In the Name of the Name: RDF literals, ER attributes and the potential to rethink the structures and visualizations of catalogs

Manolis Peponakis


The aim of this study is to contribute to the field of machine-processable bibliographic data that is suitable for the Semantic Web. We examine the Entity Relationship (ER) model, which has been selected by IFLA as a “conceptual framework” in order to model the FR family (FRBR, FRAD and RDA), and the problems ER causes as we move towards the Semantic Web. Subsequently, while maintaining the semantics of the aforementioned standards but rejecting the ER as a conceptual framework for bibliographic data, this paper builds on the Resource Description Framework (RDF) potential and documents how both the RDF and Linked Data’s rationale can affect the way we model bibliographic data.

In this way, a new approach to bibliographic data emerges where the distinction between description and authorities is obsolete. Instead, the integration of the authorities with descriptive information becomes fundamental so that a network of correlations can be established between the entities and the names by which the entities are known. Naming is a vital issue for human cultures because names are not random sequences of characters or sounds which stand just as identifiers for the entities - they also have socio-cultural meanings and interpretations. Thus, instead of describing indivisible resources, we could describe entities that appear in a variety of names on various resources. In this study, a method is proposed to connect the names with the entities they represent and, in this way, to document the provenance of these names by connecting specific resources with specific names.

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