"McDonald, Stephen" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Susan Kane said:
> This is not my area of expertise ... but .... if Work in FRBR doesn't
> mean
> any particular manifestation, expression or item ... what does it mean?
> Do Works live in Plato's world of Ideas where abstracted version of
> things
> exist in a more real and more true sense than any shifty mimes in our
> world
> of sensation and change?

Sort of.  You could also say that it is similar to a meme.  A Work is independent of any particular Manifestation, and has no physical form form itself.  When a Work is represented in a physical form, that form is a Manifestation.  The Work-Manifestation relationship applies equally to all manifestations of the Work.  There can be a first Manifestation of a Work (and a library would have little reason to catalog a Work if there were no physical Manifestation), but every Manifestation of that Work is just as much a physical representation of the Work as any other.  In many ways, it is indeed similar to the Platonic Ideal.

> Is it a bit like copyright law -- Works (ideas) can't be copyrighted
> but
> manifestations, expressions and items can?
> Or is Work actually an empty container that doesn't really exist --
> even in
> the World of Ideas hovering over the Earth -- until it is filled with
> at
> least one (manifestation, expression, item)?

I couldn't really say, and I'm not sure that it matters.  Libraries have no need to worry about Works which have no Manifestation, so in practice I don't find it hard to recognize the Work-Manifestation relationship in the materials we actually work with.

> And if so, who chose this particular word?
> Was something wrong with calling it ... Idea?  Or even ... Thing?
> Why work?  Work to me in plain English and even librarianese definitely
> implies a manifested thing, not the idea of thing that transcends any
> particular and specific expression.

Idea and Thing are way too vague for my comfort.  The word Work is already used with a definition similar to FRBR's.  When we speak of Shakespeare's works, we aren't talking about any particular edition, translation, or adaptation.  We are talking about the stories themselves, independent of any physical manifestation (unless we are more specific by saying Shakespeare's works in English, etc.).  An author working on his masterpiece might call it his life's work.  He may wave around the manuscript when saying it, but he really isn't talking about the physical document, but the conceptual content of the material.  It will still be his life's work when it comes out in first edition, and third paperback reprint.  All FRBR has done is take this definition which already exists in the English language and refine it into a formal structure with other components describing both the physical and conceptual aspects of bibliographic material.

					Steve McDonald
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