of FRBRer was developed using the Open Metadata Registry. The basic classes and properties are available as the FRBRer model element set and FRBRer RDF/XML file. A complementary TTL file contains additional OWL statements about disjoint classes and properties, cardinality restrictions, property types, etc. The full FRBRer ontology is available in RDF/OWL.

The FRBRer representations were given "Published" status in September 2010. Dereferencing and other services are being considered as part of a larger IFLA initiative to develop support for namespaces and coordination with the Semantic Web. An IFLA Namespaces Technical Group will be set up to carry this out; in the meantime, the original IFLA Namespaces Task Group will continue to coordinate activity (see IFLA namespaces - requirements and options for further information).

The FRBRer representation has been developed:

  • to support any implementations of the FRBR model developed since its publication in 1998.
  • as a case study for learning about RDF/XML representations.
  • as an opportunity to review the FRBR model for semantic integrity.
  • to inform the development of a consolidated FR model.

Further information:


FRAD is Functional requirements for authority data. It is an extension and expansion of the FRBR model.

  • French version PDF

A draft RDF representation of FRAD classes and properties is available as the FRAD model element set and FRAD RDF/XML file. Note that this model currently does not include FRAD properties that are identical to the properties already described in FRBRer (e.g. Person). Instead, the FRAD representation will reference relevant elements of the FRBRer representation.

A complementary TTL file under development contains OWL statements about disjoint classes and properties, etc.

Another TTL file under development contains additions to the FRBRer RDF representation suggested by the FRAD model, including additional scope notes giving minor variations in the original FRBR definitions and additional examples.

The FRAD representation is likely to be given "Published" status in 2011. See the information about dereferencing in the FRBR section of this page.

The FRAD representation is being developed:

  • to support implementations of the FRAD model while the FR consolidated model is being developed (for example, non-subject authority control systems).
  • as a case study for RDF/XML representations, and to inform the development of a consolidated FR model.

Work on extending CIDOC-CRM to FRAD has commenced.


FRSAD is Functional requirements for subject authority data. It extends the FRBR model in the area of subject authorities, which was not fully analysed in the FRAD model.

A preliminary draft representation of FRSAD classes and properties is available as the FRSAD model element set and FRSAD RDF/XML file.

A complementary TTL file will be developed to contain OWL statements about disjoint classes and properties, etc. Another TTL file will be developed to contain additions to the FRBR and FRAD models suggested by the FRSAD model.

The FRSAD representation is likely to be given "Published" status during 2011. See the information about dereferencing in the FRBR section of this page.

The FRSAD representation will reference relevant elements of the FRAD (and therefore FRBRer) representations.

The FRSAD representation is being developed:

  • to support implementations of the FRSAD model while the FR consolidated model is being developed (for example, subject authority control systems).
  • as a case study for RDF/XML representations, and to inform the development of a consolidated FR model.

Consolidated FR model

The FRBR Review Group has commenced work on producing a single consolidated FR model. This work is being informed by the development of RDF representations of the separate models.

This work is expected to take at least a year, and an approved RDF representation of the FR consolidated model is unlikely to be published until 2012.

The consolidated model may result in the deprecation of some FRBRer, FRAD, or FRSAD properties. It is likely that sub-property relationships will be required, particularly in the areas of the basic properties:

  • has subject / is subject of
  • has name / is name of
  • has identifier / is identifier of (that is, identifiers intended for human consumption)

Anglo-American Rules


RDA: resource description and access provides a set of guidelines and instructions on formulating data to support resource discovery. It is developed in a collaborative process led by the [http://www.rda-jsc.org/ Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC), which has representation from the US, UK, Canada and Australia. It will begin to be deployed in 2011 or 2012. It is the successor to the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, which are currently in use in those countries.

The following resources are superseded by the online RDA Toolkit (subscription-based):

RDA uses FRBR and FRAD as underlying conceptual models, and uses concepts and terminology from the DCMI Abstract Model and the <indecs> metadata framework.

The DCMI RDA Task Group was set up in 2007 to define components of RDA as an RDF vocabulary for use in developing a Dublin Core application profile.

Draft RDF representations of RDA classes, properties, and content vocabularies are available from the Open Metadata Registry as The RDA (resource description and access) vocabularies.

It proved difficult to synchronise the RDA representations with the development of the FRBR representations (due to unexpected delays in both projects), so a separate FRBR Entities for RDA representation with corresponding RDF/XML file has been developed. These elements may be deprecated in favour of, or made equivalent to, the FR consolidated elements in due course.

Work on the RDF representations of RDA is about to recommence following a hiatus while the RDA Toolkit was being prepared for publication. It is likely that the vocabularies and element sets will be published with "approved" status in the first half of 2011.

Substantive work on the development of an application profile has yet to begin, although there has been preliminary discussion on the utility of a single profile versus multiple profiles for specific communities.

Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second Edition

(Not available online)

  • ISBN-10: 0838935559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0838935552

MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging)


The primary data format used in libraries in North America, and increasingly in use elsewhere. The Library of Congress maintains the MARC21 standard.


Originally UNIMARC: Universal MARC format. Developed by IFLA to facilitate the international exchange of MARC data between national bibliographic agencies at a time when several divergent versions had emerged (including the predecessor to MARC21). IFLA continues to maintain the UNIMARC standard.

UNIMARC formats are available in English for authority, holdings, and classification records. Some are available in Italian, Portuguese, and Russian.

Other (National) Cataloguing Rules

These are some of the other cataloguing rules behind used outside of the Anglo-American community.


Mappings and alignments

A number of mappings and alignments between IFLA, and related, models and standards have been developed. Many of them refer to older versions and require review and updating; UNIMARC, RDA and the Semantic Web has further information.

The inter-dependent development of these standards implies a significant overlap in their RDF classes and properties, confirmed by examination of the draft representations in the Open Metadata Registry.

The maintaining organizations and groups agreed at the IFLA 2010 conference to continue to liaise and work as closely together as possible on RDF and Semantic Web developments.

The IFLA Namespaces Technical Group will provide a framework for doing this within the IFLA community. The Technical Group is likely to report to a new IFLA standards committee for coordinating standards and liaising with relevant communities. The IFLA Information Technology Section has set up a Semantic Web Special Interest Group.

RDA/ONIX framework

The RDA/ONIX framework for resource categorization "identifies various attributes of content and carrier that are implicit in the terms typically used by libraries and the publishing industry to categorize resources; defines primary values for key attributes; and sets out a methodology for using those primary values to construct base resource categories on a common and interoperable basis". It is maintained and developed by the JSC and organizations responsible for ONIX for books.

The framework underpins the vocabularies for RDA carrier type, RDA content type, and RDA media type.

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA has recently asked the DCMI RDA Task Group to represent the RDA/ONIX specifications for the RDA carrier, content, and media vocabularies in RDF within the RDA namespace(s).

Vocabulary mapping framework

An extension to the RDA/ONIX framework was developed by the Vocabulary Mapping Framework (VMF) project. The extension covers relators between bibliographic products and the agents associated with them; it takes the form of the VMF matrix, a single ontology in RDF triples in TTL format. The project analysed relators and roles from a number of bibliographic standards sources, including CIDOC CRM, DCMI, FRBR, MARC21 and RDA, while the interests of others were represented on the advisory board, including ISBD and UNIMARC.


RDA Vocabularies

  • All are available in the Open Metadata Registry

Library of Congress authorities and vocabularies


French subject headings.

RVM: Repertorie de vedettes-matière

A partially bilingual encyclopedic thesaurus of subject headings in French and English. A SKOS version is planned for Fall 2011.

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

The summaries are the top 3 levels of the classification and are available in 11 languages.

The Abridged Ed. 14 is available in 3 languages.

Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)

SKOS versions of 2000 UDC classes in English and several other languages are expected to be published by the end of 2010.

MARC Controlled Lists

Documentation for MARC lists on LC MARC standard site.

See also

Library standards diagram : PDF file