Hierarchical Relationships in the Bibliographic Universe

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2013


hierarchical description, bibliographic relationships, MARC, FRBRization, metadata

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The hierarchical relationships among bibliographic entities include whole–part structures and the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) hierarchical relationships among works, expression, manifestations, and items. The traditional MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) format falls short in representing these hierarchical relationships. Based on detailed analyses of these hierarchical relationships and an examination of Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) and Encoded Archival Description (EAD), which are well suited for hierarchical description, the author proposes some features of a new data structure standard named Resource Description Metadata Schema (RDMS). New cataloging practices based on RDMS will bring bibliographic description closer to archival description, and take one step further toward merged descriptive practices for bibliographic and archival materials.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, v. 51, no. 5, p. 473-490.