[uf-new] RFC: Proposal for a (book) title microformat

Craig Shea craig.e.shea at gmail.com
Sun Aug 1 12:43:48 PDT 2010

Toby, All:

I looked up information on the FRBR and see that you are right about
the similar distinction that I am making.

In addition, I did research on the citation microformat and have
concluded that, though there may be overlap there, they really serve
different purposes and is not a suitable format for how I envision
using the "title" microformat. If anything, it appears that I should
read up on FRBR more and model a title microformat on the FRBR.
Secondly, it would also seem that the proposed citation microformat
could also benefit from being modeled after the FRBR. If this were to
happen, then perhaps my proposed microformat and the citation
microformat would indeed be one and the same, serving the same

The most interesting thing about the FRBR study is that it not only
encompasses written works, but all types of artistic works. This could
have even more implications for microformats such as hAudio, hAtom,
and hMedia. Afterall, if microformats is about "paving the cow paths",
I'd say that FRBR, though not well-known, provides a wide "cow path"
which could easily be transformed into a high-speed information
interstate highway!

Secondly, it appears there has been no work on the citation
microformat (the pages don't seem to have changed much in the last 2
months). Is this citation currently being actively developed? Is there
interest in developing that microformat further, especially in regards
to researching the implications of the FRBR study and how its
recommendations might be used to represent this information for
consumption, distribution, and aggregation?

I must admit, that I would love to be able to use a microformat for my
final project that would allow intelligent user agents (such as
Firefox augmented with Operator+) to "discover" this information and
allow easy access to it. This could have such profound impacts on
sites such as Amazon.com, OReilly.com (which currently uses RDFa), and
other well-known sites that sell or provide information on artistic

~ Craig E. Shea

On Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 7:04 AM, Toby Inkster <mail at tobyinkster.co.uk> wrote:
> On Tue, 20 Jul 2010 20:34:08 -0400
> Craig Shea <craig.e.shea at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Before going further, I must define the term "title" vs. "book(s)". A
>> title is something that an author writes. A book is a published
>> representation of a title.
> This distinction is similar to the distinction that the Functional
> Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) makes. FRBR was developed
> by librarians about 15 years ago as the gold standard data model for
> books and similar. It's often used as a design guide when programming
> software for cataloguing books.
> Rather than two levels like your suggestion above, FRBR distinguishes
> between four levels:
>        Work
>        Expression
>        Manifestation
>        Item
> A "Work" for example might be the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy.
> This might have several Expressions: for example an English language
> version, and a French language version. The English language version
> might have several Manifestations - e.g. the softback version measuring
> X by Y millimetres, published in 2006. All copies of that Manifestation
> have the same physical and intellectual characteristics. Lastly, a
> Manifestation will typically have many thousands of Items, as an Item
> refers to a single copy of a book.
> Modelling books at each of these levels has its uses; and understanding
> the relationship between them is useful too.
> For example, a library probably wants to keep track of Items, and also
> group them into Expressions so that it knows that if one Item of a book
> has been checked out, the next borrower might be interested in another
> Item of the same Expression.
> A microformat for books probably doesn't need to model all of the FRBR
> levels, but it should probably aim to align its model with at least one
> FRBR level. So, for example, if hTitle was aiming to line up with an
> FRBR Expression, we'd know that a review could mention the quality of
> the translation; whereas if it was aiming to line up with an FRBR Item,
> the review might mention whether its pages were torn.
> Here's a quick FRBR primer:
> http://www.loc.gov/cds/downloads/FRBR.PDF
>> It looks like there is some overlap in terms of class names and
>> what-not, I'll give you that.  the thing that concerns me is the fact
>> that that format is called "citation".
> If there was a decent book microformat, a citation microformat could
> emerge quite easily as a by-product:
> When the book title is marked up as:
>   <cite class="fn">...</cite>
> it's a citation; otherwise, if it's
>   <any-other-element class="fn">...</any-other-element>
> then it's a non-citation mention of the book.
> --
> Toby A Inkster
> <mailto:mail at tobyinkster.co.uk>
> <http://tobyinkster.co.uk>

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