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Documenting Performance and Contemporary Data Models: Positioning Performance within FRBR and LRM

Lee, D. (2018). Documenting Performance and Contemporary Data Models: Positioning Performance within FRBR and LRM. Proceedings from the Document Academy, 5(1),


One important aspect of performance documentation is the structure and models of data relating to performance. Documenting performance is a rapidly developing and changing field, as attested to by the work of various performance scholars across the world, the Documenting Performance project at City, University of London (Documenting Performance, 2017), among others. However, in a related universe, the bibliographic world has seen great changes in how they model bibliographic data over the last twenty or so years, through the model called Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), which has recently been superseded by the IFLA Library Reference Model (LRM). So, this article is going to put these developments together by considering performance documentation through the lens of the FRBR and LRM models. There are a number of reasons why exploring FRBR and LRM in relation to performance documentation is worthwhile. As libraries hold some materials relating to performance (for example, collections of theatre programmes), understanding how these materials fit into the dominant library models is useful. For those working specifically with performance and its documentation, the FRBR and LRM models provide an alternative way of modelling the performance world, and ask interesting questions about the nature of performance documentation.
This article starts with a brief précis of FRBR and LRM, followed by a summary of existing literature which discusses the treatment of performance within FRBR/LRM. A significant article by Miller and Le Boeuf (2005) is introduced: this paper models performance in FRBR, and forms the starting point for discussion. Then, three specific areas of performance documentation are discussed, describing and questioning the consequences of Miller and Le Boeuf’s (2005) realisation: performance ephemera such as programmes, and the interplay between performance document and performance-as-document; the relationships between performance and recordings, in particular how the Miller and Le Boeuf model fits (or not) within current realisations of FRBR; the issue of whether all performance (for example, dance, theatre, music) can be treated as one within a FRBR or LRM universe. The article shows how there is a tension between taking a pure FRBR approach which only places traditional ideas of performance documentation within its structure, and the Miller and Le Boeuf (2005) position of performances being the central unit, which could be seen as a proto-realisation of performance-as-document.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
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