AustLit employs a range of data models to manage information on Australian literature resources, regardless of format, and to facilitate discovery of those resources. We have implemented the International Federation for Library Associations and Institutions' Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) model to describe literary and creative works.
Rather than treat each publication as a separate entity, as standard library cataloguing does, the FRBR model represents the publication history of works by incorporating the following four concepts into a single record:
How a work is realised, for example, Patrick White's original version of Voss in English, or the German translation of Voss by John Stickforth. AustLit uses the term version to represent the expression concept.
How an expression is made concrete, for example, the 1958 Kiepenheuer & Witsch publication of Stickforth's translation of the novel Voss by Patrick White. AustLit uses the term publication to represent the manifestation concept.
An individual item on a library shelf, for example, the physical copy of the 1958 Kiepenheuer & Witsch publication of the John Stickworth translation of the novel Voss by Patrick White, held in a specific library. AustLit does not directly record Items. Users can discover the location of particular items through AustLit's holdings link with The National Bibliographic Database.
The relationships between these concepts can be 'one-to-one', or 'one-to-many', namely:
— Works can be expressed in one or more than one versions
— Expressions can be published (manifested) once or many times
— Publications (manifestations) can result in one or several items
AustLit augments the FRBR model with 'event modelling', based on work undertaken by the ABC Harmony, and INDECS groups.
Works have a Creation event, such as when an author writes a novel.
Expressions have a Realisation event, which relates to the version, for example, the authorised English text. When a work is translated into another language, this results in a new expression.
Manifestations have a Manifestation event, when the work is published in one or more versions.
Works, Expressions and Manifestations all have attributes, and Creation, Realisation and Manifestation events all have attributes. Works, for example, can have subject attributes –- they can be about things –- and work creation events can have creators, places, and dates of creation as attributes.
Works can also have relationships. They can be the subjects of works, or they can influence other works or other writers.
AustLit treats all organisations, and all people, including authors, as Agents. Like Works, Expressions and Manifestations, Agents can have attributes, such as names, including alternative writing names, gender, nationality, cultural heritage, and personal awards.
Agents can be associated with events, which themselves have attributes. All will have birth and, eventually, death events, with date and place attributes. They will also be associated with creation, realisation and manifestation events, with all the attributes which Works, Expressions and Manifestations can 'own'.
Agents can also have relationships: they can be the subjects of works, or they can influence other writers or other works.
Further information on the AustLit Data Model is available on the AustLit Development Site. Further information on the definitions of work and agent attributes and events is available via the AustLit Maintainers' Manual.
Metadata is information in a structured format that describes a resource on the World Wide Web. The National Library of Australia provides information about metadata, the best known schema of which is probably Dublin Core.
AustLit's data is encoded in XML (eXtensible Markup Language). This XML representation reflects AustLit's metadata schema, and contains enough information to generate alternative encodings such as MARC, or to augment AustLit's HTML with Dublin Core or Resource Description Framework (RDF) metadata.