FRBR: Extending the Case of Humphry Clinker

FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) is a 1998 recommendation of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to restructure catalog databases to reflect the conceptual structure of information resources. This project is one of four FRBR-related OCLC Research projects.

More information about FRBR and related OCLC Research projects is available on the main FRBR Project page.


The goal of OCLC's FRBR projects is to examine the issues associated with the conversion of a set of bibliographic records to conform to FRBR requirements (a process referred to as "FRBRization").

In a follow-up to his initial case study, OCLC Research scientist Ed O'Neill tested Thom Hickey's conversion algorithms against a sample of 1,000 works.


Results suggest that conversion of large catalog databases is feasible at the work level, although the process probably cannot be completely automated.


Rick Bennett, Brian F. Lavoie, and Edward T. O'Neill. 2003. "The Concept of a Work in WorldCat: An Application of FRBR." Library Collections, Acquisitions and Technical Services 27,1 (Spring). E-print available at (PDF:354K/32pp.)

Research team

  • Ed O'Neill (Principal researcher)
  • Thom Hickey