Bibliographic Relationships: a Topic Map

Mark R. Lindner

590TML, Summer 2007

What, Why, and Scope

What, Why, and Scope


I want to construct a Topic Map of Bibliographic Relationships to serve as an index and glossary to the literature on bibliographic relationships. In a perfect world this would extend to materials on the web and in print only, and it would actually be "completed."


My purpose is to use this exercise as a means to learn the art of Topic Maps and to spend some more time with a small portion of a topic that has been my primary focus for the last 10 months or so.

Pepper and Grønmo in "Towards a General Theory of Scope" remind us that "The topic map paradigm has its roots in efforts to understand the essential semantics of back-of-book indexes in order that they might be captured in a form suitable for computer processing. Once understood, the model of a back-of-book index was generalised in order to cover the needs of digital information, and extended to encompass glossaries and thesauri, as well as indexes."

I figure that by trying to wrap my head around the initial use of TMs I might better be able to grasp their significance and possible uses.


First, what are bibliographic relationships?

"a bibliographic relationship is an association between two or more bibliographic items or works" (Tillett 1991a, 150)
"Bibliographic relationships broadly defined include all relationships involved in the descriptive cataloging of bibliographic units, whether considered as physical or material units, on the one hand, or as intellectual units, on the other hand" (Green, in B&G, 7).

Due to limitations of time, primarily, this project will be much more restricted than even the topics and sources (occurrences) that I am already aware of in this area.

I have decided to restrict my primary context to IFLA's FRBR model of bibliographic entities. In fact, for now probably only the FRBR Group 1 entities of Work, Expression, Manifestation and Item. There are 2 more entity groups within FRBR that primarily impact responsiblity and subject relationships with the Group 1 entities. There are also, of course, other sets of bibliographic entities that could be modeled.

Just as there are different models of bibliographic entities, there are several models of bibliographic relationships. See my Reference list for 3 dissertations (Tillett, Smiraglia, Vellucci) that form the core of the canon on this topic.

Please switch to the next slide

Overview: Tillett's Bibliographic Relationships

I will stick with Tillett's taxonomy of 7 types of bibliographic relationships, primarily. The beauty of her taxonomy for my learning purposes is that while it consists of only 7 types of relationships, these types form several hiearchies. Tillett also kindly points out in a few places where relationships defined by the UNIMARC standard match hers. Thus, I have an easily available scoping mechanism for some of my topics.

The bottom bulleted line, in red, are additional types of bibliographic relationships that Tillett mentions elsewhere that could be modeled in a more complete representation, but they are not a part of her official taxonomy.

Thus, my scope for this project in the context of this class is FRBR, and primarily the Group 1 entities, and Tillett's taxonomy of bibliographic relationships.

Please change slide

Needs & Resources: TAO

Needs & Resources: TAO

This slide lists some of my needs and resources for this project.

  • Topics: FRBR Group 1 entities; FRBR primary relationships; Tillett's relationships; FRBR; UNIMARC; "items" involved certain bibliographic relationships, such as serial, anthology, etc.
    • Topic types: bibEntity, bibRel, person, organization, standard
  • Occurrences: Tillett 1991a, Tillett 2001, UNIMARC standard, FRBR document, ...
    • Occurrence types: article, book, standard, webpage
  • Associations: 3 FRBR primary relationships, Tillett's 7 bibliographic relationships

I needed some addressable definitions so I created a Published Subject Indicators page. Feel free to click that link to see my PSIs. I used individual IDs on each definition so I could uniquely address each one. If you use the back space key you ought to be back at the same slide.

My subIndicatorRef for the FRBR Entities and primary relationships is (or I should say, ought to be) the HTML version of the FRBR Final Report at the IFLA site. Unfortunately it only has IDs down to the subsection level, while the individual entities are described at the sub-subsection level. When I initially used the ID for section 3.2 as the subIndicatorRef for all four entities they were all merged into Expression. Thus, as a "temporary" workaround I made my own page with section 3 of the FRBR Final Report and added the sub-subsection IDs that I needed so that I have unique subIndicatorRefs for each entity.

Conceptual problems

Many of these relationships are reciprocal.

How do I model them so they don't become merged?


My xtm file: bibRels.xtm

whole-part relationship omnigator snapshot

anthology omnigator snapshot

[any material that should appear in print but not on the slide]

Bibliography 1

Bean, Carol A. and Rebecca Green, Eds. Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge. Information Science and Knowledge Management, v. 2. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.

Green, Rebecca. "Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge: An Overivew." In Bean & Green, Eds. Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge. Information Science and Knowledge Management, v. 2. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001: 3-18.

IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. (1998). Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records - Final Report [pdf version]

[Bibliography page 1]

Bibliography 2

Pepper, Steve and Geir Ove Grønmo. Towards a General Theory of Scope. 2002.

Tillett, Barbara B. "A Taxonomy of Bibliographic Relationships." Library Library Resourcer & Technical Services 35 (2), April 1991: 150-158

Vellucci, Sherry L. (1998) "Bibliographic relationships." The Principles and future of AACR: Proceedings of the International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 23-25, 1997. Chicago: American Library Association.

[Bibliography page 2]

Bibliography 3: Dissertations

Smiraglia, Richard. P. (1992). Authority control and the extent of derivative bibliographic relationships. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.

Tillett, Barbara B. (1987). Bibliographic relationships: Toward a conceptual structure of bibliographic information used in cataloging. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.

Vellucci, Sherry L. (1997). Bibliographic relationships in music catalogs. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

[Bibliography page 3]

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