Creating better user interfaces for library catalogs: how to present and interact with (FRBR-based) bibliographic data?



Tanja Merčun and Maja Žumer


The majority of library catalogues today still fails to truly fulfil the second objective of the library catalogue: to collocate all works of an author, all editions of a work as well as all works related to the author or a given work.  Creating displays that would enable this requires changes in our bibliographic data, which has been the main incentive behind the FRBR conceptual model.

With the first implementations of RDA (Resource Description and Access) and other FRBR-based cataloguing rules, we are beginning to see a wider adoption of FRBR principles in library catalogues.  While the process is just beginning and there are still a number of unresolved issues connected to the frbrization of legacy data, a crucial question that the library community should start addressing at this point is also the presentation of FRBR-based data in user interfaces of bibliographic information systems.  Current list-based displays are not really best suited for displaying the complex networks of relationships in the bibliographic universe that FRBR is trying to expose, which is why we need to rethink how to make the best use of bibliographic data. Knowing which entities, attributes and relationships we wish to present to our users and what kind of interaction and exploration we want to encourage is not only necessary for exploiting the full potential of the data in our user interfaces, but also for informing our future cataloguing practice, rules and formats.

The workshop will first shortly explain the FRBR model, its potentials for improving user interfaces of library catalogues and the challenges ahead. It will also present some FRBR-inspired user interfaces to date as well as the author’s own experiment using information visualization approach for presenting and exploring bibliographic families. However, the main part of the workshop will be devoted to the discussion between participants, their sharing of experience and views on the topic. Although deriving from the FRBR, the workshop could be valuable to a broader audience interested in creating better bibliographic information systems as well as those looking for ideas on designing more exploratory user interfaces

Workshop outcomes:

  •  creating awareness of an important aspect that has not really been addressed yet, but needs to be better explored and defined in the near future;
  • exploring alternative ways for presenting and interacting with bibliographic data-
  • identifying entities, relationships, attributes and features needed to support the creation of a more powerful display and exploration of bibliographic data


all interested in the topic, knowledge of FRBR is not compulsory

Slides available at SlideShare


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