Thursday, March 06, 2008


The Interwebs is already starting to seeth with mentions of GLIMIR.

But first, you may ask, what is GLIMIR? Well, as I read it, it's a terribly horrible acronym for Global Library Manifestation Identifier (yeah, I don't know where that other I and the R come from, either....maybe we could throw some stuff in?....Global Library Irate Manifestation Identifier Roadshow?)

Basically, it takes the problem of manifestations (FRBR alert!), and addresses the issue that ISBNs are not manifestation identifiers. A good example of what that means was given by Mr. Stuart Weibel--there are lots of records in OCLC that have the same ISBN. But many of those records are not duplicate, redundant records. They're foreign language records for a work in English. this case we're talking about the same work, but a different manifestation of that work (I may be using "work" in an improper form. Sorry in advance). I guess that in the beginning, a lot of people thought that ISBN would be a manifestation-identifier. Which would be very nice and comforting, since it helps to ground FRBR-thinking into current-cataloger-thinking, but it's not a 1-to-1.

So OCLC (in all their infinite wisdom), has graciously decided to solve this problem for us. Whether or not these GLIMIRs will be "business-neutral" is still up for debate. Honestly, I don't see why they wouldn't be....OCLC numbers (and ISBNs) are "free"--once one catalog outside OCLC has one in their record, you're perfectly welcome to use that number for whatever you like.

So, with that (really, really bad) introduction to GLIMIR, I give you a link list:

Stuart Weibel's GLIMIR Of the Future (good stuff, read the comments, too!)

The FRBR blog's Open Library developers’ meeting (just a mention)

FRBR definitions (why not? Manifestation!)

That's all I have for now....OCLC is not yet admitting publicly that it's launching a pilot project. But I do think it's fascinating that FRBR is basically infiltrating our organizational lives already--RDA is not more than a mere glimmer in our eyes (pun!), yet we're already ramping up for a FRBR-based approach to cataloging. In fact, it's kind of like the current recycling theory: it's easier to recycle when you don't have to think about it. It's easier to FRBR when you don't have to catalog it.

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"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.