William Denton said FRBR “is an end point of almost 175 years of thinking about what catalogs are for and how they should work—an end point, not the end point. There is no the end point to how libraries should make their collections available to people. That changes all the time, and lately it’s been changing quickly. That’s one of the reasons we have FRBR.”
In tracing the history of FRBR, he followed these “four ideas through modern Anglo-American library history and see how they lead up to FRBR:
– the use of axioms to explain the purpose of catalogs,
– the importance of user needs,
– the idea of the “work,” and
– standardization and internationalization.
The last three ideas are fairly simple. Library users are important people and wherever they are, whatever they want, serving them is the basis of what we do. “Work” has quotes around it to make it clear that under discussion is the abstract notion of a work, not the FRBR entity. (The idea goes beyond just FRBR—different people have different definitions of what a “work” is, but they’re all generally the same.) As a librarian, you know all about standards and the international sharing of information.”
By axioms explaining the purpose of catalogs, he meant “a core set of simple, fundamental principles that form the basis for complete cataloging codes such as Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules.”
All the four ideas are showing strongly in FRBR. It is the starting point, not the end point.
[Source: Denton, William. FRBR and the History of Cataloging]